I spent my teenage years living in Pottsboro, Texas, where life was all about the party.
Pottsboro was right on Lake Texoma, and right in the middle of all the fun, which for me and my friends, included a lot of drinking and a lot of drugs. Two of which I was especially fond of-marijuana and prescription depressants. It didn’t even seem like I was doing anything wrong, it was just….life. I got out of high school and continued my behavior until the age of 21, when my mother stopped paying my way and I had to move back to Graham, where my entire family resides. She thought this was the first step to getting me under control because in the meantime, I had been convicted of DWI and put on 2 years probation. Regardless of all the trouble I had been in, I continued to smoke marijuana daily and drank on a very regular basis. I eventually made new friends and continued with any drugs I could get my hands on. About 4 months into my probation, I tested positive on a urinary analysis for THC, my very favorite drug that I had no desire to stop using. My Probation Officer sent me to Turning Point for outpatient rehabilitation.
I figured I would go, play the part and make everyone happy. I didn’t really care about “getting clean” or facing my problems because I didn’t have a problem. I was right and everyone else was wrong. I met Tim Mills, the director of Turning Point, for the first time in July of 2008…I hated him. I thought he was there for a pay check, and I didn’t feel like my life was any of his business. He put all the issues I had on paper, including legal, and told me we would tackle each one a little at a time until I had better control. I also met his intern, Shelley. She was nice but I wasn’t worried about her because she was just there to finish school. I didn’t feel like she needed to know anything so she wasn’t a threat. Reluctantly, I signed the paper agreeing to work on the issues. And then Tim dropped the bombshell-I would have to attend classes two nights a week until he thought I had been successfully “rehabilitated”. I was so angry and so appalled that some guy I didn’t even know thought he knew what was best for me. Not to mention, that was my time I spent doing what I did best-smoking marijuana. This guy was really starting to get on my nerves, but I had to do what he said, or I would probably have to go to jail…And I almost did, more than once. The legal problems were stacking up.
Now, it didn’t take a couple days or even a couple weeks, in fact, I was defiant for awhile before something Tim said to me changed my mind. He told me I was a mess, and for once, I agreed. I was a terrible mess and I knew this because I wasn’t happy, and he could tell. He cared enough to realize I was not the person that I could be. He somehow knew that I was not at my potential, and that I was, indefinitely, a mess. He didn’t even know me, but he did have faith that I could be at my potential and tried to figure out something that would work for me on a more personal level. I continued the classes twice a week, and met with Tim one on one every two weeks. Slowly, with the help of Tim, I stopped needing to smoke marijuana every day. Now I hadn’t completely stopped, but it wasn’t every day, and that, Tim said, was progress. At that point I knew I could do it. I knew I could turn it around, be someone different. I started feeling like Tim was my friend; I liked him. He was very understanding and knew how to push me to my limit, but positively. I also got to know Shelley, who is now an employee at Turning Point. She is calm and rational and I started to consider her a friend as well. I eventually stopped doing drugs altogether, and before I knew it, I was able to pass a drug test! I graduated from Turning Point after 6 months of treatment and enrolled myself into the aftercare program just to make sure Tim had to take my calls…I decided at that point, it was time to move on to the next chapter of my life and applied to nursing school. I was accepted into NCTC here in Graham. Although I was doing good, the bad that I had done didn’t go away. I had to face all my legal problems up until December, 2009, when I spent 11 long days in jail for a Revocation of Probation that had happened more than a year ago. Through all of this time, Tim has been there, either on the phone, face to face, he hasn’t denied me a good talk since I met him back in 2008. I know if I have a problem, he is there to help me through it, and Shelley tool. I am now 9 months away from being off probation, and I am 6 months away from graduating nursing school, and I am clean. I never thought I would come so far with the help of these “strangers”, but I was proved wrong, and if you know me, you know I don’t like to be wrong! I couldn’t suggest anything better to help than this facility and these very special people to anyone who feels as if they are in too deep to something they have no control over. Jail doesn’t work for everyone, rehab doesn’t work for everyone; sometimes it may take both, sometimes it may take neither. What DOES work for everyone though, is being happy, and you should do whatever it takes to make sure you are, because the world will go on without you.
I’m an alcoholic. I suppose I’ve been one all my life but I actually came to that realization when I was 20 years old. Since that realization came to me some 30 years ago it’s not hard at all for me to admit. Have I been sober for those 30 years? No, but I WAS sober for a great many of those years.
