Eight months free of heroin. This is the most “clean time” for me during my past seven years.
I am still scared of heroin and my addiction. I understand better now that I am one bad decision away from the possibility of my 4th overdose, or worse…..my final death.
At 27 years old my obituary would likely describe the cause of my death as, “died unexpectedly”. The truth is my death was expected by the people that know me…it was just a question of when? My poor mother. Four close friends of mine have died of a heroin overdose.
I was a typical teenager. Graduated from Bellingham High School at the age of 19 years and was captain of our high school hockey team as a junior & senior. I attended CCRI for two years in the Liberal Arts program. By all accounts…..”a good kid.
My college degree was less important in my mind compared to my pursuit of my hockey career in the USA Junior Hockey League. I was a very good hockey player. Junior Hockey was going to lead me toward a scholarship in a Division 1 college.
The cost of playing Junior Hockey overwhelmed my family. $1,500 each month to skate became too expensive. It was not too long before my dream of big-time hockey in the NHL disappeared.
My addiction was uncovered slowly and innocent enough. Smoking a little weed at the age of 20 years. Pills followed by selling weed to get more pills as my addiction began to spiral beyond my control. “I got this”……I told myself often trying to convince my own mind that I will not be beat by drugs. Perhaps a reference back to my competitiveness in hockey games.
The use of pills continued for nearly two years. Then came my introduction to heroin. It happens so easily for me when I am with the wrong crowd. I am triggered by people. My girlfriend at the time used heroin with me. We used with so-called friends all of the time and did everything we could to get the heroin we needed. Terrible!I overdosed my first time at age 25 years. Between the ages of 23 and 26 years I was admitted to drug addiction detox programs at Norcap and Spectrum twenty six times! In fact, my family had me sectioned under Massachusetts law and I went to Bridgewater State Hospital (correctional facility) for 20 days. Basically, I was in jail and I wanted to end my life.
Enough is enough! In April 2015 I entered Rogers Home for Sober Living and I stayed in the sober home until November. Frankly, my ego was still in my way leading me to think I would create my own personal recovery plan…..do it my way before I try their way. No program and not following any direction. In recovery terms this is referred to as a spin-dry. I was only going through the motions for the sake of others and their opinions.
I returned to my familiar places and people around Thanksgiving 2015. Missed another holiday while again using heroin. The saying is addicts return for more “research”, in case there was more to learn or a hidden secret to recovery that no one yet knew about. I was on the streets for two more years of misery and near-death.
In February of 2018 I was out of all options. Feelings of desperation and truly wanting to die overwhelmed me. I lost all confidence and self-esteem.
Three true friends watched my demise until one day they knocked at my door. They were very clear when they said I was going to die….and they offered to support me. They saved my life!
I returned to Rogers Home with a new attitude. Now I was ready to do everything exactly the way I was told. My health and well-being are now most important to me and I want this now for me. I just achieved eight months clean time with no drugs or alcohol. It is the longest stretch of sobriety for me over these past seven years.
Rogers Home provides me with a safe environment and structure in my day to day activities. The management team provides encouragement and support in my decisions. Rogers Home staff truly cares and nurtures the men that come into their homes. I always have to remember that my own best thinking got me into my life of desperation.
My self-esteem is much improved. I go to AA meetings. I have a sponsor and a home group. My new friends are in the AA meeting halls. I surround myself with positive people and avoid the people of my past. The best reward of all is a new connection with my sister and the good times we are having.
I have a full time job with a service organization. Earlier this year I enrolled in New England Tractor Trailer Training School. In October, I earned my CDL license and a promise of increasing my hourly earnings to $20+, plus health benefits and a 401K retirement plan.
However, my recovery program must continue and I must always remember that I am one bad decision away from my likely death. Work in recovery never ends…….
If you or anyone you know is struggling please reach out and connect them with someone who can help.