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Thirty Years Of Drug Addiction

From grammar school through high school, teachers periodically made comments on my grade reports such as, "John is a capable student but he will not apply himself." They were right. I did just enough to get to the next grade. My dad wouldn't let me quit. Because I was 17 my during entire senior year, I needed parental consent. Though I wasn't enthusiastic academically, my father still managed to instill a value for education that would surface in my life almost 30 years later.

My lack of academic initiative was exacerbated by the ethos of the 1950s. Rock and Roll and James Dean was spurning out a breed of rebels that turned into the hippies and druggies of the 1960s. So it was with me. In 1956 when I was eleven years old, upon entering junior high school, I started drinking on weekends. Unlike youngsters of later generations, I didn't start experimenting with drugs until the summer of my high school graduation in 1962. I certainly would have if it had been offered to me. In a nutshell, I went to a party when I was eleven and didn't get back until I was 45. Over a period of more than 30 years, there was scarcely a time when I wasn't doing time, paying fines or restitution, doing community service, serving probation or parole, pending court, or suffering the loss of my driver license. I considered those repercussions ‘dues' that I had to pay to continue to live the way I wanted to.

My parents were awesome. Being their only child, I pretty much got whatever I wanted and did whatever I wanted to do--they were not strict disciplinarians, though I did spend my share of the time on restriction. Nor was I abused in any way; therefore, I don't blame them for my drug and alcohol use. I got high to have fun. Having fun was my goal in life and I avoided responsibility like it was a germ.

By the end of my 15th summer in 1960, I was an alcoholic. Three times within a six- month period, I landed in jail. Each time I had been drinking. My first night in jail was for Curfew. Probably the most significant thing about my first arrest was meeting a new friend who remains one of my best friends today. Jim and I had one hell of a good time in that jail cell, climbing around on the bars like monkeys, tearing up the mattresses for cotton ball fights, and yelling obscenities at the cops. From that point on, going to jail wasn't much of a threat. A week later another friend and I were busted for petty theft--stealing milk off of someone's porch because our mouths were dry from drinking all night. Eight months later, I got my first DUI on my Cushman Eagle motor scooter. My driver license was revoked before I got it. I was Jailed again the night after graduation in 1962 for trespassing and again later that year for stealing hubcaps. There were five more charges in 1963 for minor offenses, two of which got me 60 days in the county jail.

Once incarcerated at Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center near San Bernardino, two of my friends joined me there. We played practical jokes on each other, met new drug connections, and planned what we were going to do when we got out. It was not an unpleasant experience. Not only was being jailed for the night not much of a threat, serving time wasn't either. After I was released, one of my friends asked, "Well, how did you like it?"

I smiled and said, "I liked it." Compared to what I was expecting, I did like it. To me, it was like being in a summer boy's camp.

I was a happy kid, a happy-go-lucky teenager, and later a relatively happy drug addict. So why did I quit? Because my life was going nowhere, my family was concerned about me, and I knew my mind and body wouldn't take the abuse much longer, so after more than 30 years of drug and alcohol addiction, I quit. It was a process, however, rather than a decision.

Would I change anything if I had it to do over again?


Why not?

Because I wouldn't be who I am today if my life had been lived differently. In my opinion, happiness is part of a temperament that is innate. Of course, life circumstances can alter that, but I believe that the basic temperament is static. If trauma doesn't strike, and we have had a stable and loving foundation in early childhood, most of us are capable of handling most of life's encumbrances. That's my opinion, anyway. However, I don't believe I could have remained very happy if I had not stopped. Trauma--physical, mental, or spiritual would have inevitably struck.

Before I elaborate any more on my shadow side, I should comment on the shining star of my life--my daughter Lynda. We lost her mother when she was four years old, so before and after and between wives, I raised her. She gives me a mothers day card every year. She and I agree that my drug and alcohol addiction during her childhood has not damaged her. She inevitably became an addict herself, however, but she found recovery after only five years of drug and alcohol abuse. She got clean and sober before I did, and then she hoped and prayed that I would also find recovery. Today, Lynda and I are best friends, and she has brought two more shining stars into my life.

Fortunately, my two grand kids will never have to see me the way my daughter did. They'll never have to watch the police take me out of the house in handcuffs like my daughter did. They'll never have to control their behavior according to what drug I was taking like my daughter did. And they'll never have to endure being embarrassed in public like my daughter did. The most important thing I can share with you today, is that it hasn't been necessary for me to take a drink or put a needle in my arm since 7 May 1990 (my last relapse date), and for that I am eternally grateful.

I have been arrested over 40 times for various misdemeanor and felony offenses, served five county jail sentences, many probations, and a three-year state prison sentence. Fortunately, I was released from parole early for collegiate scholarship and compulsive attendance in 12-step meetings. Since then I have become responsible and accountable for my actions, which I wasn't previously capable of.

Addicts have an automatic denial system, especially when it comes to their addiction or when they've been accused of something. Most of the more than two million inmates in our country's prisons are innocent.

Before I went to prison, my querulous old friend Jack called me on the phone to explain-- or whine (most drug addicts are chronic whiners) about being arrested for a burglary he didn't commit. He carried on for five minutes about the injustice of it all. The whole time he was ranting on, I thought about the thousands of burglaries he had gotten away with. Finally, I asked: "Jack, why are you so outraged about this?"

"Johnny, I didn't do it! God damn them! The bastards are trying to frame me."

I calmly replied, "what about all those burglaries you got away with over the last 25 years, Jack?"

"What? don't get carried away Johnny. The fact is, I didn't do it. This charge doesn't have anything to do with what I did before." He dismissed my question as ridiculous.

While I was in the county jail, I overheard the following conversation: "Ya know Frenchy, I wouldn't be here for robbin' that liquor store if the damn clutch wasn't bad in that old Chevy of mine. Just as I was taking off, the motor died. I got it started, then it died again. That happened three times. By the time I made it to the corner there were red lights everywhere."

