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July 3, 2016 at 4:16 pm #4110tanya mParticipant
I figured it would only be appropriate to tell a little about myself. What my name is and where I am from is irrelevant. What is important though is that I have not used any kind of drug, and yes alcohol is a drug, in 397 days. To some this means nothing, to those who have been where I have been, this once seemed like an impossible task. More importantly I have not felt the need to do so in quite some time.
Growing up I was always searching for some way to change the way that I feel, some way to escape the reality that I was living in and create my own fantasy world. For me, this came in the form of video games. They gave me the escape that I was looking for and allowed me to live a life where I was not only in control, but the center of attention as well. This is a pattern that continued to haunt me for another 20 years.
By the time I was 14, I had found my people. A group of like minded souls with one goal, to party. It seemed innocent enough at first. Getting together on the weekends, listening to music, doing what we do and having a blast doing it. We were just kids having fun, you know? By the time I was a sophomore in high school the “party’s” were no longer just on the weekends. Any chance we could get together was a good enough time for us and eventually we just stayed together. Every night, drinking, smoking, and pills at this point. I was caught in the never ending cycle of addiction and didn’t even know it. As time progressed days and nights ran together, the circle of people began to shrink, and the despair grew. In what was suppose to be my junior year of high school, technically my third year as a freshman, I had little interest in anything that didn’t give me a sense of instant gratification. School was definitely not one of those. You can figure out how the rest of it played out. We all have the same story, the script is just a little different.
Eventually I landed in a county detention center looking at time for felony charges. All the time and effort spent searching for oblivion, doing whatever it took to get my next fix. Doing what I believed at the time was the only thing that would make me happy. When in reality, I was trying to run from a problem. Trying to run from myself. It never worked, things only continued to get worse. Until I was presented with an opportunity to sit down and really take a look at me and my life, if I chose to do so. The choice wasn’t as obvious as you think it would be.
I was introduced to the 12 step fellowships back in 2012 when I went to detox for the first time. I knew that I didn’t want to live that life anymore, but I had no idea what to do about it. I thought that if I could just get away from the substances for a while then I could go back home and get my life started. It turns out though the substances are not really the problem, though they caused a lot of problems for me. In 2015 I was sent to a recovery center by way of the Department of Corrections. A recovery center that I am not only alumni of, but also employed by now. I wasn’t excited about this at first and seen it as more of a punishment than an opportunity. Sometime while listening, reading literature, and simply following directions things began to change and gradually got better. Better than they ever had been before. I was actually enjoying life for the most part and even when I wasn’t, I still felt a hell of a lot better than I used to. I have ran out of options, this is my last hope and it is working. As of the time writing this, I have no desire to go back to the life that I once lived. I never have to either, as long as I continue to make the choice not to and do the required foot work.
Today I make my best effort at being a responsible, productive, member of society. I work a full time job, pay bills and taxes, and provide material support for my family. Most importantly I am there physically as well as emotionally for my family. I have friends, all of which are in recovery. I make commitments and follow through with them. I am more concerned with doing the next right thing for my family as a whole as opposed to what I believe I want the most. It’s not about me today. It’s about my family, my unborn son who never has to see his father high, and the soul who is yet to hear our message of hope and find a way out of the seemingly bottomless pit of despair.
Wasted youth, like so many of us are. I was always told that I had so much potential. You see, one of the things that I failed to mention is that during my 7th grade year, I was selected for a university talent search program with the opportunity to get an academic scholarship. I took the ACT that year and scored high enough to be eligible to go to my states university. Come to find out, that potential they told me I had, was only the ability to succeed if I had the willingness to put in the work.