RECOVERY STORY OF THE MONTH!
Sobriety Date: February 25 2016
My name is Darrick and I am an alcoholic. I’m 32 years old and I’m from Euclid. Growing up I had an awesome family, but I also had an alcoholic father. It’s a pretty big part of my story — it did not make me an alcoholic. At an early age I remember not being ok with myself. I struggled with self-esteem and was picked on a lot. So, when my family moved to Perry and I took my first drink shortly after, all those feelings that I had about myself disappeared. I was obsessed and would spend the next 15 years chasing that feeling with pretty much any drink or drug I could find.
Things really didn’t get really bad for me until I went to college. But the reason I say my father is such a big part of my story is because I got my first experience of alcoholism, a 12-step program, and treatment through watching him and being a part of his struggles. I made my decision to go to college as far away as possible just to be as far away as I possibly could from that situation. I ended up spending 5 years at Ohio U, and during my time there I tried any drug that I came across, and usually drank anywhere from 4-7 days a week. Somehow, I managed to graduate, and after a few months I moved to Lakewood. I found out that my dad was living at a treatment facility across town called the Ed Keating Center. I started visiting him up there, and although we began mending our relationship, it was based off using and extremely unhealthy.
I found out that my dad was living at a treatment facility across town called the Ed Keating Center.
Things began getting bad within 6 months of me graduating. I was now using prescription pills almost every day, drinking any chance I could get. I was stealing pills from customers while at work. Breaking into my roommate’s bedrooms and stealing anything I wanted. Just being a terrible human being basically. So, when my father passed away in 2012 as a direct result of this disease, any bit of sanity I was holding onto was gone. I used his death as an excuse to get completely obliterated all day, every day. Every time it seemed things couldn’t get any worse, they did. I flipped my car on the highway and almost died. Got arrested for a felony at a Browns game, and then decided after I got arrested and put on probation that it would be a good idea to start shooting heroin.
Nobody wanted anything to do with me and I had nowhere to go.
Things got unbearable pretty quick. Nobody wanted anything to do with me and I had nowhere to go. I was in and out of detox and treatment for about a year, but I still couldn’t stop getting messed up. So, in May of 2014 my mother (the only person in my life that would still talk to me) suggested that I call the director of that same treatment facility my dad was at, because I was pretty much out of options. So, I called Marty, and after another visit to Stella Maris detox, I walked into the West side Ed Keating Center for the first time. I was terrified! There were like 85 dudes there and I did not know one of them.
I wanted to leave so badly, but this was probably one of the first times I recognized God working in my life. I called my Mom to come pick me up and she said, “hell no, go to 2100.” Then shortly after someone came walking in that I knew from an earlier treatment, and he talked me into staying for one more day. I did, and I wish I could say I stayed sober from May 21st, 2014 until today, but I did not. While I did find a sponsor, begin praying and doing a few steps, I still wasn’t completely ready to surrender. I still did what I wanted, didn’t talk to anyone about anything I had going on and certainly didn’t listen to anyone or do anything that was suggested of me. So, I used again, and got high for 2 months even though I was still living at a Keating Center facility. So, on February 25th, 2016 I walked into Marty’s office and had to tell him what I had been doing. He kicked me out, then walked out of his office. I had no idea what to do. I once again had nowhere to go, nobody to turn to, no gas in my car and 7 dollars in my pocket.
I once again had nowhere to go, nobody to turn to, no gas in my car and 7 dollars in my pocket.
But as I was walking out, ready to cry, Marty took one look at me and asked if I wanted to come back and give it another shot. Thank God for that. I walked back into the Keating Center that night completely defeated. I said to myself and to a few others that I would do ANYTHING to never feel like I did at that moment ever again. They suggested that I join a particular support group. Suggested I started letting some other people help me make my decisions. And they suggested I started getting going on the 12 steps–all 12 steps, not just 1 through 3 or 1 through 5. So that’s what I did. I started praying every day and every night. I started helping around the Keating Center whenever I could. I did 12 steps in about 6 months. And things slowly started to get better! I began forming relationships with my family again. I was able to be there for people when they needed me. I started to become a better son, brother and friend. I started sponsoring guys and doings groups. And in a short amount of time I began genuinely enjoying life for the first time in a really REALLY long time.
Today my life is beautiful. I have awesome relationships with my family members, probably the best they’ve ever been. I have friends that I’ve made that have pretty much become family. I’m now a journeyman in the union, and I went back to school to become a nurse. And I owe all of this to God, to the Keating Center, the 12-step program I’m a part of, and the people I’ve met along the way. Because life has its ups and downs, and things aren’t always perfect, but with all of those things in my life and the stuff they’ve all taught me, I can get through anything sober and happy. I am forever grateful for this life.