Hi, I’m Jeff, and I have been in recovery for five months now. I abused drugs, especially prescription drugs like Klonopin and OxyContin, for many years. It started in my teenage years and gradually escalated to the point that I was always high. It got really bad. My health was suffering. I was thin as a rail, I couldn’t sleep at night and I found it hard to keep a job. It’s hard to work when you feel like death all the time.
I suffered some terrible losses over the past three years. Two of my friends died of heroin overdoses, and then my sister died while giving birth, leaving behind a beautiful baby girl. It was just too much to handle. I turned to drugs big time. I was suppressing my feelings and medicating myself with drugs.
I went to stay with my aunt and uncle for a while, thinking I could get clean on my own if I was in a different place. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. You can’t get off benzos on your own. It’s too dangerous. My parents thought I was clean, and they sent me to stay with my friend’s mom so I could be away from the bad influences in my hometown. As soon as she saw me, she knew I was in trouble and strongly “encouraged” me to go to rehab. She said she saw her own son die, and she wasn’t going to enable. I knew I needed to go, so I agreed. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. We went for an assessment that day. They told me I needed medically supervised detox, so we scrambled to find a place. We found one, but it was only a two-week program, and I knew I needed more.
My friend’s mom found a place for me to go, and I chose to go for 90 days figuring the longer I stayed, the better my chances of recovery. That was a really mature decision I couldn’t or wouldn’t have made only two weeks earlier. I’m so glad I did!
Rehab changed me. It was the best thing that could have happened to me, and I am proud to say I have stayed off drugs ever since. I have moved to a sober living home now, and it’s really helping me to stay on track. I learned so much about myself and about addiction. I learned to let my feelings out instead of suppressing them. I learned addiction is a disease that requires ongoing, permanent vigilance. I know I must stay humble and aware of the fact that I am powerless. I can’t do whatever I want and stay in recovery. I know it’s important to keep going to meetings and working the program, and I intend to do just that.
Here’s a piece of advice I would like to share with others: You can’t be clean while living dirty. You can’t run with the same people, keep secrets or be dishonest with yourself. You can’t be at the bar and expect to not drink. My counselor told me, “You may not have taken your last pill, but you’ve taken the last one you will enjoy,” and he was right on the money. I know where the next pill will lead, and it’s not pretty. I am not going back there.
I want people to know they never have to drink or use drugs again. I’m living proof that it can be done. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. I’m so happy now living on my own in a brand new city, making new friends and living a great life. I’m pretty proud of myself, and I know you can do it too!