New Life House Alumni Shares His Courageous Story of Recovery
I can vividly remember playing baseball on hot summer days in San Diego, it feels like it was just yesterday. I was very blessed growing up! Coming from a middle-upper class family and being given anything that I asked for… My dad was very successful and I considered my mother my best friend. You could describe my family as the American dream, white picket fence with a dog in a suburban neighborhood. Although even having everything that a kid could want at that age I remember something feeling wrong, at school, I had a difficult time emotionally connecting with my peers because of my own insecurities and fears. I could never be myself in front of other people, I always acted the way I thought others wanted me to. I had lots of friends but my identity was contingent upon who I was spending time with. My American dream of a life soon turned into a real life nightmare my freshman year of high school. I was 14 years old when my Mom sat down the family to explain that she was leaving my father and starting a new life because she wasn’t happy anymore. I was completely devastated and heartbroken by the news! A few weeks after my mom left I was introduced to drugs and alcohol by some high school friends. I was hooked after the first time, Drinking and using was the perfect solution to how I felt emotionally. All of a sudden I felt normal and like the pieces of my life fit.
I have two uncles who have passed away from addiction and I was quickly following the same path. Shortly after I began using on a daily basis I realized that my father was up to the same thing. Eventually, we began using together…As taboo as that sounds the times that we spent getting high together seemed like the only calm in the storm of our lives. They say that addiction is progressive and that was our experience. Smoking weed and drinking with my dad, uncles, and cousins escalated to using heroin and methamphetamine. It’s hard for me to picture myself at sixteen years old smoking heroin with my family! It really feels surreal when I talk about it but it’s the truth. The time I spent using could be summed up into three categories; fun, fun with problems and finally just problems. As the fun continued and my family was using on a daily basis the problems slowly started creeping up. My dad lost his career and his cars, I dropped out of high school and threw away a promising future in baseball and an internship with a drafting architecture company.
The income that was funding our drug use had suddenly stopped and we were forced to con, rob and steal in order to continue using. December 11th, 2011 the local sheriff’s department conducted an all-out raid on our home. We were all booked into the county jail on multiple charges, mainly different degrees of burglary and some credit fraud. Reflecting back on everything this was when reality kicked in and the fun of the drug use had ceased. Regardless of the consequences, we continued to party and continued to commit crimes. Eventually, my dad lost the house and moved in with his new girlfriend as I was forced into the streets at the age of 18. It’s really hard to use words to describe how it feels to not know where your next meal is going to come from or when you’ll have the next opportunity to sleep in a warm shelter but it is a very real and frightening feeling. I was homeless and constantly being arrested for the next few years. I served several jail sentences during that time and believe it or not I actually graduated high school inside the county jail. The sick part of all of this is that even at this point of my life I didn’t believe that I had a problem with drugs, I thought of myself as a victim of circumstance.
After watching a friend die from a drug overdose I attempted to get clean. It didn’t last long and as I stated before addiction in my experience is progressive, I was now committing bigger crimes to fuel my addiction. I had no remorse for what I was doing and the people I was victimizing. The final time that I was incarcerated we were once again raided and I was booked on 8 felony charges. Counterfeiting money, credit card fraud, identity theft, burglaries and a few others. I served a 16-month sentence and it was then that I remember feeling sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Upon being released I was desperate for change and was willing to go to any length to ensure that I would stay clean and sober. My dad was hospitalized multiple times for heart failure as a result of his drug use, this forced him into the rooms of AA and he began his road to recovery. I followed suit and was blessed with an opportunity to attend New Life House. New Life House was the first time in my life where I felt a part of something that I was proud of! I was taught how to be accountable and learned principles to live my life by that have pushed me into a happy life, free of drugs and alcohol.
Today, I’m still very involved with the other guys that I went through the house with, I’ve learned to lean on them during hard times and I’m very honored and blessed to say that on June 10th I will be celebrating my 3rd year of sobriety. Since getting sober my life has changed drastically and the opportunities that have been presented in my life are nothing short of a miracle. Currently, I have 9 family members that at one point have struggled with addiction and now all walk the same path of spirituality and enjoy life to the fullest. We have a very unusual family but it is one I can say I am truly related. If I could go back and rewrite history there’s not one thing that I would change. I’m very thankful and forever indebted to God, New Life House and Alcoholics Anonymous for the life that I live today!