My Name is John. I began my recovery journey October 24, 2007.

At 12 years old, I drank a can of beer I stole from my grandmother’s refrigerator. Afterword, something seemed right about how it made me feel. A light-bulb moment followed; it seemed I found a way to control my feelings. Soon my methods became extreme. Before I graduated from high school I was drinking heavily, smoking marijuana, snorting cocaine, and taking acid. I continued to drink and drug as a means of coping until it became a way of life for me.

Eventually I used heroin for the first time at age 27. At times, during a 13 year period, I was snorting lethal amounts of heroin every day. Soon I was living and making decisions based entirely on my chemical obsessions, selfishness, and greed.

I abused drugs and alcohol for more than half of my life and was arrested several times for drug related offences. The last judge to review my court history gave me an ultimatum. I had to commit to intensive outpatient therapy, or spend a lengthy amount of time in jail. I chose therapy.

I never imagined being able to sustain long-term recovery. I learned to trust in the advice of my supporters and developed new coping strategies. I make myself available others in need, and today I seek new challenges instead of avoiding them.

Having the courage to step out of my comfort zone was big for me. Today I am a better father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, and friend. I have an undergrad degree, and I am currently working on my master’s degree also. Most importantly, I continue to face my fears with willingness and acceptance.