I was extremely worried about my husband. He was being irrational and not thinking clearly. I felt like he wasn’t going to be accepting of treatment and instead would just go through the motions. But, his therapist and the staff stuck with it and I felt comfortable that I could relax and didn’t have to take on everything on my own.
Ambrosia is the real deal. I received true individualized treatment while attending to my business and personal affairs at home. This relieved the stigma of being in rehab and gave me the independence I needed to tackle my disease with one foot in the real world while receiving clinical supervision and feedback. Thank you for giving me my life back!
My experience at Ambrosia was very positive. They made treatment as comfortable as possible and the amenities were wonderful. The staff and holistic services were great and it was not a stressful environment at all. There was plenty of time for relaxation and self-examination, as well as time to work on my recovery. While I was resistant to go away for treatment it certainly was a wise decision. I’m so glad my family chose Ambrosia. Thank you so much!!
There is not enough time in a day to describe how grateful I am for everyone at Ambrosia. From admissions through post care, every staff member and clinical personnel were kind, friendly, supportive and sincere with getting me the best treatment that I needed. The knowledge and care that everyone provided for me was first class, and extremely beneficial. I would highly recommend Ambrosia to anyone who thinks they might have a problem.
I benefited greatly from Ambrosia. It changed my life. I needed to re-calibrate my thinking, rekindle a strong spiritually connection and learn more about how to stay sober. The staff was terrific and made things go seamlessly. I am looking forward to continuing the work that needs to be done with my therapist.
I experienced many breakthroughs while here at Ambrosia and for that I am grateful.
The living space at Ambrosia Singer Island is extremely comfortable. The rooms and common areas are kept very clean. The counselors are good. I would recommend this facility to anyone looking for a more mature atmosphere (age>30) for their treatment.
The counseling is top notch, some of the best I’ve ever had. The techs were extremely helpful and accommodating. The facility is beautiful. Overall, a great program that I’d recommend to anyone I care about.
Overall, a comfortable experience. Ate well and had time to relax and reflect. Small group is very beneficial. Counselors seem skilled and understanding. A good time away from substances and time to get a clear head.
I love the approach of Ambrosia Treatment Center at Singer Island to heal not only mind, body and soul but to also educate about the addiction and to understand the underlying problems associated with drinking.
This place is awesome.
It was a good experience. If you work the system it works for you. This was my first 30 day program and it was nice to be with other adults and learn how to get along with people again.
To be honest, Ambrosia did help me a lot from the beginning. Very good counselors that really want the best for you, if you are willing to do the work.
It has been an incredible experience, what I needed. I have gone from “why can’t I stop?” to “what can I do to prevent a relapse?”.
Wonderful experience. I enjoyed the serenity and easy going staff. It is easy to talk with the staff, they treat you very professionally, never put you down. If I ever had a question, Everybody got back to me. They made me feel good when they knew me by name the first day. I felt like I fit in. Facility is very clean, lots to do. Nice outside environment. So much I liked
Love Ambrosia and the staff here. Top notch, top notch.
It was a good step. I had a good experience here because of the housing, staff and community.
Great facility. Caring and respectful staff. Good place to complete treatment.
A very structured program with a good balance and helps with co-occurring disorders. Not faith-based program. Wonderful program with highly trained counselors.
My husband struggled with addiction most of his life and has been to several facilities. I hoped that this time he would make a change. He did complete the program….and he has his life back. I have my husband back! After so many years, I am just grateful he’s on the right track. He shared with me that the clinical staff met with him and created a unique program to work for his needs. They were very supportive to him and me. I would recommend this center to anyone that needs support and understanding.
The best decision I ever made was coming to Ambrosia. It was a very positive experience that has aided in saving and shaping my life.
Peter battled addiction for over 20 years. In January 2018, he finally got (and stayed sober) after treatment at Ambrosia.
