It’s tragic how young so many people are when they become addicted to drugs or alcohol. These substances are constantly destroying lives, but thanks to rehabilitation facilities and some smart choices, a lot of young men and women are turning their lives around before it’s too late.
Blake, a young man from Michigan who found help at A Forever Recovery, said he was using both meth and heroin for two years and spent a lot of time in jail.
“I became friends with a lot of the wrong people,” he admitted. “When I got out of jail, I started using meth. I lost my job because my bosses knew I was using meth. And then a few days later, I overdosed on heroin and went to the ER.”
The following day, he went to rehab.
“My parents had an intervention with me,” Blake recalled. “Before I got there, I was really nervous and skeptical. But I’m glad I went
Blake said his favorite part of rehab was making friends. In fact, he said he made some of his closest friends there. It’s actually amazing how common it is for recovering addicts to say this. I recently interviewed a number of them, and this was a recurring theme throughout our discussions. Many even consider people they met in rehab to be like their family.
“My peers definitely helped me in my recovery,” Blake said. “Now that I graduated, I feel so proud of myself. I wanted to leave when I first got there. Now I’ve made it through, and I feel like I achieved something. I was being loyal to the wrong people, and it ended up putting me in the wrong shoes. I deleted all the numbers in my phone. I’m not going to have the same friends as I did before. If you’re going through a hard time out there, just give [going to rehab] a shot. Even though I didn’t want to, I’m so glad I did now — it was worth it.
“With all the hard work I put into my program, the biggest thing that I have learned is that I can be who I want to become without drugs and alcohol,” Blake concluded.
Scott, another recovering addict from Indiana, went to treatment for alcohol and “numerous other substances”. He got to the point where he wanted to change his lifestyle.
“I started young, when I was in high school,” Scott explained. “All my friends were drinking. I grew up in an environment where alcohol was a big form of entertainment, and it just became part of my everyday use. The last few years I started experimenting with other drugs and mixing some dangerous combinations. I liked the party lifestyle, so I liked to go out late at night. I took whatever kept me up. And then one day, I just realized that I was tired of it. I would look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘You want to change,’ and try to change numerous times on my own. I realized I needed to get some help.”
Scott got help through anger management as well as a holistic program in rehab.
“The holistic track really helped me reach outside of my mental thinking and to put my thoughts aside and think a little more about what’s important,” he continued. “Connie, my counselor, was amazing. I was her first patient … and I was also her first graduate. She guided me through so many different aspects of life that it made me open up to her like I’ve never opened up to anyone.”
Much like Blake and other addicts with whom I spoke, Scott acknowledged the power of the other addicts he met through treatment in helping him get better.
“My peers were amazing,” Blake said. “I’m a pretty stubborn person sometimes, but I kept a positive outlook the whole time I was here. I spent my whole life worrying about what other people thought about me and what I was saying, but I have learned now that I don’t have to think before I speak. It comes out, and it’s the right thing. I leaned on a lot of people, and when I saw people that needed some help, I helped pick them up — that is a key part of your whole treatment, the peers. This experience changed my life. It was my first treatment ever and it’s going to be my last, and I have no doubt about it.”
Scott said treatment made him a “totally different” person. He’s clearly making better decisions these days.
“Before, I would sugar coat everything and tell people lies to cover another lie,” he confessed. “I can’t wait to be honest with someone and finally not have to worry about what I say. Treatment has just changed my whole life.”
Blake and Scott followed different paths to treatment. For Blake, it took an overdose and an intervention, and for Scott, it simply took looking in the mirror and wanting a change in lifestyle. Both young men, however, are now on very similar paths to more positive lives. While their pasts are not without some unfortunate choices, it is fortunate that they got the help that they needed in their youth. Both still have an excellent chance at a bright future.