"My first real spiritual experience happened before I got in the program and got sober. When I was like 19 years old I was the range safety officer at a shooting range, which was the coolest job ever. I never didn’t want to go to work because I got paid to shoot guns, smoke weed and pop pills all day. It was great at the time. And so, one morning I just kind of woke up and didn’t feel like going to work that day. There wasn’t really any reason for it I just didn’t want to go. So, I called in and I stayed home."
"My parents never argued and they didn't drink or do drugs or anything like that. They were together all the way up until my mom passed away. So my childhood was really great. The using for me started pretty early on though. The first time I smoked a joint was in 7th grade and from there it naturally escalated. Later on I got married and he drank a lot. I had to keep my wits about me so I did the next best thing... meth amphetamines. The first time I did meth I put a needle in my arm and i continued to do that for many, many years."
"My family adopted me when I was 2 weeks old. I came into a good family and I had a pretty strict Church Of Christ upbringing. They didn't drink or do anything like the things I ended up doing so once I started having problems they didn't always understand me or know what to do with me. Mom had years where she would do the tough love thing. Through all the years though my family did their best to stand behind me. When I was 7 or 8 I had my first drink at the rodeo and occasionally drank again over the next few years."
"My mom passed away when I was 14 so I moved in with my dad. He had had experiences with drugs many years before that so he was very much against any of it. I was too afraid to do it in his house and he definitely didn’t let me go out and party and things like that. So, because of that I stayed away from all of it through most of high school. I went over to a friend’s house once though and he pulled out some cocaine and offered me some. I was quick to say no, that I wasn’t interested because I literally remembered all the drug commercials from when I was growing up."
As a non-alcoholic/addict working in this community I’ve learned a lot about the illness and the recovery process. First and foremost, addiction is brutal. But there's another side of it for people once they start to change. This community demands people to be open and honest and it's very different from the rest of society, where there's this feeling that if you are struggling there is something wrong with you. People feel embarrassed to even mention those things. But when you don't, the small things become bigger and fester inside of you."
"I was 23 years old, had graduated college finally and had taken a job as Sisco Foods. I met a guy there that dealt cocaine and that's where my habit really took off. I found myself doing it all the time, not just weekends anymore. I was also working at a bar in the evenings so my drinking progressed as well in this time. Around this time, I started noticing that when I got my son on the weekends that I just couldn't do normal family stuff with him without being loaded. And I started to realize I couldn't not use even when I wanted to."
Garrett (Rett) Byrne
"I was born in Fountain Valley, California. My mother was very young when she had me. Now over the course of my school career, I went to 15 different schools. We moved around a lot. So I never felt a part of anything, I didn’t have solid friends I could confide in and I spent a lot of time by myself. I remember we would move at the end of school years and it was summer time, which was great. But I would spend that summer by myself. Riding my bike around and all that."
"My parents were military so I was born in Germany. We moved to San Antonio, Texas when I was very young. I remember going to school and starting my sentences in English and finishing them in German and I remember right off the bat feeling that no one could understand me... literally. Also, I was one of maybe 30 white people in a 600 count school so I also remembering just not feeling a part of. When I started smoking pot I felt instantly like people accepted me, I found a clique of friends and it life quickly became a game of how are we gonna get high."
"Most of my family has experienced addiction, either personally or through having a family member like me. And honestly, before I ever got into a normal routine of being loaded, checking out was my drug. I was the kid in class that could have made straight A’s but would normally just be zoned out and disinterested. I remember being abnormally uncomfortable from a really young age. My first drink though was when I was 8. Me and my buddy snuck some of my Dad’s Carlo Rossi."
"I started using at a pretty young age. When I first started getting high and smoking weed it felt like that was the answer. Like that was the one thing I was missing to make me feel like everyone else in the world… to make me feel human. That quickly progressed into drugs like acid to methamphetamine and then on to cocaine. When I was 16 years old, I got into a lot of trouble and my parents sent me to a boy’s home in Indiana where I lived for a year. About 2 weeks into that I got saved and was first introduced to God and spiritual principles."