RECOVERY STORY OF THE MONTH
Sobriety Date: May 20, 2021
My name is Thomas and I have the disease of addiction. I know I suffer from the disease of addiction because it didn’t matter how I was living, homeless, unemployable, beat down, hungry, depressed and terrified that I may not live through my next use to see my two year old son or my mother again. With addiction none of this mattered – all that mattered at the time of my active addiction was that next one; that next fix. It didn’t matter if I had to lie, steal, cheat, get physical with whoever just to try to stop the misery I was inflicting on myself on an hourly basis.
On May 16, 2021 it happened again. I overdosed. Three days before my mom’s birthday, I overdosed for the third time. I was found unresponsive in the trap house I was at and Narcaned. The moment I woke up and realized that the first responders saved my life again, I was not happy. I left the hospital and continued to do what I always did in my addiction. What I always thought I was going to have to do in my life – feed that monkey on my back. The weekend ended and I went home. Then I got the phone call. It was my probation officer. He told me that he knew I overdosed, and I had to turn myself in or I would do every bit of the three years I had over my head for three felony drug possessions and the probation I was serving.
I am grateful that I had enough sense to listen to my probation officer and turn myself in that day. I sat in the Trumbull County Jail for a month.
Today I am grateful I didn’t die that day on May 16, 2021. I am grateful that I had enough sense to listen to my probation officer and turn myself in that day. I sat in the Trumbull County Jail for a month. I was released, handcuffed and transported directly to the Keating Center by my probation officer. I had nothing but time to think in that backseat of that SUV. I thought how much of a scum bag I was; how much I took advantage of the blessings and opportunities I was given from family, friends, probation, courts and, honestly, God. How selfish I was to leave my son to be raised by my mother back in PA while my addiction and I ran the streets in Warren, Ohio, chasing after women, money and drugs. The only thing that scared me to death was getting sober and how and if I was going to be able to do it.
I finally arrived at the Keating Center and was escorted into the building, and there stood this short man who I had no idea who he was, but trust and believe I respected the fact that he looked at my probation officer and said in a very calm but very meaningful tone, “take them handcuffs off him already will you?” That man I came to find out was Martin Taft, the director of the Rock. You see my mom is a director of a very well known rehab in PA. But me, being the addict I was, never reached out for that blessing in PA.
He looked at my probation officer and said in a very calm but very meaningful tone, “take them handcuffs off him already will you?” That man I came to find out was Martin Taft, the director of the Rock.
Two weeks at the Rock, Marty calls me into his office, and I didn’t know what to think because I still had a lot of that street mentality, and a lot of it was due to the fact of me being from Pittsburgh, PA and being surrounded by Cleveland Brown fans. I didn’t think I would last long and was already comparing myself out. Marty handed me a piece of paper with a name and phone number written on it. Marty said call this man, he is willing to sponsor you. I can honestly say that is probably the first time I listened to any type of authority since I was about 19 years old, and I am so grateful that I did. Because of me acting on that simple suggestion, my life has changed so much for the better in such a short period of time. I am employed today, I know what it is like to be a father – to have respect for both men and women and not just expect respect because of who I was but because of the person I am today and the things that I am doing in my life to stay sober.
May 19, 2022, was my mom’s birthday. I was able to give her the best birthday gift ever – a peace of mind. Something I haven’t been able to give her in 18 years of active addiction. I achieved 365 days of sobriety. I could go on and on about the blessings of my sober life but I will just end it with this today – I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and thank God and enjoy life. Thank you to everyone who’s helped me along the way in Cleveland. Pittsburgh may have a better football team, but you Browns fans most definitely saved this Pittsburgher’s life. I am so very grateful for all yinz.