Clean Date: January 6th, 2015
From: Hollywood, FL
“It began with the circle of friends that I grew up with and hung out with - they all started using marijuana and drinking. I stayed away from it and stayed focused on school for as long as I could. About a year after my friends had began experimenting, my mother passed away. I didn’t know how to deal with the feelings and emotions, and I didn’t know how to cope. So, I did what my friends were doing at the time. That’s where it began, with weed and beer. As our neighborhood’s drug use progressed, mine did too. I just kept doing what everyone else was doing.
I started going to jail at 17. I did somehow manage to graduate highschool, but soon after I graduated, I started getting arrested as an adult. 18, 19, 20 and 21 - I spent all of those years incarcerated. Amongst losing my freedom, I began losing all of my relationships with my family. My grandmother, my aunt, my uncle, my cousins, my sister - I lost them all. I lost relationships, my freedom. I lost my education - I had a full scholarship to go to college, but I spent all that time in jail. I missed out on all of my late teenage years and all of my 20’s because of drugs.
I hit a few rock bottoms that were mainly financial, but the very last time I was using I hit a spiritual rock bottom where I just didn’t want to live anymore. That was my eye-opener. All of the other physical things I lost were replaceable. Physically, I would gain my weight back and start to look good again. Financially, I would get a job, and start making money again. But spiritually, I got so low, that there was no way to replace it. So, that was the bottom that hit the hardest. When I decided I didn’t want to live anymore, I experienced was absolute surrender. I thought, “I’m going to give this an honest shot, and get fully involved in recovery.” I was dead spiritually, and I felt like I was going to die physically, and that was the final straw.
I had been to treatment a few times in the past. But in the past, I never really fully surrendered, and I never really fully gave it my all. I had never put the amount of effort into it that was required. I knew it was time for me to do something different. I knew that if I kept using the way I was, I was going to die. You’re only ever going to get out of something what you put into it. I realized that if I’m just a body that’s present; If i’m just going through the motions, that is the full extent of what I will get out of it, and that is the foundation that my recovery will be built on. If I give my all, and I really try to learn what my deep rooted issues are - if I ask myself: What am I trying to fill with drug addiction? What feelings am I trying to mask? What am I trying to run from? If I put forth some effort into trying to answer those questions, then I can take a step forward into how I can start solving some of those problems.
Through recovery, I was able to find myself. Before, I was never able to really find myself. I was never able to truly love myself. And, as a result of finding myself, I am able to be present in other people’s lives. Before, and during my addiction, I never really cared about myself, so I was unable to care for other people. It was all about how I could take advantage of someone and how I could get what I wanted from them. Now, I am able to help others as a gift of recovery. Today, I am able to lay down at night and go to sleep knowing that I didn’t hurt anyone and that I was able to make a positive impact on someone’s life. I am able to have peace today. I am able to have joy in my heart, and love other people, and more importantly love myself.
If you are struggling to come to terms with your addiction, I would say do a real past evaluation on the other times you tried to get clean and ask yourself, did you actually give it your 100%? Did you give it your all? There is going to come a point where you have to make a decision - you’re either going to surrender, or you’re just going to keep living the lifestyle that you’re wrapped up in. You’re going to have to make a choice. In the beginning, it may be a struggle. It may be a fight. And, it may be that way for the first few weeks, or even the first few months, but it does get easier. Eventually, the light bulb will go off, and you’ll start to enjoy life again. Surrender. Put forward some effort. Give it your all, and you’ll begin to see all that life has to offer.“