by Victor K.
I was born in Phoenix, Arizona as an only child with two loving parents. My parents were quite wealthy, so growing up I would get many toys and gifts on Christmas and my birthday. That being said, I had a very good childhood, and I got along with my friends and did well in school. Drugs and alcohol were yet to be in the picture for me.
My dad would drink at least 3 drinks every night, and my mom drank lightly on occasion. When I was around 10 years old, I found out we were moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana so that my mom could finish her residency as a doctor. I did not know how to register this, but I was a little depressed when we downsized to an apartment and the crummy weather. I got accustomed to my new environment and continued on the track to being a good school kid.
Three years passed and I learned that we were moving once again, this time to Lakewood Ranch, Florida. I was very against it, and no one could convince me that it was a good idea. We moved in when I was around 13, and I thought everything was too good to be true. The neighborhood was too nice, the house was too nice, the neighbors were too nice. It took me longer to adjust in Florida, and I became depressed again. I started becoming interested in the “cool” kids at school, who were “cool” because they were always under the influence and did not have a care in the world.
Somehow, I became acquainted with one of the “cool” kids who I will call Johnny. Me and Johnny started hanging out often, and eventually I got high for the first time with him at the age of 15 on my Adderall prescription. Me and Johnny were on a euphoric roll all night and then crashed in the morning, and I became very paranoid and had bad visual hallucinations. I thought to myself, I will never again do that.
That commitment was broken in a matter of weeks, when I got high on weed for the first time with Johnny. This timeI did not feel a crash and I fell in love with the drug. At first, I would only get high once a month, but eventually my use increased. I was also starting to drink from my parent’s liquor cabinet every now and then with my friends.
For the first time in my life, my grades began to slip, and my depression and anxiety became constant. At one point, I tried to buy some LSD in high school and I almost got caught. I had to talk with the Dean of the school and this scared me enough to transfer to a private school so that I could straighten my life up.
Once I moved to the private school, I got sober. I felt very out of place, and I had a difficult time fitting in with my peers there. I was very quiet, but my grades did start to improve. I joined the swim team, and did well there, however, it did not take long for me to return to my bad habits. Within a year, I was back to drinking and getting high, as I found that group of “cool” people even in the small private school. This was a valuable lesson that I learned when I look back at my life, that geographical changes are not enough to cure my Alcoholism. I started hanging out with old friends, and picked up right where I left off. I managed to graduate high school with flying colors, and I was accepted into the University of South Florida (USF).
With my newfound independence going into college, my addiction got very bad as I had less accountability. More fuel was added to the fire because I was always hanging out with my new girlfriend who enjoyed the same drugs as me, and the COVID epidemic made me want to run away from my problems more. My use at this point became daily, and I became delusional – I had difficulty discerning my fantasies from reality. Time flew by quickly, and there was little emphasis put on school. I did not have a job, and my parents were giving me monthly allowances. All that money went to food, drugs, and gas for my car. My addiction led me to getting into two car accidents in 2020, and my relationship with my girlfriend turned sour. I broke up with her at the end of that year, and I had a firm resolution to sober up and try to fix my life again.
In the first half of 2021, I only drank on occasion and my grades went back up. At this point, however, I was not doing anything in recovery, and I felt very alone and miserable. I felt like a ticking time bomb, and I had a hard time finding any peace in my life being single and sober. Once the spring semester ended and I went back home to my parents, something in me snapped and I drove straight to the old drug dealer’s house and got high again. Once again, I picked up right where I left off, and started experimenting with harder drugs. I would get high with my dealer every day, and my morals got lower and lower. Nothing could stop me from getting high. I eventually maxed out my credit card and tried to become a dealer to make my money back quickly. I ended up getting robbed as a result, and I was at a very low point in my life. The people I was hanging out with were not my friends, they were just people I would get high with.
I thought I would stop getting high before the fall semester started, but at the rate I was going, I was powerless over when I could stop. I was a train of chaos going at 100 miles per hour, and I ended up not attending one class that fall semester. My use continued to increase, and eventually I was getting a panic attack every time I would get high, thinking that my heart was going to pop, and my lungs were going to collapse. I tried to stop on my own multiple times, but at that point I was only able to muster up one to two days of sobriety. Drugs and alcohol brought me to my knees.
Once the fall semester was over, I knew that I could not go on like that. I told my parents everything that was going on, and they both cried. I cut off everything cold turkey, including my old friends. I detoxed in my room, and every waking moment I wanted to kill myself. I convinced my parents that I needed to go to a residential rehab center, and they agreed.
On January 12th, 2022, I got admitted to Turning Point of Tampa. That was also the date I got sober. That comes to show how powerless I was over drugs and alcohol, and that I could not get sober until I was admitted into a facility. I stayed there for thirty days and learned a lot about my condition. I met many good people there and began creating a network of sober people I could rely on. I got a sponsor and went through the 12 steps of AA with him in the first half of 2022. I continue to call him to this day, and I am now able to sponsor newcomers in the program. When I was discharged I attended IOP for two months and then moved into sober living. Sober living has helped me tremendously, as it has helped me live in a sober environment and stay accountable with my recovery. I have so many amazing friends from the sober house, and we always go to meetings together. We also do many fun activities like fishing, swimming, working out, racquetball, volleyball, getting tattoos, going to shows, and more. I also see a therapist and a psychiatrist to keep up with my mental health.
When I moved into sober living, I was required to work a minimum of 20 hours a week. My mom gave me a job at the company she works for, and I also got a job as a loader at Lowes. These first two jobs were supposed to be simple, “humble” jobs to get me back on my feet again. There were many times when I didn’t enjoy them, but I knew they were necessary for long-term sobriety and simply a steppingstone to my future career. After a year of sobriety, God gave me an amazing opportunity to work as a behavioral health technician at a local treatment center. I never would have thought I would have this job so soon, and I really enjoy working with the clients there. I have found a great amount of my peace in life having gone through the 12 steps. I feel like I am part of a community now, and I go to my homegroup AA meeting every Friday that I can. After taking a break from school, I am back at USF, this time studying to become a therapist. I never thought my life would be this great, and I am eternally grateful for it.