Sam's Story

Posted on 17 November 2016

Hey there. My name is Sam and I’m a 23-year-old recovered addict. I honestly never thought I would ever be saying that, let alone have overwhelming gratitude for it. The first time I tried heroin I knew I would die a heroin addict. Now nearly two years after quitting my life is drastically different.

I started drinking when I was 12 years old. Years later I woke up in a detox center. It was time to get help.

I immediately loved drinking and it quickly turned into every weekend with my friends. It was fun with little to no consequences and I gained more friends because of it. I liked the persona it gave me as well as the effect produced. I finally found the confidence I had been looking for.

I began drinking after school, then before school, then occasionally at school. I always thought it was very normal and I was just cooler than most people or something. I was blind to the fact that it was alcoholic behavior and my grades and relationships were becoming affected by my drinking.

Finally, when I was 15 I met my real first consequence. I blacked out at my step brother’s wedding. It is still one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. My family was livid and family friends were disturbed. I had completely taken away the spotlight from my step-brother and his wife.

The next two years I was caught multiple times drinking, smoking weed, hiding alcohol in my room, filling liquor bottles with water, got in a car accident, and I’m sure plenty of other embarrassing things I am forgetting about. The breaking point was at my sister’s wedding. Everyone half-joked about how to “not do that one again.” I thought it was silly to even mention that event like it would be remotely possible to happen again. It still gave me chills to even think about my step-brother's wedding and how stupid I was.

The new wedding came and once again I blacked out. I was mortified and confused. My family had had enough and demanded I go to a treatment center for drinking. I refused and moved out when I was 17. My drinking progressed to the point that my friends hated me. They said I couldn’t come over unless I was sober. So I began drinking heavily by myself. As I got in more car accidents and broke my teeth I finally had the realization I needed to stop drinking.

When I was 18 I then tried snorting a couple oxy 30s. I puked my brains out and could barely walk. It was great. I finally found my new alcohol. I could still get fucked up minus the blacking out, misplacing everything, and saying horrible things to people. This progressed until I finally realized heroin was far cheaper, and then that continued until I realized shooting up was far more efficient.

My life became manageable again for a short period of time. From the outside I seemed to be doing better given I was coherent and not becoming violent. This lasted until I lost my job, became homeless, got theft charges, and the dope stopped working.

All of the negative consequences were fine, it was when the dope stopped working that I really felt the depth of my misery. I did not care remotely whether I died or not. It was not until I met up with my sister one day; I was a disgusting mess. I saw her daughter whom I had never met, and I broke down. I finally was willing to do something, but this time I was the one pleading for help.

My sister took me to a hospital where I detoxed. While in there I was able to plan for a treatment center. I went to treatment in March 2015. I immediately joined the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, got a sponsor, and worked the steps.

I have been sober since. Today I have real friends, my family trusts me, and my employers respect me. I no longer lie, cheat, and steal. I manage a recovery residence where clients look up to me. I speak at detoxes and treatment centers, and I help others get sober. I also work for the Florida Harm Reduction Initiative which provides life saving material like clean needles and naloxone for free. Today I have ambitions, goals, and people who rely on me. I play music, write, go to concerts, and do everything a normal person should do. Most importantly today I have gratitude and pride for who I am and what I have accomplished. I have forgiven myself and strive to grow every day.

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