We are all regularly bombarded about the alcohol & drug abuse or addiction problem with our young people - yes there is a difference between addiction & abuse.
From what I understand ‘abuse’ would be an unhealthy consumption of alcohol or drugs to a point where it has, or very likely will cause problems in your life. Wow your thinking this would be a perfect time for them to get the problem under control. But in reality it is probably one of the most difficult times to get someone to change. My guess would be because it has already affected their normal thinking, hence you get, Yea buddy I’m good - I can handle this.
Addiction on the other hand would be your bodies physical dependency on a substance to the point where you might have enough clarity to think ‘uhoh’ but you wouldn’t have enough of a clear thought process to know how to do anything but keep on doing what your screwed-up mind tells you is sane. I know this because I’ve lived thru it.
Unfortunate as this problem is among teens it also runs rampant in all ages throughout our society whether they be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, grade school dropout or college graduate. The wealthy do tend to have better access to certain rehabilitation facilities and are better able to handle legal issues that come along with alcohol & drug abuse but these problems still exist among them. Guess you can’t buy your way out of addiction.
Back to me, ah yes everyone loves to talk about their self. I found myself severely dependant on alcohol in my early twenties. To say I was living in pure HELL would be to put it lightly. Most of the time I wasn’t sure what I was doing or how I had managed to get my young life so messed up. I was told many times, “Why don’t you just not drink?” That reminds me of a story I heard from AA where the speaker acknowledged such a question by saying, “Why don’t you drink a bottle of castor oil and tell yourself – just don’t go to the bathroom.”
When your mind and body is telling you to do something they ain’t much left to keep you from doing it. To let you know how bad it can be, I didn’t quit drinking then by my on free will. I did find myself in a detox facility and was told I had been unconscious for three days hooked to an IV drip of valium to keep the alcohol withdraw convulsions (commonly know as DTs or delirium tremens) from killing me.
I would say that is about rock bottom for someone in his mid twenties. After the initial sobering and some time spent talking to rehab counselors I set about learning how to live. It took several months just to get a clear head, somewhat longer to obtain clear thinking in all things.
I rocked along for nearly two decades without a drop of alcohol in my body, boy wasn’t life great. Acquired some useful things, like a house, good job, a family, and many neat toys we all love when we can afford them. For the most part I was doing things I had always dreamed of doing. Well, what happened you say? Well I’ll tell you. Figuring on this for the last year I’d have to say maybe I guess I just got a little complacent. Maybe I was better now, maybe I was above what alcohol could do to me, or maybe I thought I had achieved everything I wanted and nothing could destroy that. I was so wrong. Drinking a few beers here and there didn’t last long. It was just as if the evil had been lurking there, unseen for all those years, jumped out and surrounded me. I had no control over my life any longer. In three years I destroyed what I had built up over the last nineteen. You know those signs you see along Texas highways ‘DWI You Can’t Afford It’. That’s really true. One peace I have now is that I never hurt anyone when I was driving. I thank God for that. Although I could go on and on about my experiences, some which would break your heart to read, that’s not why I’m writing.
So now you’re wondering, why is he writing all this and telling of his stumbles thru life. I am assuming anyone who may read this has a family member, loved one, friend, or just an acquaintance that has issues with chemical dependency. I want you to know all is not lost with them. The Turning Point of Graham has been the most beneficial influence in my life this past year. The area AA or NA meetings are also a great place for anyone seeking help. Just in my opinion there is a more diverse group of people at Turning Point for our general meetings. When you have middle age people with the exact same problem as an eighteen year old and all others between we tend to have very enlightening discussions. Of course the professional counselors at Turning Point I think are just the greatest. They are the best assets this community has when trying to deter substance abuse and help people get their life back on track. I don’t work at Turning Point and am not required by anyone to attend. I have in the past went thru their program and I continue to go twice a week to meetings because I have never left the place when I didn’t feel better about myself when I left than when I walked thru the door.
You know in the early part of the 20th century they locked chemical dependant people up in insane asylums because society didn’t know what else to do with them. To some degree we are still doing that. It didn’t work then and it don’t work now.
I don’t have all the answers and it’s pretty obvious no one else does either but I do know if you’re out there and have a problem it can be overcome. What works for one doesn’t always work for another but I do know that programs such as AA, NA, and The Turning Point will give you the best chance to live a happy life.
When you have a friend helping a friend you can’t go wrong.
- anonymous '2013'