“My therapist really got down to the core of what my problem is. She’s given me tools to walk out that door today and be a sober man, and to stay a sober man.”
Sober since 2013, Joe explains why living life his way wasn’t working, and how his time at Ambrosia helped him to finally take suggestions from others.
After multiple trips in and out of treatment, Lauren explains what made this time different. Sober since 2011, Lauren now works at Ambrosia. The very facility that changed her life.
“I had to make it on my own and that’s the best thing my family has ever done for me.”
Michael came to Ambrosia 5 years ago and has been sober ever since. He explains why self-acceptance is vital to his recovery. The tools he learned here still help him stay away from alcohol, one day at a time.
“I have the tools that Ambrosia gave me. I have the capability of sitting through the discomfort and knowing it’s going to get better.”
Erik explains how finally getting sober at Ambrosia in 2012 allowed him to become the person he wanted to be.
“My advice to you is not to hesitate. You don’t have to be this person anymore.”
Paschal came to Ambrosia in 2014 and has been sober ever since, even though he was initially resistant to the recovery process.
“Today, life is good. I have a house to live in. I’m getting married soon. I’ve got my own car. I can pay my bills and have a little money in my pocket.”
From prestigious university researchers to Hall-of-Fame football players — they could select any treatment center in the world to work with. They stand behind Ambrosia for a reason.
Quite simply, we’ve been in business for over 10 years, and we do good work. Our care goes well above the standards of insurance companies, state boards and our competitors. We don’t cut corners and we do what’s right for each person — no matter what.
Here’s an exact quote from this year’s DCF state inspection report:
“The organization has made it its goal to keep maintaining excellence in everything they do. Their clients are very satisfied with their clinical treatment and the therapists are always open to new suggestions to give their clients the best treatment. “
Here’s another quote from a letter written by State Attorney Dave Aronberg:
“Please accept our heartfelt appreciation for you dedicated and distinguished service, and for all you have done and continue to do to ensure that individuals with substance use disorder not only receive appropriate care but are protected from predators with the industry.”
What you deny or ignore, you delay. What you accept and face, you conquer.
Fans would be surprised to know how much of a drug culture exists behind the scenes in the pro football.
In the 1980s, it was out of control. Without much thought, I found myself regularly abusing alcohol and cocaine. Despite the partying, I was looking pretty good on the field and my lifestyle was still hidden from the public.
However, in the summer of 1990, cocaine caused me to fail my third drug test. Buddy Ryan, the coach of the Eagles at the time, had enough. I was released from the team after just three seasons. To make matters worse, word was starting to get out. I was becoming branded as a problem player before I even wanted to admit the problem to myself. For too many young athletes, this is where their story takes a terrible downward spiral.
If it wasn’t for the Minnesota Vikings, drugs and alcoholism would have ended my career too.
My new team invested so much in me. I owe everything to the Vikings. Though being dropped from the Eagles was a harsh wake-up call, getting and staying sober was hard. I struggled even with plenty of help and motivation to get my life together.
Ultimately, the Vikings got me to the right people — like the people at Ambrosia — who taught me how to live the rest of my life. I didn’t have to be a prisoner to the things that held me back before. I could finally tap into my athletic ability and give it 100 percent. My lifestyle completely changed to focus on my workouts and training.
Because of this life-changing shift, I was able to accomplish so many of the dreams that I had ever since I was a little boy.
Being in recovery allowed me to play in the Pro Bowl for eight consecutive seasons, retire with more than 1,000 career catches and, ultimately, make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I can say with absolute certainty that I would have never achieved any of this without my sobriety.
As proud as I am of my accomplishments as a wide receiver, I am even more proud to have been named NFL’s Man of the Year. I feel so passionate about preventing addiction and helping those already struggling. I work with a variety of charities to get underprivileged kids to understand the importance of staying in school and away from the party scene. For those already caught up in drugs and alcohol, there is hope. I know firsthand that everyone possesses the inner strength to escape the iron grip of addiction.
