Sitting Comfortably in Recovery
I was raised in Carmel, Indiana, which is a suburb of Indianapolis. I had a pretty average and normal childhood and was really into sports and video games. I do remember getting into some sort of trouble regularly. I enjoyed causing trouble as a youngster, but certainly did not enjoy being caught. Consequently I became a decent liar and a “conman.” I was not stealing identities or writing bad checks, but rather just petty things that other trouble makers do: blow things up, break things, etc. As I grew older things got a bit more serious, and I grew increasingly angry, more violent and mean.
I took my first drink of alcohol in the summer, when I was between 12 and 13 years old. I was in my parents’ basement with a friend and we drank Dewar’s scotch with Diet Coke out of a Steak ‘n Shake cup while watching “Anger Management.”
I was playing “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater” on a PlayStation portable. This is not a crappy advertising campaign for these corporations, but rather an illustration of how vividly I recall this monumental event. Looking back, this displays some significant evidence that there is an obsessive aspect of my condition. Drinking escalated to daily pot smoking and taking dangerous amounts of amphetamines throughout my eighth grade year. This progressed into trying just about any-thing I could get my hands on.
That is the beginning, and my drug and alcohol abuse ended after my freshman year of college. No need to get into amounts of money spent or amounts of substances consumed, but I am comfortable saying I have “earned” a seat in recovery. I was also showing signs of kleptomania as I was impulsively stealing anything from spray paint to wallets. This behavior dragged me down to a depressed and confused state about how I felt about myself, and I recall an intense feeling of uselessness. This feeling can be described as self-assurance that I did not matter and could not make a difference. These feelings of depression and open contemplations of suicide are what initiated immediate concern from my family.
I had family members and very important family friends who intervened on my drug use and asked if I was willing to accept treatment. I had no idea what was really going on and agreed. Before I knew it, I was dropped off at Cumberland Heights, a treatment center in Nashville, Tennessee. I spent the first night in a hospital bed and had the opportunity to feel all my feelings from hate and anger, to remorse and empathy. I was full of fear and loneliness; however, these feelings helped me immensely as I proceeded in recovery.
I was transferred to a male retreat rehabilitation center in a one-traffic-light town, Lobelville, Tennessee. This is where I learned about myself, addiction, impulse and the various forms of treatment for this condition. An important skill taught to me at this rehab was how to sit alone and be comfortable. I met a plethora of comrades there, and we still stay in touch today and many have stayed sober. This men’s treatment center is called Still Waters, and they helped save my life.