My story about becoming addicted to marijuana, alcohol, and other illegal substances is no doubt similar to many others. I was a misguided, impressionable and gullible young teen growing up in the so-called inner city. While I am not blaming my environment or peers at the time for initiating my addiction, where I grew up and the people who I surrounded myself with certainly played a role in my decision to experiment with drugs and alcohol.
Growing up in what is considered the inner city without positive role models and mentors, a sense of direction, realistic goals, hopes, and dreams put me at risk for risky behavior. When I got much older and wiser, I realized how important it is to take ownership of what I think, say, believe, and do. Not being responsible or taking ownership of my thoughts and actions as a youngster and even young adult has gotten me into more trouble than I care to admit to. Learning to be accountable in recovery has helped me stay in recovery for over two decades.
Becoming addicted to drugs basically ruined my life in more ways than one. A great number of my family members were destroyed as a result of abusing drugs and alcohol. Physical, psychological, spiritual, and financial destruction was the result of drug and alcohol abuse. However, I know what has been destroyed can be rebuilt. I heard: “You one must go through it in order to get to it.” I have certainly been through it, and I’m headed to it. My goal in part is to be free spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and yes, financially. While I have not gotten there yet, I am most definitely on my way.
My life has been touched by addiction in both negative and positive ways. However, being addicted to drugs, alcohol and other substances has made me the man I am today. Today, I am a man who has proudly and thankfully been in recovery for 20 years. Today, I am a man well on my way to rebuilding my life and redefining my identity. Today, I am a man on a mission to help eradicate addiction once and for all. Today, I am a man who knows addiction does not have to be a life sentence. Today, I am a man who has written two books, one of which is a book on overcoming addiction.
I don’t claim to have all the answers and I certainly don’t claim to be some type of savior. I am thoroughly convinced and confident anyone, providing he or she understands, internalizes and practices living in recovery on a daily basis will overcome his or her addiction.
I have 20 years of being in recovery, and 10 of those years have been dedicated to specialized schooling, extensive work experience, in-depth research, consistent study, relentless reading, asking the tough questions and learning from and listening to some of the brightest minds on the planet, past and present. I keep learning, and I keep going through it. I am a living testament that long term recovery is possible.