"I hear ya bro, if my old lady's mother wouldn't have turned me in, I wouldn't be here either," replied Straight Razor.

I could identify with those middle-aged bikers, because I have all too often placed the blame for my behavior outside of me. It would have been a waste of time to say, "Frenchy, you wouldn't be here for robbin' a liquor store if you hadn't been robbin' a liquor store." It's strange, but that obvious statement is absurd to them. So it was with me.
While having a beer on my night off in the bar where I was a bartender, one of our regular customers asked if I could get him a quarter gram of speed. I said no. Later he asked again. Again I said no. However, when he asked me again around one o'clock in the morning, I knew that there was some in the bar, so I got the drugs for him. He was an under cover policeman. I fought the sales charge in a jury trial and lost. I took it all the way through the court of appeals, and lost that too. I was entrapped. It was not my fault. They were picking on me. The truth is, if I had not been selling drugs, I would not have gone to prison for selling drugs. However, like Jack and those bikers, I was incapable of being accountable for my actions.

I was 45 years old before I made it to state prison. I had been knocking on the door for twenty years, however. As the judge looked at my wrap sheet he said, "I can't figure out why you haven't been sent to prison before." Then he looked at me and said, "I can't believe that I'm sitting here trying to talk myself out of sending you to prison now."
My wrap sheet didn't have violent crime on it. Though there are a couple burglary charges and a robbery charge, they were investigation charges and didn't result in conviction; in fact, they didn't get past the arraignment or preliminary hearing stage. Most of my offenses were drug and/or alcohol related. I believe that's why judges were hesitant to send me to prison. But by the time this judge viewed my wrap sheet, there were 40 charges that took up several pages. As it turned out, I am glad he sent me to prison.

A few months after I arrived on the prison yard, there was an experimental program starting called Project Change. It was a nine-week education and therapy program designed for pre-release inmates. On the flyer was a request for interview. I knew that I would never terminate parole successfully unless I refrained from the use of drugs and alcohol, so I filled out the request form and interviewed for a place in the program. I only wanted to remain abstinent for as long as my parole lasted, then I planned on returning to life as I knew it before I was incarcerated--a fun- loving, dope fiend party animal.

While tending bar prior to going to prison, two of my friends used to come in and drink soda. "What's up with this, Jerry?" I asked.

"I'm on parole. If I don't give my PO any dirty tests or I don't have any brushes with the law, I'll get off parole early." Jerry and Lisa both got off parole 13 months after their releases, so I was determined to do the same.

I was accepted into Project Change six months prior to my release date. Since the program was just starting, they needed to fill the dorm that was allocated for the program. Later, only inmates in their last 60 days were eligible. A month later I got a clerical position with Project Change. Never having used a computer, I found an inmate in the education department who tutored me until I was familiar with the word processing program on CDC's Apple computers. Once I was proficient, I typed questionnaires, work sheets, and other classroom material, much of it gleaned from Hazeldon recovery books. We held classes five days a week in the TV room, and part of the dorm was also converted for classroom activities.

Another reason I volunteered, was for the fringe benefits. Project Change students would go to chow first, and they would be first in line for commissary and linen as well as mail call. I am surprised that more inmates didn't volunteer, if for no other reason than the fringe benefits.

The letters I was receiving from Lynda, my 21-year old daughter, even prior to my enrollment in Project Change, were motivational and rife with AA cliches and jargon. She seemed genuinely happy in sobriety. I was not much of a father to my daughter and even less of a son to my mother. I had caused them more anguish than I could ever hope to make up for; However, once I started digesting all the literature I was typing and reading and started taking a sincere interest in the Project Change program, I also started feeling the guilt associated with the wreckage of my past. I found myself seriously considering a life without drugs and alcohol, rather than just a temporary abstinence until I got off parole. I started to really want it, not for me, but for my family. After Lynda started reading my letters, now rife with AA cliches and jargon, her return letters were so full of hope, encouragement, and happiness, that I became that much more determined to stay clean. She and my mom was so proud of me that I absolutely could not let them down after everything I had put them through.

A mother's love knows no bounds in many cases. When my mom died, my aunt said, "Johnny, your mother idolized you. To her, the sun rose and set on you. There was nothing or nobody more important to her than you." My mom continued enabling me after her death. The inheritance she left provided me with enough money to finance two graduate degrees and enough for me to live comfortably since then. She went to her grave providing for the little boy she idolized. Today, I idolize her for giving me such unconditional love. She never lost faith in me. She loved me as much when I was drinking and using as she did when I was a kid or after I got clean and sober.

In Project Change we were taught that we had a disease that was chronic, progressive, and fatal: chronic because it never went away, progressive because it kept getting worse, and fatal because it killed people on a regular basis. We also learned about family dynamics such as co- dependency, and we learned about the addictive personality, barriers to intimacy, anger management, and a special focus on relapse prevention. We did role playing in preparation for saying no. We covered a lot of the material that I encountered later as an intern at McAlister Institute in San Diego where I was doing field experience for my Master's degree. Project Change worked for me. Within four months I believed that I had recovered from a seemingly hopeless case of mind and body. I was certain that I would not drink or use anymore. However, the fact is, even among those who are certain they will not drink or use anymore, most of them will anyway. So it was with me.

Kathy, one of the teachers in the program, recognized that I had academic ability and suggested that I go to school when I got out. I said something like, "Yeah, yeah, sounds like a good idea," but I wasn't serious and she could see that. She approached me on the matter several times, practically nagging. Finally, I started giving it some serious consideration. I knew that I was going to be living with my mom again when I was released. She was on her last legs, and I wanted to take care of her for as long as she had left. I figured going to school would keep me busy with homework when I was at home. Plus, I could be of help to my mom and at the same time be doing something for myself. When Kathy heard me talking this way, she started believing that I might be serious.

