Jim D’s Story
I come from an everyday family- in most ways totally functional. Mom and Dad both worked and had college degrees. My sister was a total bookworm and I on the other hand wasn’t into school but wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. I had friends and really enjoyed being with my family. My dad was my idol.
In 8th grade is where I learned to party. I really started to look forward to the weekends. Girls, beer, music and lots of fun. It was all about having fun and alcohol made things really fun! I laughed harder, it was easier to talk to girls and it felt like now I was really living life! The occasional joint here and there started too. I’m not really sure when it became a daily thing for me. Before I knew it, I was looking forward to the end of the school day just as much as I used to Fridays. I couldn’t wait to get “free” and have “fun.” I graduated from High School with good grades and went on to a good college.
Now I was there! Finally out of the house and making my own rules. It was much funnier to get high than go to class. I drank every night, just like most of my friends except they seemed to make it to class and do their homework. I had zero interest in class. All I wanted to do was party and have “fun.” I knew I was going overboard but I also knew I could stop when I was ready and I just wasn’t ready yet. I was always a good student so I figured I’ll cram for my tests and make it by. Good grades where no longer a goal. My dream of being a doctor was no longer. There was no way I was going to commit myself to so many years to school. I was lost but I didn’t know it at the time. My goals became to do the least possible work to get by so I could concentrate on having fun, which to me was drinking and now cocaine. I knew to be careful with coke. I knew it could be addictive but I saw others using it without a problem. I now found my new party. As much as I told myself I would only use it on the weekends, before I knew it, it became a daily thing.
Money became an issue so I needed to find new ways to make it. I definitely was not going to get a job. That would interfere with all the “fun” I was having. So I got creative and even knowing I was breaking every moral I was brought up with, I broke the law daily. I set out every day, afternoon and night to have “fun.” In reality, I was having no fun at all! Using drugs had moved from a Friday thing, to a daily afternoon occasional joint, to a daily job. My thoughts were where was I going to get high, who was I going to get high with and where and how was I going to get my drugs. Drugs became my life and my idea of fun no longer had much fun at all. I knew now I had a problem. I began telling myself, “today is my last day,” “it’s not so bad,” “I can stop,” “I’ll just smoke weed,” etc… every promise I made to myself and other people of cleaning up my act did work. All my promises where not enough to get me clean.
My mother and father were now worried. I basically cut them off. Today, I want them to understand, none of this was their fault. They didn’t understand and were willing to do anything to help me. They tried to get me into rehab multiple times but I wasn’t ready. I reached a point of helplessness and despair- I couldn’t go one living life the way I was. I no longer felt human. I wanted so much to be the guy who just drank on weekends! I asked Dad for help and he drove me to detox. In treatment, I was the star student. They said that most of us wouldn’t make it, but I knew I would. I did everything they told me and I felt great. I even was ready to go back to school and becoming a doctor. I was so grateful to be sober. I left rehab with hope. 3 months later I felt I can now have the occasional drink. My life was back in order and I learned from my mistakes. Unfortunately, I ended right back at it. My life again was consumed by drugs- thoughts, feelings, actions were all based on drugs. I knew I was an addict. I sure didn’t aspire to be, but here I was- an addict.
I made countless more attempts to get clean and went to another 3 more treatment centers. I’m glad I didn’t give up. Today, I’ve been clean 3 years and my life as a recovering addict is worth living. Living life in active addiction sure was not worth living. I’m glad I never gave up, I’m grateful my family never gave up on me and that I finally admitted to myself I am an addict. I fully believe today that if I try to take one drink, there is very good chance I will end up hopeless and full of despair once again.
Today, I have a wife, I live in a home, I have a great job and part-time back in college. I’m not studying to be a doctor but who knows, at least I have the opportunity. If I didn’t have a program of recovery, I would most likely be dead today. I’m so grateful to be clean and sober. The crazy part is I can lose everything much quicker than it took me to gain everything in my life. I can honestly say my life is worthwhile and I find myself having meaningful FUN now. This is real fun. I can wake up feeling good, I can be there for my family and people count on me. I owe my life to recovery. I see people are dying everyday from addiction. It doesn’t need to happen. Recovery is possible and there is no need to die a meaningless life.
*This story was submitted voluntarily to share hope and inspire others. This story is of their own experience and does not represent the point of view of Freedom From Addiction. Freedom From Addiction believes recovery is a personal journey and peoples experiences vary.