Lectures at the fralin biomedical research institute
Lectures at the fralin biomedical research institute
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“I got into drugs, tobacco, you name it, when I was 13. I started off sniffing gasoline out of a lawnmower, then moved on to beer, wine, and marijuana. At age 15 I dropped out of high school. I learned to be a mechanic and I got a GED but I was still getting high. I went to work in a factory, but it was minimum wage, so I joined the military. By then I had started snorting cocaine and doing speed.
Then the military came out with a drug-testing program, so I decided to get an honorable discharge rather than give up drugs. I worked in a textile factory for 14 years until they started doing drug testing. That’s when snorting cocaine turned to smoking cocaine. And that’s when my addiction became so powerful it destroyed everything. I didn’t want to work, I didn’t care about my wife or kids—I just wanted to smoke that drug. I destroyed my family and I wanted to commit suicide.
I went into a rehab program and it helped for a while. My wife and I relocated and we were doing great because I was practicing the things they had taught me about how to stay clean. But then friends from back home came to visit, and they were drug dealers. Just seeing those people made me want to do drugs again. I actually left my wife and went home just to do drugs. I’m very ashamed about that. My wife hated me because she had given me a chance and I’d failed her.
I was still a great mechanic so the drug dealers hired me. I got money and I got free drugs. But then the federal government broke up the drug ring and locked up all the dealers. So there I was again, no job, no money to get high, no wife, no nothing. The suicidal thoughts came again. Then Hurricane Katrina came, and I was basically homeless.
I went down to New Orleans to help clean up. Suddenly I was making good money as a mechanic. The city was under martial law, so I couldn’t get drugs or anything. I was back up again! But then the lights came back on, the people started returning, the drug dealers started coming back. Now I was making this great money and the drugs were back. It was very dangerous for me. The cocaine made me paranoid. The high wasn’t a high anymore—it was a nightmare. But I was addicted. I had to do it. I was getting so thin it was like suicide. I started owing drug dealers money, and they were threatening to kill me. I had to beg my family for a bus ticket home.
Back home, I got a job running heavy equipment, and I was back on my feet again. On my very first payday, though, I got to drinking and doing drugs. I borrowed a friend’s car, went off the road, slammed headfirst into a tree, and woke up in a hospital with a broken neck. And that was the beginning of my new life.
I was in a lot of pain, but I could walk again. I was feeling happy that disability money was coming in soon. Then it struck me: the money would be the end of me because I’d be able to do drugs again. I told my mother to take me to the VA hospital. I didn’t tell her why. I just admitted myself to the psych ward for two weeks, then went to a drug rehab center. I knew I was about to die, and that’s what finally got me off drugs—the thought of death.
On July 5, 2010, I left the rehab center, and I haven’t touched anything since, not drugs, not alcohol, not cigarettes. I’m very proud of my recovery. I was a hopeless case, but I made it. I’ve stayed clean, and I feel free.”
Life after heroin- My thoughts 2 years down the road I last used heroin, fentanyl, and meth January 18, 2020. That makes it 939 days, or 2 years, and 7 months. What do I remember? For years I had no “real” friends, the only social interactions I really had were with dealers or people I used with (aside from the handful of people who I actually developed close friendships with).
My family distanced themselves from me and I missed out on holidays, weddings, births, and deaths. I lost my kids, lost my apartment, car, job, and spent hundreds of thousands on drugs (any savings I had, credit cards, loans, etc.), and all of that just to make surviving each day slightly bearable.
I damaged my arms, legs, and face, causing nasty scars from poor injections and having MRSA twice. I overdosed many times, three of those times on purpose, and if Narcan didn’t exist I would not be alive today. I got arrested several times, which was always a horrible experience. Basically, my perception on the addict life is that you gradually succumb to losing sight of everything that makes life good just for the sake of getting the next hit and avoiding withdrawals. I gave up on friends, family, ambitions, and enjoying my hobbies because I spent all of my time on dope and it really wasn't fun. I did horrible, awful things that I look back on now and still can’t believe that was me. I went through a lot of traumatic things that I am now having to deal with and unpack and learn how to cope with.
