Looking back at my struggles with addiction brings to the surface much more than just my experience with drug and alcohol abuse. The ever encompassing “disease”, and I do see addiction as a disease, manifests in many other ways other than the drink, the pill, and the needle. Ever since I was young, I can remember comparing myself to others and never feeling a sense of equality.
The crux of my life was that I could never feel comfortable in my own skin. Therefore, when I began to experiment with drugs and alcohol, and I realized that there was a way to manipulate the way I felt internally, I came to depend on these substances for survival. It was evident that I had a problem in high school that continued through early college as I cycled in and out of jail and several treatment centers. Friends and loved ones watched as bystanders in disbelief. I honestly believed that I was just very unlucky and that my self-medicating was a normal practice. Intravenous heroin use was just a part of my “party phase”, right? Every so often I was able to scrounge up a month or two of clean time but constantly found myself becoming pulled back to the familiar solution of self medication. I would begin to feel as if I had grown up in my month of sobriety and could handle drinking and drugging like a normal young adult, only to be quickly slapped in the face, yet again, by my disease.
This went on like clockwork until August 5, 2015 when I found myself in a jail cell, again. I was already out on bond for two felonies and I had just been charged with a third DWI. The accompanying denial that I typically felt in these types of situations was suddenly absent. I sensed a spark for change. Ironically enough, the only other item in my jail cell besides half a roll of toilet paper was the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. During the month that I spent in jail, I finally took pen to paper instead of just reading. I had accepted the fact that I would be spending a long time incarcerated and made the decision that while I was physically imprisoned, I refused to remain imprisoned spiritually. What I believe to be a miracle took place, as my judge decided to release me from jail to seek treatment for my disease at The Last Resort for 90 days. I was especially optimistic about the choice of treatment center due to the fact that I had a few friends successfully complete the same program, and who have remained sober to this day. I dove into the 12 steps very quickly and remained very diligent about managing my time wisely. The Last Resort (TLR) brought something into my life that I was not so familiar with- accountability. I was held accountable for my actions on a daily basis. We, as clients, were encouraged to work with each other on these steps and in return we grew together. The staff was very personable and I respected the fact that they had all been to the same depths that I had once inhabited. TLR strived to give me a blueprint on how to live life – something I did not know how to do at the age of 25. It was there that I was able to break through the surface level mumbo-jumbo that is presented in most treatment centers and get down to the real work, which is not at all comfortable, but in my opinion very necessary. I truly believe that I was able to grow and mature more in those 90 days than I had previously in my adult life.
I sit here typing this in my home in Colorado, where I pay my bills (on time), own my own vehicle, and have a steady job, but none of these external things can compare to the overwhelming spiritual freedom that I get to live with on a daily basis. I now take pride in the fact that I show up for the people in my life – even the ones that had to quit showing up for me at one point. I am now over 18 months sober and continuing to progress, learn, and grow every day. I am lucky enough to work with others by way of my own journey and spreading this message of hope, faith, and courage. I stay grateful on a daily basis for how my life has unfolded and for every experience which has brought me to this point. I AM ALIVE.
– Chris C.