In Project Change I learned that if lasting change is going to take place, one has to monitor and discipline their thought processes; therefore, if I was going to remain abstinent when I was released, I was going to have to change my thinking. As it was, almost every waking moment was spent thinking about either the bar where I was a bartender, how much fun scavenging at the dump was, the people I drank and used with, and all the women I slept with. I came to realize that being in a recovery oriented environment and having this stinking thinking going on in my head at the same time, was like having someone pushing me away and saying "come here" at the same time. I had to ask myself, how can intrinsic recovery take place with such a conflict?

All the great leaders throughout history have taught the principle that our life is the result of our thoughts. Buddha said, "A man's life is the direct result of his thoughts." Solomon said, "As a man thinks in his heart so is he." Happiness comes from happy thoughts, that's another reason why I was relatively happy when I was drinking and using (or maybe I choose to only remember the good times). Success comes from successful thoughts, failure from failing thoughts, etc. So it is, our life is controlled by our thinking.

Our minds have two parts: a conscious part and an unconscious part. The ‘depth' component of Depth Psychology is the unconscious part. The conscious part is what we think and reason with, but the unconscious part controls bodily functions such as breathing, blood circulation, digestion, etc.--it never sleeps and is working all the time. It's like a computer. It takes in data and processes it. It has a memory of everything that has ever happened to us, from the day we were born to the present moment. It is non-judgmental. It doesn't know what is good or what is bad. It doesn't care whether the thoughts come from us or from others. If we don't take the effort to program it positively, our unconscious will take directions from other people or from the environment or from our own self talk.

I use to wonder why I didn't always get what I wanted or why I couldn't do certain things. Perhaps I was sending negative messages to my unconscious, or maybe it picked up negative inputs from those around me. My dad always said that I was too easily influenced by my friends. I was.

One of the tenets of the Project Change program was: If our lives are not what we want, we have the power to change it. And we change it by changing our thoughts, which are programmed to our unconscious.

So, I invented a methodology to change my thinking: I simply decided that I would shoo my old thoughts away, and replace them with different thoughts. I did this quite literally. With my hand in a swishing motion by my ear, I shooed the recurring thoughts away and started thinking other thoughts. Walking around the big yard shooing thoughts away in that manner, I could tell by the looks I was getting that I was being viewed through jaundiced eyes. A nut case, I'm sure, they must have thought. I didn't care. I was on the road to a new life without drugs and alcohol.

At first it took me a long time to remember to shoo the recurring thoughts away, so I only did it two or three times a day. As time passed, however, I started doing it more often, and then even more often, until I was doing it a lot--maybe 20 or 30 or even 40 times a day. That's when I was getting so many of the looks from other inmates. After awhile I discovered that I wasn't doing it as often. It started going back the other way. As time went on I did it less and less because I wasn't thinking the old thoughts as often anymore. I had replaced them with new thoughts. And then . . . guess what? After about three or four months I had exorcized all those old thoughts by replacing them with thoughts of what I really wanted to be doing and where I really wanted to be when I got out. I visualized myself in NA meetings, and I visualized myself in college classrooms (still thinking about women, of course). I also visualized spending time at home taking care of my mom, which of course, served as further impetus to remain abstinent. How could I be a comfort to my mother at the end of her life if I was still drinking and using. Eventually, staying clean had become the very most important thing in my life, more important than having fun, even more important than my daughter and mother. Without total abstinence, what good would I be to them? They may have been my incentive for getting clean, but staying clean finally became my top priority.

A couple months before my release date, Kathy volunteered to help me with the tedious financial aide paperwork so I could get the federal Pell Grant when I was released. I received the financial aide paperwork and she helped me with it like she promised. I was 45 years old and was going to be a college student again. I tried twice in the early ‘60s, both of which were failures, so I came to accept that I wasn't college material. And maybe I wasn't . . . then.

My daughter had gotten clean and sober while I was doing time in the county jail--about a year before I went to prison. She still has the letters I wrote to her during that time, plus the ones I wrote from prison. After reading over them, I am amazed at all the fatherly advice I was giving her. Some of it was actually sound, but most of it was from a refractory and hedonistic loser with an inflated male ego. One thing was consistent in those letters, however. I never failed to tell her how proud I was of her and how much I loved her. If nothing else she grew up knowing she was loved. And that, I believe, is the reason she is the epitome of motherhood to my two grand children today.

Letters she wrote to me was recovery oriented, and she mentioned several of my dope- fiend friends who were showing up in AA meetings. It was comforting to know that I was going to have friends at meetings when I got out, but since I considered myself more of a drug addict than an alcoholic (I never thought of alcohol as a drug), I planned on attending NA meetings. I eventually resolved to attend both.

Today I own the home I grew up in and I have earned a few university degrees culminating with a Ph.D. Having a doctorate, owning my home, and having my car, truck, and camper paid for are not the things that make me happy. The closeness I share with my daughter and grand children make me happy. Thinking about the time I spent caring for my mom before she died makes me happy. But could I have sustained the happiness I had during childhood, adolescence, and through most of my drug and alcohol use had I not stopped.



I will answer that by quoting a paragraph written above:

"In my opinion, happiness is part of a temperament that is innate. Of course, life's circumstances can alter that, but I believe that the basic temperament is static. If trauma doesn't strike, and we have had a stable and loving foundation in early childhood, most of us are capable of handling most of life's encumbrances. That's my opinion, anyway."

It is highly unlikely that I could have handled the mental, physical, and emotional encumbrances resulting from continued drug and alcohol use. I learned early in recovery that becoming responsible and accountable for our actions is a cornerstone of a life well lived.

My doctoral dissertation served as a foundation for my recently published book, Scumbag Sewer Rats: An Archetypal Understanding of Criminalized Drug Addicts. Hopefully this book, as well as my unpublished memoir, Scumbag to Ph.D: 30 Years of Drug Addiction. will be an inspiration to others and their families who don't believe that there is Redemption for a Drug Addict.

Smethers Smethers 61-65, M 99 Responses Nov 22, 2009

Your Response


nice post!

