When I was a kid, I never said I wanted to grow up to be a drug addict. Yea, it just is not that simple.
I came from what appeared to be a normal family. I lived on a farm in Western Washington, I had a sheep as a pet, I have brothers and sisters, and all was good. My parents divorced early, my mother was left to raise five kids while my father traveled the world playing golf.
I moved from Washington to Southern California the day before Mt. St. Helens erupted; culture shock for real. I began having to compete for friends, defend myself from bullies, and all in all I was taught to isolate at the age of 11 because I was told I was different. WRONG! I didn't find out that I wasn't different for a very long time. In the meantime, I isolated with those who also were being made to feel different. This is who I first got loaded with.
It started with cigs at 12, pot at 13, coke at 16, and then meth at 24. Sure there were opportunities for other drugs like alcohol, LSD, XTC, etc., but primarily my addiction focused on crack cocaine from the age of 16 to the age of 24 then I swapped crack for meth at the age of 24. Don't get me wrong, I did have a reprieve for a few months, but really, from the time I was 16 until I was 32 I may have been attempting sobriety, but never had a support group and continued to make friends, these friends did drugs, and I constantly moved from state to state, from city to city, and always it followed me.
When I was 24 my life changed. I made some friends in Seattle that were gay and I found I could finally come out to them. I trusted them and shortly thereafter found out they did meth. We called it Tina then, but really, whatever you call it, it's just plain evil. I didn't care. I wanted to be accepted. I finally was able to be myself with my new life and I figured since it wasn't crack I was doing then it was ok. I managed to excel at work, I bought my own home. I got into a relationship and began partying a lot. This is where it began to go down hill for me.
For the next seven years I went from being a plumber to a drug dealer. I lost my job due to missing too many days. I started my own business as a general contractor and was semi-successful for about a year. I began to get behind on my bills and turned to gambling. This was not an effective strategy to pay my bills. I put my home on the market in December 1999. It sat on the market and went no where. The internet boom crashed in Seattle and so did the economy. In fear of losing my home I turned to fraud. About a year later, I lost my home and was on the street. I had everything I owned stolen from me by those who I thought I could trust. What I found out was that if meth was involved, no one can be trusted.
Give me about a year and I ended up in jail. I was looking at spending three years in Federal Prison and it scared the shit out of me. I was sitting in jail on my 32 birthday and had a spiritual experience. I realized that if I were ever to be respected and responsible then I needed to pull my head out of my ass. I was let out of jail pending trial to the custody of my father. I started all over with nothing. Again!
I went to treatment courtesy of the Federal Court. I learned addiction was a disease and this made perfect sense to me. I had no idea. I became involved in AA and made many friends. Some of these friends I made decided we needed a program tailored to our addiction; meth. So we collaborated and started the first Crystal Meth Anonymous meeting of King County, knowing there were some who needed a different program, we laid down the foundations of Strength Over Speed.
Realizing now that I am 6 months sober, I decided to go back to school. I entered into a Paralegal program on-line and got a job with a friend who owned a law firm. I focused on helping others and making a life for myself. The court recognized this and decided to sentence me to probation. As a condition of probation I had to do 10 months on electronic home monitoring. I moved into an Oxford House made more friends in recovery. I lived there for the next year.
I realized as I was about to graduate with my AA Degree that I wanted to go to law school. I realized early in sobriety that if I put my mind to it I could accomplish anything. I learned that I am only as sick as the secrets I keep. I have found an incredible amount of freedom and liberation from my past by being completely honest about my life. As a result, my aspirations for my future and hopes and dreams of being successful at doing something I love are often talked about with all those who I am engaged by. I was encouraged to apply to UW and Seattle University. With a lot of doubt, but hopes that I could be given another chance I applied. I was accepted to Seattle University to pursue my BS in Criminal Justice.
I am now in my second year at SU and have just been elected as the Vice President (Co-Chair) of the Student Executive Council. This is tremendous. I first found my seat on this council by being appointed as the Criminal Justice Student body representative by the head of the Criminal Justice program. While on the council the Dean asked me to run for a leadership position and wa-la, here I am about to start the 2007-2008 school year as a leader, but more important a motivator.
I can not express how the respect I have received from others makes me feel today. If I had not been honest about the challenges I have faced then those around me would not be in a position to support me in my efforts to change my life. As I have been honest about my past, there have been many who have stepped up to give me a chance. This, by far, is the greatest lesson I learned in recovery. BE COMPLETELY HONEST! I am not saying this will work for all, but really, having nothing to hide from allows me to only succeed at everything I do. The proof is in my history. I am on my way to law school; I will be applying in a year to SU and UW. Provided I get accepted and am allowed to practice, I want to be in a position to afford others who are in similar situations as I once was to be given a chance and an opportunity to turn their lives around. I have never before felt like I am exactly where I am supposed to be as I am today. What an amazing feeling. I owe it to be honest, true to my self, diligent in my recovery, making healthy relationships with solid people and set goals that are within reach. With this, my hopes are high and my dreams are coming true.