I Choose to Live a Clean and Sober Life

My Story

My name is Jack S. I was born in 1992 in Birmingham, Alabama, to two wonderful parents. I am the oldest of three brothers; my two younger brothers are just amazing. My family is wonderful. We all have stuck by each other through the various struggles that life has thrown at us. Life hasn’t always been easy, but it has been great to have such a supportive family.

When I first think about the “fantasy” or “delusion,” I go back to a time when I would read excessively. I used to read Harry Potter A LOT. This was when I was quite young, fourth or fifth grade. I remember reading Harry Potter’s Christmases and loving those more than my own. I would read the Christmas stories over and over again. Especially in the third book. As time went on I found other books to escape in. I remember my parents would get irritated with me that I would not go to the skating rink with friends because I would want to read.

The next chapter in my life was a friend asking me to hang out with her and her friends in sixth grade. It is bizarre that I remember it so well, but it was the first foray into the proverbial “cool” group. I was enchanted that I got the invite to be in their group. I think this is one of those “pivotal moments” of my life. The people that I started hanging out with would be part of my environmental conditioning and peer group that would help influence some of my unsavory choices and actions.

This peer group was rowdy. In middle school, we would light fireworks in the bathroom and get in fights. We would vandalize neighborhoods and drink, a lot.

Around this time, I started engaging in high school varsity football and wrestling. I was always a bigger guy with speed, so the high school coach asked me to come work out when I was still in middle school. This gave me accessibility to 18-year-olds, who, for whatever reason, liked me. I felt important. I felt needed.

Wrestling screwed me up. I think about wrestling being one of the longest lasting impacts on my life. I would balloon up in weight during football season and then slim down for wrestling season. The coach was insane, and looking back on it, extremely abusive and cruel to young kids.

Throughout this whole time, I had suffered from hearing loss. I had two cholesteatomas removed by this point in high school. The growths stripped away my hearing in my left ear to almost nothing. When I was a senior in high school, I was given a cochlear implant.

When I was 16, I tried magic mushrooms for the first time. I remember this was my “ah HA!” moment. I thought I had found the truth about the world. I felt I had unlocked the secret to living, and I was so enthralled by that idea. I wanted to spread the good word and enlighten everyone. I really believed that everyone in the world took mushrooms, and the secret had been revealed to me.

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