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Grateful Addict in Recovery

Created by Tim Flaherty

Grateful Addict in Recovery

My name is Tim and I'm an addict.
Growing up was a very rough period in my life - from what I'm able to gather, it is far from the typical childhood. But I'm not going to sit here and blame my horrible childhood for becoming the addict that I am today. All too often, other people like to do so because it is easier to not take responsibility than to actually step up.
When I was a child, my father would have periods of serious manic episodes. During his episodes, much psychological harm was done to both myself and my mother - causing the PTSD that I am not diagnosed with today. As far back as I can remember there was just pure chaos in the household; at the age of 2-3 years, I can recall standing at the front door to the house with my mother, getting ready to leave because my mother was sick and tired of how my father treated her at that particular point. She wanted to get a divorce and she was done with him. As we were about to step out he yelled: "We are not getting a divorce and if you walk out that door I will shoot you before you can even open your door to your car." and that is one of the many painful memories throughout my childhood.
As the years went on, nothing ever got better. They got worse until the day I found out about getting high, when I was 15 years old and a freshman in high school. On that particular day, my father was in the hospital dying from diverticulosis and the doctors were giving him a 50-50 chance of survival. I remember getting off the phone with my mother when she called from the hospital to check in on me. I was not with her because I could not always bear to see him in the condition that he was in - it was too much to handle and after I got off the phone with her, I was sitting in my dad's chair in the kitchen where he sat all day and night long drinking beer and smoking what I became to know as "joints". I looked over and saw this bag where he kept his "stuff" which I became to know as weed and took his pipe, opened his bag, put a chunk of it in there, and smoked it.
I was instantly in love. I remember thinking what I was missing all this time and from then on, I started smoking weed weekly which over time became a daily habit until one day I was bored of weed. I remembered how my friends would talk about adderall and clonzepam and how they were way better then weed. At some point I found out my mom had it prescribed to her, I found where she kept it, and took four of them, and planned out the whole night with my friend Alez - we smoked weed all day until my parents fell asleep then I took the four pills. About ten minutes later, my friend Alex asked me if there was beer in the house, because it would make me more high from the pills. We searched the kitchen, found wine, and we drank what was left of the bottle and after that I can't remember anything and I woke up the next morning. That is when I had my first black out and I remember thinking to myself, "Oh, what was that, I like that a lot" and from then on, my addiction started to take a dangerous turn.
I took benzos whenever I could and drink whenever I could. My life revolved around trying to get money to get more benzos I liked them more than drinking at that point and had moved on to adderall, mushrooms, coke, suboxone, and molly over time. In the summer of 2012, I was with my friend Vlad and we both made the decision that we wanted to try heroin and that we would shoot it up. We got it from our dealer and shot it after 30 minutes of thinking whether or not we should stick ourselves with needles. It was harder to shoot myself up than I thought, but when I did it I immediately fell in love and it became my favorite drug and the only drug that truly dominated over my life.
I started stealing from my parents, from cars, and even from houses - for a while it was great until I started to get dope sick when I didn't do it every day. At that point I became a slave to the drug and started stealing from cars every night like it was my job. Vlad and I would go from house to house and city to city in his car every night from 1 am until sunrise. In 2013, Vlad tried killing a prostitute for her money, got arrested for attempted murder, and got 10 years. I realized I need to get myself together. A month later I got put on suboxone but I truly wasn't ready to quit - I would sell my suboxone to buy more heroin and this went on until the day I got kicked out during one of my overdoses.
During the blackout I threatened to kill my step dad and I got a restraining order put on me and I was a homeless couch surfer from there. I stayed at friend of my father's house until I got kicked out of there for shooting up in her bathroom. I decided I had enough, checked myself into a mental hospital, and when I got out, my father's friend let me stay at her house again. This time I used outside of her house only, until one day I got arrested for stealing from a pharmacy and spent five days in jail. The withdrawals were horrible and I earned my lesson this time.
Instead of going to get high the second I got out of jail, I made the choice to go the mental hospital one final time - I was ready to quit, or so I thought from there. I went to a rehab called Our Father's House and ended up relapsing, getting kicked out and becoming homeless once again. I just kind of gave up. I had my mom drop me off at a hotel and planned a huge party. I had over 300 dollars and I bought needles, a 1/4 gram of heroin, and decided to try something new: I bought 4 2mg dilaudids and shot it all up, without keeping in mind that my tolerance was gone from being in rehab. On top of that I did not even know that diluadid was fentanyl in a pill - I was with my friend who I bought them with and I ended up overdosing and dying from it. Thank god my friend called 9/11 for me so I did not stay dead and even told them everything what happened, so they knew what to do to me when they got there. I woke up after being dead for I don't know how long, all I know is that it took 13 shots of narcan. Thank god they tried that hard to get me back or I wouldn't be here. If it was not for God giving me a second chance at life, I would not be here. The second I was conscious again, I cried out to God for forgiveness for what I had done and thanked him for saving my life and that he would not be disappointed with giving me a second chance.
From then on I have been sober a total of 5 months. I hope to god I never go back to doing drugs because if I do, I might not every come back! Never give up, if I can do it, you can too!


This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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Comments

1. Julie
Congrats to you on your recovery, Tim!
2. Megan Fritz
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Tim! I hope your recovery is going well. Congratulations on two years in recovery today!
3. AddictionMyth
"without keeping in mind that my tolerance was gone from being in rehab" - Often these are suicide attempts, though people prefer to invoke their 'disease'. But this is a great example of 'how it works'.