Truly Inspiring in a Dark Humorous way. But I guess this is reality, often drug addicts are shown to be depressed and losers, you presented real thing

You have no idea how inspiring this is to me. I am still relatively young, not yet in college, and I stay away from drugs like they are the plague. I have a history of addiction on both sides of my family and have grown up knowing that. More so, I idolize those who find it in themselves to grow and change, to recognize their mistakes and turn what was negative into a positive effort for support and change. One of the main subjects of personal 'research' I do is about drug addiction, specifically opiates and alcohol. Not only does this help me realize the risks (as opposed to the information that is shoved down your throat in school), but it also helps me retain and validate the information as it is by my own choice that I read and learn it. Might I also say sir, the self-reflection and what seemed to be objective view that was present helped this entry/post appear like a more scholarly paper than a self-centered representation of what countless people go through. I wish I could better express my thoughts, but at the moment I am exhausted and need to get to sleep so I can get up at an ungodly hour of the morning(this is not an exaggeration, I get up at 4:45AM) to go to school. I must emphasize once more how much you, and other addicts like yourself inspire me; not the fact that you used drugs, but the complete rehabilitation and redemption that occurred and the immense amount of strength and or perseverance that went into the turn around and continues to go into the maintaining of abstinence.

Thanks for the kind words. At the risk of sounding like I just want to sell books, I've been getting similar feedback from my book, Addict to Academic. If you're interested in a signed copy, let me know. I don't come to this page much anymore, but you can use my regular email address if you're inclined. It's Keep at it in school. I don't regret a minute of it. John

What it was like, what happened, and what it's like now. I read it to the end. Thank you for sharing your journey.

Wow! Super impressed. Keep living!

Very heart warming story.. I would have loved to read it in more shorter version or in different parts.. I am sure a lot of people reading this will learn from your life. God Bless you

Happened upon your story. So glad I did.

Thank you for sharing. My son, who is now 19 took a bad turn a few years back and became addicted to pretty much everything. He is on the mend now and I pray he does not go back to where he was, but like you, he also says he would not change a thing. Watching him go through that and feeling so completely helpless was an experience that changed me profoundly, and not in a good way. I spent countless hours wondering what I did as a mother to raise someone who was so capable of hurting themselves. I would lay awake at night and go over every moment together I could remember. Had I failed him in some horrible way? Was i too strict? too lenient? too angry? too young? too protective? Hearing that you took this path despite having a great childhood gives me some perspective although I will always wonder if there is something I could have done to prevent everything he has done.
I am so happy that you have found relationships and love and success and most of all, wisdom that you can share......thanks.

Great story. U should be proud of yourself. Not everyone can pull him/ herself back. U r an inspiration for many. God bless.

Thank-you for writing Thirty Years of Drug Addiction. "Happiness is part of a temperament that is innate." I'm taking this with me, thank-you again.

great job

good story. you have to work on your recovery every day.A constant struggle. my brother drank in h.s. and it progressed.He grew an addiction to painkillers after a work related incident. We lost him in June,1999.

Hey Brother,I am still fighting it,like you,was for 30 yrs,nearly ongoing,but after losing it all,i had one item left that i didnt want to lose,is my only possesion,(if you can call it that) i stopped before she left me,as she had given me my final chance,sure,i went to therapies,I am not a big fan,if you are going to stop,it has to come from your own heart!

you are a very, very good writer. thank you so much for sharing the story.

I am n the midst of darkness now. clean a little over a week, but very fragile. feeling very determined this time. need help. please help.

in your darkness where are you? Clean? Determined?

I would like to add an idea here. I believe that mariwaunna can be very benificial. I'm of the generation that still calls it dope. My husband went through and died of chemotherapy. If not for the 'DOPE' he would have died in even more pain. I simply ask you who has been through so much yourself to redefine drugs. Obviously they are not for everyone. So many people can not handle them but for some they are the <br />
line between laughing in pleasure while you are in pain and not laughing at all . ladymaggs

Very inspiring story. It tells me there is always hope. I need to believe that. I have a family member battling alcohol and mental illness and I wonder if it is even possible he can alter course. Project change creed: "If our lives are not what we want, we have the power to change it. And we change it by changing our thoughts, which are programmed to our unconscious." WOW. So simple, but so true. Wanting the change bad enough, accepting responsibility, altering your thoughts, finding something in your life that motivates you to change (like your mom and your little girl at first), working to make the change stick. Bettering yourself through education. Good stuff. Thanks for your story.

I am truly amazed at your story. You are a strong individual and I commend you for how you have behaved and how you have learned. I used to work in my husband's law office and everyone in the law offices and the courthouse made fun of people who continually stayed on the bad side of the law, saying things such as, "He's a crumby old so and so and will never change." or "He/She's taking up air I could breath and using up space we need". You have proved them wrong. You and your daughter are two in a million. I needed to read that. Thanks for your story.

thank you Smethers. you give alot by posting this story to many people who are lost for various reasons. I am not lost via drugs but non-the-less I feel lost. Take care.