So, what now? 2 years later: I am learning to love myself again. I am learning new ways to cope with life rather than getting high to numb my feelings. I moved away to a new state and that helped me a lot, I think. I got involved in the NA program, and even though I do not agree with everything in it, I take what I need and leave the rest. Gradually I developed a sense of enjoyment in my hobbies. Not to sound discouraging but this took me literally months after getting off dope to really start to enjoy things again. I was numb for a long time. But it did happen. I am living life rather than just existing and wishing I would die. It really messed me up when I realized how much time I wasted on drugs instead of doing actual fun enjoyable stuff. I have been struggling pretty badly with depression for several months, but instead of relapsing I asked for help. I admitted to people around me that I was having a hard time and have received nothing but love and support. I was just put on medication the other day to hopefully tackle my depression and also got a referral for therapy. But even with the depression, my life is unfathomably better than it was when I was on drugs. I can't claim that I will never use again, because I don't know what the future holds. But I can claim that I will not use today, and I’ll make that choice every day. I have everything that I missed when I was strung out- family who cares about me and are proud of me, healthy friendships, and personal fulfillment through hobbies. Getting off heroin won't immediately make your life better in every way - the change is gradual. A few days ago, I realized that I hadn't thought about heroin in weeks. That made me feel really good. I looked down at my arms and legs and saw the scars were slowly but surely fading away. In a few years you probably won't be able to see them at all. I am finally becoming the best version of myself. I wrote all of this simply because the amount of people that I know who have died from heroin/fentanyl overdoses recently is insane. And that’s just the people I know. I’m tired of seeing people die from that. It truly breaks my heart. Please get help. People love you, even if it doesn’t feel like it. And I can promise you, recovery is so much better than any high.
“I remember the first time that I had actually gotten drunk off of liquor and it almost felt like this “switch” went off inside of me. I couldn’t believe how AMAZING I felt. It felt like the missing puzzle piece had finally been placed in my life. After this first encounter in college, I began drinking about three times a week. “Drinking” meant taking as many shots as I could before blacking out. I absolutely loved feeling so free and limitless when I was drunk. Without social inhibitions, I felt like I could actually be the person that I should be. I simply felt like an improved version of myself.
At first, my “friends” encouraged me with my drinking and each black out seemed to be the next adventure. I started to both anticipate and dread the morning after drinking because I never knew what I would do while drunk. With so much encouragement, I hardly realized there was a problem with having black outs. I also didn’t recognize the cravings that I started having. I wanted to drink with almost every activity because drinking made everything so much more exciting.
After only a few months, a few of my closer friends and even complete strangers had started telling me that I was having problems with alcohol, but this seemed absolutely ridiculous to me. How on earth could an 18 year old girl have a problem with alcohol?? I thought that was only for middle aged men who drank all day long. In any case, this pattern of drinking continues for about three more years. The black outs and hangovers get worse, and I started putting myself into extremely dangerous situations. It got to the point that I actually passed out in the middle of a busy street. Luckily for me, complete strangers picked me up and took me home (although I don’t actually remember this). I realized that I could hardly ever resist alcohol when it was around and that no matter what I tried, I couldn’t stop drinking once I started. But even then, I still couldn’t believe that I was an alcoholic… there were simply too many reasons why I shouldn’t be.
I finally reached a turning point in my drinking when I realized that it was absolutely destroying my relationship with someone I loved. To be truthful, I didn’t actually realize this until they forced me to. I always had too many excuses for how my drinking wasn’t really a problem, but this person constantly told me how much my drinking bothered him. He wouldn’t be around me when I drank and he asked me to call any time when I felt like drinking. Even so, I continued to drink but with much more manipulative strategies (aka lying). It finally reached the point when I knew our relationship was about to end and that I was entirely responsible. I couldn’t stand this horrible guilt I felt every time I drank. I felt like I would completely lose myself if I continued to drink. I had become someone I couldn’t even recognize. I started making actual attempts to stay sober and I slowly started staying sober for longer periods of time until I finally stopped completely. The absolute keys to my success were changing my environment and my old social circle. I completely stopped going to bars and hanging out with friends who I used to drink with. I still have my struggles with temptations, but after 2.5 years of sobriety, I finally feel happy with myself.
