I grew up in a middle-class suburb in MD. In my home, I grew up with both of my parents and one of my older sisters. I have two other half-siblings on my father’s side, an older sister and an older brother, who I would see fairly often and kept a good relationship with. All in all, I felt that I had a good upbringing and a decent home life. My parents kept me in sports all year round and also taught me a good work ethic by bringing me to work with them periodically.
Around the age of 12, I started to discover girls and friends and this became my main attention. I was always big for my age which allowed me to fit in with slightly older kids. I began hanging out with kids that were 3-4 years my senior. Being an easily influenced 12-year-old hanging around 15-16-year-olds I found myself in many vulnerable situations. At 12 years old I smoked pot and drank alcohol for the first time. I immediately loved both and knew that I wanted to continue to use both as often as possible. At this time not everybody I hung around was heading down a bad track with drugs and alcohol and I found myself distancing from these people on the right track. I stopped playing sports because it got in the way of what I wanted to do, to party. Looking back I realize I gave up on sports, school, worthy relationships, and almost everything beneficial for me. Although, I did continue to hold onto my good work ethic and always held a steady job.
For years I had a lot of fun, partying, drinking, and doing various drugs. I met a lot of people and did a lot of things. At the time it didn’t seem so bad. As I got older I eventually discovered opiates. I first was prescribed a Percocet for a broken leg and quickly realized they would make me happy, outgoing, and could easily talk to any girl I wanted to with confidence. I knew I needed to get more of these pills and quickly found out where to purchase oxycodone on the streets.
In the beginning, I would only purchase oxycodone for the weekends to take while I was out with friends. Eventually, I started taking them a few days during the week for work as well and soon enough I found myself purchasing them every day. Before I even knew what I was truly getting myself into I found myself altogether mentally and physically addicted. I found myself not caring about anything other than working to make money for oxycodone and taking oxycodone.
I began losing valued relationships with people I had known for years. Eventually, I found myself surrounded only by other opiate addicts. With no one to borrow money from and not enough hours in the workday to afford my daily oxycodone habit, I moved on to heroin. Heroin was cheaper relative to pills and enabled my addiction to get much more severe. This led me into a constant cycle of working during the day, physically sick and heading into Baltimore city after work to get well. I would find myself in many unsafe places and situations that I would never normally put myself into.
Eventually, I could not afford the habit with the income I had and had to find another means of income, which resulted in stealing. The stealing lasted for about 3 months before I was finally caught. While I was awaiting trial I had lost the trust of my family and friends and eventually found myself without anywhere to sleep. I slept outside by Camden yards and would beg for money on the side of the road during the days. This lasted for only a few days before I asked my mother for help getting me into rehab. Looking back I realized that everyone pushing me away and allowing me to see how bad things really were was the biggest blessing I was given.
On my first trip to rehab, I tried to take it seriously and I learned a lot about myself and found a lot of support in others that were in similar situations. As seriously as I tried to take it I just don’t think my heart was all the way in it. After completing rehab I had my court hearing for the theft charges, where I was sentenced to 6 months in jail. After my jail stays I pretty quickly returned back to using. My use was out of control and I was right back where I started within an instant. I never stole again but I would do whatever Hustle I could do in order to get money, and it was just a very chaotic and stressful lifestyle.
I believe that because I had recently had a taste of a sober lifestyle I was able to recognize that I needed to change and that something better was out there. Again, I sought rehab. This time I found a long term rehab that would keep you up to 9 months. I stayed at this rehab and took it very seriously. While there I found that some people were not very serious about getting sober and others were, so I would try and stick with ones that were serious. I met a lot of good people and actually enjoyed myself there. I ended up staying in this facility for 6 months while I prepared myself to live in society on my own again. After 6 months I moved out and moved into my own apartment.
Life after rehab wasn’t always easy and as I would love to say that I’ve been sober since that day that isn’t the truth. I had 2 relapses since then but I had the tools and support to get back on my feet immediately.
Today I have a beautiful life with my girlfriend, our amazing daughter, and another daughter on the way. We have just bought our first house and are doing very well.
One thing that was always reoccurring for me while I was using is that I would look at other people out in society and wonder what it feels like to be a normal person in society that’s not physically and mentally addicted to something. The thought of me being able to be like them one day was literally a fantasy. I hope my story is proof to you that it is possible. It’s hard work and seems like it is impossible but I promise that it is possible.