Young and Free: John's Story of Recovery From Drug Addiction
by John G
(Ridgefield, CT, USA)
My name is John and I am an alcoholic and a raging drug addict. I'm seventeen years old and only used for about 2 and a half years, but that was more than enough for my life to fall to pieces because of my addiction.
When I was fourteen I got a little drunk for the first time. I hated the way the alcohol tasted, and I hated how it made me so sick. The effects were nice, but I wished that I could get them without having the unpleasant side effects.
I found a solution to this problem at age 15 with marijuana ...
Within my a few months of my first time smoking, I was getting high multiple times every single day. My friends were changing rapidly because the ones who really cared didn't approve of my heavy usage. I responded to this by getting new friends.
Around this time I also became addicted to stealing, in order to support my addiction and also in order to look cool by having a lot of money. My friends and I would get high and drunk and then go out at night and steal hundreds and hundreds of dollars from people's unlocked cars.
I began selling pot at age 16. My usage increased heavily and I began using other drugs as well. I slowly began trying all the things I said I would never do, and before long, my life was absolutely governed by cocaine, alcohol, prescription medications, and lots and lots of pot.
Of course I also began getting into trouble with the law. February 16, 2009, I was arrested for the first time but let off with a possession charge. June 16 I was arrested again, this time with three felonies and a misdeameanor. I was expelled from my school and sent to a mental ward for saying I wanted to kill myself, and straight to a treatment center from there.
A few days after getting out of treatment, I was using again. I remember feeling like an empty shell - I would stay up for days at a time, stealing, lying, and using people to get my drugs and liquor. My family thought I was sober at this point, and I began at a character-based boarding school in August.
I brought a lot of pot with me and resisted everything the school was trying to offer me. Once the pot ran out, I began huffing up to 2 cans of computer duster every day, along with a daily dosage of booze and a whole lot of cough medicine.
My family had just about given up at this point. They had sent me to many different therapists, substance abuse consuelors, programs, but nothing had worked. Whenever I resolved to be sober, I was being sincere, but I was usually coked up within a week or two, with a joint in one hand and a beer in the other, asking myself what had happened. It was just so painful to be inside my own skin.
I hit bottom on November 16, 2009. I wish I could tell you that something incredible brought on a "white light moment" for me, but honestly, it wasn't like that. I was sitting in a substance abuse group at my school. One second I really wanted to go back to my dorm and take a bunch of pills, and then the next I decided that it was a bad idea.
And coming to that realization felt good; so good, in fact, that I went back to my dorm and flushed the pills down the toilet. As far as I'm concerned, that's the most important day of my life - that was the day I finally decided I had had enough. I called up my mother, crying and saying I was really done this time, but she didn't believe me (who could blame her). So I then called up an old friend who I knew was heavily involved in a 12-step group. This man is my sponsor today. We work our program together, and maintain daily contact.
At a little 90 over days sober, I can honestly say I have never been so grateful and serene in my entire life. If you're reading this and you can relate to my story, please know that there is a way out of the twisted insanity that is drug addiction and alcoholism. If you have the disease, the bad will always outweigh the good.
Getting sober was the best and hardest thing I ever did. Words can't express how gratifying it was for me to pick up my ninety day chip, or how nice it is to know that I have a sponsor who would do anything for me. I should be dead right now, but I'm still here - as far as I'm concerned, that's proof enough for me to believe in a loving Higher Power. As long as I remember to help other addicts, talk to my sponsor, work my 12 step program, and remain honest, I don't have to drink and drug today. And to me, this is a miracle.