To save lives, we need to take the stigma out of addiction.
Through my active involvement in the recovery community, I see too many people not getting the help they need because of shame. As a society, we need to put to rest the idea that being an alcoholic or a drug addict is something to be embarrassed about. The reality is that addiction is a disease. It is all around us. Addiction is not a crime, and it is not a choice.
If my story can inspire even one person to seek help and turn their life around, then I need to keep telling it. I’m partnered with Ambrosia’s drug rehab Florida and drug rehab California Not just for pro players, but for over 10K people across the country and their families. There is hope. You just have to call.
I was drawn to anything and everything that took me out of reality.
I remember laying on an air mattress that didn’t inflate anymore, in 80-degree weather, no air conditioning, empty vodka bottles laying on the floor and feeling absolutely miserable. I watched as my family slowly slipped into hopelessness right along with me. It was the worst ten years of my life. I had nothing and no one left towards the end of my addiction. I drained anybody that cared for me of everything they had.
I remember the feeling of just wanting to end it all. I envisioned what it would be like when I finally got the nerve to take my own life. I pictured my father, who had died earlier that year, taking my hand and telling me it was all over. As constructed a plan to take my own life, I heard a voice clear as day that said, “You’re better than this.” I sat straight up and looked around my room, only to find that I was hallucinating. But I couldn’t shake that voice. It sparked something inside me, and I immediately knew what I had to do. I mustered up every ounce of courage, hope and sanity I had left and texted my mother, “I NEED HELP!” That was all she was waiting to hear. I was on a plane heading to treatment within 48 hours.
I knew I had a chance that not a lot of addicts get. I knew I had the will to fight. I knew I had to get sober.
I went to detox and a 90-day program at a treatment center in South Carolina. When I left, I thought I was ready to be on my own. I got an apartment and relapsed a day later. I continued to use for about two weeks until my mother intervened and told me I had to go back to treatment. Something was missing from my recovery. I kicked and screamed, but eventually gave in. Not because I didn’t want to be sober, but because I was so angry at myself for relapsing. I broke down and went to Ambrosia, ready to forgive myself and work harder than ever before.
If you put as much work into your recovery as you did into using, you’ll have a strong foundation.
The best part of being sober is looking in the mirror and being able to say I’m proud of myself. I have the freedom to live life without worrying about my next fix. When I lay my head on my pillow, I can smile because I know I was the best version of myself that day. And, I know that tomorrow I get the chance to be an even better person than I was the day before.
Recovery feels better than I had ever imagined. It’s the most empowering and freeing feeling you’ll ever have. My biggest accomplishment since getting sober is being able to rebuild my relationships. I can pick up the phone and call my mom, my sister or my stepdad and have a genuine conversation, and that’s the best feeling in the world. Even though I don’t have their total trust back, I have much more than I had before. I have friends now who want to spend time with me without any ulterior motives.
I worked hard and didn’t let the tough moments take me down. I kept on keeping on.
My goal is to stay sober by taking baby steps through life. I’ve got to where I am by being patient and letting my higher power lead me to where I’m needed next. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I know that as long as I stay sober and let my higher power lead the way, I’m going to be just fine.
It’s okay not to know the answers. Keep taking the next step, no matter how small, and before you know it, your life will be better than you could have ever imagined.
In my early 20’s, I was diagnosed with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, and my doctor started me on pain medication. Before I knew it, my life was a train wreck. I hated the person I was. Growing up in church, I believed that addiction was a moral issue, and I loathed the fact that prayer wasn’t taking it away. I was a danger to myself and everyone around me. I began stealing from anyone I could get close to support my habit. I overdosed multiple times, and even after a week in the ICU on a ventilator, I still couldn’t come to terms with the fact I had a problem.
My spirit was gone; I was just a shell of a human trying to survive one day to the next.
