My story is a success story about my father who struggled with addiction his entire life.
I was unaware, for my entire childhood, that he had a problem, yet the alcoholism was very apparent. I remember times seeing him crying on the couch, unable to get up because he would drink himself into depression, yelling to himself and anyone who would listen, “why doesn’t my mom love me” or “I’m just a total f**k up”. I remember feeling so sad for him, even as a child, not knowing how to respond or how to help. As time went on, he became angrier. My mom, brother, sister and I all walked on eggshells for a large portion of our lives.
It wasn’t until around 2014 that my mom confessed to me that he wasn’t only an alcoholic. He was abusing methamphetamine, pills, crack, or whatever he could get his hands on. He was a truck driver, spending long days on the road making deliveries all over the country. It was the only thing that would keep him awake, and he used the alcohol to bring him back down when he got back home. Parts of my childhood became very clear to me. My mom sheltered me and my siblings as much as she could, but my siblings are older than me, so they had an idea of what was going on. There was a time that he cleaned up and stopped using everything but alcohol, but the drinking continued. It wasn’t until around that 2014 mark that he started using again. My mom threatened to divorce him, and he said he would clean up again. He didn’t. Instead, he continued to use, and would leave home for days, even weeks, at a time. My mom, finally fed up, packed her things and left.
Dad eventually ended up in the hospital, after he passed out and “thought he had a heart attack” where he also refused drug testing. This is when I found out he used heroine. He came home to my mom being gone, and he completely went off the deep end. He eventually lost his long-time job, lost his home, and eventually lost all of his remaining relationships, including the relationship with us kids. I tried to help him, even with the very estranged relationship we had, by allowing him to put a storage shed in my back yard where he could store his belongings while he looked for a place to live. Instead made it his homestead without my permission. I came home one day to find an extension cord running to the shed, powered by my house. I peeked in the window to find a bed set up, and other belongings in the style of a bedroom/studio. Outraged, I asked him to please leave. He refused, so I had to have him trespassed from my property. He blamed me for all of his losses. When he stopped paying for his shed, the company repossessed it. He told people I had it removed, with everything he owned in it.
Soon after this, his dad passed away, and 8 months later, his brother also passed. He was completely off the deep end at that point. In December of 2021, he was arrested during a drug bust and was put in jail for 30 days. (He later confessed to me that he paid someone $200 to shoot him with fentanyl so he would die, as he felt he had nothing else to live for.) The court gave him the opportunity to be part of their drug court program and he accepted, begrudgingly. At first, he said he just wanted to do the program and be done with it. He didn’t care. But, after about two weeks of attending AA and NA meetings, staying on a tight and strict schedule, submitting to drug testing multiple times a week, he started to take it extremely seriously.
After a little over 16 months, my dad graduated the drug court program in St. Johns County, Florida in July 2023 – with 493 consecutive clean days (and now more). He was one of the oldest participants of the program ever, at 58 years old, and received multiple awards for “soaring above and beyond” every step of the program. He did over 200 meetings, spending every moment of free time that he could attending the meetings and conducting community service. At some point in his recovery, he moved into a sober living home and became President of the home. I could not be prouder of him. He had no proper education of rehabilitation and/or therapy in his tenure as an addict, and he now wants to continue this growth by becoming a counselor for Epic Recovery to help others get through what he went through for so many years of his life. I took videos of the ceremony and his speech and would love to share if possible. Thank you for providing a platform for people to tell their stories and experiences.