i agree with most of what people have said ,but you where lucky firstly you had the family support & an inheritance the love of your daughter you used your brain though too but imagine trying to take that on with no resorses what so ever ,no body to love you believe in you inspire you cirtainly no money to get the sort of education you had diagnosed clinical depression im 45 now and i am at school again ,doing something unrelated to drug &alcohol training [which is the long term goal] ive lost my family a long time ago my last relationship ended 3to4years ago im totaly alone you might think there must be someone but theres not ive ended up in social houseing after some time in jail &you find out who your freinds are then and its stayed that way my girlfreind of 5years at the time was convicted at the same time as me we did our time got out still on parole though after a while we starterd useing [actually i scored an 8ball fist day outtyey decided not to urine test us on the first day out ]we quickly went into flushing mode and pulled it of for some cut a long story short we got a 28 day sanction my girl was released on the 28th day i was not and spent an extra 2 mounths in prison ,i couldnt believe it but the drugs had my girl so bad that she sold her self to one of our dealers some one who i thought had more heart than that,i think its an international rule of thumb you dont mess with a mans woman while hes banged up.well there was his story &her story & it was all b.s. i stayed with her for a while but the trust was gone she left one day to go score &never came back.ive heard from her many times so full of remorse hinting to come back ,only when shes hit the wall .you know she's in "ground hog day' of the drug users life then its hit the wall no money probably nowhere to stay that night anyway,then nothing for how ever long it takes her to crash &burn.anyway that was the last of my support nett work had been me &her surviving in the drug world but we were a bit stronger we had eachother it gave us an edge even homeless at one point we worked together and we got things done maintaining our now i find my self in a city i dont like i had to take the place though cause i was waiting for her to get out of jail[she went back in as i got out ,on another 28 day sanction,so she needed an address to go to and it all fell into place [if only i knew she was gana split id never have taken it] but she did and ive gone through some awfull stuff totaly lost it at one point and ended up in the psyc ward for a few weeks i was pretty sick ,i was clean at the time [new city didnt know any one to scre off]i was on methodone though som things were going from bad to worse id lost my spine i was broken no confidence self esteem,i felt trapped ,now if i'd had some money i could have gone for a long drive i knew some people who lived on a commune they had told me to come visit them out in the bush a river virtually in there front yard they were up high but you get the picture but no i had no car i was trapped in this tiny one bedroom flat in the city isolated and so alone my god each and every day i hate wakeing up i get this over whelming sence of dreadive sort out help with an organisation that helps people with mental health issues there the ones who got me into this course &have helped with various other things but im as alone as ever and as much as they do what they can thier not my freinds there case workers &im a client with a file.shooing away the bad thoughts was very inovative and im not knocking your efforts i just think every advantage you have [when i say you i mean we]is just that another stne to jump on,i think im winning the battels one by one the war is still in progress you could say i dont blam anyone ive done it to my self ,and all those years when you think your indestructable are wasted ,im doing ok in my course i had to go through what ive been through i guessbut cant help wondering how different things could have been with all the time alone there's probably too much time to think and wonder why i self sabotarged over &over again you got alot of positive feed back this is just another story about survival really ,i could have been dead on a couple of occasions came very close woke up in the I.C.U.onece,i can still remember this very young doctor [looked like a teenager ]leaning in close to my ear and saying "you dont know how close you camethe other night " i was on the breathing thing for 2 day's,i dont think they thought i was going to make it .yes its hard and im indulging in a bit of a windge i suppose maby no one will read this a little bit scared really i used to love being alone i used to dive you know s.c.u.b.a and i loved it so much i ended up doing it for a job shark feeding and all that go's with that ,its very solitary ,but i feel like im drowning in this lonelyness at times ,you do get used to it somewhat some days dont hurt so muchbut thats after years theres no relief ,i mean drugs the one's that i was on didnt hardly affect me anymore my tolerence was that high it just became pointless and the damage done phisically i guess if your reading this you'd know ,the thing is ,like my ex who's 12years yonger than me,no one's going to stop her now just like no one was going to stop me near death experiences getting really sick & all that go's with it we just plow on ,but i believe what im experiencing now is the worst side affect of them all.ive had some one an ex i do believe say to me your going to end up old & alone ,i think it washed over me with the rest of the abuse at the time now itsm ringing in my ears a fate worse than death it would seem,how did she know though is that a human thing {be sure to have secured a partner any one will do,befor your 40 lets say to avoid being old and alone}im not sure what the etiquette is if some one reads this if i put my e-mail up some one might have something to say to me i will its if you have some words of wisdomor maby you see it totaly different maby i need a good scolding i dont think so though i really feel this way.ive taken up meditation recently i got this programe that works on sound freqencies it makes meditation alot easyer than the old school way,where your fighting your minds natural impulse to have thoughts wether they are usefull or not,shut your eyes for 30 seconds and try to relaxtake a few slow deep breathesand watch your thoughts how many come &go you will be surprised its a very active place meditation is training your mind to have a rest from that,any way this method is anotherway of doing that &ive been getting little breaks from my mind so thats one more positive thing im doing for my if there's anyone out there battleing thier demons and your alone &isolated if you have social phobias you've been hurt & its hard to trust if it seems like your not attracting good energy good things into your life im going through that too im going to prayer for us that the road wouldnt be so bumpy that god will go before us to clear the way give us reason to smile god bless you all lets hope &believe in better days & years had happenings may we find peace ahead husbands & wives still waters in our finances &our health refresh the spirit with faith even of a mustard seed lord have mercyi thank you for this forum

It was a blessing to me that you shared your story. Thank you for sharing it with us all. <br />
<br />
So much of what you have written brings up many memories of my past. One of the things you mentioned was about overhearing a conversation. I had that same experience, many many times. It always baffled me to hear so many of the stories that the cons would tell each other. Stupid stuff. The new crimes they were gonna commit once they got out of Prison. Or, the revenge they were gonna get on the people that had slighted them in some manner. Stuff that would send them right back to Prison when they got caught. Yup, stuff that would get them sent right back to the hellish conditions they bitched about every day. was always someone else's fault, of course.<br />
<br />
I had learned my lesson from the very first moment that I heard those steel doors clang shut upon me, taking away my freedom. There I was, in County Lock-Up, with Armed Robbery charges,<br />
and a $100,000 bond. I was facing being put away for at least 10 years, up to 25 years. All because I wanted to get drunk and party with my gal, but didn't have any of my own money to buy some pot and a bottle of booze.

Your not alone, <br />
It sounds like evil has been by your side most of your life...<br />
You are important and that is why you are mislead down paths of self destruction.<br />
If you did not hurt yourself, somebody close to you would push you a little harder.<br />
Look back... to your best friends , ( or are they evil souls trying to stop you from your true purpose?)<br />
I too have the same past, But now, I can see EVIL and I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared. It's a dark world we live in, yet I still believe good will prevail ..., all we have to do is push back with good intentions.....<br />


I wish my sister could have evolved to the point you are now. I miss her so much.

