"I'd felt lost from an early age and always had a lot of questions about what life was and what I was supposed to do. By the time I hit high school I had been thinking I wanted to try out some sort of substance and I ended up settling on weed. I fell in right away with that group of people and it just felt right. This was what I wanted to do. I didn't really experiment with any other drugs or drink until I was about 17 in my senior year of high school. I gradually started that and other pills here and there."
"Looking back at the very first time I drank, I immediately showed signs of being an alcoholic, even though I was only 14 or so. I was on vacation with my family and my dad offered me a beer because it was a special occasion. I had two and I remember REALLY liking it. After he went to bed I stayed up and cleaned out the rest of the beer in the fridge. I even stole some of our family friend's liquor. And this was the very first time I drank. But I still didn't even begin to realize I had a problem for a long time. For a good while I didn't get in too much trouble or have serious consequences, you know?
"So I'm from Daytona Beach, Florida. I grew up in a perfectly normal family and my parents are still married today. I don't know that there was anything that really led to me wanting to drink, except maybe to gain acceptance with friends and all that. Throughout high school I just drank at parties. It didn't really get out of control for the first couple years and for the most part I maintained good grades. I still participated in sports and skated and surfed, all that good stuff. Once one of my buddies turned me on to coke it went downhill from there pretty quickly."
"I started smoking weed and drinking around 11 years old and the main thing I can tell you is that from 11 old until I was 21 when I got sober, I was high or drunk every single day, unless I was locked up. Up until I started using though, I had played sports and was a pretty happy, normal kid. After that though, none of that really mattered anymore."
"I grew up with a mother and father in the home and we had a wonderful family. There wasn’t any history of alcoholism or drug addiction in my family. I never even saw my parents drunk. I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I wasn't born with a plastic one either. For holiday dinners the nicer dishes would come out from the china cabinets. My mother was always trying to teach me proper etiquette- how to eat in front of people and how to behave in social settings. I remember one Thanksgiving she offered us a sip of wine, just a sip, with our dinner. After we said the prayer, the first thing I went for was the wine."
"I used to have a family. I had a son. Looking back at it all now, I can see where God was kind of knocking on my door, trying to get my attention. But I wasn't ready yet. And he had to peel away everything, even to the point where I was lost my family and my son and almost went to prison. Of course when I first starting drinking and using it was all fun and games. But my mom has this little frame of pictures of me through the years. You can see that something changes in me around 7th grade."
"Towards the end, I was getting close to turning 40 and I felt like I had tried everything. I'd moved all over the United States to different jobs and different people, always eventually using again and then changing my number and moving again. I'd tried the religious route where I'm up at the church and I'm crying, bawling my eyes out."
"I was homeschooled up until high school. I come from a really Christian conservative family. I was always pretty involved in the church but mostly just because my family was... and for the good times. Maybe the girls too. I remember going to church and seeing people that were really moved by God, often emotional and crying and having amazing experiences. For me though, I never remember really feeling that."
"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."