Voices for Recovery
My story of addiction began at age 12 when I started drinking and smoking marijuana. I had just moved to a new city, which meant starting a new school and making new friends. I wanted to fit in. By age 14, I was experimenting with other drugs. At 15, I started using opiates, and at 16, I was addicted to heroin and dropped out of high school. A year later, I was incarcerated for heroin possession. There would be many more drug-related offenses to follow, resulting in more than 10 years of incarceration over the next 35 years. Lost and lonely on the inside, I was mean and tough on the outside. I found myself in a cycle of drug addiction, treatment, and incarceration.
Eventually, long-term treatment offered me the foundation for a life in recovery. Now I am 10 years in recovery; I completed my bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts in June 2011 and am currently entering my second semester at Springfield College, working toward a master’s degree in social work. I am a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor II.
I also became involved with Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR) 6 years ago. I feel that becoming a visible, vocal advocate for improved addiction treatment and education, as well as public awareness, is essential to my newfound purpose in life.
Today, thanks to my recovery, I am a valuable, responsible member of society who is an employed, tax-paying voter and involved in my community. I am a man with honor, dignity, integrity, and respect. I am living proof that treatment works and recovery is possible. Each day of recovery, I feel victorious with much gratitude.