Clean Date: April 9th, 2018
From: Elizabethtown, KY
I was a 25M, which is a multimedia illustrator, and I was stationed in Fort Meade, Maryland. I created posters, power points, and I was certified in Adobe CS5 Master. I think I’ve always been an addict. I started using recreationally around the age of 18, but I really started full fledge using to cope with things when my boyfriend passed away in 2016 from a heroin overdose. While I was in the military, I struggled with drinking. When I was 19, I got caught underage drinking and I received an article 15, and I had to do the Army Substance Abuse Program. When I left the military, I went back home and started school.
When I was 23, I started using meth. I got home one night from Chicago, where I was visiting Dane, my boyfriend at the time, after I drove all the way home to Kentucky. I drank a lot that night, and I figured I would just go party with my best friend who uses Meth. So I drove over to her house, drunk, and crashed my vehicle into the railroad tracks on the way there. I made it to her house and we started using. That was the first time I ever did meth, August 1st, 2016. I will remember that day forever. I called Dane and told him I used, so he told me he was going to get heroin sent to him because I got high. His friend mailed him heroin from New Jersey, and he was dead by the 8th of August. Dane had 4 years clean before he had used that weekend. After I had started using habitually, I lost everything in such a short amount of time. My family, my friends, my car, my job, and I didn’t work for a long time. My addiction affected my job, I could have definitely went farther and I didn’t. I hated my life, everyday I had a plan concocted to kill myself. I was in a relationship, but I couldn’t leave because he provided the drugs. He made me feel like I had nothing, and no one – except him.
I wanted to get clean for the last couple of months that I had been using. It started just getting worse and worse, I was homeless and I was in a really abusive relationship. On the week of my 24th birthday, I stayed awake the entire week while I was using. I hydroplaned off of the road because I passed out from being so tired. I woke up to EMS all around me and they thought I got into a car accident so they didn’t run my name. I got to leave the scene, and I just remember crying and talking out loud saying “I need help, help me get clean”. I think I was talking out loud to Dane. Later that night, the car broke down again and I was with my boyfriend, Eric, at the time. We were driving on the backroads, when a State Trooper pulled up and arrested us. That was kind of like my turning point. Nobody wants to get arrested, but I thought of it as a blessing, because I knew that it would get me out of the situation I was in and that I was going to get clean. When I was in jail, I fought back and forth with myself wondering if I should go get help or go back to what I was doing. Part of me wanted to get out and get high and just not let myself get as bad, but I made the choice to come to Florida and go to treatment.
I was in a treatment center when I came to Florida and I got into trouble there because I was so angry all of the time and I fought this girl. When they discharged me, they asked me if I wanted to go to a different treatment center. They then told me about Recovery Unplugged and I decided to go. They described Recovery Unplugged as a music based treatment center, which was very attractive to me because where I was, they wouldn’t let have a radio or anything like that, so it was nice to come here and have music be integrated into the program. Music is very important to me and it definitely helped me in my recovery. Just being able to listen to what I want to listen to, and then the groups that we have like Recovery Playlist or Lyric Analysis where I don’t have to specifically say how I’m feeling, I can just put on a song and people will know where I’m at in my mind. Two songs that helped me through everything are Bitter Old Man and Your Heart Is A Muscle The Size of Your Fist by Ramshackle Glory. The lyrics that stood out to me most are “Your heart is the size of your fist. Keep on loving, keep on fighting and hold on. Hold on for your life”.
I loved treatment. I was really grateful to be there and I was grateful to be around people that wanted to get better. Recovery Unplugged is so different from other treatment centers. I’ve only been to one other, but the other one I was at was like a giant community, and you kind of fell through the cracks. I never met with my therapist in the two weeks I was there. So to be able to come to Recovery Unplugged and be in a caseload of 5 people, it was great. I got an ipod as soon as I got in, which I loved because I could just throw in my headphones and listen to music. I got a lot of face time with my therapist and it’s a huge family atmosphere and that’s what I love about it, and that’s why I chose to stick around and do all levels of care. I really think the Family Atmosphere is what separates this treatment center from everybody else, because you don’t fall through the cracks, you’re not overseen. As soon as I got a year clean, I applied to Recovery Unplugged, and I am currently an Alumni Coordinator.
I’m grateful for learning that I’m not unique, and that a lot of people have similar stories to me. I’m able to reach out, and I know that other people can identify with what I’ve been through and what I feel. I think that’s what kept me using for so long, I didn’t think that anybody out there knew what I was going through. You can go to a meeting, and half the people have been through what you’ve been through.
For anybody struggling right now, don’t overthink it, just do it. If you feel like you’ve got a problem, don’t hesitate to get help.