It was 5AM, June 30th, 2014. I was staring at my computer screen with dried-out, dark red eyes. A loaded syringe and a burned-up pipe sat next to me on the table, along with a slew of empty beer cans and liquor bottles occupying the remaining surfaces of my room. The anxiety in my gut felt like a hot iron burning through my stomach lining. My head felt like an overinflated balloon. I had been dribbling on through my life like this for the past 3 years, and I had hit a breaking point. Alone in my room at my parents’ house, I broke down into tears and curled up into a ball on the floor. Part of me wanted to die right there on the carpet, but a larger part of me was desperate for help. I mustered the last bit of energy I had and woke my parents up. There started my journey to South Florida sobriety.
I come from a wonderful and supportive family. I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, but moved to Dallas, Texas when I was 7. There, I attended world-class public schools, participated in sports, music and various other extracurricular activities, and had an extensive social network. By all measurable accounts, my childhood and upbringing were perfect. The immeasurable factor in all of this was how I felt. I felt different, inadequate, and undeserving of most things I accomplished or possessed. This feeling caused me to be massively insecure for the majority of my adolescence, creating me as an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. I became hot-headed, defiant, and impulsive. This was the birth of my addiction.
At around age 13, I drank for the first time. As the liquor touched my lips and burned down my throat, I immediately enjoyed it. As I continued to drink that night, that feeling of inadequacy, of being different, of being insecure about myself, just melted away. This was my solution. I had finally found something that solved all of my problems. It worked like a charm, and continued to do so for the foreseeable future. All of a sudden, sports, music and school all took a backseat to my drinking. I either coasted through them or quit if it infringed too heavily on my drinking plans.
After graduating high school, I moved into the dormitories at the University of North Texas. Needless to say, nothing changed. I barely passed my classes and remained intoxicated or high for 95% of my time. My entire life was centered around when I would get drunk next, or when I would get more dope. This strategy in college obviously did not end well, so I dropped out of college to “focus on music.” Truthfully, music was just a great excuse to be hammered on a 24/7 basis. The music scene allowed it, and even encouraged it. Sure, I loved playing, and I was pretty good at it, but that wasn’t my main motivation.
The next 3 years for me were just an overabundance of blackouts, arrests, treatment and all-around embarrassment. I even had a pretty lengthy county jail sentence thrown in there. My life was in shambles. I had no plans for my future, was completely dysfunctional, and utterly hopeless. Most nights as I fell asleep, with a plethora of drugs and alcohol in my system, I had no care in the world if I even woke up the next morning. I was a zombie, wobbling through life bringing a storm of anxiety, depression and chaos with me everywhere I went. And this brings us back to that night in June of 2014.
So, after getting on the plane to Miami, ingesting as many drinks and drugs as I could, and barely making it to detox, I finally ended up in treatment, then sober living, for the last time. I dove into the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, where I found the solution to my problem. AA, the 12 Steps and my support network are the reason I am sober today. There, I met people who are now very close friends, and have made an enormous impact in my recovery over the last 3 years. These people have helped mold, shape and support the man that I have become, both personally and professionally. Included in this group of people are the ones that started, own and operate Principles Recovery Center. When they opened up, I became involved as quickly and as heavily as I could, because I knew they were people who were out to make a difference and to do the right thing. In this industry, that is truly a rarity. It’s more than a profession to us, it’s who we are and it’s our purpose in life.
That night in June of 2014 changed everything. It was the single most horrible, yet wonderful 2 hours of my life. It was the moment in my life that I decided to fight. I decided to fight against every fiber in my being telling me that I wasn’t worth it, that I wasn’t meant to be anything but a worthless addict, that I was too far gone and hopeless. But little did I know, hopelessness is only temporary, and as long as you’re breathing, there is a light at the end of your tunnel. You do not have to go through this alone. Reach out for help, change your life, and watch as you blossom into someone you only thought existed in your wildest dreams.