Freedom from Addiction: From Hopeless to Hopeful
Alex's struggle with drugs has come to an end with hard work and a caring environment
Life Before Ventura Recovery Center
My life before Ventura Recovery Center was really a mess. I have been battling heroin addiction for the better part of 12 years. And, I would say about the past 10 years I have been using it intravenously. I had been shooting it. I spent a lot of time alone, just shooting heroin and smoking pot and drinking myself into oblivion. And I really didn’t care.
My life just consisted of waking up sick and wondering how I was going to get money that day to get well. A lot of that involved stealing from my family, stealing from my friends, stealing from stores…really doing anything I could to get what I needed. I really could not care less who I hurt and what I was doing to myself or to others.
My last experience, which really brought me back to recovery, was me overdosing. I was actually brought to by some friends and I was really close to death. It really just shook me to my core. It scared me and it really scared my family, obviously.
So, for me, my life before Ventura Recovery Center was really just like having an empty pit inside of me. I really had nothing to live for. I had completely alienated myself from friends and family. I was using so much that I really didn’t care if I lived or died.
My first experience coming into recovery at Ventura Recovery Center was… it was difficult. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. And, at first, I wasn’t very willing. I didn’t have an open mind. And I was pretty resistant to things people were telling me and trying to show me. So it was really a tough process for me. I did not enjoy looking at myself. It involved a lot of coming to terms with the person I had been and that was something I was not willing to do yet. So, the beginning of my experience…it was very tough. It involved a lot of going back and forth and seeing how I could pick and choose what worked best for me and discarding the rest.
When I first came in to Ventura Recovery Center I genuinely did not believe it was going to work. From my previous experiences at rehabs…I had really not gotten anything out of it. So I approached this experience thinking I wasn’t going to get anything out of it again. I was just taking this as a time for a little vacation. I just wanted to appease my parents. I wanted to get back into their good graces. I didn’t know what else to do but to agree to come to rehab.
What Is Life Like Now?
Life now for me is really really wonderful. My life is full in so many different ways. I am now able to be the son, the brother, the boyfriend that I knew I could be. I am employable. People actually want to be around me. They actually want me to come to family functions. Which, for a long time I didn’t think was possible. I have a great sober network and I am in a place where I have a program, including a sponsor who is just everything to my program. It is what keeps me sober. I really wouldn’t change anything.
What Are Your Family Relationships Like Now?
The way that my sobriety has affected my family and friends is astronomical. It’s like night and day from what it used to be like. Honestly, if you told me that this is the way I would feel before I wouldn’t have believed you.
Considering my experience with family vacations and not being invited. My sister, brither and parents not speaking with me. Not inviting me for Christmas. Friends blocking my number because I was always too messed up to be around them and their children.
Now my life is full of all those things. I talk to my parents regularly. I get to see my sister on a weekly basis. I get to be there for my friends. I get to be there for my friend’s children. It’s something that I thought I would never get to do again. I thought that I was pretty hopeless and that my life would end up with me being alone and being ostracized from my family. So, the fact that I have them back in my life is truly a blessing.
What do you think about Ventura Recovery Center?
What I like about Ventura Recovery Center is the fact that they stress the twelve steps. It’s something that I hadn’t experienced before. The fact that most of their staff is in recovery, it really, it allows me to, whenever I have a situation that I need to speak with someone about I know I have someone that I can go to, to bounce ideas off of. I can always get good advice.
Another thing about Ventura Recovery Center is that they did an amazing job of picking the right sponsor for me. I probably would have picked a sponsor that I thought was a cool guy, that I thought I could be friends with. That’s ultimately not what I need. I need someone that is going to hold me accountable and tell me the way it is. So for them to be able to pinpoint the right person for me and allow someone to change my life has been the huge difference for me.
Along with the fact that they keep you busy, they give you everything you need…whether it is exercise, or therapy, group sessions, or we get to do activities with horses. They have everything to offer. They keep you busy and help you clear your head while also getting to have fun.
Do you have plans for the future?
I have lots of plans for the future. It’s a great experience to be able to even feel like that because for a long time I saw my future as being someone that lived on the street and just shot heroin for a living. Now, the fact that I have actual dreams that I want to try to accomplish and I actually put the work in to accomplish those goals, its really amazing. Getting to be in an environment where I work with other people. I get to sponsor other guys that have gone through what I have gone through. It’s really an amazing experience. I would like to bring what Ventura Recovery Center has done back to the east coast and help people on the east coast because what we have here is really really special. I wish that other people could experience what I have been able to experience.