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Alumni Stories: Desperate measures towards a life free of drug addiction


There is only one key and it is called willingness. So it is by circumstance rather than virtue that I have been brought to this program. While I was locked up for my last stint, I had time to look at where my path had led and what my life had become. I took a picture of powerlessness and framed it in my mind’s eye.

The video reel of unmanageability played over and over like time lapse photography, but instead of gradual growth, it was rapid decay. As I look back I can smile at a beautiful ending to the culmination of my first step experience. See it’s always been life or death for me; I was one of the lucky ones. I came in with a gift of desperation which allowed me the willingness, honesty, and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things.

As I work with others, I struggle with impressing upon them the gravity of this disease. I want them to read and listen and internalize the weight of it all. I want them to look at their own experience and realize that there are two options; spiraling onto the bitter end, or a spiritual experience through working the steps, that’s it, period.

I want them desperate.

I want them willing.

I want them taking these steps and launching into action.

I want them trusting God, doing the work, and walking in the sunlight.

But in all reality I can’t force them to do the work just like I can’t force a spiritual experience. I have no power around this. All I can do is suit up and show up and carry this message like it was carried to me and let God do the rest. Regardless of what happens I can rest assured knowing that I have done my best and that it’s all part of God’s plan. “Thy will not mine be done.”

-Christopher G. Thigpen

Christopher G. Thigpen is a recovered heroin addict currently living in Austin, TX. He grew up in a small New Hampshire town. He’s wandered across the globe ‘like a rebel without a cause but a heart of gold”. He chose the road less traveled by, and says that’s made all the difference. You can email Chris at