I tried and failed at every attempt to get sober. I was alone, isolated and felt like all hope was gone. I couldn’t hold down a job, had no friends and tried as best I could to keep my addiction from everyone.
My marriage fell apart and ended in divorce. I lost custody of my kids, and my daughter (who was about six at the time) asked to live with my parents. I sucked the life out of everyone that loved me and kept them in constant fear that I would die or end up in jail. They couldn’t ever be at peace, because I would not allow that. My daughter witnessed paramedics trying to revive her lifeless mother on more than one occasion. She was so used to the chaos that it felt normal to her.
In May of 2014, I was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and possession of a controlled substance. That same month I overdosed again. My parents were done. They would no longer continue to allow me to live in their home in the condition I was in. I made the decision to get treatment and completed my fifth and final rehab stay. After treatment, I followed up with sober living. I completed the program, got a sponsor, worked the steps and even went on to become the house manager of my sober home.
My life today is one of redemption and hope.
I know I can face whatever comes my way by doing the next right thing. I don’t live in fear or spend my days chasing the next high. I feel free to be myself, and no longer live in the shame I once did. I am surrounded by like-minded people who support me and my recovery.
I have a peace that I can’t explain. The relationships with my children and family have been restored, and I can finally look myself in the mirror and love the person I see. There are hard days, but my worst day sober is always better than my best day high. The most important thing I have accomplished is having my children and family back in my life. They trust me today, and that is a complete turnaround from the life I had five years ago.
Since I got sober, I have been fortunate to work in the substance abuse field, where I can help others find sobriety. It’s a miracle that I can now be an advocate for those who are struggling just like I was. Recently, I started Hope@First, a support group for those that have a loved one struggling with addiction, and I am working towards licensure as a drug and alcohol counselor. I plan to keep fighting and advocating for those suffering from addiction. You never know what kind of impact you might have on someone’s life.
Trust the process! Never give up and stick close to people who are sober, and NEVER, no matter how hard, forget that there is hope!
Listen to the people you trust and follow their direction.
My addiction started with smoking weed with friends or an occasional party on the weekend, but I quickly became interested in harder drugs, especially pills and psychedelics.
Within a few years, my life had become a living hell. I would do anything to get money for the next high, even putting my life on the line. My actions tore my family and my relationships apart. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t be there for anyone I cared about. I let everyone I knew and loved down for years. The end of my spree resulted in a domestic violence charge and jail. Something had to change.
Eventually, I found myself out of options.
I bounced around from rehab to rehab trying to get better, but sobriety wasn’t sticking. I would make some progress and build things back up just to tear them down again. When things got bad enough, I made the decision to head back to treatment for the last time and do things the right way.
Immediately, something was different. For the first time, I admitted that I didn’t know what was best for me. I immersed myself in the program and took every suggestion that my counselors and my peers gave me. I no longer had a choice. I was desperate to figure out how to manage life without drugs and alcohol as a crutch, and I was willing to do whatever it took to get there. Only then did I start seriously working on myself. Going through the steps and getting in touch with a power greater than myself is the only thing that got me out of the mess I created to where I am now.
I could never have imagined being in the position I am in today.
My life is amazing. I have finally found a purpose and I have solutions to negative feelings other than getting high. Now I’m able to show up for family and friends and be an example. My relationships with my family and friends are completely different now. I’ve been able to right many of the wrongs that I did while I was using. I truly feel like I’m not the same person that did those things in the past.
I have found inner peace.
One of the best things I can do now that I am sober is to help others recover like so many people helped me. It’s the only way I get to keep what I’ve gained along the way. I recently went back to school to become a drug and alcohol counselor so I can pass this knowledge to the next person who needs it.
My goal is to continue down the path of recovery and go back to school for my psychology degree so I can be more effective to others. Today I have real friendships, sponsees and relationships with people that I thought would never speak to me again. I had to fall hard to get back up, but I wouldn’t trade anything where I am today.
