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Cheated Death

Created by James Goode

Cheated Death

The fact that I am even alive to write this is a miracle.  My story is much like every other addicts.  I used way too much for way too long and found out that when I decided to put the dope down it wouldn't turn me loose.  Like many it started with cigarettes and alcohol, early.  

I would say that by age 12 I was an alcoholic.  The stealing for booze had already started at that tender age.  Marijuana was next, then acid and next meth.  That did the trick for me and got me running with the older/rougher crowd.  Quit sports, quit school, pretty much quit everything worthwhile and devoted my life to the downward spiral.

As if things weren't bad enough with the IV speed I got introduced to Heroin by a "good" friend at about age 17.  You can imagine how it went from there.  In prison, out of prison, back in prison, homeless, jobless, dirty and helpless.

One of my children died in her crib while me and her mom were nodded out on heroin.  My other children were rescued from me by CPS.  Typical story of a dope fiend.  Lose, lose and lose some more.

Well 1996 saw me back in court again with another charge for theft.  Except this time the judge throws me a curve ball and sentences me to treatment instead of jail.  When I got to the facility I decided to work on my push-ups so my veins would come back and make some amends through letters to my parents.  In a effort to be allowed back into their home so I could steal more of their stuff when I got out of treatment.

What I didn't count on was "changing".  I decided to give this recovery thing a test drive just so I could tell everyone how it didn't work.  Well guess what, it did work.  That was 18 years ago and I have not been back to jail.

I am now a chemical dependency counselor and sharing my experience, strength and hope with others.

I can honesty say that if I can change anyone can change.  Treatment does work.  Prison didn't work and it never would have.

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.

Guest Book


1. Julie
Thank you for sharing your story, James. Congratulations on your recovery!
2. Thomas
Wow!!! Your story brought tears to my eyes. I have been in and out of treatment centers for 10+ years and finally came to the realization there is no stopping the program, having had a recent spiritual awakening in jail. Made a connection with the Big Book and the Bible. Something FINALLY clicked and the program suddenly made sense to me. I wish to become a CDP as well. My possibilities in life are limitless, as long continue to work my Faith. I feed it and my doubts starve to death! Thank you for your story.