I really wanted to share my story because I feel like alcoholism is completely misunderstood in college aged kids. I saw others going through similar situations as me, but alcoholism was never mentioned because that could only happen to older adults. I also think alcoholism presents itself in many different ways, but most people are only aware of the stereotypical 40 year old male who drinks all day, every day. I never once drank in the morning or every day, but that didn’t stop alcohol from almost ruining my life.”
“I want to start my story with a quote from a song I heard awhile back….
“I ain’t no angel, I still gotta few more dances, with the devil, I’m cleaning up my act little by little, I’m getting there, I can finally stand the man in the mirror I see…I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get, but I’m better than I used to be…”
I’m going to try to make this as short and painless as possible and just give you the facts as I know them to be. No drunk-a-log, I’m just gonna get to the point. I didn’t come into the rooms of AA until I was 40, looking back, I’d spent more than half my life seeking the answers to life in the bottom of one bottle or another, yet I didn’t see it as a problem. I justified my actions for everything I did. The last few years of my drinking, I became a “monster” or so I was told. I was a black out drunk, and I thrived on the “If I don’t remember it, it didn’t happen” attitude. I was on the verge of loosing my wife, my business, my friends and family, so I decided I’d go to AA to make them happy. I figured once they weren’t mad at me any more, I’d go back to business as usual. I stayed sober for a grand total of 44 days.
My relapse was not intentional. I know most people say that, but mine truly wasn’t. I’d drank a glass of what I thought was soda which belonged to my underage son so I had no reason to think otherwise. I drank about 3/4 of it before I realized it wasn’t soda. Suddenly everything I’d heard in the rooms started to ring in my ear. Knowing I needed to leave, I proceeded to get my things with the intentions of doing just that. I’d gotten into a conversation with this man who was there and after a few moments, he handed me a shot. I knew with every bit of my being that I had to put that shot down right then and there. Then reality hit me. The last thing I remember from that night was not being able to put that shot down. Not physically, not mentally. I literally couldn’t do. I woke up the next morning not hungover because I was still drunk and a friend of mine grabbed me by the arm after questioning me, sat me on the couch, turned on the TV and there before me was the most horrifying, disturbing, sickening thing I had ever seen. t was “me” in my truest monster form.My face swollen from all the alcohol consumption, eyes glazed over, not making any sense. It was like watching Cybil meets Jekyll and Hyde. I was so sick I wanted to vomit and it wasn’t because of the alcohol still in my system. I was sickened by what I was watching. I got to SEE the monster I become, the monster people had been telling me about for years. Suddenly there was no more denial. At that moment, I gave in to the 1st step.
I walked back into AA and picked up what I hope will be my second and last white chip. I told myself I wasn’t leaving there without getting a sponsor and I didn’t. I dove into the program like a duck to water and have been working the steps ever since. I have a genuine relationship with my Higher Power today. God, or even the thought of God didn’t exist for me before I came to AA. By working the steps, following the suggestions, having a Higher Power in my life and working with other Alcoholics, my life has done a complete 360. I like who I am today and wouldn’t want to change a thing. On July 18, 2012 I will be sober 2 years. It really is the longest time in my entire life that I have gone without a drink or a drug in my system and I feel amazing. I’m 42 years old, and although I’ve been on this earth for over two decades, I didn’t know what it was like to “live” until I walked into the rooms of AA. The program of AA didn’t give me my life back, it gave me a life. Keep coming back, it really does work if you work it.”
"On March 20th, 2013, something happened that changed my entire life and way of living. I can only hope and pray that this change is forever.
I started drinking around the age of 14. I was introduced to alcohol much earlier though. When I was about 4 or 5 years old, I would sneak up along side my dad as he watched Friday Night Wrestling on television and sneak a sip or two from his beer. Dad was not an alcoholic, but he did drink occasionally. A six pack of beer would last him six weeks. He only drank one beer and that was on Friday nights. If alcoholism is hereditary, then it skipped a generation, because my brother, several cousins from Dad’s side of the family and myself are alcoholics, as was our granddad.
