It all started for me when I was 13 years old. My uncle lit up and handed me the joint and that’s where it all started. My dad was a police officer and very strict. He was verbally abusive to me, my sister, and my mother. Those were my earliest memories. Even though my mother took us all to church my father did not go. It just wasn’t “his thing.”
At the time our relationship was so bad if he had passed away I would’ve gone to the funeral to make sure he was dead. About two years before he passed we reconnected. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer and that was our reason for rekindling our relationship. I was mainly there at the time to help my mom. He and I had gotten even closer after he was “saved by the lord.”
From the start of my addiction, I realized I had a problem. I even admitted to being an addict but it didn’t matter to me. The only thing I knew was I just liked getting high. Plus I was a happy drug addict and easy to be around.
My addiction was to Artane. It’s mainly prescribed for parkinsons. WebMd says – “It is used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or involuntary movements due to the side effects of certain psychiatric drugs).” All I knew was that it got me high whether I wanted to sit around or get up and focus on a project it did the job. Also great thing is jobs don’t test for it. That was my drug of choice. It makes a straight person crazy and a crazy person straight. All that mattered to me was that it got me high.
When I was very young I was an athlete. I was always breaking bones and in and out of the hospital. Back then they did not have problems writing prescriptions for painkillers to a young kid. Then a thought popped into my head that would change the course of my life. I thought to myself “If drugs can take my physical pain away then they could also take away my emotional pain.”
Then something else that would change the course of my life happened. I was 15 dating a 14 year old cheerleader and I got her pregnant. This was at the time where the drug abuse turned to addiction and that was all that mattered. I ran away from the responsibility of being a father. I just wanted to get high.
My girlfriend and I lived separately. My addiction was getting worse and worse. Anything that was in my parent’s medicine cabinet was up for grabs. I would lean towards the ones that relieved pain.
At the time I started selling pot. I was also smoking cigarettes and weed and taking as many opiates as I could find to stay high. I had also tried things along the lines of sniffing gas. Anything to get high.
I barely graduated high school and went and got a job at a factory. I went from selling just pot to also selling pills. I always had drugs to make sure I could always be high. But no matter what other drugs I used I always came back to Artane. It was always take Artane then add in some other stuff like opiates and weed. But I always had Artane in the mix.
I was a functioning addict. It was a constant cycle of working and selling weed and pills to get more drugs. I always had drugs but I couldn’t make a car payment. My priorities lie elsewhere. I knew I had a bad addiction problem but as long as I had my drugs I didn’t care.
I was 18 and in 1990 I went to rehab. On the way there I took so much Artane that I was hallucinating. I thought that there was going to be a huge porky pig coming out to get me from behind the building.
When they took me in I was in extremely bad shape. Back then the maximum stay in the detox unit was for three days. For me, it took seven. I couldn’t even tell you how many drugs were in my system when I entered rehab. My blood pressure was awful and I was hurting all over from the terrible withdrawals I was having. I tried to sleep the next couple of days but I was hurting. I ended up having a seizure while in there. I also had stomach issues, kidney issues, and my lungs were somewhat closing up. I was in bad shape.
After 33 days in the program, they suggested I hit 90 meetings in 90 days. They wanted me to go there not just to learn but to also forge relationships with people suffering the way I had been. They also wanted me to live in a halfway house for six months.
I didn’t listen and did none of that. I went to two or three meetings and started seeing the girl I got pregnant in high school again. We ended up getting married. A short time after I returned home from rehab I relapsed.
I was working one night I almost cut my arm off in a chemical mixer. So I was rushed to the hospital where I was close to dying. I had cut the artery in my arm. When I was at the hospital full of anxiety suddenly from somewhere, I felt something tell me to calm down so the doctors can do their job. I wasn’t sure if it was me or the Lord speaking to me but I calmed down.
Next thing you know the doctors wanted me back in detox. The problem was because of my accident at work I was going to have to be prescribed opiates. While in the hospital I was getting morphine 1mg every six minutes from a morphine drip.
When I was finally released they sent me home with some Percocets. I thought that was petty nice since I would have a prescription for it.
My wife and I weren’t doing so well. I was out partying too much and she didn’t like that I was always out. At that point, I ran into some friends of mine. I had left my wife and we ended up all sharing a house together. This is when my drinking went to a different level and I became a full blown alcoholic.
My wife and I decided to try to work things out. So I was back at home. A couple of weeks after that my best friend was shot and killed. My drinking increased even more to numb the pain. I also started to get into gambling around that time. I was drunk from daylight to dark. I was out of control.
I would wake up and have a mixed drink before my feet even hit the floor.
I hit my rock bottom and I felt something. I was in the worst shape in my life. At this point, it wasn’t fun getting high anymore. It was about feeling normal. Then I decided to pick myself up and go back to the church I had gone to as a child.
It was a Wednesday night and I was at church. I don’t remember exactly what was preached out about I got up and went to the altar and said: “Lord I’ve had all the fun I can stand and it’s killing me.” I knew he had lived and that had died for my sins on the cross. I knelt before him and asked him to forgive me and come into my heart. Once my prayer was finished something happened. I can’t explain it. My desire to drink and take drugs had been removed. I didn’t even go through withdrawals.
I decided to sit down and write out my testimony. I had brought it to my pastor expecting him to say I could give it on a Wednesday night. To my surprise, he asked me to give it on a Sunday morning. I gave this to around three hundred people.
Life was going good and then in 2001, I had a nervous breakdown. I felt pins and needles in my lower back and in the back of my legs. I would try to sleep but I was in pain and my mind was like a record player repeatings itself over and over. After about two weeks of this, it broke me and I had a psychotic break and ended up in an institution. I was hearing voices and seeing shadows out of the corners of my eyes. My blood pressure was off and I was incontinent.
Over the course of about three years, I was in and out of five psych wards. I had become suicidal. I was in a fog for the next eight years. As I came out of this I knew it was not going to be easy. I went to another church and a friend of mine started Celebrate Recovery. I was able to start teaching lessons.
When it came to my recovery I initially did not work the twelve steps. It was only when I got to Celebrate Recovery that I was exposed to the twelve steps along with scripture. That is when I started working the steps.
Nowadays I do my daily prayer and meditation. I read every morning and then I meditate on what I read. I’ve done a Step Study course that took twenty-five weeks. I do speaking at meetings. I even teach Step-Study classes.
I thank the Lord every day for having the craving for drugs and alcohol removed. I was set free in 1996 and haven’t looked back.
My friend and I have started Celebrate Recovery which has its own method of recovery based on my first hand knowledge of addiction.
Let me leave you with this. The Lord said to me “If you’ll put one foot forward, God will place it where it needs to be.”