"I lived in Texas until I was 8. I did most of my growing up though in Chicago, where I lived until I was 28 when I was sent to treatment for the last time. I'm an only child of my parents. I do have step brothers and sisters but I'm the only alcoholic/addict in my family that I know of. So I wasn't raised by wolves or anything like that. I have a loving mother who gave me all that I needed and made sure I went to school.
"I grew up in an alcoholic home, but I didn't know that at the time. I think the first time I got drunk I was around five years old. I was the bartender at one of my dad's barbecues. I'd open the drinks for them and get to take a sip and before I knew it everyone was looking for me and I was passed out in my room. In 8th grade, I started smoking pot and had always been curious about it. So I started smoking with my buddies from school but nothing too bad at first.
“I’ve been clean since February 1st, 1977. I started using in earnest when I was 14. The first two years I didn't have any problems and it was a lot of fun. But then I got to a place where I knew that something was wrong in my life but I just couldn't figure out what it was.
"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.
"My emotions for coping have always been anger. I was always an angry man and my kids really took the worst of that. I wasn't violent toward them but i was just quick to anger, emotionally distant and didn't talk with them enough.
"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.