My daughter was desperate before Ambrosia took her in. She couldn’t stay sober, and I couldn’t stand her. She wasn’t welcome in my home anymore. I know it was heartbreaking for her to hear me say that. She thought I hated her for all the awful things she put me through. Some days it felt like she was right. I read an old letter she wrote at her first rehab in 2015, where she listed the positive things about herself. It made me cry knowing that person, her old self, was gone.
Kelsey has a daughter, but she didn’t really know her. She didn’t know her clothes size or what she liked to do. Sometimes, her own child was afraid of her. Kelsey put on a great façade, pretending everything was OK when she was always high, but it became too much. She gave up emotionally and just tapped out.
I spent every minute of every day worried about my daughter.
It became so bad that I stopped living altogether. I existed only in the chaos. Were the police going to come knocking? Was I going to get a call that my daughter had been arrested? What would be missing when I got home? I walked around distracted by a permanent fog.
After years living like this, there was nothing left to do but stop. Stop trying to save her. Stop covering and giving her money. Stop talking to her altogether. I told my daughter that unless she went to treatment, I would not be able to have her in my life. It went against the permanent feelings of love that I will always have for her, but there was nothing left. We were both living in ruins and so was our relationship. The only thing I could fix was myself.
I didn’t know what to do or where to go, but I knew I needed help too. I eventually found the Facebook group “The Addict’s Mom” and it changed my life. I was so relieved that I wasn’t alone. I found parents just like me, going through the same thing. It was unbelievable how similar some of the stories were to my situation. I got so much more than advice. The group helped me find the inner peace I was looking for.
One day in June, The Addict’s Mom posted on Facebook about scholarships for treatment at Ambrosia. This was the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity Kelsey needed. Her four-page application letter detailing her desperation was accepted. I finally felt hopeful that something might change for the better. And, it did.
Recovery feels like peace and quiet.
I’m so grateful to be a part of Kelsey’s recovery. She has seven months sober now, and I am proud of that accomplishment. I know she fights against temptation every day, some days harder than others. Not only is she in sober living, but she’s the house manager and just landed her first full-time job. She’s learned to get beyond her self-hate and knows that she deserves goodness and happiness in her life.
If you’re also struggling with the addiction of your loved one, visit HopeTracker.org for a FREE 10-session crash course on addiction and how you can help.
My addiction started at the age of 12 when I smoked marijuana for the first time. A couple of years later, I had my wisdom teeth removed and the surgeon gave me painkillers. I instantly fell in love with opiates and the way they made me feel. At the time, I had no idea that a doctor’s prescription could kick off a disease that would completely change my life.
I constantly felt hopeless. It felt like it would never be possible for me to live a life of recovery.
My addiction led me down a horrible path of self-destruction. Drugs and alcohol destroyed every relationship I had including family, friends, my higher power and myself. I had no conscience and disregarded any help that my loved ones offered me.
When things finally got bad enough, I found myself checking into multiple detoxes and treatment centers without any success. Looking back, I realize why recovery didn’t stick those first few times. I stopped working on myself as soon as I got out. After my last time in treatment in 2008, I decided that this time around I was going to continue working on myself every day. I am still an active member of a 12-step fellowship today, and I don’t plan on stopping.
Recovery is being at peace with one’s self.
I feel that I am finally free from my addiction. When I wake up in the morning, my first thought isn’t spent wondering how I am going to get high today. Being clean gives me the freedom of choice. Addiction is predictable, but recovery is not. The longer I stay away from that life, the more I appreciate life and the gifts of living a better life.
I have found myself and a sense of peace and happiness that money cannot buy.
Being clean has given me the opportunity to become the person that I’ve always wanted to be. The progress that I have made in these few years never ceases to amaze me. I went back to school and graduated with my nursing degree in 2015 and purchased my first home a year later. I earned my associate degree, and I am now a Certified Addiction Counselor. I’ve been able to repair all the financial damage I caused and make amends for the emotional damage I’ve caused as well.
