Daniel: My Story
I grew up in a beautiful 3 square mile town in Northern New Jersey. My block I lived on was no more than a quarter mile long yet it had at least 30 kids living on it for me to play with. My mom and dad were very involved in my life and I was always provided with everything I needed. I could not ask for anything more from life, yet I still went down the dark path of addiction. Why you ask? The best answer I could ever come up with is that I was just born this way. I react to drugs and alcohol differently than others do that do not have problems with mind altering substances. No event sparked my addiction, it wasn’t anything my parents or other family had done to me. It was the simple fact that once I tried drugs, I wanted more, and that feeling never went away for even a day.
I did not touch a drug until I was in college. High school had me preoccupied with playing baseball 3 seasons a year and when the topic of drugs ever came up, I was terrified to try anything. My first week of college however, somebody outside my dorm had a joint of pot, asked if I wanted to try, and I said yes. It was not long after that I wanted to be stoned not only every day but all day. I’m talking immediately after I got high the first time on weed, I wanted to feel that way 24/7. Not everyone has the same experience, this is why I say I was born this way and react abnormally.
Once I began smoking pot in college it became top priority in my life, while attending class did not. I spent most of my days playing video games stoned while sending emails to my professors about why I couldn’t attend class. I must of had at least 3 family members die a semester if you catch my drift. It wasn’t long, 2 years to be exact, before I left college and moved back home. I hadn’t been kicked out but I knew it was a waste of time/money. Moving back home felt like a major step backward to me and hurt my ego significantly. It was at this specific time that pot became boring and one night somebody had some Percocet and I happily accepted. This is when the path turned real dark.
Within months I had a really bad pain pill habit and an even worse habit of finding ways to get money. I will never miss the full-time job it is to scheme, manipulate, lie and cheat in order to get money to get my fix. It is easily the worst existence I have ever had in life. It also as not long after that I got caught stealing from my own mother. She was heartbroken but also wanted to get me help, thus began my journey to treatment centers.
I was 21 when I went to my first inpatient treatment center, I would say I was more there because I was in trouble rather than because I wanted help and to change my life. It began a time in my life that would continue on for 5 years of me trying and failing to get sober. What was to blame? I wanted to blame the treatment centers and my surroundings but ultimately I learned I was to blame. I was to blame for everything negative happening in my life. Inpatient rehab presents a great foundation to jump off and begin a life in recovery, but I had found it is most important that I choose the right steps after starting my foundation and if I didn’t, the results were always ugly.
At the age of 26 I had multiple treatment centers and countless relapses under my belt. I was living in South Florida, isolated from all my family after getting fired for stealing from my fathers job up in New York and I had never been or felt more alone. On March 17th, 2015 my mom called me and had informed me that my father died of a heart attack, he was 60. I was devastated but also so numb from the drugs. I flew back home to a service for my father along with the co-workers who knew I got fired for stealing from his company. It was the most honest day in my life, the truth was in my face that day, there was no denying it and the truth of my life was very ugly. I had to do something.
I always thought I had the answers about what I needed to do to get sober, those answers always led me to relapse. It’s hard to not only admit to yourself that you are wrong about everything but to stop listening to your mind that is running 24/7. After my father passed away there was only one thing I was concerned about, and that was getting a life, I no longer cared about being right or thinking I knew what I had to do. That is my golden advice to anyone struggling to get sober, give up the fact that you think you know what to do. Find someone you trust for guidance, usually someone who has been sober for years and do absolutely everything they tell you to. At 5 years sober I can tell you that is the only reason I survived this awful disease. I found out that through surrendering my ideas and instilling new ones, I could be free.