Recovery is difficult, help can make it happen

For an addict, one is too many, and a thousand is never enough.

Valentino Jorge

When you hit the pipe, shoot up, smoke or drink a beer for the first time, you’re ruined because the cycle of your addiction begins.

This is an everyday battle.

We tell ourselves to take it one day at a time.

We can capture the opportunities in the present, so we can look forward to a brighter future. Change is good. Help is out there.

I was introduced to drugs through friends.

Cigarettes were my gateway drug at 8. When I was 9, I started smoking weed.

When I was 10, I got my first taste of LSD.

Between 11 and 12, I started using cocaine, crack, PCP, heroin and meth.

When I was using, my family and friends didn’t trust me enough to leave me in their houses alone.

I was known for stealing money, rings, earrings — anything and everything that I could use to buy more drugs.

On Oct. 13, 2010, I lost my son. I was 14. My son was stillborn. His mother was in labor for eight hours.

When my son came out, he was not crying, so I thought everything was OK.

The doctor told me that he was the happiest baby he had ever seen.

However, when the nurse took my son from the doctor and gave him to me, he told me “I’m sorry, sir, but your son is dead.”

After, I tried to hang myself in the hospital bathroom.

I remember taking my last breath, then everything went black.

A male nurse found me, and they brought me back.

In the 2011-2012 school year, I dropped out of high school after I was caught using drugs in the locker room during a football game and was kicked off the team.

I started going back to high school in 2014, and I graduated in 2016.

But I was still using through all of this.

I tried to stay clean throughout those years, but I would always relapse.

The last time I relapsed was in the summer of 2016. I was on crack, meth and heroin.

I was going through 9.75 grams of crack three times a week.

I was using 4 grams of meth a week. I shot heroin daily. I also got drunk every morning.

On Sept. 1, 2016, I had enough and decided to get sober for my son. If he had lived, I knew he would not be proud of me.

I cried for about two hours that day and told myself I was going to become a better person.

I know my son is looking down at me and that he is proud of his dad. I have turned into a better person.

I never thought I would ever be sober, but recovery has changed my life.

I finally have money in my pocket.

I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to get my next fix.

College has helped me a lot. It occupies my mind, and there is always something to do here whether it’s hanging out with friends, walking around or going to events.

I go to rehab groups. Without these groups, I don’t know what I would do.

When I became clean, my friends and family started to trust me again. I remember the first friend who told me to lock up after myself while staying at her house.

I couldn’t believe she was letting me stay there alone.

I had stolen thousands of dollars from her, and she welcomed me into her home.

Don’t get me wrong, being in recovery is very hard for me.

I want to use every day, so I go to college every day of the week to occupy my mind.

But this is the first in six years I didn’t relapse on my birthday. I know my son is proud.

If you are struggling with addiction, please don’t hesitate to get help. I will be more than happy to lend a hand.

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