I plan to continue my education and help as many people as I can by pursuing my master’s degree in social work. I want to become a licensed clinician and combine my personal experience with my education to help people find a new way of life. I also plan to continue attending meetings and helping others. I have a duty to and give away what was so freely given to me.
I am a woman of integrity today and recovery makes that possible.
I am proud to say that I’m the mother I always wanted to be.
Like so many others, I started drinking as a teenager with my friends. It started out innocent, but before I knew it, I had formed a relationship with alcohol that was going to take me to places I never imaged that I would go.
When enough was enough, I knew I needed help. I came to treatment completely unmanageable and feeling broken. The worst part was that I wasn’t present in my daughter’s life. I knew it was time to stop making excuses and start making a change. Being in treatment gave me time to heal and come to terms with the damage I had done to myself and my family. After I got out, I kept going to meetings and started working a 12-step program every day. That’s what helped me get sober and what helps me stay sober, one day at a time. The best part about the program is getting to see the process work for other people. When it happens, you can see and feel the transformation.
It’s a miracle seeing the light return to someone’s eyes.
So much has happened in my life since I have been sober. Sobriety is like a completely new adventure. I recently got married for the first time and my husband is also in recovery. He’s been clean for two and a half years now, and together we’re able to help each other stay accountable. I’m able to be present for my friends and family on a regular basis and I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I think about how much has changed.
I am currently working on my certification to become a Certified Recovery Support Worker, which I should be finishing up by the end of 2019. I live in New Hampshire, where there aren’t a lot of resources available for addicts and alcoholics. I want to get into the treatment field and use my experience to help people find a new life, the same way people helped me when I needed it.
My biggest piece of advice is to stay away from people, places and things where you drank and get active in a recovery program. Getting sober isn’t always easy, but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
Find a power greater than yourself, get a sponsor and surround yourself with good people who can help you. Most importantly, just don’t pick up.
My addiction put my family through something they were never meant to experience.
I swore I’d never touch drugs, but it happened. Once I started smoking weed, I justified taking pills, then doing a little coke. I kept justifying until I needed to stick a needle in my arm to get out of bed in the morning. Buying, using, and hiding my addiction was a 24-hour grind. I couldn’t shake the constant, bone-chilling fear of knowing that I needed to use to get through the day, but I had no means of getting what I needed.
I started putting myself in dangerous situations that I would never have dreamed of. Eventually, my friends and family cut me off because of all the pain and heartache I was causing them. I always thought I was only hurting myself when I was in active addiction. I never realized that my family suffered the same amount of pain and heartache that I did.
I was willing to do whatever it took to prevent myself from going back to that lifestyle.
Addiction beat me down, but fortunately, I had people looking out for me that got me into treatment. I went to a meeting my first day out and raised my hand. The other men at that meeting took me under their wing and gave me suggestions along the way. I surrounded myself with them all the time, even outside of the meeting. Sometimes they would play golf or go fishing, and anything that they did I was right there with them. After I went to a few meetings, I found someone that I could really relate to, and I asked him to be my sponsor. As he took me through the twelve steps, the obsession to do drugs was slowly removed. It wasn’t easy, but it meant that I didn’t have to rely on a chemical to get through the day.
Take advice. Let somebody else make the right decisions for you until you can make them yourself.
I’m not a millionaire by any means. I still have rough days and deal with life’s problems, but it’s nothing that I can’t handle with help from my sober support. By next fall I plan on going back to school to study marine biology. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about, and now that I live in Florida I have the perfect opportunity to pursue it.
I’m included in things today, like going out and doing fun activities with my friends. When I was getting high, I was such a toxic, shady person that nobody wanted anything to do with me. I have been rebuilding my relationship with my mother, and I’m starting to gain back the trust that I lost over the years. Now I spend my days helping other people who are struggling in the same situation I was. It’s unbelievably gratifying because it’s a constant reminder of what life was like back then.
