I started drinking and smoking marijuana at a young age. My father was in the military and I moved to Germany six weeks after my 16th birthday. My second night there I was in a small town drinking beer and smoking hash with locals. I attended an American high school that allowed me to graduate as a junior and I spent the next two years working odd jobs and traveling to numerous countries in Europe. I continued to drink and smoke hash on a daily basis. When I was 19 I moved back to the U.S. with my family, with no plans for my future.
Unsure of what I was going to do, I moved out to Texas to work with some buddies in construction. After a couple of months my drug use started affecting my work performance and I was fired. I later moved to San Antonio where I joined the United States Coast Guard and they sent me to basic training. I was informed in basic that I tested positive for marijuana and that if I had another positive test I would be discharged. I continued to drink and smoke marijuana.
Three years into my four-year commitment I was discharged. At 22-years-old I returned home to Greenville to stay with my parents. The next two years I was transient, using any and all drugs available. That is when the miracle happened.
I watched a late night commercial that introduced Narcotics Anonymous. When I attended my first meeting I saw several people in attendance that I recognized. I struggled for several months finding my way, but the night of September l, 1988 was the last night I used any mind or mood altering substances.
Therefore, I started my journey of recovery on 9-2-1988 and I have continued to implement the twelve steps and spiritual principals in all my affairs. Recovery afforded the opportunity to complete my Masters degree in Social Work and now work in the Human Services field.
I believe an individual’s recovery plan should be personalized. The “one size fits all” plan does not fit everyone. The only mandatory requirement is that you stay sober. Some find their way through the 12-step program, others through Christ. All that matters is that they found it. As someone in recovery I can promise it gets better. Now, I am busy working with the PORT organization to help people get back on their feet and find their way forward. When recovery is maintained, it produces strong individuals. Recovery does work!