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Time for Change | Turning Point of Tampa

I Needed to Change Everything

by Sam F.

I had every reason in the world to stop using and drinking, but never cared enough to ever do anything about it. To me, I was the main character, I was invincible, and nobody could tell me otherwise. Since I was 17, I had been in and out of treatment centers, mental hospitals, and many detoxes. Never at any point did I ever tell myself, “Maybe I should change.” Because to me, changing was giving up comfort and what I knew. Changing meant I was going to HAVE to care about myself and my life.

Since a young age, I had always displayed addictive tendencies, even before drugs. I had another family member in active addiction and was exposed to the dangers/behaviors associated with drinking. I told myself, “I’d never do that,” believing it wholeheartedly. But eventually that changed as my teenage years went by and I found myself doing the EXACT same things they did. Around 16, my life and personality were using and drinking. I never at any point tried to manage it until consequences would add up. Psych ward stays at first and then treatment followed.

My life then centered around using and going to treatment. I spent a lot of time at first being social, but soon found myself using by myself because I never wanted anyone to see how bad it was starting to get, or they would start telling me to change. My friends all just thought my family was overprotective and overreacting. Around 18, I started using harder substances. I began getting kicked out of my parents’ house and could barely afford to stay anywhere else.  I would run out of money, swear to my parents I needed treatment, get out and stay sober for a little while, then go back to what I was doing. I never wanted to get clean.

I ended up homeless living in the gutter of Miami after overdosing 5 times over the span of a couple months at age 19, 3 of which my heart had stopped. I broke into my parents’ house and was given an ultimatum: Go to jail or go to detox. Easy choice.  After finding a way to get baker acted while in detox, I had what some would call a spiritual experience. I was told by another patient (named “Pirate”) to try something, and that was to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself that I loved myself. I was at the point where I was willing to listen to whoever, so I did it. For the first time in my entire life, I felt hope as I stared back at myself crying in the mirror after doing what I was told to try. I decided to give up and give into this program.

My parents then filed a Marchman Act and from there I made my way to TPOT. I was quickly reality checked while I was there. I needed to change everything. So, for once, I did anything that was suggested to me. Life has gotten to a point now where I never thought I’d be. Everything I’ve ever wanted and more has been gifted to me. I have friends that love me, I give my family peace of mind and that same family member has joined me in recovery again. This attitude of being the invincible, main character is gone. No more reservations. But the most important thing I have now is that I get to help someone the same way I was helped. I get to help people change. 


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