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.
"My story is kind of strange because the longest run of using i ever had was probably about a year and a half. Every other time I would just go to treatment, get out and I’d use for two or three months but then I wouldn’t be able to pay bills make it out there any longer.
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.
"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.
"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.
"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.