“You don’t know what you got till it’s gone” comes from some lyrics by one of the best hair metal bands of the 80’s – Cinderella. I have found that this it totally true. That one loves life that much more once it is almost gone.
I grew up in a perfect small mid-west town who loved local high school football and BBQ’s. I had a loving mom, sister, brother, good schools, plenty of freedom along with sufficient discipline. I was athletic and played multiple sports and was a blue ribbon winner at most track-n-field events in school. I was intelligent and won a couple science fairs and other contests in different subjects.
I introduced myself to drugs when I was 15yrs old and from there on my life began to take a different direction.
I will save you from the weekly journal entries but the upshot of it was that at 16yrs old I ran away from home (possibly forever tearing my mom’s heart apart), quickly came to a first name basis with local law enforcement and pretty familiar with their holding cells and procedures. I like to say sex, drugs and rock-n-roll but I pretty much focused on the drugs portion of that “formula for fun”.
I ran away to California to escape myself, went back home to Arkansas to escape myself, returned to California to get away again, etc., etc. Never realizing that one can never escape himself. He/she is always there when you look around.
I got more and more involved with drugs, more drugs, and more drugs. I found I was not only using with others but woke up to the fact that I was using by myself. I slept every few days but only woke to reach for more. I had completely disconnected from friends, family, girlfriend, etc., etc. I was eating about once each of my waking days and just working 24hrs hours a day most of the time.
My time away from “work” entailed either hanging out at a dealers house (right next to a crack house) in downtown SD or passing out from booze, drugs and exhaustion in Tijuana.
This life style went on for way too long until I woke up in some strange and off the beaten path alley in TJ one morning. I will not describe my appearance or state at that moment but it was definitely not one of my brightest and most beautiful moments. Waking up laying in garbage and lord knows what, hugging a trash can, chest and arms sore and feeling like you had a heart attack, confused where you are and with the sun beating down on your face from high in the sky is not something that one plans on in life. At least not someone sane.
I actually woke up that morning. And really woke up. I realized that brightness had left my life. And that it had been gone for a long time. But only then was I realizing it. That I was dazed and confused and that I was literally on a path of self-destruction and death. That I was only a few days or maybe weeks from my life being over either from OD’ing or from a swift knife being delivered from a jealous coked out boyfriend in a dark alley or some such thing. That was enough to make me want to get clean. Finally!
I eventually got 100% cleaned up, got married to a beautiful and drug-free women, started working at something that I loved doing (helping others) and had two beautiful children. I have love and light in my life. I am in touch with my family and friends and love life.
My passion and area of work currently is in the addiction treatment field. I luckily found my way to living better and am continuing to thrive to live bigger and fuller each day. And I want others to do the same.
I believe that anything that truly helps man is something that should be supported. And that anything that educates man into being more himself, more in control, more ethical and more spiritual is something that should be pushed and built upon.
I believe that life is awesome. And that it should burn bright.