My name is Matt, I have been free of drugs and alcohol since August 25th, 2011. I come from an extremely loving family, grew up in a small picturesque town in Michigan, and really had a better childhood than most. Some of my family members did have a history with drugs and alcohol, and I was no exception. I began using drugs and drinking at the age of 12, and quickly was expelled from two different middle schools during the 8th grade. My parents did their best to homeschool me the rest of the school year, and motivate me to complete high school, but I continued to find myself in trouble, and eventually dropped out in my senior year. I moved across the country to California, in what would be one of a few geographical relocations. I began to experiment with harder and harder drugs. It was there that my first real consequences were realized, being kicked out of leases, short stints of homelessness, and after a while having to throw in the towel and move back to Michigan for a fresh start. It was back in Michigan that I began injecting heroin, I felt I had finally found the solution to my problems.

Life deteriorated quickly, family distanced themselves from me, friendships fell apart, all interests and hobbies thrown aside to continue to get high; no part of this progression was manageable. After getting kicked out of another place, my sister had me move to South Carolina with her, and my addiction continued to progress. After some time in South Carolina I was convinced to go to a medical detox center, where I conveniently did not feel the effects of withdraw. I was discharged after a week with a prescription for Suboxone, and really thought I had this whole heroin thing licked. I moved back to Michigan and in less than a month was using heroin again, and it only worsened from there. Within a year my family and friends completely cut ties with me, and I found myself in a one room apartment you could rent by the week. This room contained only a single bed and a broken lamp, I contemplated suicide daily, and lost all hope of leading a normal life again. I could not picture life with or without heroin.

A close friend called and told me of a non-medical, long term rehabilitation center, and by some act of divine intervention, I agreed I would go. I was immersed into a 12-step recovery community focused on abstinence from drugs and alcohol, and was guided to begin living a spiritual life. Today I can say that I am free from drugs and alcohol, and I continue to practice a program which improves my life and keeps me on the right path. In the last year, I got married to an amazing woman, we bought a home together, adopted the love of our life (our dog) and have forged irreplaceable relationships with others in this community. My family and I are closer than ever before, and over the last few years I have advanced in a career I am proficient at, and extremely grateful for. I know hundreds of people who have recovered from opiate addiction, chances are you know some too. We are all around, living lives we were given back through recovery, full of hope and gratitude.