**The following is a personal story of addiction told by the individual who experienced it. BRC asks that you please be respectful when leaving comments. At the same time, we also welcome and encourage you to share your personal story of addiction and recovery as others embark on their own journeys to permanent sobriety. Email us today at RecoveryInfo@BenchmarkCenter.com.
When I shuffle through memories of my earlier years, some are faded, some are vivid, and some have been forgotten and repressed. Among the more vivid memories, strangely, four in particular stand out especially. In order they are:
- The first time I smoked pot;
- The first time I drank alcohol;
- The first time I used painkillers;
- And finally, the first time I used heroin.
Why don’t I remember vividly the first day of kindergarten or high school graduation? Or the day my little brother was born? The reason is simple: on each of those occasions something happened to me, internally. My life was revolutionized by these chemicals! I was no longer trapped inside my own perception or concerned with ‘self’- and for a brief moment I felt free.
Over ten years of substance abuse, the last four of which I would classify as hopeless addiction, I wasn’t getting the same effect I once felt from those chemicals . Addiction is a chronic and progressive illness, I later learned. My life was completely based around me having opiates (heroin, painkillers, methadone, etc.) in my system, no matter what. Opiates were my master. My relationships were dead and I felt desperately alone. My once bright future was pitch black. I lost interest in my passion of music. My dreams were faded memories. I was in a hole of substantial debt and manipulated my family to pay my bills so I could maintain my addiction. Life was dull and gray and boring. Life scared the hell out of me. I knew something had to change. I had to stop using. And I tried! And tried, and tried. I finally realized that it was too much for me, and I was never going to stop on my own. I needed help.
I was fortunate that my family supported me and got me into a treatment center. 28 days. Not a fond experience. I was miserably uncomfortable, but got through it. I remember leaving that place with an emptiness in my heart. Something was missing, and the worst part was I had no idea what ‘it’ was or how to get it. The closest I could come was the effect produced by opiates. Relapse.
Addiction Recovery at BRC
When I checked in to Mark Houston Recovery Center ( Now Benchmark Recovery Center) in the summer of 2009 I was a shell. I feel as though my journey in drug and alcohol recovery started at that point. For the next 5 months I learned about myself and was shown the truth about the hopeless and fatal nature of my addiction. I was introduced to the 12 steps and a new way of life that would foster sobriety and spiritual growth! I was shown that a relationship with a God of my understanding could transform me into a new man! I had a life changing experience that started me on this path of recovery.
At nine months sober, I relapsed. Again. I had fallen prey to the idea that I would be able to have some drinks with friends, trying to recapture something I felt I was missing out on. I had tried to ‘just drink’ before, only to return to the opiates time and time again. Was I insane? I just spent 5 months in a recovery center- why would I do this?
It finally sunk it to me what Mark Houston told me that day I checked in there in the summer of 2009- that if I was a real addict, I had lost power of choice. And that it wasn’t just ‘bad decisions’ that I was making, but rather I was being driven by something that I couldn’t control with my logical mind or will power. And as long as I continued to be driven by this spiritual malady, I would return to what I know- and that’s to get high.
So, after a 3 week relapse I was given the opportunity to go back to Mark Houston Recovery by the grace of God and some caring people, and I haven’t had to put a mind-altering substance in my body since April 29th, 2010 and I could not be more grateful. The people I have crossed paths with mean a great deal to me and I am surrounded by a fellowship of addicts in recovery with a common desire to grow spiritually. I am forever grateful to my family and the staff at Benchmark and Mark Houston Recovery for showing me the way out! Once a month I get to go back to there and share my experience, strength and hope with the guys out there, and it blows me away!
No matter how hopeless the situation may seem, or how far gone you think you are, remember- there is a solution and we can recover!