Justin grew up surrounded by drugs and alcohol, his first time getting drunk was while he was dove hunting with his dad, at the age of 5.
“All we had was beer. They didn’t bring any juice boxes for the kid or anything so I ended up chugging Budweiser Tall Boys,” Justin said.
When he was 13, Justin began regularly taking pills.
“I was stealing them from people, my mom and dad. I got into cocaine later on in high school.”
Justin said everything took a turn for the worst when he was 17 and tried Heroin for the first time.
“I always felt different, I always had this feeling of inferiority toward everybody.”
The first time he went to rehab was also when he was 17, but he didn’t finish the program.
“I was still young, stupid and immature, so I really didn’t soak in what was being taught to me in that rehab. I actually ended up getting kicked out for doing drugs in the rehab. I just wasn’t ready.”
He continued his downward spiral, going in and out of jail. When he got out in 2008 he decided that he was ready.
“That was the first time that I actually had an honest desire to change.”
Justin got clean and started going to 12 step meetings.
“Life was really good, I was able to maintain a job. I had things in my life that I never had while using Heroin.”
“I’d love to say relapse isn’t a part of my story, but it is … Complacency and not doing the things that were suggested within the 12 step program, I eventually started using again.”
Where he was living, Heroin wasn’t an easy thing to get. His best friend found some about 30 minutes away. They were working in the area so when they got off they picked it up and got high before they headed back home.
“I remember us driving home, and I remember leaning on the door in his Honda Civic and it being the most beautiful feeling I’ve ever felt in my life.”
Justin can even remember the song that they were listening to and every time he hears it, he can remember how much he liked that feeling.
“The problem with that is, that every time after that is never the same. It’s never the same, but I was really attracted to the way that made me feel.”
He met his wife will he was out partying, soon after she started doing opiates with him.
“It was her first time ever doing it, and it was my first time touching Heroin in several years. We had an overdose that should have costed us our life.”
Justin helped her shoot up, then did himself. When he turned back to look at her he instantly knew something was wrong.
“My wife was laid back, turning blue, I began to freak out. I got on the phone and immediately called 911.”
Justin was able to tell the dispatcher that his wife was having an overdose, but since he had used too he was becoming more and more incoherent, he passed out before the dispatcher could figure out exactly where they were.
“The only thing that save our live is that when I passed out my phone was still on the hook and the 911 dispatcher was able to get our GPS coordinates and [the paramedics] got there to save us right on time.”
When Justin came to after the overdose he was in the hospital.
“Immediately [I was thinking] holy shit I just murdered my wife with Heroin. I began freaking out, they had to keep me under control.”
Thankfully they both lived. Unfortunately, this near death experience didn’t stop him from using until sometime later.
“I have been given way too many chances, I’d like to continue to stay clean and continue to work on being a better person in honor of my friends who have passed away because of this disease.”
Going back to Phoenix has helped Justin reconnect with other people in recovery.
“They don’t shame me or anything mane, it’s all love. It’s an incredible feeling … My life gets infinitely better when I get clean … I don’t mean better by financially better, those things happen as a byproduct of it, but I mean just feeling good about myself, having the ability to like the person that I am.
Justin has a full-time job working in the recovery field.
“the world is a beautiful place, depending on how I choose to look at it … I have a nice positive perspective on the world today. Please get help don’t be another statistic.”