My drinking didn’t become a daily routine until after I left home and had been in the military for a couple of years. I enlisted in the Army a month after graduating from high school and my first duty assignment was in South Korea. Initially, this was a twelve month tour. However, I had so much fun during the first six months that I extended that tour for two additional years. During this tour, I also met and married my first wife and our oldest son was born.
Soon after arriving in Korea in 1973, I began drinking on a daily basis. Prior to this time, I was a binge drinker, maybe once or twice a month on weekends. But, that changed because everyone that I worked with went to “Happy Hour” at the NCO Club from 5:15 PM until 7:30 PM every night. Usually after Happy Hour, if we didn’t close the club, some of us would go to the village and party until curfew which was midnight. Getting drunk was extremely cheap back then so money was not an issue.
After spending my first three years in the Army, in Korea, I was reassigned to Ft Campbell, Kentucky, where I would spend the next five years with my family. This assignment was nothing like my overseas tour. Here, I was required to spend a lot of time away from home and my family on field training exercises. The length of time for these excursions varied; they lasted anywhere from 15 days to 45 days. My drinking habits also changed from daily to weekly or monthly binge drinking again. There were times when we’d get back home with just enough time to clean up, repack and go for another 30 or 45 days.
These absences were extremely difficult for my ex and took their toll on our marriage. While I was away, she was forced to provide for herself and our son even though she didn’t drive or speak our language very well. Even when I was home, I wasn’t much help because I spent most of my time with my friends drinking and working. Back then we didn’t need much in the way of reasons to drink. When I was working or drinking, or both, I was absent from home.
While stationed in Kentucky our second son was born. Having two sons was a dream come true for me. This dream was shattered approximately 33 months later. That’s when she decided that she had had enough of my drinking and not being home when she needed me. It was then that she asked for a divorce. She stated that she never really loved me and only used me to be able to come to the United States. To make the pain even worse, she stated that she had fallen in love with my best friend and co-worker. I was devastated.
Our divorce was final in March 1981, and I was reassigned to Germany the following month, where I would spend the next six years working, traveling and drinking; not necessarily in that order. I drank and got drunk almost everyday that I spent in Germany. When I first got there, I fell in love with their beer and food. I never drank American beer during that time, except when I came home on leave. On my second day in Germany, I got so drunk that the hangover lasted for 3 days and I had never been so sick in my entire life. I thought it would never end and of course, I swore off drinking. I can only remember an 18 day period that I did not drink while in Germany and that was because I was in the hospital with a broken neck. That hiatus ended shortly after I got back to my unit.
During this tour, I met, married and divorced my second wife. As it turned out, I didn’t like being alone and she didn’t like living with a drunk. I also thought I could fill the void left by the separation from my two sons, but I was wrong. After three years of fighting, we divorced, but not before she went to my commander and claimed that I was having an affair with a co-worker and that I was abusive to her and her two sons. Because of these allegations it was mandatory that I be evaluated by a Drug/Alcohol Therapist/Psychologist. Had these accusations been founded, my career would have ended immediately, if not sooner. One week after I met with the therapist for the first time, my ex and her two sons left Germany for good, and our divorce was final 3 months later. I was alone yet again, but happier this time.
Soon after the second divorce, my tour in Germany came to a close, which was a blessing in disguise because the work relationship with my commander was totally destroyed by the accusations from my ex. There was virtually no trust or respect left between my commander and I and to work side by side was strenuous to say the least. As a result, I requested a transfer from Germany back to Korea. Another reason for this transfer was so that I could be reassigned from Korea to Ft Lewis, Washington at the end of the tour in Korea. This is what we sometimes called “Military Intelligence”.
April 1987, I arrived back in Korea for another 12 month tour. Shortly after arrival, I was informed that my reassignment to Ft Lewis wouldn’t happen until 1989. So, rather than to accept reassignment to Kentucky, which is where my two sons were, I opted to stay in Korea for an additional two years, making it a 3 year tour. History repeated itself once again. I was alone, pissed off at the world and drinking heavily on a daily basis. To fill yet another void, I met and married my third wife. I didn’t put much thought into this marriage either.
