Drugs and Alcohol Were No Longer an Escape For Me

Homeless Addict
Photo by coldsnowstorm/iStockPhoto.com

I “came to” one morning behind a public bus stop. I was soaked in alcohol from the night before and sick from a five-day methamphetamine binge. As I sat up and looked around, I didn’t really see anything that made sense to me. I thought to myself, “where am I?” I had thousands of ants crawling all over me, and I had bites all over my body. My clothes were dirty and stunk so badly that I couldn’t even stand the smell of myself. I hadn’t showered in at least ten days, and my shoes were so worn out that you could see my socks through the soles. My body hurt, my eyes hurt, and I was completely depressed and hopeless. I had been living on the streets for over a year while addicted to meth, alcohol, opiates, and any other drug I could put into my system to numb myself from the reality that I now found myself in. I was homeless. I had nothing—no family that wanted anything to do with me, no friends to call for help. I was 100% alone, and for the first time in my life, I was scared of myself and what could possibly happen next.

Drugs and alcohol were no longer an escape for me. My addiction had become a 24-hour, 365 day a year job. I couldn’t even take days off from my addiction if I wanted to. The only thing that mattered to me was getting money so I could get drugs or alcohol. Lying, stealing, panhandling, and selling drugs had become my new “normal.” I hated people, society, and I hated myself for hurting others. I had left my wife and son, and I totally cut off contact from my dad, my brothers and my sisters.

I realized at that point that I had successfully pushed away the only people in my life who loved me, and I couldn’t even call them now when I actually wanted to. I didn’t really want to go to treatment. I wanted a way out, so I didn’t ever have to confront the damage I had caused or try to fix all my broken relationships. For some unknown reason, I decided to reach out to my dad and ask for help one more time. After talking to him, he agreed to help. I got to Narconon and met with the counselors there and they were able to get me started on the program.

Withdrawal was extremely hard, but I got through it. I was still very depressed and I considered leaving every day. But every day, I found a reason to hold on until I could love myself enough to change my life for me.

The sauna detox was also very hard, and I went through a lot of emotional ups and downs. When I first got into the sauna, I couldn’t communicate with people. I didn’t like being around people, and I was angry, bitter, and depressed. But after about 10 days, I noticed that my body was starting to get healthy, and soon after, my mind started to follow. Other people started to notice that I was smiling more and talking more. Overall, the sauna program repaired my body more than I could’ve hoped for. I have chronic back pain from several surgeries and a broken back that got significantly better. My skin got clear, and my hair got softer and, overall, I just felt a new energy and a desire to take care of myself. I haven’t felt that way in 25 years.

The Objectives brought me into the present. I was so stuck in the past and the past was all I could think about: my addiction, my homelessness, and the damage I caused to my family. The loss of my mother and my pending divorce were constantly on my mind. I went through this part of the program, and each day, I found that things started to get better. I started to become more aware, and with my increased awareness, I was able to look at things differently, and my tunnel vision was gone. I found myself no longer wanting to pack my stuff and leave. I was able to look at all the areas that I wanted to fix that I was too afraid to in the past.

On the Life Skills section, I was given a new sense of freedom from the shackles of my past. I took full responsibility for the harmful acts I committed against others and myself. I was able to let go of all these things and it was the best feeling in the world. Accepting what I did gave me control over my emotions, and I could finally communicate with people again. I can look people in the eye now when I speak to them. Getting rid of all that baggage also made my day-to-day life easier. I was excited to wake up and greet each new day, knowing that for the first time in my life, I didn’t have anything to hide. I actually enjoyed conversations that I had with my fellow students and the staff members. This was such an unexpected result because I have never enjoyed interacting with people, and I now found myself interacting with everyone around me.

“By applying simple tools, I was able to come up with ways to repair my broken relationships with my family.”

The hardest part of my program and the most rewarding part of my program was the Changing Conditions section. By applying simple tools, I was able to come up with ways to repair my broken relationships with my family. For over two years, I didn’t speak to my sister or brother. It had been a year since I had spoken to my wife and son. During this part of the program, I was able to contact everyone in my family and I took my responsibility for the damage I caused to them. I called my wife, and I got honest with her and took my responsibility for destroying our relationship and the damage I caused my son. My whole family was so accepting of me reaching out and the desire to make things right with them.

Father and son
Photo by pixdeluxe/iStockPhoto.com

What I learned from doing the Narconon program was, first and foremost, that each and every staff member that worked here truly cares for the people that are in the program. I have never been to another rehab where the people who worked there were willing to go above and beyond and to any length to help people change their lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I also learned that anyone can change—no matter how hopeless and depressed you feel, there is a place you can go to get help, where you can leave the past behind you and make a new tomorrow.

I also learned that relationships can be fixed. My family is back in my life, and I talk to them on a weekly basis. They’re proud of me, and I never thought I could repair those relationships. Most of all, I am happy that I have my son back in my life, and I have another opportunity to be a good father. I am excited that it’s Christmas time and I am able to get my son some cool gifts this year. I am happy. I am at peace and I am comfortable with my past and excited for the future for the first time in twenty-five years.

Thank you, Narconon.

M.W.—Narconon Colorado Graduate


Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 10 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.