THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Nick S."
Drug addiction can make you a very negative person. It can also turn you into a dishonest, unreliable and a closed minded mess. I used to be addicted to drugs. It was tough, but this is how I got through it. My thoughts started to change when I realized that I was hurting myself and my family and from that I learned how to be a positive, honest, reliable and understanding guy.
I had a problem with anger and depression at the age of twelve or thirteen. I found this out by my mom putting me in programs, therapy and sending me to counselors when I was twelve. When I was sixteen to eighteen years old I stopped going to programs and all that stuff because I thought drugs were helping me cope with my insecurities and anger problems. I was using drugs to in other words numb myself from the outside world. My addiction lasted nine years when I was trying to fill a void that was bottomless. During the years I was trying to fill that void I became homeless living next to the train tracks in Bradley Beach. This helped me start to realize that I was hurting myself but still didn’t want to stop, which made me realize that I had no other option except go to rehab.
The first rehab I went to was a Salvation Army and most of the people that went there did it to get out of going to jail or to get a roof over their head. The first rehab I went to I didn’t take advantage of because I was doing it just to please people like my parents because they threatened me by saying they would kick me out. During and after I left this rehab I was using drugs like this stuff called k-2 which doesn’t show up in your system, Which I thought was ok. I learned that any drug that alters your mind is bad for you. That’s when I learned that I was really hurting myself and didn’t want to live the way I was living, but still thought it was ok to use drugs because I was only hurting myself.
Before I went to rehab the second time, I was staying in the back of my mother’s car because I had a restraining order on me. The reason I had a restraining order on me from my mom’s roommate was because she and my mom were tired of me acting out of control by using drugs, partying, fighting and coming home at every hour of the night. I went to the second rehab because I wasn’t getting help from my family and government so I had no other choice to go and stop hurting myself and family when I didn’t realize I was hurting them.
When I went to rehab this second time, I didn’t at first do it for me until I started learning about myself and what I’ve been through. When I went to the second rehab Turning Point, I felt nervous for the first couple of days because the first rehab. I didn’t like the way people acted at the Salvation Army. Also I didn’t know what to expect from Turning Point because I was used to the little amount of programming and large amount of manual labor of the Salvation Army. While I was at Turning Point, I started to realize that I wanted to stop hurting myself and my family from hearing experiences that the people there told me they went through, but I didn’t know how to change it.
When my family came to visit me, my mother and my grandparents conveyed to me how they were hurt and upset that I was in rehab and that I did all these things like partying, fighting and not helping out. It made me realize that I was hurting them, not just me. I had to apologize to my family, forgive myself. That’s the reason why my thinking started to change, because it really hit me now that I was confronted with the fact that I was hurting them not just me.
That all changed when I met my roommate, Steve, because he was this cool sixty five year old guy that was happy to be out of jail but positive about everything and anything. Steve and a bunch of other people like these staff members named Allison, D and Mark helped me understand what an opportunity I had on my hands. D would quote people. I admired like Nas things I didn’t know Nas said. Allison and I would have one on one sessions that would help point out to me if I am going the right or wrong direction. Mark would look out for me and point out what I was doing wrong. Steve would give me advice about learning this lesson before it’s too late in life. Steve is one of the people whotold me their experience and I would ask him and other people like D and Allison how to change my behavior to stop hurting my family and myself
After I left rehab and went back home, I was allowed back into my parent’s house. Where my drug addiction started after a while, I went along with the program and did what my parents wanted me to do. Then my father’s attitude towards me, which pissed me off where I got to the point where I said I’ve had enough. This meant I decided to leave and go to a homeless shelter just to have some time away, because I knew I was capable to live at the homeless shelter because I’ve done it before due to my addiction and attitude problems. I went because I felt like I was being hurt not physically but verbally and I had enough self- worth to realize that I didn’t want to hurt him.
I used my time at the homeless shelter to give myself the kick start to find a job and start school. I also stayed clean from drugs and alcohol while at the homeless shelter. It was really important to me to get a job because then I could start supporting myself and hopefully achieve the goal of living on my own, while everyone around me was drinking and partying like it was a vacation. I went to meetings to help me deal with wanting to use, where the people at the meetings gave me hope and support. This also helped me stay positive about finding a job. Even though I didn’t find a job until after I left the homeless shelter. A job I got was a cart attendant at ShopRite in Neptune N.J I did start school while there at the homeless shelter. I felt proud and happy about starting towards my goals and dreams, when I wasn’t hurting anyone and trying to better my life to make amends to my family.
Before I left Turning Point, I got some of the guy’s phone numbers or found them on Facebook. To this day I try to stay in touch with some of the guys I was in rehab with and they are pursuing their goals and dreams. Staying in touch with the guys gives me hope that everything can work out for me whether it goes right or wrong. While staying clean after Turning Point, I started taking the program of Narcotics Anonymous seriously after I realized I was hurting my family without knowing it. I learned that from the people in the program who showed me how I was living. I’ve come to know that I’ve been through all of that and got to the other side and I’m still pursuing my goals and dreams of becoming a zoologist and training tigers and jaguars.Now that I am not hurting myself or my family. I can achieve my goals and dreams.