The best part about being sober is being able to sleep at night without constant fear and worry creeping over me.
Trust me when I say, the sober life is a life beyond your wildest dreams.
I started smoking weed when I was about 14 years old, which slowly turned in to harder drugs and a lot of drinking. I would go to parties and have a good time, but when everyone was done at the end of the night, I kept going. For some reason, I could never get enough. Things got worse when I started using prescription pain pills. I was using every day and eventually turned to heroin.
Addiction was a ball and chain. I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything if I wasn’t high. I was constantly tied down to the drugs.
Active addiction was the most miserable time of my life. I would lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate everyone in my life. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I didn’t care. All I could think about was my next fix. I was living that lifestyle just so I wouldn’t be sick and so I could function throughout the day.
My drug use tore my family apart. As much as they loved me, they had to distance themselves. My addiction was making them sick and destroying their lives. After a while, I had no friends left either. It wasn’t until I was completely broken down that I decided to get help. I knew I was going to die if I didn’t put all my effort into recovery. I had to do it for myself, or nothing was going to change. I was ready to accept whatever help I could get.
For once in my life, I was a free man.
After treatment, I dove right in and got a sponsor. Going through the twelve steps is what saved my life. For once, I stopped trying to run the show and just listened. I hung around people that had a year or more and knew how to stay sober, and they showed me how to do it. It was simple, but I always made it so much more difficult than it had to be.
About six months into my sobriety the obsession to drink and use drugs went away. Now, I can go anywhere and do anything without being tied down to a substance. I have this peace and calmness about me, and it feels unreal. Never in my life did I ever think I would have that peace of mind.
Today, I’m back in school and studying business administration. Eventually, I would like to get my master’s degree and start a business of my own. Plus, I get to work at the treatment center where I began my journey. I don’t know where sobriety will take me, but I do know my heart lies in helping others.
I find the best gift in life is to give back, and that is what I want to do.
My addiction started at the age of 18, right before college. I was working late nights and double shifts at a restaurant, and my boyfriend at the time gave me half of a pill to help with back pain from standing all day. I functioned normally for the first year, only taking them on the weekends during college. During the summer after my first year of college, I started using heroin and not long after, crack cocaine.
It wasn’t long before I lost all control. I dropped out of college, couldn’t keep a job, and ended up without a place to live. When I used, I would disappear. My family and friends would try to reach out, but I would never respond. I became a ghost. On occasion, I would be spotted on the street, but for the most part, no one knew if I was dead or alive.
My last attempt at using heroin only lasted a few weeks, but it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I was staying at a drug motel and using with strangers. I was putting myself in very dangerous situations, and I knew it was only going to get worse. I finally surrendered. I successfully completed treatment at Ambrosia in West Palm Beach, and for the first time, I was willing to take direction. I moved into a halfway house where I attended aftercare and began to pick up the pieces. After three years of using drugs and attending several treatment centers, I finally got (and stayed) sober.
Recovery feels like total freedom. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I now have faith that I can accomplish anything.
The best thing about being clean and sober is having the freedom to wake up every day without having to rely on a substance to feel okay. My mind is no longer clouded. I have a strong connection with my Higher Power who guides me, and I live a better life than I ever thought possible. And because of that, I am able to help others who are fighting the same battle that I was.
For a long time, I struggled to get sober because I had lost all hope. I could not see the possibility of my life being okay even if I stopped using. Now, I know that anyone can get sober if they want to. My faith was restored by hearing the stories of others and having faith in a Higher Power. Even though I could not see a path, one would be made for me, and it was. Recovery has given me a life I never thought possible, and I would not trade it for anything in the world.
I am so happy and so grateful to be where I am. It’s never too late to change your life, one day at a time.
Give recovery a chance; you’ll be astounded how quickly and dramatically your life can improve.
