So as I mentioned last week I will be featuring one new story per week on the blog.
This week we will be starting with my buddy Dave.
Dave is a 35-year-old recovering addict, originally from New Jersey. David grew up in what I would describe as a regular household. His mother worked in a restaurant while his father supported the family working for the board of education in NJ. Growing up in a middle-class family his hobbies as a kid were mainly sports. He played football, and baseball from the age of seven until after he finished high school.
Before the age of twenty-three, his drug use could best be described as, “recreational.” After a severe baseball injury in which Dave broke his leg, things quickly began to change. It was at this point where he was prescribed opiates for the first time. His doctor fixed him up with a cast, and a prescription for Percocet. Unbeknownst to Dave that prescription came with a progressive, incurable, and even sometimes fatal disease. He describes his first encounter with opiate withdrawal as, “I didn’t know what was happening to me, I was very sick, vomiting, and shaking, so I called my sister.” His sisters remedy to the percocet withdrawal was a Roxy 30 mg which is essentially like throwing gasoline onto an already burning fire.
Dave tried to hide his problem from his family like most of us do in the beginning. This lasted for awhile while he fabricated different excuses for his sudden change in behavior, but eventually, he couldn’t hide it anymore. With the help of his aunt and uncle, Dave went off to treatment for the first time. After only five days he was kicked out of treatment and forced to head back to NJ. His family completely cut him off at this point, realizing they weren’t helping, only hurting him. Dave proceeded to go on a vicious two year run with heroin bringing him to a new all-time low. This run was finally stopped when he was arrested and sentenced to three years in a state prison. Upon his release from prison in 2014 he immediately relapsed. Desperate for a change he reached out to a sober friend and moved down to a sober living in Florida. In an attempt to fit in with the “cool kids” as he describes it, he lied about his clean time to the sober community. Dave relapsed again after this stint in recovery going on yet another run. In a moment of desperation, he finally got honest with his peers and asked for help. He entered his second treatment center at this point. Dave said, “This was the first time I ever really tried, but unfortunately I still got high when I got out.” He continued to go in and out of recovery for a while after that, bouncing from one sober living to another.
In December of 2015, Dave reached out to a mutual friend of ours Adam with the hope that Adam would take him under his wing and sponsor him. Adam was willing to become David’s sponsor under one condition. The condition was that David never lies to him EVER. Beaten, broken, and completely alone he complied with Adam’s rules for sponsorship and so began his new journey in sobriety. Dave said, “This was the turning point for me. This was the first time I ever had a relationship with someone where I told them everything I ever did, and I never left anything out. The fact that I told him everything I ever did, and he didn’t flinch was huge for me. I was finally comfortable just being me.”
Today life is a lot different for my buddy Dave. By the grace of God he is sober 27 months. When asked his favorite thing about being sober he replied, ”I no longer have to worry on a day to day basis or look over my shoulder.” He has now worked all 12 Steps with his sponsor and his sponsee just celebrated his first year sober. He is in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend Virginia. He has his own business and is currently working on purchasing a home. Dave and Virginia also recently celebrated the birth of their first child Ava on 2/9/2018. So with that being said, if you don’t know any heroin addicts who went to prison, moved to a new state, ruined their lives all over again, got sober, fell in love, stayed sober, opened a business, and become a father, now you do. Anything is possible.