In April 1989, I finally received orders reassigning me to Ft Lewis, Washington, which I had been trying to get for over 8 years. While stationed at Ft Lewis, my ex-wife #3 attended and graduated from beauty school, purchased a beauty salon with my money, got her driver’s license, had a 4 or 5 year affair with someone besides myself, and she got greedy. Our marriage lasted just over 9 yrs.
From 1982 until 1986, I had absolutely no contact with my sons. This was not by my choice. I thought about them everyday, and with every thought of them, I drank just a little more. No matter how much I drank, the pain of not being with my boys just would not go away. Their mother asked me in 1982 to remarry her and when I refused, she promised to make my life a “Living Hell”. And she did. In November 1996, I had a proverbial bombshell dropped on me. I was sitting at home one morning having my usual breakfast of scrambled eggs and beer, and I got a phone call. It was from my youngest son telling me that he and his brother were moving out to Portland, Oregon and wanted to come and visit me up in Olympia. After getting over the tidal wave of emotions, I said sure. They arrived a week later in an over loaded Hyundai, with two of their friends. Through the process of elimination, I was able to pick out my sons, but I didn’t put the names with the right one. During the next 2 years, we managed to see each other maybe 4 times and only for a few hours each time. We lived only 125 miles apart, but it may as well have been 3000 miles.
After the third divorce was final, I moved to California in hopes of obtaining employment and regaining some sanity, if I had any left. My 3rd ex was very high maintenance and had us so far in debt that I had no choice but to file bankruptcy. In Washington State, employers run credit checks and if you have bad credit, they tend not to hire you, so I went to California looking for work.
Soon after relocating, I was hired on as a “Landscape Consultant” at a major hardware store. Actually, I stocked and watered plants. I worked in the outdoor garden department. This was only a temporary job for me though, because I had also submitted applications to work at the county juvenile boot camp. That application process was in 3 stages and took five months to complete.
While working at the hardware store, my employment was only part time, so I figured I could play golf and drink full time and work part time. At first this worked out fine because I’d work 4 hrs, 4 days a week and played the rest of the time and did this without any problems until I started forgetting to check the work schedules each week. In a 5 month period, I was counseled by my supervisor twice about my not showing up or showing up late and having alcohol on my breath. The third strike never materialized because I got hired by the county probation department. This job was great but only lasted 8 months due to a career ending injury. In that 8 months, I was again counseled twice about my coming to work either hung over or with alcohol on my breath.
My wife Karol and I met in June of 1998, shortly after I moved to California, and we married September 2000. We enjoyed some really good times and some extremely trying times and my drinking did not help one iota!
March 14th, 2000, is a date that will be with me for the rest of my life. My youngest son always got my birthday confused with my mother’s. Hers was March 14th and mine the 16th. So, on March 14th, My youngest son, Joseph, called to wish me Happy Birthday. I thanked him and told him again, that mine wasn’t until the 16th. “Today is your grandma’s birthday”. He had that covered because he’d already called her.
What I heard next tore me apart, both inside and out. Laughing and joking with me, Joseph said, “Hey Dad, guess what I have?” I didn’t have a clue and coming from him, what little I knew about him, it was going to be something totally out of this world. It was indeed! I stood at our dining room table with the phone to my ear, stunned and paralyzed by his continuing words, “Dad, I have an inoperable brain tumor. It’s rare and only 1 in 750,000 people get this. But don’t worry Dad, I’m going to be okay. There’s a doctor here in Portland who has pioneered an 80% successful treatment for it.” I don’t remember much after that.
From May 2000 until February 2001, we said our final goodbyes to Joseph 4 times. During this time, my drinking more than doubled. Instead of drinking less than a half case of beer on a regular basis, I was drinking between 18 and 24 everyday, usually starting around 10:00 each morning. Each time I went to Portland to be with my sons, I drank and stayed drunk:. Each time that I left Portland, thinking that was the last time being with Joseph alive, something would happen where he would be just fine and go out to Burger King or to a rock concert or something spectacular. I was given the opportunity to be with my sons on Joseph’s 23rd birthday. He was bedridden and semi comatose, but we had a birthday party for him anyway. He passed away February 26, 2001.
