I was a scholar student and a gifted athlete for much of my young life.
I was born in Brooklyn in the early 90’s to a middle class working family. I had a mother who was born and raised in Brooklyn and an Irish immigrant father who came to America at a young age for better opportunities. A few years later, we moved to Staten Island for a “better life” – which is what many young Brooklyn families did during that time. I was a scholar student and a gifted athlete for much of my young life. I never had a hard time making friends and I was well liked by everyone around me. The first time I ever used was the last day of eighth grade. A few of my friends had put some money together and had a friend’s older brother buy us beer. That night opened a door for me I wouldn’t be able to close for more than a decade.
High School came and my ambitious attitude started to deteriorate.
Where my focus was once school and sports, it had switched to friends and partying. I was very distracted with my new interests and becoming extremely unreliable and unmotivated. After a few years of drinking and dabbling in various drugs, I had transitioned into a full blown opiate addict after being introduced to Oxycodone by a friend who seemed like she had it all. I trusted her, and that poor judgment call I had made started a downward spiral I never saw coming.
It only took a few years before I was shooting heroin and smoking crack cocaine daily. I stole, lied, schemed and degraded myself in the name of drugs. I did whatever I had to do for the next high. I was arrested on a few occasions, which only slowed me down until I was released from jail a short time later. During this time, I also had various attempts at recovery, but always followed by a relapse far worse than the previous one. I tried relocating many times, going to treatment in both Pennsylvania and Florida. In Florida, my using had become the worst it’s ever been. Overdosing and being revived with Narcan, followed by another treatment center had become a monthly routine. All in all, I have been revived with Narcan six times and have had 40+ failed treatment attempts.
Making the decision to come into long term treatment almost a year and a half ago at the age of 24, and after a decade of drug and alcohol use was the best decision I have ever made for my recovery.
The best gift long term treatment gave me was time - time away from those “friends” who for so long had so much control over my thoughts and decisions - time away from the environment that consumed me for so long – and most importantly, time away from drugs and alcohol.