- Friends & Family
Sumbitted by: Marta Mrotek
How did your recovery journey start?
It started when I was 16 and I’m 30 now. My parents started dragging me to meetings when I was smoking pot and brought me to outpatient and there I was, introduced to 12 step programs. I was in and out at that time. I didn’t want to get sober for a while. When 18 came around I figured I’d try something a little harder, so then came cocaine and then the same year crystal meth and heroin jumped into the picture. I went to rehab when I was 19 for crystal meth. After I got out, I thought it would be okay to drink. I figured…I’m a tweaker. I don’t have a problem with alcohol. But from that, it was only a day or two later that I started back up again with everything.
I went back to rehab again on a few different occasions. Hospitalized overdoses on a few occasions and when 21 came around, needles and all the stuff that goes along with that. Stealing, taking from my parents and feeling justified about whatever I did because it seemed like if you just knew how I felt you’d do the same thing. There’s nothing too terribly traumatic that happened but I just didn’t get it. Over and over and over again I just kept doing the same thing. I would always tell myself that if I could even do a half a hit a day for the rest of my life I’d be okay. If it would just take away the discomfort inside it would be worth it. But it didn’t work. I went over to my buddy’s house to get a gram, thinking that I was going to start with this plan of a half a hit of weed a day for the rest of my life. That was my intention. I got to my buddy’s house and he loads up this 6 foot bong and within days I was shooting heroin again. I don’t know how it happened, but it happened.
What was the turning point for you?
The end point was when things just wouldn’t work anymore. I had been kicked out of so many places. I tried to move in with a lady that let me live with her before and started stealing from her. At the end I took $20 out of her purse and this kid that was there told her. When she started blowing up my phone I wouldn’t answer and when I came back she told me I could stay the night but I’d have to go in the morning. I had known her from the time that I’d been clean. She was crying and said to me, “so this is who you really are huh?” A junkie. She sent me packing. I left there and went to a super pawn to get a $100 for this iPad my parents had helped me to get out of hoc. I was waiting to meet this guy, shivering and shaking with my skin crawling, feeling the cigarette burns on the inside of my shorts against my skin. If you’ve never been through it, I’ll tell you. It’s horrible. I remember screaming a lot. Two minutes turned into two hours or it felt like two days.
It’s funny how we’ll put tremendous amounts of work and go through anything to get high, because it comes before everything else. Finally this guy pulls into the parking lot and I went to his car and got what I could afford. I went straight back to my truck and while I was getting everything ready this lady walks out of McDonald’s just doing her regular old thing. She was putting her two little kids in the car and stuff. Meanwhile, I’m sinking down in my shame trying to hide. I looked over and saw the balloon and the baggie and thought, “what’s after this?” That thought had never crossed my mind before.
This is 12 years since I started using and I finally wondered what comes next. I’ll feel like after I take this shot I might feel well but I’m just gonna be sick again. Something had to happen. I didn’t know what but something had to happen right then, that day. I started thinking about all the suicide stuff. I thought about shooting myself. But if I had a gun, I’d probably pawn it. I thought about hanging myself because I had a friend who had done that a couple of months before. That seemed like a good idea. But then I started thinking about this dude from the 12 step programs. Through all those years, even though I never got anything out of it, I always noticed this one guy. He was always there and I thought, it must work for somebody. It’s been 12 years and he’s still there. So I went to detox. After that I went to the Salvation Army and that was it.
How is your life different?
Everything is different than it used to be. All I used to think about is me. Now I know it’s not about me. I feel like you can’t get too comfortable in any aspect of life. All along I kept thinking I’d like to be one of these helping people. People started telling me that this is something I could do. They said if I got sober I could work there and now I do. I moved in with my girlfriend and got married. I inherited a stepson.
Every milestone along the way has happened at just the right time, which makes me believe it’s not me making all this happen. I stopped believing in coincidence a long time ago.
The big I’ve found is that the only thing that was going to work was major change. I had to be thrown into a different life. Everything had to be different.