After my son’s funeral, I lost total control of everything. I had no feelings other than extreme anger. I really didn’t care for or about anything except my self and the pity that I felt for myself. I drank no matter what. I hated even the mention of God. He didn’t exist, and if He did exist, He sure wasn’t a Loving God. From the time of Joseph’s passing, until February 2007, Karol and I lost my dad in November 2006, an uncle, December 2006, and two aunts, January and February 2007. I was there through all of this, but I was also very drunk.
Now, at the beginning of my story, I mentioned a life changing event that happened to me. On March 20th, 2013, Karol and I went to Kalispel to see our new grand daughter. Hana was born around 2:30 or 3:00 that morning. On the drive there, which is 90 or so miles, we had to stop twice because I was sick. I blamed it on car sickness.
At about 9:00 AM we arrived at the hospital and went into the room where my son and his wife and new baby were. Soon after we got to the room, my son asked me if I wanted to hold the baby and I said sure. He placed her in my arms and I sat down immediately. After about 30 seconds, though, I gave her back to my son. He asked me if everything was alright and I said “Yes.” My wife and I then went outside for a walk and to smoke a cigarette. When we went back to the room, we said good bye to them and headed for home.
On the drive back to Plains, we never spoke more than about a dozen words to each other but Karol knew something was wrong. She asked me why I didn’t hold the baby for very long and I told her that I was shaking so damn bad that I thought I was going to drop her and if that had happened, I don’t think I’d been able to live with myself. The rest of that two hour drive was in silence.
For the next three days, Karol and I spoke very little. She knew something was wrong with me and bothering me, but she didn’t know what. She just left me alone and figured that when the time was right, I would talk. On that 3rd day, I called my primary care doctor and asked for help by leaving him a voice message. The next day he called me back and Karol saw who had called, but said nothing at that time.
My doctor thanked me for calling and asked why it took so long for me to ask him for help and I asked him what he meant. He said that he had known for over four years that I had been lying to him about my drinking and that I had a serious problem. After this phone call, Karol asked me what was going on and I told her, “I need your help.” She then asked, “With what?” I answered “With my drinking. I need to quit.”.
I was then scheduled to see an addiction therapist and the process of getting me into detox and rehab treatment began on or about April 15, 2013. I continued to drink and get drunk until July 10, 2013. That was my last drink to date. I spent five days in detox and then transferred into the alcohol treatment facility where I spent the next 19 days.
July 11, 2013 was my first day of not drinking or smoking voluntarily, in over 40 years. I attended my very first AA meeting on July 16th, 2013. I thank God everyday for my new found sobriety and the life changes that I have been experiencing. Each day is a new learning experience and life just keeps getting better and better. I was never told that it would be easy, but I have been told many times that there is a solution and it is a simple solution.
“God grant me the serenity to except the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” God bless and know that there is life without alcohol.”
“I’ve spent most of my life in a small town in Eastern KY. Where the prescription pain killers are primarily dominant and highly accessible. I started out smoking marijuana when i was 13 years of age, then moved on to opiates at the age of 15 after a car accident that fractured my spinal cord. By the time I was 17 i had started drinking alcohol and “nasally inhaling” crushed up pain medicine. I attempted to quit for the first time at the age of 21. That worked for awhile, but i was still having minor relapses until around the age of 23. And then my disease progressed rapidly, within 1 year i was intravenously injecting high powered opiates….. This is when my life really came crashing down to the rigid bottoms of the lowest point of the darkest crevasse of my own personal Hell. I stole from family, friends, stores, really anywhere that could help me get my next fix. I robbed people, hurt people, broke relationships that can never be amended, I had demolished my families trust as well as beaten them down emotionally. All i was concerned about was my own selfish obsessions, and my overpowering “need” for that drug! I’m really grateful that I never truly physically harmed anyone other than myself in my tornado of destruction. All the chaos that I caused will haunt me for a very long time to come, I have lost friends due to my own problems, and many to the after-life of addiction. Now at the age of 27, I have decided that i wish to devote my life to helping those that still suffer from this catastrophic illness. I have experienced all the pain I can bare at the hands of this disease. I am proud to say I have been clean for 7 months and am currently studying towards a masters in Psychology, and plan to become a certified Substance abuse/abuse counselor. I am amazed to even be able to say that I have goals again today, that is something that this disease can never take away from me again! It’s time for those of us who have been fortunate enough to walkaway from addiction to bond together and fight this problem at the same level everywhere. This isn’t just something that will go away on it’s own. We need complete unity of all communities, all of those whom are willing to be on the front lines of this issue are the true heroes in my book. This isn’t something that is effecting our country from abroad it is right here, destroying our loved ones, our freedom, our lives. I’m ready to do whatever I can to make a impact on this problem, and I feel it is time for everyone else to make that choice. Stand back and watch it plague our society or fight for something that will really make a difference. My decision is made…… How about yours?”
