Recovery: Waking up to a New Life
True Stories of Addiction: Dustin
Dustin’s affair with drugs started just like most people: drinking and smoking pot when he was young. He was enamored with the Grateful Dead, and was a “dead head” in that scene for the early nineties until the band’s front man, Jerry Garcia died. Then he moved on to the rave scene and continued the partying and drug use.
First Encounter with Crystal Meth
The first time Dustin tried Crystal Meth was in the mid-nineties. It was laid out in lines like Cocaine, but the feeling it gave him was terrible. He laid in bed for three days, just staring off miserably and wishing it would end. At that point, Dustin didn’t think the drug was for him.
A few years later, though, he came across people smoking Crystal Meth at an afterparty. He tried it this time and actually enjoyed himself. It was the beginning of a dark romance.
While he went in and out of sober periods around his daughter’s birth and other instances, it never lasted and he would wind up in the lowest of circumstances again. One of his lowest points of active addiction was in 2008, when he was arrested for the armed robbery of a cab driver. While this was bad, it wasn’t enough to break the addiction.
He worked the Alpha program in Maricopa County Jail after that, but he hadn’t experienced a true shift in himself yet and relapsed three days after his release.
The Path to Recovery
Despite his relapse, the Alpha program planted the seed of recovery in him and after his release, he wound up in a few different sober living homes. In these homes is where he truly became acquainted with recovery. Dustin struggled with the frequent mention of God, and wanted to run away every time spirituality came up.
Unfortunately, after five years of probation, the disease of addiction still had a firm grip on him. Dustin no longer felt the need to stay clean without the probation to worry about. He started using again, this time intravenously as his addiction took a turn for the worst.
The immediacy and intensity of the high achieved from intravenous use allowed the claws of addiction to sink in deeper. Dustin was using Crystal Meth on a daily basis, and this continued for about 10 years. His obsession was so strong that he was triggered to use even when he took his son to get shots at the doctor. Seeing the tiny drop of blood grow where the needle had been brought him to his knees.
Dustin’s Final Turning Point
Dustin hit a turning point one rainy day, after looking up an old friend he had used with in the past. His friend had stopped using and in his picture, he was looking good in a suit and tie in. This struck a chord inside of Dustin.
Just then, the lights went out because the electricity hadn’t been paid. Dustin didn’t want to go out on his bike, in the rain, to pay for more power. Amidst this gloomy mess he found himself in, he just started crying. He was so miserable in that point of his life, tortured about where he had ended up.
It was shortly after that when he decided to get clean for good and he sought treatment. Dustin was so desperate for recovery that he would have done anything for it, but what the treatment professionals had to say was quite simple. They suggested that he go to meetings, get a sponsor, get a service commitment and find a connection to a power greater than himself.
This is when it hit him that it doesn’t have to be God, just a higher power. Since then, service and giving to other people is when he feels that higher power in action. Interacting with others is what makes him feel connected to something greater than himself.
He gained hope, seeing others who had accomplished years of recovery, but he was powerless to addiction even then. When he found a sack of dope, he had to use it. He relapsed and was high for a few days, but knew in his heart that something had changed. He could tell that this was going to be it.
It was difficult for Dustin to realize that there is no instant gratification in recovery. He accepts the work now that must be done to fix things in his life that were broken by addiction. He ran from his problems for years and years, but now he is sorting through those consequences.
After more than three years clean, he has rebuilt his life; he has a home, a car and a fantastic job. What he is most grateful for, though, is to just to wake up in the morning. He is happy to wake up to a good life and not have to wonder how he will get by for the day or where he will hide.
For Dustin, it took a long time to seek the help he needed and get clean for good. He is lucky, though, as close to 500,000 people lose their lives to drugs each year in the U.S. If you think you are headed down the dark path of addiction and want to make a change, we can help you take the first step. Give us a call at (866) 578-7471.