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Testimonial - Male, mid-40s

"I had been involved in some sort of drug use for over 30 years. I must admit that at the beginning it was the key to my sanity (that sounds rather strange to me now), as the years that followed, my whole existence was swayed by drugs. My friends were basically only those who shared my infatuation for being buzzed. I felt that I wasn't enjoying myself unless I was high at the same time. It was very cool at the beginning; most people who got high (smoking pot) seemed to be middle class or above, and smart and just got high to relieve their boredom. It seemed that the folks I was getting weed from were living the good life. As I went on in my life, I added cocaine to my list of drugs and that brought around another crowd altogether. These folks seemed to be upper class; the beautiful people in life.

"This addition would make my nights long and endless. I always felt that I was not out of control but rather just enjoyed my life while high and was able to function fine. I always had a good job and was making good money. I was no addict or junkie, and I believed that if I wanted to, I could just walk away. Well, time went on and I married and moved out of state. I became a father and continued to get high whenever I could, usually at night after the kids went to sleep. I soon discovered I was in a loveless marriage and began increasing how often I was getting blasted. I met new people to get my drugs and as time went on I found myself being around people I would rather not be around. This was a necessity I was willing to tolerate because they were the only folks dealing with the stuff those days.

"No longer were they cool beautiful people. Now, they were people with problems and selling drugs to pay their own way. I began to plan everything around whether I was able to have my drug pouch stocked. During all of this I was playing guitar at night in my music room and getting blasted when the family was asleep. I had always wanted to play for money but felt time the time wasn't right and that one day I would get there. I delved deeper in my depression. No matter how much I used I couldn't deaden the pain and make my life bearable. The folks I was interfacing with to get my drugs were getting worse and what they were selling began to expand to stronger and more deadly drugs and not just pot. At this point I was so caught up that I didn't care. I expanded my drug list to whatever they were peddling. This put me in a worse funk than before and made me more withdrawn and kept me from everyone.

"One night I came home to an empty house and wondered where my kids and wife were. I called around to her few friends and no one claimed to have seen her. I went up to the music room, sparked up, changed into my pajamas and went downstairs to read and wait for them to come home. The door bell rang and I answered it to find six or seven police officers at my door,, serving me with a 50lb order and asking to come into my house. My wife had gone to the authorities and claimed I was abusive and a threat to her and the children. She was having me removed from my house and kept from my children. This was a lie she told but because I was not in the position to neither argue nor defend myself due to my warped state of mind, I was thrown out on the street.

"I got an attorney and dealt with all the crap she started and proved that all her claims were lies. Not that this changed anything! I was still away from my children and had to find an apartment. I realized I was only hurting myself. In order to see my children I had to submit to urine testing within 24 hours. If the test was clean, I was reimbursed the fee for the test and allowed to see my children. I must tell you this was a huge awakening for me. Remember that I have been getting high for over 30 plus years and felt being buzzed was helping me and hurting no one. It wasn't, and in fact my life style caused me to be in this mess and hurt myself, my children, and everyone else in my family.

"When I look back, I realize that I shouldn't have married her to begin with. But once I had a family, I also realized I wouldn't have stayed away from them, or moved out of my home state if I had not been using. If only I had been able to make decisions with a clear mind. So, I stopped getting high immediately, which was really not easy. Having no money certainly helped. I realized that my priorities were warped and that I had to take control of my life.

"I have been clean for 2 ½.years and every test has been negative (negative is a good thing in drug testing). I have begun to make the turn in getting my life back in order even though I have been through hell dealing with my ex-wife and my addiction. It pisses her off that she has never been able to use my addiction to take my kids away from me or destroy my relationship with my kids. I was only able to make this progress because I realized that I didn't have a grasp on reality. I needed to be clear minded to serve in the role the Lord has given me in this life. I am a father and my first priority is my children. I am blessed to have them and accept my responsibility to raise them and teach them right from wrong. I wasn't doing that when I was stoned. I was running from my responsibilities.

"Since all this has transpired I have increased the amount of community service I do through my church and am playing guitar weekly with a whole new bunch of respectable friends that I'm not ashamed to be with.. I have become more effective at work and have deepened my relationship with my children and continue to communicate my love to them. I have also been able to get close to my family again.

"We are designed to be who we are at birth. We do not need any drug to enhance our lives or bring us where we need to go. Take it from me, being high all the time kept me from becoming who I am. I wasted a lot of time being stoned."

Testimonial - Female, mid-20s

"I am a 25 year old female living in Pennsylvania, and a recovering addict.' I don't like labels because there is more to me than just being an addict, yet I'm not ashamed to admit it. Actually, when I share in an AA/NA meeting, I claim that I am not an addict because I have an addictive personality. If I started drinking I assume I would become an alcoholic. My history includes my Mother passing away from cancer when I was 11 years old. I do not use this as an excuse to get high. Forgive me for sounding like I am preaching. This is all just me telling you what works for me. So let me just qualify myself as an addict. I have been in 13 rehab facilities--yes, 25 years old...and I did say thirteen rehabs. Some were court ordered, most were to satisfy my family, and some even for me. I couldn't get into any more rehabs where my dad didn't have to pay $600/day for. He's a walking saint and has been there for me throughout the years.

"It is my goal in life to be clean and successful and to take care of him. I've been in maximum security prison, arrested numerous times, and hurt a lot of people, especially the ones I love the most. The most horrible thing I have done is making my dad loose sleep at night and dread every time that stupid phone rang. Any parent who is going through the same thing can relate. The worst stunt I have pulled doesn't compare to what I put my family through mentally. We justify our bad behavior (as an addict) by saying, "We are only hurting ourselves." Yeah, right... It's a cop-out. We just say that to make ourselves feel better.

"When you're using you're the most selfish human being possible-- sub-consciously of course. I have been homeless and lived in the streets in the rain and freezing cold. It is times like that when you do something dumb just to get arrested for food and shelter. Never again!!! I believe I have had a spiritual awakening. Of course, everything was handed to me, in the last couple of years on a silver spoon. I just didn't know how to take advantage of these opportunities and get off drugs. Now I think I can and those kinds of chances only come along once in a life time. Having gone thru all those bad things I mentioned, I now realize that I don't have to live that way anymore. I overdosed seven times and even been on life support. God still chose to wake me up every morning, even after overdosing, I believe he has a plan for me. I am going to have to stay clean to figure it out. I think my purpose in life is to help others!

"Well, I have over eighteen months clean now with the help of a methadone maintenance program. I know everyone has different opinions on this program but it is truly a "last resort". I used to be against the methadone program but it has worked for me. My short term goal is one year clean. I might not have all the material things I want but I have my dad, step-mom and my sister - what more could I want?"