It’s hard to say if I was genetically predisposed to addiction, but I do know that something is fundamentally different about how I process drugs and alcohol compared to other people. My using started out relatively innocent with what I consider average teenage behavior, but “normal” activities like smoking a joint or stealing a few beers from my parents had a far more detrimental effect on me than it did to my peers. Even at this age, it was clear that I wasn’t able to moderate or control my consumption of drugs and alcohol. Considering the progressive nature of the disease of addiction, it only got worse as time went on.
My own consciousness had become a prison that I could only escape by being high or asleep.
I can only imagine how it feels to have the son that you raised, fed, clothed and supported turn around and start stealing, lying and manipulating. My last day using I stood in front of my father with tears in his eyes while I handed him my used syringes and other paraphernalia. That was the day I went to detox and the first day of my life in recovery. I stuck around after going to Ambrosia’s rehab in Port St. Lucie, Florida. I live 1500 miles away from my family, but I’m closer to them than ever before. My mother tells me “I’d rather love you from Florida than mourn you in New Jersey.” Words cannot express how grateful I am to have such a loving and supportive family. It’s going to take a lifetime of amends to erase the guilt I feel for what I put them through but being clean has given me that opportunity.
As long as I stay clean, the possibilities are endless.
The beauty of recovery is that I can feel a full range of emotions and don’t need to numb myself or escape reality. No one ever promised me that recovery would be easy, but I was promised that I never have to use again as long as I put in the effort. That promise has been fulfilled. Today, I’m free from the physical, mental and spiritual bondage of addiction. When I think back to my life as an addict, recovery is paradise. I’ve never been more content and well-adjusted in my life.
My greatest accomplishment in recovery has been becoming a better person, both to myself and to my family.
It’s crazy to think how far your life can progress when you do the right thing. When I was young, one of my dreams was to travel the world. Recently, I hiked for four days through the Andes Mountains in Peru, got to see Machu Picchu and experience the beautiful volcanos, rainforests and coffee plantations in Costa Rica. Before I got clean, I could barely get out of bed. Now, I get to go anywhere and do anything I want, as long as I put my recovery first. It goes without saying that none of this would be possible if it weren’t for a program of recovery working in my life today.
Addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful, but there is always hope.
As far back as I can remember, I struggled with loneliness and a lack of self-worth. Alcoholism runs in my family yet; somehow, I never felt like I fit in. People drink and do drugs for many reasons: to change the way they feel, to cope with mental illnesses or to escape the past. But at the end of the day, there is never just one reason. My experience is the same. I can’t blame my addiction on just one thing, but I do know that the disease is not a simple lack of willpower.
The day I finally surrendered at an alcohol rehab in Florida, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. That was the day that my life changed. After years of being unavailable to my spouse and children, both emotionally and physically, I was finally ready to make a change and free myself from the slavery of denial. That single decision saved me from a lifetime of misery and unhappiness. It sounds backward, but addiction is the only fight you have to surrender to win
To me, recovery is unconditional freedom and belonging.
Getting clean and sober helped me realize that I am not a bad person. I have a disease that tells me I don’t have a disease, and it does not allow me to drink without severe consequences. Once I accepted that fact I was able to forge ahead and create a new life that is second to none.
If you go to meetings, get a sponsor and don’t pick up a drink, things will get better. Finding a support network helped me get out of my head and start to enjoy the process. Recovery isn’t always easy, but it’s simple if you follow suggestions. And like anything else, you get as much out of it as you put into it.
As long as I am vigilant about recovery, the sky is the limit.
After 26 years of continuous sobriety, I can earnestly say that my life has never been better. I get the opportunity to help people find their way to the miracle that is recovery. I am proud of the relationship that I have with my family, and I lead by the power of example.
If someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, reach out and be the helping hand that they need. Always remember that addiction has nothing to do with a lack of willpower, they are suffering from a disease that they cannot cure themselves. There is always hope, and there is always help if they choose to accept it.