Brett’s descent into addiction started out as a bundle of teenage angst and an identity built around rebellion. Skateboarding turned into smoking cigarettes, which turned into smoking Marijuana.
“I found my identity as the bad kid,” Brett said.
“For so long, I thought that drugs were cool. I thought that making money was cool. My whole perception was wrong,” Brett said.
His rock bottom happened when he overdosed shortly after leaving prison on the day of his brother’s wedding.
“My mother almost had to bury and marry a son in the same day,” Brett said.
“That took a lot of courage to finally walk in and realize that I was defeated by this disease. My probation gave me another chance. I had been to prison twice. I had been to 10 rehabs at that point. I had no other choice,” Brett said.
One of the principal factors that helped get him to the point where he realized he couldn’t continue in his addiction—beyond his rock bottom moment was his family going to Al-Anon programs.
“I can’t continue to use if I’m not being enabled by somebody,” Brett said.
His parents learned to take care of themselves. At first he was resentful when they began the program, but he was able to follow shortly after when he wasn’t enabled by them anymore.
Forming a New Identity from the Inside, Out
“My new identity really has nothing to do with these outside things. It has more to do with who I am and who God made me to be,” Brett said.
One of the things that gives him purpose in life now is helping kids who are in recovery.
“I believe my purpose in the program is to make recovery look cool,” Brett said.
Brett feels obligated to gain wisdom from the older guys and pass it on to the younger people. “I might attract them with my humor and intellect. I have things to offer these days, not stuff to hide behind,” Brett said.
Giving Back, Moving Forward
Brett wants to encourage people who have loved ones struggling in addiction that the person isn’t doing drugs because they want to hurt them. He’s celebrating six months sober and doesn’t want to go back to that life.
“I’m not going to lie and say drugs aren’t fun. It just was a managing thing. I was doing them just to get by,” Brett said.
However, now Brett realizes that he has a higher purpose, connected to the youth and to his higher power.
When he talks to people who struggle in addiction, he tries to put himself back in their shoes in order to relate to them.
“I’m in a place today where [just] yesterday I had a few mothers asking for suggestions and help. Before that it was my mother calling frantic. Today I get to sit in front of these cameras and carry a message of hope,” Brett said.