RECOVERY STORY OF THE MONTH
Sobriety Date: February 22, 2019
My name is Nick, and I am an alcoholic. My sobriety date is 2/22/2019. My story of addiction starts at a young age. I always had an affinity toward taking risks since before I can remember. Always extremely fearless. My first wake-up call was when I was 16, and I was put on probation for a possession charge. I had to go to group meetings with other kids that were in trouble. We all sat around a table and watched videos about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Our parents were all there and we had to do little worksheets about activities other than drinking we could do and other things of that nature.
I didn’t think I had a problem with drinking or drugs. I was just getting started. I still played sports and did well in school. And that was enough for people to leave me alone about my drinking. I went to college in 2011 and came home in the summer of 2013. I was strung out and had a very large and very strong monkey on my back.
When I got back home to my mom’s house I tried to sleep as long as I could until I was not tired anymore and stopped sweating. After about a week of being miserable and sleeping 12 hours a day, my mom asked why it was 90 degrees outside and I was wearing a long sleeve shirt. Once she saw all the bruises she was mortified. So I went to my first detox. I was 22 years old. And this was my first time in a detox, and shortly after I was in rehab and ready to put these drugs behind me and get my life back on track.
Once she saw all the bruises she was mortified. So I went to my first detox. I was 22 years old.
After my detox and rehab, I was excited to get back to school and pick up the pieces. I was back at my mom’s for maybe an hour or so, immediately found some things I had forgotten about, and started using again. I was back in treatment shortly after, with the same monkey on my back. I think I’m smart, so I came up with a new plan, much more elaborate than the first, on how I was going to beat this thing and fix it for good this time. Another 30 days in rehab and I was back home ready to start working and going to meetings and with a brand new attitude. Maybe a month or so later, I was right back in the spot I was before, but even worse this time.
This process continued on the same trajectory for the next six years, every time with a better plan than before, more refined and elaborate than the one before. And I could not stop failing. And every time I failed, my consequences, and how far I went with my using, were way worse than before. On February 21st, 2019 I was carried out of a house in Parma by multiple police officers carrying me while I struggled and screamed to escape a straight jacket. Shortly after, I was handcuffed to a hospital bed staring at a bunch of angry nurses and police officers, all swollen and bruised up. Next, I was in jail. And I started coming up with my master plan again.
My shoes were gone, I had no shirt, two socks that didn’t match, and a pair of pants. I walked out of jail shirtless and straight to my mom’s car in the parking lot.
After about a week, I was bonded out to the E 93rd Keating Center. My shoes were gone, I had no shirt, two socks that didn’t match, and a pair of pants. I walked out of jail shirtless and straight to my mom’s car in the parking lot. She started driving toward the Keating Center on 93rd, scared to stop anywhere or slow down out of fear I might jump out. But on that car ride, I knew I was out of ideas, I had no more plans, I had no more energy. I was not physically tired — I was emotionally and mentally exhausted. I finally accepted that this addiction was bigger and smarter and much more powerful than I could ever be.
My mom dropped me off, and I walked into the office to do my intake with Don Anderson, still just a pair of pants on and no shoes. No bag with clothes or any toiletries, nothing. And a group of guys sat there with me as I stared at the floor between my legs, and Don said “welcome home.” I remember how I looked up and smiled, and how that made me feel. The guys got me a bed, and some clothes and stuff to wash up with. I was picked up by an alumnus of that place to go to a meeting and asked him to be my sponsor. And that night my journey in recovery began.
And a group of guys sat there with me as I stared at the floor between my legs, and Don said “welcome home.”
When I first heard it was a nine-month program, I thought that was a crazy amount of time. I stayed 15 months. I changed everything about myself. I knew that if I was going to be sober I could no longer be the selfish “drunk” version of myself. I went to meetings and worked my steps and shared in groups and became a part of that family there at 93rd. I felt I owed it to myself to give this program everything I had, because I’d already tried every other way and still have the knots on my head to prove it.
Twenty-seven months later, I have a career. I’m able to be an active member of my family and friends’ lives today. I have a God of my understanding who has never failed me. I was able to attend that same sponsor’s wedding this weekend and see a man, who has been so important to me in this journey, get married and actually be a friend to him and so many others. These may not seem like milestones to a normal person. But I spent years letting people down and starting my life over from scratch. I have not felt this full emotionally and spiritually in a very long time. And I give all the credit to my God, and my recovery and that decision I made two years ago to surrender myself to this program.