THIS MONTH'S GUEST SPEAKER: "Travit"
Originally posted in Jan. 2000(The author retains all rights to this material)
My name is Travit and I am an addict and to qualify as an addict, I lived to use, and used to live. My story is not special in any way; it is just what I have experienced in my 23 years of addiction.
I grew up in a small town in Pa. my mother and her brothers were all alcoholics. When growing up my mother used to give me beer to put me to sleep because I was so hyper. She thought that by letting me drink beer at an early age, that I wouldn't like it when I got older. But little did she know that I abused this drug early in my childhood and came to love it so much I did nothing but abuse it when I got older. I started drinking so much, I didn't drink because it tasted good, but I drank because it made me feel outside myself. I usually blacked out every time I used it.
I grew up with one brother and three sisters; one of my sisters was my twin sister. Growing up with an abusive father did not help matters at all. My father abused me mentally and physically, and for that I could not stand my father at all. I was always blamed for things that I didn't do and for things I did do. But I never felt that I belonged there. When I was seven, my cousin molested me. I never told anyone because it made me feel good. It was like someone cared about me and for that I didn't want anyone to take that good feeling away from me.
When I got to be around ten or eleven, I tried pot. My brother used to make me go to my mother and get 5 or 10 dollars so that we could buy a bag of weed. For years I did that until I could get it myself and I didn't need him any more because he would take the weed after I went through the trouble of getting the money. After a while my mother stopped giving me money so I would steal it from her purse. Nevertheless my parents were both addicts, so one day my brother, my father, and I were all together and my uncle lit up a bowl of weed and passed back to my older brother, now he looked at me and smoked it and handed it to me and I smoked it and gave it to my father. Now my brother and I both knew my dad-smoked weed but that day he just gave it back to his brother. I thought when this car stops and we get out my dad is going to kill me, but he never said one word to me.
Now I don't know about you but I know from that day on, I thought that getting high was the thing to do. Because I was never told that I couldn't get high. So one thing led to another and I was introduced to cocaine, it started off by snorting some on the weekends and then every day became the weekend. In 1985, I graduated from high school and I wanted to join the army, not because that was the thing to do, but to get away from my father as far as possible. And I remember him asking me why do you want to go in the army and at that time being that I was only 16 years old, “I said to him just sign the fucking papers, I don't want to talk about it”. Because I was so tired of taking beating from him, I really wanted to join to kick his ass because my father was a black belt in karate.
So off I went to Ft Benning, Georgia to become a man in the infantry. I drank beer more than I ever did in my life, I spent 8 years in Uncle Sam’s Corps, and I didn't like any of it. In 1990, my father got real sick and had an aneurysm in his stomach; I took a leave of absence from the army and never went back with three years left. My father died and the day we buried him I was smoking crack cocaine and a part of me wanted to die. Now I was getting high pretty much every day. My mother got ill and one year later she died, when she died my whole life had changed just like that.
Now I was the baby of the family and I smoked crack the day we buried her also but I was trying to kill myself because I had no reason to live. I tried to commit suicide thirteen times. I started taking a whole bunch of pills hoping to overdose then I took a knife and stuck myself twice in the throat hoping to lie in a puddle of blood and die. But that didn't work, so I tried to hang myself but the rope broke and I lay on the ground discouraged. A few weeks later I tried to hang myself again by using the wire that you hang your clothes on outdoors, it broke. I thought at that point I can't die or he will not let me die. Meaning my Higher Power, now I never did tell you that my father became a minister in his later years, and that he made us go to Sunday school every Sunday even thought we didn't want to go. But I believe this is what saved me even thought I didn't want to be saved.
After two or three years since my parents died I got in trouble with law, I had beat my boss up and did one year in jail. Now I thought while I am in prison maybe I could get my life together go to church and to meetings while I am in here. So I did that, when they released me I started off doing the right thing until I got around old people, places and things and violated my parole, back to jail I went then to a rehab facility. This was great, I thought I was cured, I was there for 90 days then I went to a half way house in Lancaster, Pa. where I spent 60 days and they threw me out. Now when they threw me out, I thought how dare you bastards throw me out of here. So I went back home and I was living with one of my classmates from high school. He let me live there for about 3 months.
I had a job that I could ride my bike to and I was making meetings and things were looking good. Until one day at work, I was mowing lawns for a landscaping company and I took the lawn mower and ran over my foot and cut my big toe in half. I was rushed to the hospital where they fixed me up but they didn't save the part that got cut off. After two years it did grow back. But the hospital wasn’t informed that I was an addict and gave me painkillers. Now anything that changes my mood or mind is a good thing at least I thought so. I was taking Rioxets for the first time in my life and yes I did abuse them just as I did cocaine. Well as I lay up waiting for my foot to heal, I had a lawyer draw up a lawsuit and I got paid for what happen to my foot. And the day I got paid I moved back in town and stayed out there on the streets for another two years. And one day I felt like I can’t do this no more and I wanted to jump in this black hole and let this hole swallow me up while it was pouring down rain. And this small quiet voice said “don't do it, go down to talk to the drug and alcohol counselor tomorrow and go to a rehab and get help”.
Now all this time I was mad at God for taking my parents, losing my girlfriend, and for allowing my life to be just shitty. But as I sat there in the rain, not knowing what to do, I got up and said thank you and I went home. The next day came and it was the hardest thing I ever did by getting out of bed early and walking down town to tell this man I can't do this no more. Never the less I was like a vampire and didn’t want to come out in the daytime. So I went and they told me that it was going to take seven days to get me a bed, and I replied if I don't go today I am going to die. And the counselor said to me as I walked out “Travit just hold on”. And I said that’s easy for you to say, and I used everyday until it was time to go, because I really didn't want to go I knew I had to go or die. And I used three hours until it was time to get in that car and I haven't look back since.
I have been clean now since June 11, 1996 and I thank my higher power, which I choose to call God. Thanks for letting me share my experience strength and hope.
God bless you