Clean Date: December 23rd, 2018
From: New Jersey
“I believe I was an addict my whole life. Even if it didn’t involve drugs and alcohol, I always had addict behavior. Right around 17, I moved out of my dad’s house. I kind of had a sheltered life. I started hanging out with the “cool” kids and doing stuff after graduation, and experimenting. For the next 9 years, I was moving all around the country and doing all kinds of shady stuff. Within 7 of those years, I became a full-blown addict. I was living by myself and drinking every day.
I had at least a million rock bottom moments, but every time I had one, they’d just get worse and worse. Sometimes it seemed like getting out of the rock bottom moment was harder than the rock bottom itself. My worst rock bottom was my last relapse a little over a year ago. I ran away to New Hampshire to try and restart and make a new Zach. My girlfriend who I was living with at the time just got to see how bad my alcoholism was. She got to see how I was slowly killing myself, and how I was turning into this horrible, disgusting person. She just finally broke down. I hurt one of the people I loved the most and I was forced to see the monster I was when I was in full-blown alcoholism. Actually seeing someone I loved and cared about completely broken because of my actions really changed my life.
When I went back to treatment, it was kind of a wake-up call. Instead of just seeing my own world, I got to see myself through her eyes. I saw how much despair I had caused her and how heartbroken she was. I realized that I never wanted to do that to another human being again. One of the most important things I lost was myself. And it’s taken me all of those 9 years just to get an idea of who I am. But, I did lose material things as well. I did lose friendships and relationships and people I loved. My addiction takes away people that I still love today. But, from my own personal addiction, I lost my sense of who I am and what I wanted to do in life.
This last run must have been the 13th or 14th time I had asked for help, but this last time, I felt like if I didn’t get the help I needed, I would die or would have gone insane. A year or two ago, I moved to Austin with a friend. I had been to many treatment centers before that I thought moving to a new location was what I might need. I heard about Recovery Unplugged first when I was living in Florida. I was a fan of Aerosmith and knew about Richie Supa and all of that. But just by making a few phone calls, people started suggesting that I try Recovery Unplugged because I was a musician. So, that’s how it all started.
I think the biggest difference between this time I went to treatment and the other times was that I actually gave a shit. I took suggestions. I know it sounds generic, but I was just really tired of being sick and tired. I was tired of going in and out of treatment centers and having the same people who loved me tell me, “When are you going to learn?” So, I took suggestions, and I bit my tongue and I did what they told me. I did what I had to do and I just focused on myself.
The most important thing I learned from my treatment experience is to just be kind to yourself. Be patient, because you’re not going to get everything you want. That’s not how the world works. Also, help other people. I help myself by helping others and I try and create a sense of fellowship wherever I go. I totally believe in karma, so I try and build some good karma every day. Stay connected with the people you went to treatment with and it’s important to keep moving forward, no matter what happens. It’s not the end of the world. Relationships will end. People will hurt you. You will love people who don’t love you back. And, you will learn from all of these experiences and mistakes and become a better person and grow.”