Justin got in trouble the first time with the law at 18 years old. But he might have been arrested for many things before that incident. He was using marijuana between 12-13 years old. He was doing cocaine and acid by 15 years old. He became a full-time raver by 15 too. By the time he got in trouble at 18 for having a pipe in a car with his friend, he had started using Special K.
Justin says he didn’t necessarily want to use Special K, but he had to get tested by his probation officer due to his drug bust. Special K was a drug the court system didn’t test for yet. What’s more, he only had the drug bust because he took the rap for a friend who was on probation already. When the police pulled them over, the pipe was his friends, but Justin took the rap for him. From that point forward Justin says, “he was on a downward spiral he wasn’t sure how to get out of.”
A Tendency Towards Rebellion
Justin experimented and was dependent on various drugs well before his addiction started. When Justin got in trouble with the law at 18 years old, he had taken or was dependent on Ecstasy, Heroin, Acid, Special K, Marijuana, and Alcohol. In 2001, his parents ended up finally divorcing after 18 years of telling him they would. Justin moved to California with his mom when he was 21.
Justin thought because he gave up Special K and the heroin he used to take, he’d be okay. For the next four years, Justin only used marijuana and alcohol. Because he was only using marijuana and alcohol, he felt he was in control of his need for drugs. In his mind, he had downshifted to recreational drugs that didn’t mean much of anything.
Around the same time, Justin ended up falling in love with a woman who was unfaithful to him. A domino reaction started as he ramped up to various other drugs like heroin and Oxycontin. He kept trying to get clean when he was sent back to rehabilitation or jail. But when he got out he would still drink alcohol excessively and find a way to use what he considered a ‘lessor’ drug.
Justin went in and out of jail and rehab until he started using Meth. Then Justin got a residential burglary charge when he and a friend was dope sick from Meth. He and his friend got caught stealing items from unlocked cars and a home they thought no one was at. He and his friend were both arrested, and this time Justin went to jail with a felony. Justin learned if he went to rehabilitation he got time off his jail sentence.
That system worked for him, so at the end of his rehabilitation, he was given a certificate that he was cured of drug addiction. Justin was let out of jail with $200 gate money. Justin says, “he drank until he blacked out.”
Never Ending Trouble
Justin has probably been to about 10 different rehabilitation centers. Justin has also been to jail or prison a few times. Each time he came out, he would use again. Sometimes he would experiment with other drugs while always combining it with alcohol.
Justin started to think maybe he wasn’t really an addict because he could switch out and use different drugs. Sometimes it was heroin, sometimes Meth, sometimes marijuana and alcohol. But every time he got out of prison or rehab, he started using drugs again.
Then Justin ended up getting searched in a mall parking lot and was arrested by the police for a needle partially loaded in his car. Justin thinks when he got out of prison for that arrest is the first time he got clean for the first time for the right reasons.
But even then Justin left rehab he at Step 8 thinking he didn’t need them anymore. Somewhere in the middle of the rehabs and jail time, he remembered a time when he and his friends took advantage of a developmentally disabled guy back when he still lived on the East Coast. Justin thinks they drained over $30,000 from the guy. It may have been at that moment, or soon after, Justin decided he needed to change.
Finally Finding God
Justin went to his last rehabilitation center, and he started having a spiritual awakening while at ABTRS. Justin’s spiritual awakening happened when he said to one of his sponsors, “I keep looking for a burning bush when I search for God. When really God was with me the whole time.”
It was while Justin was in ABTRS and working with his sponsors he realized he needed to be accountable and take responsibility for his past actions and addictions. At the same time, he realizes his mom, had been his greatest support system through it all. Justin says, “My mom is the closest person to me in the world and is the only example of unconditional love, I know.”
With Justin’s accountability and becoming responsible for his past, he speaks of being at level 8 again. It’s the level he remembers he left rehab last time. This time is different. This time Justin prays, and he knows God sees his heart. Justin wants to move forward with his life, and he’s ready. Justin says, “A lot of things happened in my life that I could have avoided if I tried to get clean earlier. If I had tried instead of going through the motions. My advice to you – don’t waste ten years of your life as I did.”