When It Started
My name is Joel M., I have been sober for 20 months after my relapse. Before that I was sober for 18 months. My story starts at the age of 13. I tried my first bowl of weed and my first cigarette. I was really into sports so I didn’t smoke either very often. It went that way until I was 15, and then I started smoking pot almost every day. I was hanging out with the wrong crowd. That year I dropped out of high school. Then when I was 16, I started to try other drugs (i.e. acid, shrooms, and cocaine), but the coke really grabbed me. That led to smoking crack.
When My Addiction Escalated
Then one day when I was 17, my friends and I were at an apartment and a man came over with crystal meth. I still remember what he said. “Why would you spend $20 on a bag of coke when it only lasts for 20 minutes? And this $20 bag of crystal will last you for hours and hours?” The very next day we quit coke and took up crystal meth. For me it went that way for 7 years. I was a daily user. I smoked the stuff. Then at 24 I had a daughter on the way and her mother said to me that I wouldn’t see my daughter if I keep on doing meth. I took her seriously. I quit the next day. BUT I went about 2 weeks and I figured it would be cool to have a drink. Well I just moved from one crutch to another. I remained a progressing alcoholic until 2012. By that time, I had gotten so bad I was buying a half gallon a day at least! I had to take shots at night just so I could go back to sleep. I was terrified of getting sober because I knew the DT’S would set in. So one night I had taken a big pull off of my bottle of vodka. That was my drink of choice. It was cheap. Anyways I sat down on my bed afterwards and was watching TV. About a half hour went by and I started to feel weird.
Then it progressively got worse, it felt like my body was systematically shutting down. I was terrified because I have never felt that way before. I thought I was going to die!! It got so bad that I decided I needed to go to the ER. When I went to stand up my legs gave out on me. I fell to the floor. I managed to barely get up and made it to the stairs. I yelled for my father to call 911 because something is very wrong. Luckily I lived 2 blocks from a hospital. When I got there they took me straight back into the ER. That’s where things went real bad. It felt like hours had went by but it was just about 20 minutes. I felt like I was slipping away and I was looking up at the ceiling and it went dark. On account with my dad, he said I was staring up at the ceiling and I took a breath in and let it out and that was it. I quit breathing. He said he jumped up and listened to my heart there was no beat. He said he pushed on my chest a few times and I came to. The unfortunate thing is I remember all of this. When I came to my dad said “you died”. I thought I just passed out or something. Not more than 5 minutes later I felt that slipping feeling again and that time I told my dad to get someone!!!! And then it went dark again. My father ran out into the hallway and fortunately two paramedics where passing by. They immediately started working on me. When I came to again, I was looking up at all of these people staring down at me. Again I remember all of this. With that being said. The doctor’s did my blood alcohol level and I was at a 4.2 and that was a good hour after I took my last drink. The thing was to me I wasn’t that drunk, I was functional. The doctor was amazed I was talking to him coherently. He said and I quote “you should be dead”. Technically I died but I came back. That was in August of 2012.
Road to Recovery
I went to an inpatient treatment. They saved my life!! I found my higher spirit, learned yoga, and meditation. And took every ounce of the program seriously. I was tired of living that way, the life of an addict. I did so well until I got with a woman who smoked spice, to make a long story short I started smoking it too. Well that was a huge mistake, with my addictive personality the drug grabbed me by the balls. One day I wanted to go get a jar of spice, but it was my last $20 and I was approaching my turn to either go left or get spice or go right, straight to the liquor store, well I went right. It started with a pint and within two weeks I back up to a half gallon. But this time I made the decision to put down the bottle because I sat in my solitude and booze and played the tape all the way through in my mind. At that moment I went upstairs and poured out the rest of my bottle, set a doctor appointment to get Librium and blood pressure medication. So I did. Then a week later I hit the gym and got a job a month later. I’ve been sober ever since. I know without a doubt that I CANNOT do anything mind altering. I’ve accepted this. I’ve learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable. My life has changed for the good soooooooooo much. Today I am blessed. Dream job. Now all I want is my dream woman. One day at a time. I’ll take another 24.