I want to share with the two of you a show I watched a couple of days ago—Judge Judy. She had on a gentleman who was loaded. I immediately became emotional because I was seeing myself for the first time on drugs (tears). I couldn’t stop watching him and only him. I was not even sure what the case was about. He was fogged, distracted, lost and most of all near death. Judge Judy, upon seeing his state, stopped him from even continuing his side of the story. She said in a low and concerned voice, “look, how old are you?” He said his age and she looked at him with her head tilted and continued firmly, “listen, you need help and if you would like, our staff will help you get support. If you want to see your next birthday you better get things figured out.” The gentleman shuffled quietly out of the court room. I was crying sitting on my couch alone and shaken. It is still hard for me to think I was in that state. But by the grace of God my family didn’t give up on me. And now I won’t give up myself either. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for everyone that has had a hand in my recovery. From the slightest gesture of kindness David gave me the second night I was coming off the crap sitting in the hallway about to lose it. Or the voice of the nurses who babied me through my sickness. And most of all John and Dr. Pohl without whom I know I wouldn’t have made it. You people are true heroes, whether you want to admit it or not. At least you are heroes in my book.
Again, I AM SOBER. Thank God.
Having a normal childhood was a fairytale for me. Unfortunately, my childhood was not only my nightmare, but my reality. It’s easy to blame my parents for the choices and decisions that I’ve made in my life, especially when it came to drugs and destructive behaviors. But I can blame no one but myself, which leads me back to my upbringing . . .
At age five, I was sexually molested by my sixteen year-old brother, and this abuse continued until I was eleven. I was abandoned emotionally and physically by my mother and father. After years of chasing the attention that I’ve been yearning from my mother, I thought I had found what I was looking for in crystal meth at the age of fifteen. This love affair continued on into my 20s.
What do they say about addicts? We always want “more,” right? Well, more was what this addict was seeking. In the 1990s, I threw myself into the sex industry and became immersed in a long-term commitment to cocaine. I looked for more and more sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll to keep me sane, or at least that’s what I thought.
My life continued to spiral downhill and I ended up in Las Vegas. I tried to quit by myself, stayed abstinent for a short period of time, but somehow found myself at the bottom of the devil’s pit again. All this time I was living in my addiction and I was in complete denial. The disease manifested itself into other sick obsessions. I continued to use and act out in destructive behaviors. I shopped to relieve my pain and had sex with other men during my marriage. I felt like I was on death row and was tired of living in the insanity. I couldn’t outrun my demons so I had to face them.
I bowed down and admitted myself into Las Vegas Recovery Center in December of 2009, a decision that would change my life forever. Today, I have eighteen months of true recovery. Because of what I learned at Las Vegas Recovery Center and the dedication and support of the staff there, I can let go and live; I can forgive and love; I can surrender and soar. Most importantly, I have the guidance and love of a wonderful sponsor, a newly found life from working the Steps, and the support of my recovery family. I would like to especially extend my gratitude to Mr. Paul Hinshaw for showing me how to love the little girl within me. Thank you. I am forever grateful.
It was kind of funny, I was at alumni last night and the new/old guy Jeff came in. I kept looking at him thinking this guy looks familiar and then he shifted and I could see his name tag. He was the person that checked me in to Las Vegas Recovery Center on my first short visit. Kind of weird because I saw Michael who also helped Jeff get me in the day before at a meeting. First time since I had come back to recovery that I had run into him. I actually wondered what had happened to both. Kind of crazy.
Things are going pretty good. Of course work is work and some days are better than other but I just try to keep my focus and keep working the steps, going to meetings, talking to Bo and trying to walk the talk if that makes sense. January is 6 months, that is nuts, the time has flown by. Just in case I have never said it, thank you for everything you have done for me to get me back on the road to recovery and finding myself.
All the best – BRIAN C.
I’m doing great. Just got home from chairing a meeting at my home group. I am grateful that Kansas City, Missouri has such a strong recovery community. Jim and I rode the Door County, Wisconsin Century bike ride a few weeks ago with five of our Minnesota friends. Had a great time. We rode 100 miles in 6 hrs. 50 minutes—that’s just under 15 miles an hour average. We were well-trained so it was a blast. Just six months ago I was holding onto the walls at Las Vegas Recovery Center—just to walk down the hall—now I can ride a bike for 100 miles! Amazing what a recovering addict can accomplish, isn’t it? Recovery rocks. I love you and Las Vegas Recovery Center!
I grew up in a wealthy family in Saratoga Springs, New York. I went to Catholic school and a Christian military school and started using when I was ten years old. By the time I was sixteen, I dropped out of high school and moved into my own apartment. Even though I had some challenges with my family, they sent me to the Culinary Institute of America and I became a chef at a young age. I stopped using for a while, and then got married, moved to New Jersey, and became an Executive Chef.
I started drinking on Fridays and then on weekends. I began using drugs again—first, a couple of times a week, and then all the time when I was not at work. And as it often happens with active drug use, I got caught on a felony gun charge and served two years on probation. By this time, my wife and I had two children, both boys. We moved back to Saratoga Springs, New York, where I worked as an Executive Chef.
The cycle of drinking and using started all over again. I went to my first rehab at the age of twenty-four, and I have been in ten outpatient programs and ten inpatient programs. My wife eventually left me and took the children. I had reached the point in my life where I lost everything, including hope. I lived on the streets of Las Vegas for two-and-a-half years from 2005 to 2008, and found myself in several situations where I was almost killed. I became a panhandler to support my drug habit. I was down to 140 pounds and had long dirty knotted hair, a long knotted beard, and filthy hands and face. On top of that, I stunk because I didn’t bathe or change my cloths.
I didn’t think I would last much longer on the streets, so I went to the Las Vegas Recovery Center for their three-month program. My counselor was Craig Larson, who was straightforward with me. I went back to Saratoga Springs and moved in with my wife. I stayed abstinent for seven months, until my wife left with the children again. So I went back to the Las Vegas Recovery Center and Craig was my counselor.
At Las Vegas Recovery Center, I learned that addiction is a family disease and I was able to see how my family enabled my drug use. My father and I agreed that I wouldn’t accept any more financial help from him. We agreed that if I relapsed, then I would go to a program that did not cost any money. I wish I could tell you that I stayed in recovery this time around, but I didn’t. Instead, I became a regular at the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC).
On November 14, 2009, I laid on a manhole near the Treasure Island Casino and thought of all the people I had let down and how I had thrown my life away. I cried and cried and then I said, “God, please help me.” This was the first time ever in my life that I said this and I felt it in my heart. I sat up and said it again. All of a sudden I stood up and started walking north on Las Vegas Boulevard. I didn’t know where I was going, but I remembered what I learned at Las Vegas Recovery Center and the agreement between my father and me.
So I went to Valley Hospital and from there got into Westcare. Westcare suggested that I go to a halfway house and they got me in the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. The staff at the Mission found out about my chef experience and moved me to work in the kitchen. I was responsible for coordinating and cooking 1000 meals a day. Somewhere along the way the Kitchen Manager was let go and the Kitchen Administrator had left, and I soon found myself in the position of temporary Kitchen Manager with a promise to be hired in three months. I completed the program in January 2010.
I am now the Kitchen Manager at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission and have been in recovery for two years and one-and-a-half months. I am self-supporting and have remarried. I have my own car and live in a beautiful apartment. Thanks to recovery, the tools Las Vegas Recovery Center gave me, and the help of my Higher Power, I once again have a life.