Fred’s Story


Fred W.
Sobriety Date:February 8,2022

My name is Fred W.  I am 46 years old. I’ve been sober since 2/8/2022. I have a 27-year-old son that is my best friend, an 18-year-old daughter that I don’t know at all and a 5-year-old grandson that is the light of my life.

I grew up in Lakewood, Ohio with three sisters, my mom and grandma.  We were a very poor family living in a middle class suburb.  We lived on Section 8, food stamps, free meals and second-hand clothes. My mother never drove, ever, so we rode the bus everywhere.  Although she was extremely loving, we had very little structure or discipline.  We had no relationship with our father – he left when I was three.  

The feelings of being less than inferior to my peers, and anger, were constant companions.  When I looked around all I saw was everything I didn’t have…. a father, brother, nice clothes, nice house, nice bike, a car in the driveway and on and on.  I lived in constant fear that my peers would find out we were poor, had roaches, shopped with food stamps, or went to church for free meals.

The feelings of fear and inadequacy did drive me though. I was an excellent student, competitive and good at sports. I had a fire to be the best at any challenge put in front of me. My dream was to be a baseball player or doctor as I was a straight-A student through 8th grade. That all changed very quickly.

While my first drunk & high was in the 5th grade, and I dabbled throughout middle school, but it was the summer after 8th grade that my drinking took off.  I became a daily pot smoker that summer and drank as often as I could.  I crossed the line almost instantly!  The party became all encompassing, as did the desire for money.  With this newfound way of life, my drive and desire for normal things and a normal life were gone almost immediately.  My education and my dreams were my very first consequences, there would be many more to come….

My high school career consisted of alcohol, drugs, money and sex, all in abundance, not only using but also distributing.  Nothing else mattered.  I was a four-time freshman, expelled twice with a half a credit to my name.  High school also consisted of many run-ins with the law but somehow I avoided any real trouble which hurt me more than helped me I think.

At 18 I had a moment of clarity when my girlfriend became pregnant.  Once we decided to keep the baby the old fire for the good life was reignited!  I was able to temper and somewhat control my use.  I landed a great job, then another and was able to purchase my first home at 20 years old.  The control was an illusion of course, and for the next 10 years I lived in two worlds, only maintained by a thread, my employment, my house, fatherhood.  During that span my son’s mother left, I squandered more than one career and destroyed countless relationships.  My alcoholism was in full flight, drinking, doing coke, smoking crack, taking pills daily.  By 30, I had lost my home and was living with mom.  Mom being my biggest supporter and enabler simultaneously, she is the only reason I never had to live on the streets.

I always say crack brought me to my knees, but heroin laid me out!

The next decade was the hardest, darkest and lowest time of my life. I’m now severely addicted to opiates, pills, then heroin.  I always say crack brought me to my knees, but heroin laid me out!  Crack took all the material things, but heroin took my soul….I proceeded to take from, and destroy, every person, relationship and thing around me.  Hurting my family and children most of all.  I’ve died more times than I can count, destroyed all the beauty in my life, and for the last three years of active addiction, prayed for death every time I stuck a needle in my arm.

My first residential treatment was literally the happiest time I had in many, many years.

By the end of 2015, I was the definition of hopeless, just a shadow of myself in every way….I started to seek help, it was that or die.  May 23,2016 I found my first real light of hope.  My first residential treatment was literally the happiest time I had in many, many years.  It gave me hope and belief that recovery was possible and that, just maybe, I could have a good life, a normal life.  Since that point I’ve been sober 5 1/2 of the last 7 years. I have picked back up a few times but currently have 19 months of uninterrupted sobriety.

They say it’s a simple program for complicated people.  I certainly made it harder than it had to be, but maybe that’s what I needed to get where I am today.  And where I am is present… Present in my family’s life.  I’m surrounded by a beautiful group of people.  I have an active and growing relationship with God.  I serve today, I help today and I’m accountable today.  I am Happy today.  I trust and believe in this process and will continue to surrender daily to fight with purpose.  

I’m ever grateful to God, AA , The Ed Keating Center, my friends and family for the sober, happy life I have today.  I’ve always believed in magic, and I’ve found it here….. Thank you all!

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