When you’re in addiction recovery, the stories of those around you contribute greatly to you figuring out your own story. The recovery stories of others can lift you up and inspire you but also they can force you to learn lessons you never knew you needed to learn. Whether you laugh or cry, these stories are about connection – which is a vital component to any person’s recovery. Our first addiction recovery story comes from TDH alumni, Nick. We hope his story inspires you.
I had a great childhood. Nothing traumatic ever happened to me, very loving family, I grew up in Lubbock, Texas. A pretty small college town, agricultural community. I had five siblings, four brothers, and one sister. I am number four. My childhood was basically just filled with sports; that’s all I remember from the beginning is five boys playing sports year round. Somebody’s constantly going to practice, or somebody has got a game so I [was] always in a hurry.
My family, we were pretty involved with the church, we were in church probably at least two nights per week. The first time I actually got drunk was in the seventh grade. I was over at a buddy’s house, and it was just something we were doing for fun. We didn’t even know that it was going to happen. We found a bottle of vodka. In all honesty, I didn’t really feel like one of those people that needed it as a social lubricant or to feel comfortable in my own skin. I hear a lot of people say that. I was a pretty happy kid at that time, didn’t really have anything bothering me. I think I drink for the effect produced by alcohol; that’s what got me.
I guess when I first realized that I had a problem was my sophomore year of high school. I rolled my first car, completely drunk out in the field chasing rabbits, which is a really West Texas thing to do. After that, my family, of course, was really worried. I don’t think I recognized it as a problem at that point but by the time I was in high school it had basically I had become a blackout drinker every time that I went out. The objective was to show off how much I could drink out of the brother that was two grades above me. I would hang out with a lot of his friends and go to parties with them, and I was always trying to prove that I can hang with the big boys. So, I would try to out drink them and from then on out I was a blackout drinker. I was unable to hold my job. I was showing up drunk or under the influence every day, from the minute I woke up in the morning I had to drink something or put something in my body so I could get out of bed.
I kind of ruined Thanksgiving for my family in 2014, I remember the next day waking up in my bed in my parents’ house and my dad coming in there, “You have a problem, you need to get help.” He told me I couldn’t live there anymore, and they were no longer be supporting me which I know was really difficult for them at the time. Honestly, I started contemplating suicide. One day I was trying to get basically, messed up enough to where I would have the courage to actually take my own life. I went over to my parents’ house, my Mom stopped me when I was trying to find one of my guns and basically asked me to go to treatment again.
I called the national hotline and gave them my insurance information and got called back asking if I wanted to go to treatment in LA and at the time I was in Texas, it was 20 degrees, “Yes, Southern California sounds pretty awesome right about now.” So, I was still kind of hesitant. I got a call from one of the outreach people at TDH, and she basically talked me through the whole process from the first time I talked to her and asked if I wanted to come to treatment out here. She was calling me every three hours. Actually, at first every hour to see how I was doing, making sure I was okay, everything all right, how are you feeling? I started detoxing a little bit then. I stopped drinking, I was still popping pills before I came out here.
My first day at The Discovery House, from the minute they picked me up at the airport, I could tell that this place was really invested in helping people recover. I could tell that they were sincerely or being sincere about trying to connect with me to make sure everything was going alright, that I was comfortable and that they could make it the most pleasant experience as possible.
Some of the highlights of The Discovery House right from the moment I got there, the food was incredible. They have a gourmet chef that helped me put on some of the weight I had lost. I was pretty sucked up by the time I got in there. I am about forty pounds heavier than when I first arrived at TDH.
The best part of treatment for me was probably the groups. The way the counselors and the facilitated everything. There is always somebody to talk to. A couple of times I stormed out of the group, somebody went after me, helped talk me through what was going on. Someone was always available, my counselor, anytime I wanted to meet with him. Even counselors that weren’t designated to me, I was able to meet with them whenever I wanted to.
I’m really going to be eternally grateful to The Discovery House. I’ve got relationships back in my life I thought I had destroyed. If you were to ask me fifteen months ago if I would have the life I have today, I would have laughed. It’s just been incredible, the whole process from beginning to end. I think anybody might think they have a problem this is a great place to get some help.