Read your story & you have been in a whirl wind of life that finally blew it self out. I'm so glad & happy you have found an out let to every thing you have been through. It's been a rough road for alot of us. I was probably married to some one like you so I can relate to all you experienced. It seems if were not in the situations doing the wrong. We become the victoms . I call myself a survivor.<br />
I can't express how i feel about where you"ve been or where you are now or heading. But just give yourself some chance that with in yourself you find peace & happiness. Then you can share the part of you that can shine through. (JERI) Haunted 5

good point i guess thats how he paid for his house hs his camper and whatever else it was he was bragging about now owning as i know for a fact next to no one would give him a job <br />
<br />
and what about all the college educated people who come out of school and can't even get work flipping burgers not because they refuse or cop an attitude but because they are blatently told they are over qualified ??? how bout the ones still working their HS/college minimum wage job because there are no jobs in their degree feild and i mean marketing, achtecture things like that <br />
<br />
are you seriously going to tell me their "thought life" is their problem not the jacked up employment system???<br />
<br />
i can tell you from personal experience that "thoughts of failure" came only after learning i had been lied to repeatedly given wrong information and therefore my career was no longer an option or the backup plan those funding my education came up with <br />
<br />
i can tell you all of the "bad thinking" came after life **** on my head several times not before

I read through this whole thing and it turns out to be a plug for a book! What, you didn't find Jesus, too?

life is certainly not a result of our thoughts and i am living proof

Beautiful story. Not many have the will! I struggled with drug and alcohol abuse from a very early age, myself. Like a dog returning to lap up it's own vomit, I returned to drugs and alcohol repeatedly, but am clean, now, for many years. My father also did the prison terms. At 72, he still indulges. I find that if I am sad, I need to feel that. If I am happy, I need to feel that, as well. A Vietnam vet once put it so eliquently to me in a rehab group. "You can't save your *** and save your face at the same time."

your story is inspirational and some of your comments make absolute sense, thanks for the insight into your life


Inspiring. I switched on the tv whilst eating lunch at home today. A father in the Uk series "Lilies" was beating his unmarried, pregant daughter mercilessly and relentlessly after learning of her pregnancy. People make mistakes, including our children. I know now that there's no perfect road but I believe that parents should always be there lifting their children up. You've certainly soared to the benefit of many.<br />

awsome writeing

Thank you for the telling...I'll be 61 soon and have 10 years clean after 35 years using...and many psych wards and treatment centers...I've read some negative comments and heard some in my own life...people, there doesn't have to be a reason to be empathetic because you can't understand why people choose to be one chooses...I certainly didn't think my life was going to be this journey...yes, I had all the right demographics: poverty,physical, emotional and mental abuse...oh and sodomized by my father for years...but I had dreams and goalsand college scholarships, high I.Q....and what do you know...I followed the needle whereever it took me. So Kudos to you for a remarkable history and the best is yet to come. Thanks!

This is an amazing journey. Although our current struggles are somewhat different I can see how some of the same principles can apply to overcome them. Thank-you for sharing this.

I am so happy to see you didnt blame ANYONE. Not your parents, your upbringing, your poor chance at life, or being spoiled in life.. You gave and offered NO excuses, just a "come as I am " attitude<br />
<br />
I really admire you!!!<br />
I just lost one of my dearest friends in the world to this very thing . He was only 45 and I remember him telling me "If i live to be 45, I will have made it" when his liver was so damaged that they could do nothing more but wait. In agony i watched him dissinegrate before my very eyes. What was great was that this man took a song I had sent him when he called and told me the DR said it was a matter of time. He held on for a couple years in and out of the hospital and he lived and adored the song I sent to him...LIVE LIKE YOU ARE DYING"<br />
3 days before he entered hospice I received a message<br />
<br />
I am going into hopsice to die. I love you always and forever. <br />
<br />
My heart tore out of me that day as i listened to his rasping breath, knowing the effort he had made to make sure i would be ok.... <br />
always thinking of the other person even to his last ragged breath.<br />
3 days later his wife called with the news he was gone.

I am so inspired.... Thank you.

Reading your life... helps me to remember how it was like when I had a boyfriend who was like you. No harsh feelings... I just understand that life has its way of showing us how it really happens. That it's nobodies fault. Everything will turn out at its own time... I'm so happy that you found your purpose and strength. Thank you.

WOW - Talk about a moment of clariety - You went into all of this as a family and, even with the self-destructing obstacles you caused, you came out of it as a family. It's never too late and I wish you well ..

i really liked your story..its inspiring .just goes to say that we gotta be the change

Damn, do you have this in a book i can buy!?!?!?! lol <br />
Its GOOD!....Real life.

Those are some inspiring words my brother and strong people like you is what we should all aspire to in life.<br />
<br />
Well done my friend.

thank you.

You r a great writer with enough experience!<br />
You expressed most of my thinking. I read your story still on drugs but it made me to think, if you can why not me? I'm not as honest as you, had been lying to friends and families that I'm clean and try to live like them which is quite impossible. Never been to jail myself and considered myself lucky, my friends and family cover me up every time I steal. <br />
I went to a drug rehab and stayed for over 3 years which actually was 1 year program. I never stop drugs in rehab, rather I smuggled drugs inside it. I climbed the fences whenever I get chance in my first year and was caught a few times. But later I was able to bring in drugs because the rehab administrators trusted me very much as I was somewhat good at doing office works for them and would complete every task they gave me in time. I was allowed to go out monitored by some staffs for work and got caught getting drugs many times. But I don't know why they still trust me and I feel very guilty and hurt inside by betraying their trust. The last 2-3 months in rehab I was clean but after coming out I don't know how fast it started all over again jumping from 1 drug to other. I usually use codeine and presc<x>ription drugs. <br />
Honestly, I quit trying to quit drugs but your story at least gave me something to think about my life.<br />
With a new great start I believe you would be a great counselor and motivator for fellow drug users.

Wow....what a life you have had...glad you came out on the other end alive and sober. Very happy for you and your family...grandkids are the BEST !!!!

