The following is part one of a two part series. In this article, we will take a look into the life and struggles of an addict, showcasing the fact the addiction does not have a face. While many may live under the assumption that an addict is someone who lives under a bridge or wears tattered clothing, the personal story of this individual reveals that anyone can succumb to drug abuse and dependence. In the latter part of this series, you’ll have the chance to hear of the hope, experience, and personal journey of recovery of the same man.
“When you think of the face of addiction, it’s easy to think of the homeless man sleeping on the corner. That isn’t always what it looks like however, in fact, from outside views, most of my life I appeared to be a happy and successful guy. That was until the end; when I finally hit rock bottom.
It Wasn’t My Childhood
I hear lots of stories of people talking about the abuse and neglect from their childhood. That wasn’t my story. I grew up in a middle-class home with two working parents that had a lot of love for me. I had an older brother and a younger brother. We were each separated by 2 years and we spent a lot of our childhood together. We were close as a family and spent summers taking family road trips. My dad was our Little League coach and both of my parents were actively involved in our daily lives. Life was good, and I never lacked for anything.
While I imagine there must be a lot of pain in people who’ve dealt with abuse, and I often understand how easy it must be for them to turn to drugs and alcohol, I had no visible excuses. There was nothing that happened in my life that I could point to as a reason to turn to drugs and alcohol. Not that I think addiction is an excuse, it just didn’t seem that I would grow up to be an addict. Those were never part of my childhood dreams.
My First Experience
I still remember the feeling of uncertainty the first time I was offered drugs. I was just 14 at the time and was spending time with some friends who ultimately had convinced me to give it a try. Immediately, it felt like love at first sight. It was all the feelings I’d hoped to have….and more. Marijuana and alcohol became something to do whenever we found ourselves with an opportunity. It was something new and fun to play around with. We all ended up loving how we felt; how there were no cares in the world at the time that we were high.
Time seemed to fly right by. What started as an occasional fun thing to do began a daily journey with my friends and me. We stopped caring about school or anything that wasn’t related to drugs and alcohol. We made it a point to use drugs before heading into school and immediately leaving school at the end of the day. Our parents started to wonder what had changed, but they had no thought that it was an addiction. Many times my parents brushed it off as being a teenage boy, and they did their best to tolerate me.
Not A Kid Anymore
Life didn’t get better as I got out of school. I barely graduated and had no hopes or dreams for my future. My early 20s consisted of drunk driving arrests, spending time in jail and trying to convince my family and employers that I was okay.
They continued to offer help and guidance, but I never took it. I always knew what was best and that I could stop anytime I wanted…so I thought. At that point, I was not yet convinced that I was an addict.
Friends around me started dying at young ages due to their addictions, and I vowed that I was going to be smarter than they had been. I had no trouble telling myself that I wasn’t as bad as they were.
The Daily Life Of An Addict
I started living life in compartments. During the day, I worked hard. I advanced in a promising career in the automotive dealership world. I was given the best cars to drive, I had some of the best apartments to live in, but no matter how much good I filled my life with, I was unable to stop.
All night, every night became a party filled with alcohol and cocaine. I surrounded myself with other people who lived like I did. My life started spiraling more out of control as I attempted to hide the fact that I was an addict from those who truly cared about me.
I started crashing the brand new cars I was trusted with, showing up late to my job and even stealing from employers to support my habits. I quickly found myself addicted to crack cocaine and there were no more boundaries to what I would do.
I lied to everyone, no one knew who I was. I convinced my parents consistently that I needed money for this emergency or that emergency. My large income just wasn’t enough to keep me going anymore. I needed MORE.
The Beginning Of The End
Thankfully, I got fired from those jobs and I lost my large income and fancy cars. By the grace of God, I had to move home with my parents, right into the basement as an early 30-something-year-old man. It might not have seemed like it was a good thing at the time, but it helped bring my bottom on quickly.
With having nothing to live for anymore, I quit trying. I gave up completely on myself. Problem was, I could no longer support my habit, and it was expensive. It became everything to me, my day and night. I spent every waking hour of the day either using crack or figuring out how I was going to get more.
This led me down some dangerous roads that I never thought I’d see. What a disgrace I had become to my family, and it was nearly impossible to look them in the eye anymore. I spent every day knowing that I was a failure and disappointment to those who cared for me through thick and thin, which just fueled my addiction more.
I resolved that I would die this way, alone. That one day, it would just be over and this pain would end. Thankfully, that wasn’t true.
New Life Ahead
There was no way to describe the switch that went off inside of me. One day I was convinced I was going to die in my addiction. The next, all I could think of was that I had a chance to live a full and happy life, I just didn’t know how.
It finally seemed like the right time to call a local treatment center and have myself admitted. I was more scared about this moment than any other in my life, but in my heart, I knew I was capable of more than what I’d been giving. I knew that if given the chance, I could be a happy and successful man. There was a man inside of me that wanted to make everyone proud again. How do I get there was the question?”
Contact Clearbrook Today
As you can see, an addict does not necessarily have to be someone who is homeless and begging for money. An addict can be the bank teller at your local branch, the stay-at-home mother, or even your local car salesman. It is clear with the growing number of people affected by alcoholism and drug addiction today, that this disease does not discriminate. It can affect every one of us equally.
If you or someone you love is currently struggling with chemical dependency, Clearbrook Treatment Centers can help. With 45 years of experience in providing quality drug and alcohol treatment, we can show you what recovery has to offer. Please contact our Admissions Specialists today and begin your journey to wellness.