My name is Christopher Lee Dixon. I was raised in a loving home. My parents were wonderful. They provided for me, my four sisters, and my bother. As a young child I always knew I was different. I was backwards and shy all through school. In the beginning of the fifth grade I was encouraged by a teacher to try out for sports. I tried out for football and was actually pretty good. I started to get attention from everybody from fifth to eighth grade. People started to recognize me and as I progressed into high school I got more and more popular.
When I was sixteen my friends and I went to a carry out to get some beer. I had just gotten my license and had never drank before, but my friends encouraged me to go so I did. When I went through the drive through the workers there told me that I had a good game that night and asked me what I wanted. I told him that I wanted two cases of beer. When he handed them to me I reached out the money but he told me not to worry about it. I went every Friday night for the next four years and he took care of me.
The first night we got the beer we went to a party. I can’t really remember what happened, but when I went to school the following Monday everybody started to call me “Wild Man.” I really loved all of the attention that I was getting. Just like clockwork every Friday and Saturday my friends and I would go to the carry out, get free beer, and get drunk.
After high school I didn’t get the attention that I was used to anymore, so I started drinking really heavily for the next four years. I would get drunk almost every night. I knew that I had a drinking problem, so I started going to church with my parents and quit drinking for the next three years. I really loved it. I was getting my life back on track and enjoying time with my family. However, there was a disagreement and my family and I were kicked out of the church. This absolutely crushed me and rocked my world. I went back to what I knew best – drinking. I drank heavily again for the next couple of years.
In 2006 I was coming back from a bar in Huntington, drinking and driving. I made it to Kentucky, driving down Route 60 when a car pulled out in front of me and I hit it. A person in the other car was injured and had to be in the hospital for three months. I was booked and charged with first-degree assault and given a ten-year sentence. I spent from 2006 to 2016 in prison.
When I got out of prison August 12, 2016 I was searching for a job. I was having trouble because I couldn’t find anywhere that would hire a convicted felon. A family friend that is more like a sister works for Addiction Recovery Care. She is the office manager for Sanibel House and they were getting ready to open a Phase One center there as well. When she and the director were talking about hiring more staff she mentioned my name. He told her to have me come in for an interview. I was hired on and began working at Sanibel in November of 2016. I have now been working for the company for a year. It is very stressful sometimes, but I love helping our clients get through the rough times. Although it may be stressful, it is well worth it. I will always be grateful to ARC and to James for giving me a chance when nobody else would. I’ve now been sober since February 2, 2007.
My AHA moment:
When I was in prison people treated me like I didn’t matter. After ten years of being treated like that I began to believe it. When I got out of prison and got a job working with ARC I felt loved and started to believe that I was somebody and that I could make a difference in somebody’s life.
Feelings and emotions of active addiction:
I always felt hopeless, depressed, and like I didn’t matter in life. I thought that nobody cared about me. I was emotionally shut down. I had given up on life and
didn’t really care if I lived or died.
The driving force that keeps me going when times get tough:
First is my faith and belief in Jesus. Second is my family. They have always been there for me and helped me through my struggles. Third is my job. I love being able to go to work every day. The people I work with inspire me and help me when I need somebody to talk to.
Advice for the addict still struggling:
I always tell our clients to take life one minute at a time when they’re struggling. I tell them that if they can get through one minute then the next one will be easier. I tell them that if I can do it, then anybody can do it. You have nothing to lose, give life a chance.
What obstacles or roadblocks have you faced in your recovery?
One of the biggest roadblocks has been my depression and low self-esteem. Once I got clean and started to get my emotions back, I had to start dealing with those issues through my faith and Jesus.
What is something you want people who never struggled with addiction to know?
Addiction is a disease. No one ever decides one day that they’re going to be an addict. We are not selfish people. We’re not mean. We just got caught up with our issue and did not know how to deal with them. We all need help. Please do not ever give up on us because every life is worth saving.
What advice do you have for family members of a person in addiction?
Never give up on them. Always love them, always support them, and always try to get them help. I know they may have hurt you or stolen from you and your family, but you have to understand they‘re not thinking clearly and they need help.
I would not be here if it weren’t for a very bad accident. It changed my life for the good. If it weren’t for God saving me I would probably be dead. I can’t forget my family, who have always supported me and never gave up on me. I always want to thank ARC for showing me how to live again.
There is hope. There is help.
Lee is Residential Staff at Sanibel House. He has a heart for showing others there is a life outside of addiction if they work for it.