Clean Date: November 20th, 2018
From: Camden County, New Jersey
I am 30 years old originally from Camden County, New Jersey. My clean date is November 20th, 2018. I’m athletic, enjoy playing guitar, singing, and writing music. As a child, I was crazed and was constantly running around because I had ADHD. I loved making friends and just wanted to be accepted. Ever since I was 16 years old, I’ve found that I become easily addicted to things. It didn't get especially bad until I was 26 years old when I broke my ankle and was prescribed Percocet. Being in active addiction was a prison; I was enslaved to my addiction. My only priority was to get high and it made me feel worthless, suicidal, and trapped. Active addiction made me think that my life was over and that there was no way out.
I know people talk about their one “rock-bottom moment”, but mine was, honestly, every single day. Every day I would say to myself, "This is the last day I will use. I want to get clean." I couldn’t do it. Finally, I became ready. I was high and out of my mind, attempting to paint, at six in the morning. I nodded out and fell onto the TV stand. I stood up to look in the mirror and saw that my lip was gushing blood. I said to myself, “You have a problem, you need to get clean.” At the same time, my parents noticed that I had a problem. They gave me an ultimatum, that I was either going to be homeless or I was going to go to treatment. I told them I was going to be homeless. I came back six hours later and told them to take me to treatment.
Being in recovery is so good. There are ups and downs but, it's way better than always being down. I have goals, I'm honest, people can trust me and that feels so good! Today, my life is worth living and I have a purpose. The best advice that I've been given is to let go and surrender to recovery. That was the best thing I ever did for myself because I wasn't going to surrender. I was going to keep holding on to my addiction. I had built my identity around this idea that I was an addict and that's all I was going to be. As soon as I surrendered to recovery, my entire life got so much more enjoyable. It allowed me to dive into the recovery community and my program.
It's hard for me to give advice to families that are struggling with a loved one who is addicted to drugs; however, I can tell you what my mom did. She's in Al-Anon and told me that it helps her. They encouraged her to give me an ultimatum and stop enabling me. This ultimately led me to get clean. Her cutting me off and pretty much pulling the plug on every resource she had been giving me forced me to think about my life. It made me realize how much my family truly loved me. She was willing to sacrifice our relationship to wake me up to the truth. It made me think to myself, “Do I want this life, to be homeless...do I really want to end up like that?” My advice would be to just support your loved one but don’t enable them. Now that I’m pregnant myself, that advice is more resonant than ever.
I'm learning more in recovery every day, but the biggest lesson that I've learned, so far, is that drugs weren’t my problem; they were what I thought was my solution. My real problem was with Sarah. I always have to remember that the drugs were just a symptom of my problem so that I will continue working on myself. When I first got clean, they said that I was going to live a life beyond my wildest dreams, and I already am. Before getting clean, I had no goals and no dreams. Today, I'm about to bring a child into this world and I know that I can do it because I've learned how to be responsible. For people who are struggling, even people who are in recovery, just hold on. It does get better! I still get into really deep lows from my mental health issues, but I just keep pressing on. I know that tomorrow will be a better day. Just for today, I stay clean.