For 22 years my life was a party. I lived the life of a rockstar to the best of my ability. The truth is I wasn’t living at all. I was slowly killing myself. At age 12 I was smoking cigarettes, smoking weed and drinking. By age 14 I was smoking crack on occasion. By 16 I was smoking crack everyday. Somehow I still managed to graduate high school. At age 27 I made my first attempt at getting clean. Not by choice. I was given 2 choices. Go to jail or go to treatment. Of course I chose treatment. I went for 28 days and stayed clean for 9 months. 2 years later I was in the same predicament. Jail or treatment. I didn’t get in trouble every time I used, but every time I got in trouble it was because I was using. This time I went to treatment for 5 months. I made it 1 day after I left. I smoked crack, drank a half gallon of vodka and blacked out. I was 29. At age 30 I tried sniffing heroin. I instantly fell in love with the feeling. 3 years later I was sticking a needle in my arm. Something I swore I would never do. This is when my life spun out of control. I was at rock bottom. I was homeless and living in my truck, I had no job, no friends and my mother was the only family member speaking to me. Using heroin became a full time job. Lying, cheating and stealing. Everyday, all day. One day I was sitting in my truck crying, with the gas light on, 1 bag of heroin left, not a penny to my name and no way to get any money. I was hopeless and Defeated. I knew I was done. That was the day I decided to make a change. The jig was up. I picked up the phone and asked for help. Something I had never done before. The next day I was in detox. That was 9 months ago. Today I live a life of recovery. I’m a proud member of narcotics anonymous. I go to a meeting everyday. I have a sponsor. I work the steps. I volunteer. I’m a member of 2 subcommittees that go into hospitals, institutions and schools. Today I’m a son, a boyfriend, a father figure and a man. I never thought I could be happy without heroin. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My life is better than it has ever been. Today I have hope.
HOMELESS to OWNING my own HOME!!
With hard work and dedication it CAN BE DONE:)
I am a Recovering Substance Abuser who grew up in Norwich and have gone to Care Plus in Groton for Outpatient Rehab and local AA meetings to continue my recovery. While being homeless and eating at the St, Vincent D Paul Place, picking up clothes from Malta and attending workshops at CT Works and their WIA Program, now (American Job Center) where I was given the opportunity to attend TRCC to obtain my CNA Certificate and employment, when training was completed. To also keep busy I went to the Otis Library for Self Help, Computers and Gardening. TVCCA for Budgeting and Tax help. Safe Futures for Self Help and DV Prevention ( where I am now a Volunteer advocating for Survivors). Community Speaks out whom I also advocate for by providing others with brochures on their services. Uncas Health District for Health Insurance, Healthy Eating Workshops and Smoking Cessation Groups (I am now a Non- Smoker!) And finally the SBA and Score to continue my Education. I am now working and I own my own home!
I am Grateful to everyone who helped me along the way, in my journey to living a Substance Free Life!!!! I couldn’t be HAPPIER:) Thank You! And Thank You for listening!!
I grew up in Norwich, CT with two loving parents and one sister. None of them had a problem with drugs or alcohol. In fact, I’ve never seen either of my parents drunk. However, I took my first drink when I was 13 and it changed my life forever. I loved how it made me feel, calming my nerves, everything seemed more fun, everything would be ok. I had found my true love. Soon later would come the drugs: weed, coke, and pills mainly. My life became a party and I had a hard time shutting it off. I don’t know when it happened but at some point, I lost the ability to control my drug and alcohol use. They began to own me…they were my master. Arrests, hospital visits, and family interventions would follow but none were of any use. How many times did I swear I would never use again, only to break that promise just a few hours later. I was convinced this was the path of my life.
Through God’s grace, an old friend came back into my life at the moment I needed someone most. He had gotten sober in a 12 step program and offered to help. For some reason, I was desperate enough to accept. Accepting his help was one of hardest decisions of my life; however, it has proven to be the moment which changed my life forever. Thanks to the 12 steps and good sponsorship I have not had a drink or drug in over 7 years. I am married and soon to be a father; what a gift every day is. I have discovered a new way of life and realized a lot of truths about myself in this time. I was not a bad person; I was just very sick. And the best way to recover from this disease is to work the 12 steps and devote my life to service. After suffering through years of addiction I am now a free man. I feel I have discovered the keys to the kingdom.
I grew up the youngest of six siblings, most of which used drugs and alcohol openly in front of me. I couldn’t wait to join in on the party and began drinking alcohol and smoking weed at the age of 14. At first, it was fun for me and I finally felt like I fit in. However, it was at the age of 16 when drugs and alcohol started to become a way of coping with life for me. I lost my sister to suicide and was confused, scared and sad. Alcohol and drugs helped numb those feelings for me. Even though I was using almost daily, I was able to maintain good grades and always kept a smile on my face, so no one ever became concerned. As the years passed, using caught up with me and I became extremely depressed and began isolating from my friends. However, I did not think I had a “problem” with alcohol or drugs because I had gone to college, had a good job and a nice place to live. However, I was empty inside. I hated myself. I sought help through attending therapy when I was 25 years old and it was suggested to me that I give a program of recovery a try. With a combination of attending therapy and 12 step meetings, I was able to stay sober for almost an entire year but then I stopped attending both therapy and meetings and did not continue to use any of the tools I learned. It took me almost two years after that to ask for help because I was scared and my pride kept telling me I could do it on my own.
Finally, just after I turned 28, I had had enough and humbled myself to re-enter treatment and ask for help. That was 11 and a half years ago and I have been sober ever since. It hasn’t always been easy. I had to learn how to deal with uncomfortable, difficult feelings, but with the help of a sober network of people and ongoing treatment, I have been able to deal with “life on life’s terms”…a saying I hated when I first got clean. Not only is recovery possible, but if I stay sober, anything is possible. I no longer live in isolation, stuffing my emotions and hiding from relationships. I can communicate effectively with my loved ones and have built long lasting friendships. I went back to school and earned a masters’ degree and have a job that I love. But most importantly, I know who I am and I love myself. One thing I thought when I got sober was that I would never have fun again, I was so wrong. I have had my best times, belly aching laughs in recovery and the even better part is, I remember all the moments. Not like when I was drinking. Each day is not perfect, and it’s not all roses and dandelions but my life today is beyond my wildest dreams better than it ever was even on my best day using.