I don’t remember ever feeling completely comfortable in my own skin until I took my first drink. It was as if the world went from black-and-white to Technicolor the second it hit my lips and I immediately decided that I was going to do that again as often as possible. My disease progressed as I began trying every substance that crossed my path and casting aside anything that stood in the way between more drugs and me. Eventually, at the age of eighteen, I found the drug that would define me for the next six years of my life.The first time I tried heroin a freak thunderstorm struck Laredo, TX (my hometown) and the power went out in my apartment. I remember seeing a friend of mine that night and telling her that I had just tried heroin and she burst into tears. I should have taken all of these things as ominous warnings of the suffering that lay ahead.I spent the next six years in and out of treatment centers. I bounced from job to job and city to city. Never succeeding in finding the perfect balance in which I could drink and use the way I wanted to without all the consequences associated. Until one day I found the perfect formula. I had a decent job, a 4.0 GPA, my family’s trust, a girlfriend, and most importantly my heroin. But despite all that, I still went to bed every night praying to not wake up.Finally, on July 21, 2008 I was separated from drugs and alcohol for the last time. I went to treatment, got a sponsor, and began to take the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I discovered that once I turned my will and my life over to my higher power I became capable of facing life on life terms.Today, I continue to follow suggestions, surround myself with men who hold me accountable, and seek a communion with my higher power through prayer, meditation, and service work. My life is filled with blessings beyond belief. I am happily married, have two beautiful children, and a job I love. It’s been a little over seven years since I last felt the need to take a drink or a drug to change the way that I feel and every night, instead of praying not to wake up, I say a prayer of thanks for all the gifts that my higher power and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous have given me.