My name is Mike, I am 41 years old and I am a grateful recovering addict since 6-17-2010.  My story doesn’t start with a tragic childhood; it was actually quite the contrary.  I am an only child to a loving and supportive mom and dad, who raised me with strict rules and regularly took me to our local Church.  I began experimenting with alcohol and marijuana at the age of 13.

I was always a smart kid and tended to gravitate towards a slightly older crowd when it came to choosing friends.  My adolescent endeavors lead me to dealing drugs along with using most everything on my weekly menu.  This lifestyle gave me an inflated ego and a level of self-esteem I never seemed to associate with as a child.  This feeling vastly superseded any of those “strict rules” and morals I was firmly raised to live by.

As time went by I maintained this lifestyle, however despite always being surrounded by lots of people, I always managed to feel alone and I never really knew why.  Finally, I found myself with a pretty substantial work injury which led me to a unique, unannounced love affair with prescription pain killers.  I didn’t need friends, my family, my daughter, or anything else, just more!  Ultimately they led me to a lonely, dark place in which I no longer knew myself or even remembered who I was supposed to be, and had a very expensive heroin and cocaine habit.  On a daily basis I would lie, steal and cheat whoever crossed my path to feed this ugly monster.

Eventually I was arrested on multiple charges and was given a lengthy stay behind bars where my new path began.  After jail I was given the opportunity to trump about 6 months of clean time and attend a local treatment center, where I was to start learning about why I used, how to live without using and was introduced to a caring community of people just like me, who no longer had the desire to use. Together we came to live life on life’s terms without getting high to celebrate, fulfill daily functions or even mourn.

I have learned so much about myself and others in this short time.  I have learned to love others by learning to love myself.  I have learned to be a father to my daughter, a son to my parents and I have the tools to learn to be a good husband to my new bride.  I have found a niche in a career which has allowed us to buy our first home.  I have nothing but gratitude for the opportunity for just one more day sober.  I am grateful to know that I have options today, and today I choose not to use!