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It could even happen to a man like me

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It could even happen to a man like me

I had my first beer when I was 15, from there I was a casual but regular partier until I was 45. Life was beginning to unravel for me and my drinking was becoming increasingly worse. I was fully functional, smoked pot and drank while being a leader in my church, on the board at my trade association and raising 3 children. I had the big house on the hill, a pretty blonde wife, a boat and all the toys.

The trouble was I had never dealt with the pain in my life. I just didn't know that I didn't know. I was very passive about many things.

One day a friend offered me some crack cocaine. I told him he was crazy and to get that stuff out of my house. We had a few more drinks and I told him, what the heck, I had snorted coke in college, let me just try one hit. The next morning I woke up and decided I wanted to try that again. Overnight a new pattern was started in my life and for the next 5 years, I proceeded to smoke crack. It was my big secret. Nobody outside of my friend and my dealer knew I was hooked on the stuff and smoking about $100.00 worth a day.

At first the guilt of doing what I was doing was horrible. I drank through that. The pain of knowing that I was a drug addict, all the negative messages, all the self talk was directed at an already damaged sense of self. I knew I needed to get help, but I also knew my wife would reject me if I told he the truth. It seemed on the outside that I was fully functional. To most who saw me every day there was no real change in me. I had plenty of practice all my life being a fake, a poser. Inside I was dying and over that last 5 years of my insanity, I slowly died inside.

Throughout all of my life I had a fear of God and knew of his presence in my life but there was no real relationship. One day after church I was in my room reading while waiting for my now EX wife to come and have a little talk. I knew what was coming. She wanted to know what had happened to her husband who was no longer employed, no longer engaging in our marriage, and just not the man I used to be. But before she could tell me anything, I told her I was a crack addict. She had no idea. To this day I don't know what she was going to say to me that day and it doesn't matter because what happened was that I had surrendered my addiction to one other human being.

It does not matter that she rejected me for it, that she kicked me out of the the house, but she did. I had finally, out of desperation and nowhere else to go, had surrendered to the process of getting better. The next day, I checked myself in to detox and then to rehab. I was distraught over leaving my kids, sad about my wife's reaction, but a part of me was glad to be a the beginning of being free from the bondage the lie had over my life.

I was at the beginning of the death of my self. God chased me into recovery and has not left my side for the last nine years. When I surrendered, I Did not become a captive, but a free man. My wife filed for divorce while I was in rehab. My family was shattered, my career at an end. I had lost or spent over $500,000 in my addiction. But I was a free man.

A cousin had mailed me a letter in the first few days. A letter that told of the promises God made to those that chose to follow him, promises to restore the broken hearted, to give back the years the locusts ate, to make old things new. Those promises are ones I held onto and to this day can say that it is all true.

I've?been drug free for nine years, have a great relationship with my kids and am very happily married. I have been given back all that was lost and more. I have real relationships with real people, I have friends that I can call in the middle of the night if I need them, but most of all I have a relationship with the God of my understanding that loves me just as I am, not as I think I should be. That makes me the richest man in town.

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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