I grew up with everything I could ask for. A supporting, loving family. Great, safe neighborhood. Basically all the opportunity in the world. If you told 15-year old me that in just a few years I would be living a life filled with drugs, there’s not a chance he would believe you. I was the type of person who believed that all the lessons in middle and high school about drugs were true. That they were incredibly dangerous and potentially life ending. I thought it was best to not even entertain the idea. I remember being in high school and having various opportunities to try drugs and it horrified me. Then came college and in the first week someone offered me some pot and I said yes without a hitch. Why? I suppose because I had been drinking, so my judgement wasn’t at it’s best. I was also living a life without any supervision, no mom and dad to go home to. I fell in love with being stoned right away.
Within the first few months of college after my first experience getting high, it was now the most important thing of my day, instead of class or studying or doing any work I was supposed to. I didn’t last very long in college. Getting stoned and playing video games took up most of my day. I completely wasted all my time there, which I regret to this day. Within two years I moved back home and was miserable. My mother also began to see signs of my having a problem, often questioning me when she saw my eyes were all red. Moms seem to have a sixth sense when things are not going well. One night a friend of a friend had something different from anything I had tried, Percocet. Weed was just not doing the job anymore. I wanted something that would quiet down the loud voice in my mind. The opiates were a miracle worker.
Not only did the voice in my mind quiet down, I was more social, more at ease, funnier. Every single problem I had melted away, and then after a few hours they came back, and I didn’t want more, I needed more. Those lessons in school rang in my head, deep down I knew I was heading in the wrong direction, but I had no idea just how low I would need to go before changing my ways. Within about a year and a half of taking my first opiate, I was caught stealing money from my mother’s bank account. This soon brought me to my first treatment center. I felt terrible about what I did, but I was nowhere near ready to make the giant leaps and bounds of change that is required in order to truly enter recovery.
I spent ages 21 to 26 going to treatment, then a sober living environment, getting kicked out for relapsing, being homeless and then repeating the whole cycle over again. God bless my family for dealing with my trials and tribulations for those years. There was always a worry about me. There were times when I was homeless and calling my mom non-stop, and she knew she could not answer because there was nothing she could do to help me. I can’t even comprehend how difficult that must have been. On March 17, 2015, I was miserable, renting a room in South Florida that I owed a lot of rent on, when my mom called me and informed me my dad had died of a heart attack. He was 60 and I was devastated. My father had been my best friend, no way could I go on without him around to give me his words of wisdom.
After his service in New Jersey, I was in my own private hell. I spent days inside a rented bedroom paralyzed by fear. I couldn’t even walk out of the door for a job interview, or to see friends or family. Just leaving the room to go to the bathroom was a chore. I was hopeless. Thank God, my mom called me in the middle of May and said I would be able to go to treatment again if I wanted, because of some money left by my Dad. I agreed immediately, even though I had little hope, because I saw myself as a total lost cause. From my hopelessness, I finally had the ability to, not only listen, but do what others told me to do. I spent my first year in recovery walking a very narrow path where what I wanted to do was not important. I had to do what was necessary to recover or else I had no chance of living, especially with my father gone.
It has been about four years of guidance from others and yeah, I make some decisions these days, but I still leave a lot to what I believe to be God. The concept is a hard one to grasp. For years, it was hard for me to accept, but it is the only thing that works. I am at my best when I stay out of my own way and let things just happen. I only hope to let people who have struggled as I have, to see how important it is to live that way in recovery. I just hope my story helps at least one person. That alone is a major blessing.
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
Author Bio: Daniel Wittler is a writer in recovery who shares his experience, strength and hope in order to show that anyone no matter how hopeless can recover from addiction.
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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