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Testimonial from an Ex-Addict and How He Fought to Make it Out Alive

Testimonial from an Ex-Addict and How He Fought to Make it Out Alive

I never wanted to be a drug addict. But, there were too many points where I could’ve turned back, but didn’t. Why?

I was always the good kid. Great parents, solid family. Those aren’t the things that make a drug addict. Don’t believe people when they tell you this and don’t feel guilty if you did everything you could to prevent such an outcome in another.

After my father died of cancer, I can recall a specific feeling I had which would shape my future; why do the right thing? What’s the point?

So, I stopped being good. I tried drugs, lots of them. And my consensus? I felt better on them than not. My life was better when I was high than when I was sober. It was simple, really. I knew the risks. I’d been to DARE classes, seen the effects. Even as I began to experience them, all this did was reinforce my idea that life was bad and getting high was the only escape.

Temporary reprieve.

For twelve years I danced on the edge of death, a realm populated by near-misses, jail time, homelessness, and rehabs; lots of them. I’m 5’10” and walked into my first rehab weighing 111 lbs. just to give you an idea.

Most of these stays were short-lived. I’d leave early or even complete the program in some cases, only to hit the pavement with that all-to-familiar feeling of pessimism, emptiness and raw-nerves. It turns out there’s a very easy way to get rid of that… more drugs

As you can see, this wasn’t working. And when Oxycontin was reformulated so you could no longer inject or snort it, I did like the others and switched to heroin. The last straw was discovering that apparently you can total a car in your own driveway…

This led me to looking for something different. I’d nearly decided that rehab just didn’t work for me, but was tempted to see if there were methods I hadn’t tried. One thing I knew was that I’d never stayed clean long enough to feel anything resembling good. I also knew that drug-replacement and medication-assisted treatment was a joke (sorry to spill the beans, guys) because it just let me continue taking something to feel better. Same behavior. So, I got on the internet and researched rehab like I was trying to find my next fix.

I discovered that there are different, more effective kinds. They are longer. They aren’t easy. You don’t get drugs and antidepressant pills. But you do get your life back. And, you fix the parts that led you to using drugs. If you don’t do that, good luck.

Needless to say, I completed the program. And, life is better now that it was before I ever started using. I’m not on meds, because I dealt with underlying issues rather than masking them. I’m now married to a wonderful woman, have a beautiful baby boy, and have been clean for nearly nine years.

As I examine the question that plagued my youth, I’ve discovered this: Why do the right thing? Because, at the end of the day, it’s the only way you can live with yourself. That’s what I’m doing, and it’s better than life on drugs.


Joe K.


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