"My name is Amissa and I AM an addict. My sobriety date is June 30, 2014. I spent most of my life trying to fit in. Looking for love and falling short every time. Blaming and shaming. Moving from city to city they are the problem. I mean don’t you know who I am? Overdosing in a coma for 3 days still that wasn’t enough. Wanting to claim my independence, prostituting and still not paying my bills. The meth was far more important than anything. At my bottom I got a warning. A ticket for soliciting and working with out a business license. That still wasn’t enough and I still wasn’t the problem. Thank God my family no longer would enable me I was living from hotel to motel some days better than ever. And I just needed one more and I got that call with an opportunity to make enough money to hold me over for the next couple days. Saved my life! I went to jail for possession, and conducting prostitution. After I was released with no charges filed going into a program was the only way I knew I wouldn’t have to continue not doing drugs because still at that point drugs weren’t the problem. What I was doing to get the drugs was the problem. I checked myself into a year long residential program I thought I was special enough to only stay there 90 days. When in fact on my 90th day I couldn’t deal with life and got loaded in the program. Thank God they believed in me and were committed to loving me until I could love myself. Working the steps with my sponsor, getting to know me again, forgiving myself and working through the hurt and accepting who I am. Today I am 15 months sober reuniting with my kids in just about a week. I truly believe God has carried me through and taking direction knowing I need and it’s OK to ask for help. I can remain clean and sober. I love my life today and without going through what I went through I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m truly blessed and extremely grateful!"
My name is Zacherie and I am a grateful recovering addict.
I was 15 years old when I first picked up methamphetamine. After all the years of partying, smoking pot, popping pills, and snorting lines of coke and molly behind everyone’s back (including my parents), my addiction had taken me to the lowest depths that I will ever be in my life. I was broken, full of hate and despair, and blind to the mistakes I was making that were destroying my life and the relationships around me. I was 16 when I put a needle into my arm loaded with heroin and began stacking meth with downers. I had lost everything to my addiction. My family was desperate to save my life, but I just kept rolling downhill farther and farther into the darkness that surrounded me. I no longer had the strength of heart to call out for any help or support to pick me back up and put my pieces back together. My life had turned into the darker version of Humpty Dumpty except I was the only one that could pick up the pieces, but I lacked the willingness. I was lost and I no longer knew what joy or warmth was and I couldn’t get a grip on reality. I knew I was dying and there were times I was certain I wouldn’t wake up and times I wished that I didn’t. It was like God kept holding on for me. Finally, I was arrested at the high school I enrolled myself in when I was finally trying to put an end to my use and put on probation. I was on the run from probation and my rehabilitation center when I was put into a residential program where I am now. I am 17 years old and am fighting for my life back and am proud to be in recovery. I am allowed only one NA meeting a week on Sundays and am waiting for graduation day in 3 months so that I can really expel my efforts into my recovery and into meetings. I want to spread my message and help heal others’ pain by sharing my own. I owe my life to my loved ones, the rooms of NA, and the people in them. I am grateful to have a loving higher power that allowed me to hold on just a little bit longer when I was staring death in the face and to my parents who never gave up on me even when I continued to hurt them. I love the life I GET to live today and the people in it. I will make a difference and I am proud to be a part of recovery.”