Sam

How old are you? 25

How many years sober? 2

So you got sober at: 23

Describe your childhood: Pretty typical – good family – good upbringing – I was adopted at birth – parents were social drinkers – always had alcohol in the house. Biological mom, brother, sister.

What was your drug? Alcohol – weed was my drug of choice – cocaine was my favorite – all things really

When was the first time you drank/used? 8 years old. I hid bottle of alcohol in a cooler in my bedroom and would take one shot before bed every night. At 13 years old I tried Disarano – the commercials made it look so good. I had no idea what “rocks” were I just liked the spicy vanilla taste.

What was “life” like at the worst of your addiction? I had no desire to stop. My days looked like this: wake up at 10am – beer first in the morning – deliver pizza – pound booze – kept a 12 pack in my car all through the shift – then get off work and go to a friend’s house and smoke pot with him. His dad was never home. I could drink a handle of gin a day – very high tolerance. We would go through a Costco size Patron bottle in one sitting. There was always cocaine around – never had to pay for it. I was the Robin Hood of Addicts – always gave it to the less fortunate. I was diagnosed with depression into high school. My life was that party you always wanted to go to – even my suicide attempts weren’t my low point.

When did you make the choice to get sober? I can’t pinpoint – I wanted to be high forever. I attended a Wedding on 10/11/2014. The next day was when I realized all the damage I had done – remembered all the bad things I had done. I consumed 46 drinks at the wedding – had already drank 15 beers by noon. During the wedding I had a small alcohol bottle on me. It was an open bar. I slipped the bartender $100 to not cut me off – I would tell him the drinks were for friends. When my friends wanted to go home I gave them my house key. They told me I needed to go home and tried to make me leave with them. I drove home at 100mph. When I arrived my friends who had followed me, were yelling at me that I could have killed someone. My friend was screaming at me, “you are dead to me – I hope I never see you again!” It became a huge fight outside screaming at 230 am. My friend was choking me out to calm me down – beating me up to stop my Hulk-like rage. I put my fist through the steel mailbox, ran inside and threw bong at wall. I ended the night drinking in my room alone and blacked out. I slept for three days. My friend left water and pizza. He was an angel. When I woke up I thought to myself, “You’re not a kid in High School anymore. You should know better.” I looked around the house and saw my head sized hole in the drywall – a hole punched in closet door – blood everywhere. I realized I needed help. My parents were out of town so I called my mom. They researched places and found The Lakehouse. She asked, “What do you think about this place?” One look and I remembered I used to deliver pizzas there – the irony! I was sober when I finally went in – pleading with my mom to go get high on the way.

How was recovery in the beginning? It Sucked!!! Sucked so much – everyone at The Lakehouse was so damn happy all the time. 2 of the 5 clients that were there really wanted to get sober so I tried to stay by them. The Staff really motivated me to see that life can get better. Brian once said, “I am so grateful I don’t have to wake up hungover every day for the rest of my life.” That stuck with me. This was the first time I felt people understood me – had the same pain I had. Another staff member – Pete told me, “We are gonna have fun!” It pissed me off. I was crying all the time, I didn’t want to have fun or laugh. I would rather kill myself than laugh again. One day we went out on the boat. Nobody was talking so I shared my story. Pete started crying. I realized then and there that people actually care! When staff tried to make me laugh it really made me mad. The first time I laughed was when a client said to me, “Everything is just gonna be ok!” I laughed hysterically. And haven’t stopped!

What is the biggest thing that helps you maintain your sobriety? Everything I learned at the Lakehouse Recovery is like being on a high dive. If you just stand there for 28 days, it’s gonna be just as scary when you climb back down. But when you jump 28 days in a row, you get excited to jump again.

What is life like now? Incredible! Words can’t really describe it. I have too much! I love that I can go anywhere in the planet and not drink. I thought I would have restrictions but instead I have more freedom. Travel used to be stressful – always wondering how am I going to get this booze on the plane – where will I get my next drink? My best friends are people I have met in sobriety. Constant reminder that this works – having people that understand you – going to meetings w friends – fellowship! Always someone you can help and help you. Standup comedy became a big part of who I am – go figure! Now I am working at The Lakehouse. I am so incredibly grateful. My dad and I have not fought in 2 1/2 years – except for when he cheats in Monopoly J I have the capacity to have meaningful relationships now. I don’t have the skewed mindset that everyone is an asshole – and the reality is, I might be able to help people instead of wanting to hurt them. Friends I couldn’t have imagined. Pete, yes the Pete that once pissed me off, is now one of my best friends. My life is full! Golf, travel, standup, friends and Taco Bell! Live Mas!

How are you being of service to other addicts? Sponsoring is huge. I try and share at every meeting in hopes that someone relates. I arrive early and leave late to find opportunities to meet someone new. It’s not always easy but I realize I need to stay in the moment and not take on too much. I just want people to know – I am an addict and I want to share with people who I am. Being sober makes me more qualified to help.

If you had one thing to say to someone who is struggling with addiction what would that be? The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train, it’s actually hope.