I had a dream once of going to Penn State and getting a Ph.D. Instead, I ended up at the State Pen getting a GED. After dropping out of high school in the 12th grade, because I thought I knew it all, I started to follow my feet wherever my self-will led me. At this time in my life, drugs and alcohol played an important role, and it seemed the world was out to get me.
My family was always there to offer support and advice, and I would nod my head in agreement but I never followed their direction. From countless failed relationships and careers, nothing seemed to work out for me. Everything I thought would make me happy didn’t, and my life was becoming impossible. The only relief I could find was alcohol and drugs. The only time I felt “okay” was when I was using. I was convinced that living a happy, “normal” life was not possible for me.
I began to do whatever it took to maintain the lifestyle I was living, and soon found myself in legal trouble. I quickly began to rack up multiple arrests, ranging from public intoxication to felony drug possession. And with every conviction I always had someone else to blame. I never took responsibility for any of my actions. I always said to myself, “Man, it can’t get any worse than this.” But it did, it always got worse.
In early 2005, after an injury to my arm in a knife fight, I went on a spree and racked up 4 felony drug possession charges in a 3-month span. Even then I blamed police informants (which weren’t real) for my situation. I was in complete delusion. I was sentenced to 6-years in the Texas Department of Corrections. I was devastated. I felt like I had received a death sentence. I swore to everyone, including myself, that I was done with this kind of living. To see my daughters crying through a plexiglass barrier, wanting their dad to come home was heartbreaking. It couldn’t get any worse.
But it did, it got worse. I was released after serving only 2-years. With a firm resolution not to ever use again, I got high the day I was released. I couldn’t even pass my mandatory drug screening for my parole officer, and after 3 chances to get clean, I still failed. I was sent back to prison for 2-years. Upon release, I continued the same behavior as always.
My family had had enough, and intervened on me. I was afforded the opportunity to come to BRC Recovery in August 2011. I knew right away that this place was different than the other treatment centers I had been to. The community was doing what was asked of them, the staff was living life in recovery. I began to see hope, I wanted what they had. There was no doubt about it, I was an addict, and I was beyond human aid.
I had always believed in God, but didn’t think it was possible to know God. At BRC it was made very clear to me that I needed more than a belief if I was ever going to be sober and happy at the same time. What I needed was an experience with God, and that is exactly what the 12 Step immersion program gave me. Through self-searching, leveling of my pride, and confessing my shortcomings, my outlook on life began to change. And for the first time, I knew recovery really was possible.
Upon my completion of the residential program, I was the first case management client in the Segue Program, and I was offered an opportunity to work for the Operations Department at BRC. I was following direction for the first time in my life. I had a ton of wreckage to clean up. I made all of my amends. God showed up! I had a ton of debt, and I paid back every cent. My life was recreated, and all it took was following directions and the 12 Steps.
As I write this, almost 6 years have passed. To go from a hopeless drug addict/convicted felon to living a life of freedom is absolutely amazing! Everything I thought was impossible is now part of my daily life. My biggest struggles today consist of who I should hang out with or where I should take a vacation. I have a host of friends and I am part of something way bigger than me.
I started out working for BRC, mowing the grass. This year I was promoted to Director of Operations. I now say to myself, “It can’t get any better than this.” But it gets better! I just finished my first year at Austin Community College with a solid average of 95, that’s a 4.0! I’m still a long way from that Ph.D., but with God and recovery anything is possible!