In today’s world, we often hear more about what’s going wrong than what’s going right…especially in the realm of addiction. Success occurs outside the spotlight. At the Process Recovery Center, we want to shine a spotlight on success. We believe in the profound healing power of sharing. When we raise our voices, we not only validate each other in celebration, but we also show that recovery from addiction is possible.
The disease of addiction began to manifest itself in my life long before I ever picked up a drink or a drug. In hindsight, it is clear to me that many of my childhood behaviors and ways of thinking were paving the way to a self-destructive lifestyle that would eventually become unmanageable. My drug of choice has always been “more”. If it was something that made me feel good, I was never able to enjoy it in “moderation”. I was the kid that ate all of his Halloween candy within a couple of days, while my brother and sister made it last for months. I would spend my allowance almost immediately on frivolous things, while my friends and siblings saved theirs and put it toward something meaningful. These behaviors were somewhat harmless, but they inclined themselves to a certain mindset and behavioral pattern that would later take everything away from me.
My name is Eric. I am a grateful recovering addict. I would like to thank God for allowing me the chance to share my experience, strength, and hope. Without God, I wouldn’t be where and who I am today. Without Him, I have nothing.
The disease of addiction has played a major role in my life and has been taking from me since the day I was born. My father was an addict and his active addiction prevented him from being a part of my life. I didn’t have the father-figure guidance I needed until my teen years.
As young children, we are frequently asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Instantly, our minds dart from a doctor or a lawyer, to a famous athlete, or even a rockstar. I remember feeling a jolt of excitement over the endless possibilities. Never once did I consider being a drug addict; no child ever does. Unfortunately, it was out of my control and addiction chose me. After years of torture and pain – I chose recovery.
At the Process, I learned how to become more responsible for myself and my sobriety. That didn’t happen anywhere else. The Process didn’t give me the close coddling that I got at other programs. The Process gave me opportunities. It’s up to you to take advantage. Part of recovery is taking care of the business you have in day to day life. Let’s face it, when you’re an addict, you’re not thinking about buying food. You’re thinking about the next drink. I’ll be honest, when I was drinking – even though I had medical coverage – I didn’t make doctor’s appointments. That was on the back burner. I wasn’t even thinking about that. My head was in a whole different space. The Process got me back on “life track”. Today, I am able to manage my sobriety. No one else is going to do it for me.
This experience has been amazing. I cannot say enough about the staff. The staff here truly care. When I first got here, I felt like I didn’t belong. After the first day, [I realized] that we all share the same disease of addiction. I could go on and on about everything I’ve learned. I’m inspired to do so many positive things. I want to go back and help my tribe. I would love to build a sober house and really involve myself with service work.
I started smoking pot the summer before middle school. It was a good time. I didn’t fall in love with it but it was fun. The DARE program had instilled in me that drugs are bad but I thought: “Yeah, they’re not so bad”. I met a girl who liked to “robo-trip”, which means you drink a bunch of cough syrup, and I started stealing a couple of my mom’s Oxycontin. That was the first time I did pills. Once again, I didn’t fall in love with them but they were a good time. Some people say: “I fell in love instantly”. I never really fell in love with any one particular drug the first time I did it.
Until I was thirteen, my life was like a fairytale. I had a stable family and my parents were seemingly in love. I was a happy kid and I didn’t have any conception of what stress meant. At thirteen, my life completely changed. Out of left field, my parents told us they were getting divorced. I started to take on all this emotional baggage. I wanted to solve my mom’s problems and I wanted to fix the stress in her life. My father would always lead me to believe that I wasn’t good enough; I needed to work harder and I was always sub par. That created a complex inside of me that manifested in a way that was out of control. I became an insane perfectionist. I obsessed over perfection and needed to be the best at everything. It complicated my life from that time forward.
I am twenty-two years old. I started using when I was thirteen. I didn’t get drunk my first time, but I woke up the next day and I wanted more. I have never, ever been able to drink in moderation, but for years I convinced myself I could.
I never felt like I fit in at school. I wasn’t a loser but I wasn’t popular by any means. I just felt like I was on the outside looking in. When I found alcohol, I was everyone’s best friend. I got a boyfriend who didn’t go to school and did drugs. I loved the lifestyle. I was attracted to the chaos. That’s when I started dabbling. I tried my first Percocet with my boyfriend and I thought: “It’s so small. What is it going to do?” He said: “Big things come in small packages”. I didn’t know those things would end up ruling my life. I got into smoking crack cocaine and I found more friends who sold drugs.