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Starting from my early childhood I suffered physical, verbal, and psychological abuse at the hands of an older sibling nearly 7 years older than me. During the very impressionable years from 1st grade to high school, this abuse continued routinely and went unchecked for the most part. The thing about the mind is that it is like a pool of water. When a stone is cast at one end, it will create ripples at the opposite end. Addictions are often fueled by traumatic events which remain unresolved because the mind tries to shove those memories up under a rug and try to pretend they never existed because they are too painful to confront. By the time my older sibling left for college, the last thing I wanted to think about was the traumatic events he put me through, and so I told myself that everything was going to be better now. The main problem is that unresolved emotions that are stored up and not expressed in the proper format find a way to express themselves in other ways, which are almost always negative.

I started off with alcohol by 7th grade. By the end of high school I had developed addictions to alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, prescription pills, and had a brief run-in with cocaine. The level and strength of an addiction is dictated by the false sense of happiness the high creates in comparison with what the actual reality is. The first time I became drunk, it was like being given the best alternate reality I could ever imagine. I had an extremely high addictive personality.

I joined the military after high school, made some money, lost it towards my addictions. I would go through other employment and lose it as well eventually due to my addictions. Everything I touched turned to dust because of my addictions, and it was not because I wanted them or enjoyed them anymore. I genuinely did want help, but I did not know where to start.

I tried to commit suicide twice, but some by some pretty remarkable "coincidences" that took place, it seemed people showed up at the exact right time to make a huge difference in my life. At the age of 25 I was ready to follow through with committing suicide once and for all in a way that no one could interfere, and the very day I was thinking about this proposition I noticed a Bible sitting on a countertop. I had never been to church and I had never attempted to speak to God except a couple times when I asked for help when my brother was hitting me. He never answered me then, and so I pretty much gave up on the idea of God.

I had no idea why my addictions had control of me. Absolutely no idea. My brother and I were actually on pretty decent terms. We both sort of avoided and never talked about what happened during my youth, pretending it never really happened. When I picked up the Bible I began reading The New Testament. I could not tell you then what was going through me, but within the span of 2 and a half weeks I had read the entire Bible from beginning to end. The idea of suicide seemed far from me, and I actually felt somewhat decent at the time, but what I really noticed more than anything was that my desire for addiction was replaced with something else.

I began to pray?during that time period, not knowing how to pray or what to pray for, but simply doing my best. A series of events would soon take place that were beyond my understanding at the time. I initially thought those events to be curses and felt that God was punishing me for some reason. I found myself seperated from all my "friends" and I was angry because of it. I was forced to a place where there was absolutely nothing to do but sit in a room with no access whatsoever to substances or other people. The only thing I had access to was my mind. During that time I found my mind thinking upon my youth, and I would ask myself, "Why I am thinking about this?" Not long after, I would find that the memories I was thinking about led to surrounding puzzle pieces, each piece showing me a specific memory that was particularly painful to me. In the span of a week, I went through a storm of emotions that I can barely explain in words. One day I was weeping. The next day I was punching a wall and screaming. In the span of a few weeks it felt like I had gone through the length of an entire lifetime.

What I discovered much later after the fact was that I was expressing the suppressed emotions that had been dwellin within me since my youth. When these emotions were expressed through tears or other emotions, I found that the addictions I had were losing all their strength over me. I found out that the addictions were actually a defense mechanism in order to allow the mind an escape route instead of thinking about the painful memories. My belief in God instantly changed upon finding these things out, because I realized if I would have been around any of my friends during that period of time, I would have most likely been similar to a ticking time bomb ready to explode on anyone. I would have ended up seeming like a crazy person to them.

In a single year I managed to overcome every single addiction that had hold over me for 11-12 years. More importantly, these addictions were overcome without any help?of any kind from any other human being in this world. It did not require payment to a shrink or a therapist. For me, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that a God exists after this. There is absolutely no doubt that God can serve as the primary Physician and Caregiver to all, but it requires a personal relationship. It does not require you to go to a specific building and pray or listen to someone else speak. It can all be done within yourself and within your mind. There is a Spirit within us all. We just need to take a small leap of faith and ask God to set a spark in order for it to make a blaze within you.

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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