How old are you? 27
How long are you sober? 7 years
So you got sober at: 19!
Describe your childhood: Normal whatever that means. Nothing traumatic happened and I was always taken care of.
Describe the first time you drank/used: 12 years old in 6th grade. I got drunk with a neighborhood friend. There was a large contrast between how I felt about it and the reality of the situation. I talked about it and thought it was so awesome when I told my 6th grade friends, kids said things like ‘you’re12 not 21’ like I had things backwards. In reality I was a 12yr old child who got drunk on wine coolers (not entirely cool) and had a hangover.
What was “life” like at the worst of your addiction? I had no permanent residence. Most common occurrences were: friends going to prison, rehab, friends od’ing or dying. I spent $150 a day to stay “well”. I did opiates – heroin, oxy’s – 5 xanax bars just to get out of bed. I was in a constant state of withdrawal paranoia. Always hungry, nowhere to stay, trouble with the law. While staying with my parents one time after moving out during my senior year. I was arrested in their front yard 9 days after moving in.
When did you make the choice to get sober? I accepted to go to rehab after a family intervention. I only did it to get the heat off. I really didn’t have any other options which forced me to be in contact with recovery groups. I was eventually attracted to changing my life.
How was recovery in the beginning? Superficial, fake, couple relapses. 90 days sober, relapsed, back to treatment and then relapsed again 30 days after. After the 2nd relapse – I realized I did not have a say in whether I was going to use or not and it was going to take more than removing drugs from my life. I finally understood that I was going to use if I didn’t do something and start that process for real.
What was the biggest thing that helped you maintain your sobriety? 12 steps. Spiritual way of life.
What is life like now? Every single aspect of my life I am passionate about – recovery is the center of my life by design. It is my top priority – relationships I have – the job that I do – the hobbies I have. I would go to music events loaded but now – as a result of the process of recovery, I have been given a way of life in which I can truly enter any aspect of life without the fear of drinking or using. I have a solution that works in every situation. That includes parties, musical events, sports, softball, surfing, family gatherings – recovery is much more than the absence of alcohol and drugs. For a drug addict like me to live a life where I am passionate about every aspect of life is not possible without recovery.
How are you being of service to other addicts? I do not believe recovery is possible without service. This is the foundation of recovery. Seeking to be helpful is my top priority in all the work that I do. I try to be more available to that goal every day.
If you had one thing to say to someone who is struggling with addiction what would that be? Consider the possibility that you just might be wrong about everything you think you know. If you know everything then you have nothing to learn.