Thanks for sharing!<br />
I would like to add just one thought from a very old-timer:<br />
"Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures." --Thomas Acquinas

Thank you for the add. I always check out profiles before I add someone. I watched your video and hope to get your book. Most everyone knows and loves a addict in there life time so I am thankful you asked me. Both my brother and sister started drugs at about 11yrs old. My brother is about 52 now and has always gotten out of jail time. The man was a genious and had a photo static mind, we wonder saddly how much of a mind he has left after all these years. My poor mother is sick over him her hair is falling out her nerves are so bad. But my brother is finnally in a place that could help him. No he never accepted responciblity for any of his actions and he is a great lier even doctors give him medication that he wants. . He shot up for years and drank wisky. He was the oldest and spoiled, got anything and everything he ever wanted.<br />
<br />
My sister smoked herb for years but got on crack and liked it. It was horrible to see such a beautiful and sweet person destroy themselves. She went to a few rehabs and learned how to commit other crimes. After stopping crack a few years later she became bi-polar and scizo, so she is addicted to presciption drugs and buys valum. <br />
<br />
I was a co dependant for years and one day I said no more. But I do have sympathy for drug addicts and alcoholics. I look at an addict on the street and know that someone loves them prays and crys for them and wonder what in their life sent them that way. I am was so happy to read your story to actually see there is hope. And your book also sounds great for non addicts, for the positive self talk. You are a true inspiration you and your daughter, God bless you both.<br />
<br />
Sorry that was so long.

Angels come to teach us disguising themselves as humans with the strength and power of ten tigers and 10 lions....<br />
<br />
Thank you for lessons you bring to us in the classroom... <br />
<br />
With gratitude... kudos

I'd love to think everyone makes peace in and with themselves in their life time though i'm sure that's not the case... But stories like yours of redemption, (if that's the right word) give hope and remind us that humanity is not a lost cause.<br />
Thankyou for that.<br />

What an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing. I give you so much credit for recovering, and your daughter, as well. Your life was so different then mine is now, at the age of 23, yet I was able to relate to and understand many aspects of it. My brother is once again recovering from drug addiction. He recently relapsed again, but didn't let it get too far. So, he has already been going to NA meetings at least twice a day. <br />
<br />
I personally never tried drugs, except for marijuana, and I do not drink. I learned not to use drugs because I saw the torment it put my brother through. He often apologizes to me about what he has put me through. And I always tell him the same thing. . "All I want is for you to take care of yourself." Addiction is all over my family, all of my aunts and uncles have some sort of an addiction, including my mother. I will never fully understand the disease that is addiction, but I understand that they are powerless over their addictions. That, as much as they would like to stop, they simply can't or they don't even realize they have a problem. I saw drugs take over my brother and change who he was. But all I could do was be there for him, and to this day, he tells me that I saved him. <br />
<br />
You sound like a wonderful guy and I thank you for becoming a fan of mine. I never would have had the chance to read such an incredible story. And your daughter, Lynda, sounds like an equally amazing person. Congratulations on all you have accomplished, it gives me so much hope for my brother and a little more insight on my uncle who passed away a few years ago due to an overdose. Thank you so much.

Really great tale, I am glad you have a life 'you' can be proud of, and I am glad for your daughter and grandkids, they have a grandpa they can be proud of.


Congratulations on remaining SOBER and CLEAN. As a former police officer I can tell you this.<br />
Most criminals blame every one or thing for their predicament. NEVER, do they take a hard look at the circumstances that placed them where they are today. My brother was given a very lax discipline and treat the world as his oyster. He is now still a very ANGRY man. Especially when thingss don't go the way he THINKS they should. He also did time in prison (Fed time) for drugs and a few other national crimes. It is when his cohorts in crime tried to bury him he woke up. He saw the writing on the wall and didn't like it. So he turned the tables on them.

what an enlightening was inspiring..from being a drug addict then having PH D plus being a writer makes me applaud you...I'm sure your daughter and grandkids are proud of you!

Thanks for posting this story, and good luck with the book you wrote, hope this helps others. Hopefully others will not have to go through some of the hardships you did. Continue to pray that you stay clean from drugs and alcohol.

Happy for you :)<br />
<br />
Amazing story

i don't get why i was fanned by this person. we have nothing in common. i have no doubt this story is true but i have absolutely no scope for needle/amphetamine addiction and i especially can't fathom anyone starting these addictions for "fun". as an abuse survivior it's almost insulting to read.

funny timing you became a fan of me. i just got back from assessment to start my rehabilitation. scumbag to phD is the exact route i am on. glad to know someone else has already done it. it lets me know the road is passable.

Great sharing. I could identify soo much with you. Thank you for sharing your story.<br />
Keep Coming Back !<br />
<br />
Love n Hugs

well done :)

If you smile at me, I will understand<br />
'Cause that is something everybody everywhere does <br />
in the same language.<br />
I can see by your coat, my friend,<br />
you're from the other side,<br />
There's just one thing I got to know,<br />
Can you tell me please, who won?: Say, can I have some of your purple berries? Yes, I've been eating them for six or seven weeks now,<br />
haven't got sick once.<br />
Probably keep us both alive.

This was really inspiring to read today. I think if you could get through that then getting past anything is possible. <br />
<br />
"In my opinion, happiness is part of a temperament that is innate. Of course, life's circumstances can alter that, but I believe that the basic temperament is static. If trauma doesn't strike, and we have had a stable and loving foundation in early childhood, most of us are capable of handling most of life's encumbrances. That's my opinion, anyway."<br />
<br />
I really liked that. It was exactly what I needed to read today. <br />
<br />
I hope shooing away bad thoughts can work for over-stressed college kids too.

All I want to say is that you are an inspiration to a lot of people. Though I cannot imagine what you or your family went through, your story really touched me. Thank you for sharing. Best wishes for the future.

wow... i enjoyed the read an wow ...your amazing.... it is true nothing is ever to late .... just wish i could be more self motivated to do what i want to do...

