My story doesn’t start like most. I was raised in a Christian home, by both parents, went to church every Sunday morning, and was active in Youth Group. So why would I get started into drugs? Acceptance. I wanted to be liked by everyone. I started smoking weed in high school and drinking on weekends. Once that started I started questioning a lot about what I was taught as a child. I just did not see how there could be something out there that was so powerful and care and love me so much.
After high school that is pretty much when everything took off. I was using prescription painkillers daily, as much as I could get. I did whatever I could to feed this addiction. I’ve had every kind of job you can think of — from radio DJ, to truck driver. I would go to work, driving an 18 wheeler, while high on painkillers.
After I lost my job, and my unemployment ran out, that’s when all the stealing and lying started. My family finally had enough. I agreed to go to treatment in Somerset, KY to a place called Lake Hills Oasis. It was there I learned that that my past is just things that I had done, not who I was. I learned how God loves me, no matter how broken you are. I did 100 days of residential treatment, then a 9 month internship. I now work for the company. I got peer support certified and work as a residential staff. I continue to work with the guys at Lake Hills Oasis and showing them that recovery is possible. I give my thanks to God daily and I am thankful I have restored relationships with my family because of the grace he has.
Describe your ‘aha’ moment.
When my parents said they had enough and was going to press charges unless I got help. I had stolen a checkbook and wrote checks, pawned everything that wasn’t bolted down to feed my addiction.
Describe the feelings and emotions while in active addiction.
I felt like I could quit whenever I wanted, just not today.
What is the driving force that keeps you going when times get tough?
My relationship with God. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Him, and my support from co-workers and family.
What advice do you have for the addict still struggling?
There is a life outside of addiction. The sickness and pain soon goes away. Relationships will get restored.
What advice do you have for family members of a person in active addiction?
Sometimes it takes hard love. Just let me them know you refuse to be second best to their addiction.
I’d like to thank Addiction Recovery Care for saving my life. They showed me that with God, anything is possible no matter the things you have done. I don’t wake up in the mornings looking for a fix in a chemical, I can get my fix with God.
Tyler is a residential staff member and peer support specialist at Sanibel House in Catlettsburg. Tyler previously served in those roles at Lake Hills Oasis in Somerset, where he completed treatment. He shares his journey to recovery each day with men suffering from drug addiction.