Well done for getting clean and turning your life around. I'm a foster carer so come into contact with loads of kids whose parents are alcohol and/or drug dependent. It's sad because you almost know that their case will ultimately mean either a court ordered adoption or they will remain in the care system until they are adults and are old enough to go their own way.<br />
I wasn't sure what to make of your story, I was part uplifted and part saddened. I was sad because of the amount of life you lost when you were high and because I know through experience that most addicts are not strong enough to over come their addiction and their children do suffer because of this. I was uplifted because you truly are one in a million to be able to over this and your story will inspire others. I wish you every success with your book and with the rest of you life. Regards and thanks for the add. Robbo x

What an awesome contribution to this forum!!!!! Wow!!! THANK YOU!!! Beautifully written. A terrific story. It made me happy :-) :-). The resilience of the human Spirit ceases not to amaze me. ~ The Love of your precious Mom; what a blessing for you!! Wonderful.

I'm not sure if that was aimed at me or him but it's hilarious either way LOL

Ah, so you are selling a book. I wondered why you had only one experience, claim to be new on EP and have over 300 friends.Best of luck to you.

Thumbs up I am also an addict and know for a fact that life is a process and a journey with not destination. I can make a connection with you on so many levels.<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
Thanks for sharing.

Hi, great story, great that you are sober. <br />
<br />
i can't help commenting on your comment that owning your home and camper etc--financial success--is not cause for happiness, but more so your family is. i love my family, but am in deep, devestating financial disaster at the same time. i would be SOOOOO happy to be in a better place financially......

Wow. Thanks for sharing - this is very inspirational and well-written and you must be a very strong person to have gone through all that and rebuilt your life as well as you have.

Hi Smethers<br />
haha Jillykirby! So true. Thanks for sharing. Good thing you have taken the time to understand your experiences and share them. Fascinating and inspiring and moving.<br />

Hi Smethers<br />
haha Jillykirby! So true. Thanks for sharing. Good thing you have taken the time to understand your experiences and share them. Fascinating and inspiring and moving.<br />

omg this is way to long for me to read, but don't worry, you will be fine. A friend I met today is back on drugs after doing well for years. It just is one of those things we need to keep an eye on, I have manic depression, I had to accept it or live a life of misery. Hang in there, I know life is tough, but it is tough on everyone, no matter who we are in life, life is there to teach us and then we teach others from our experience I believe. When you succeed imagine the people you can help come off drugs. My brother still fights his battle and is doing well for now at aged 37, remember to enjoy lifes little wins the rest works itself out. Hope your book gets published, I just finished writing one too, one thing my life story is is not boring hehe, I am guessing yours is the same, we are colourful characters those with a bit of tragedy in life.<br />
<br />
I was not going to add you seeing as though your a guy, but I think you need a friend for now so I am breaking my rule. You sound like a good guy who has lost his way for a while, but lucky for EP, you have many friends to help you.

loved your story man. i would just like to add up that thanks a lot for sharing .. learned a lot from it.. will soon post my own life story since i'm only 24 .. i don't think that it would be anything like you but there would be something that people would advice or oppose on... till then take care..<br />
<br />
<br />
Regards,<br />

loved your story man. i would just like to add up that thanks a lot for sharing .. learned a lot from it.. will soon post my own life story since i'm only 24 .. i don't think that it would be anything like you but there would be something that people would advice or oppose on... till then take care..<br />
<br />
<br />
Regards,<br />

Thank You so much for sharing your story. It would be great to see that every addict's outcome be as glorious as yours. I'm so happy for you :-)

Congradulations on being 20 years sober! That is amazing, can not wait to read another entry from you!

You have an excleent testimony. One to very proud of. It offers encouragment and hope. You have overcome a great deal, that truly takes encouragement and self awareness. That is truly impressive. I commend you for your determination, motivation, and desire. Take care.

Thank you for becoming a fan, and the same back. Life is love and loss and standing back up again, cause there's really no other choice. Coodoo's to you for standing back up a giant. Your life story and book will help many.

Great story, I hope you story can be inspirational as well

I have to congratulate you, not only on acheiving sobriety, as well as your daughter's, but the eloquent way you presented not only "your" story and the family involvement, but in actuality most peoples story. I had many clients attending/continuing programs, who also came to the realization that there are many different causes(precipitating factors), but the road to recovery is difficult, and must truly be earned. Hitting bottom brings most to recovery ; there are no more excuses/choices. It is recovery or death! It is a disease that affects the entire family unit, no one is left unscathed. Addiction is not only a family problem, but a societal one, that is eradicated one addict at a time. I wholeheartedly wish your family continuing success, one day at a time, for many decades to come. College may have been delayed, but it would have been society's loss if you had never matriculated ! Congats, to both and many years of joy, Granddad! Your sobriety is society's gain!

Your story is stunning! Really amazing! I am glad that you took the time to share it, as it proves, once again, that everything is possible!<br />
<br />
Continue to live your happiness-filled life! Best wishes for you, your daughter and your grandchildren!

Great story. Keep it up!

i'm new to this site, and your story really hits home. i know i almost lost my husband ans 2 kids from my addictions. i have 3 wqeeks sober. i'm taking one day at a time. i go to court in a month for a dui and just served some time for a dui in az. i just want to be free and happy again. but i still think about the drink or a smoke . will i have the strength to make it? god i pray so. thanks for the story, it helps to know i'm not the only one out there who's been "terrible"

Thats wonderful that you over came your addiction and wrote two books. <br />
At first I didn't know what to think when I read your logo, I thought you might be someone that I wouldn't want to talk to but you sound like a very interesting person.

I am sorry you sound a little self obsessed get some professional councilling it will help

i loved ur story and i feel like i am in the same place when u bagan to turn around

What a treat that you have joined EP and shared your awesome, honest story. I have a drug addicted daughter who has committed both misdemeanor and felony crimes all for drugs. I am still hopeful she will turn around. Thank you so much for your inspiration. I wish you all the happiness in the world for you and yours!