I have posted a lot about food lately and was wondering today what to post about to mix it up some when I just happened to check my email. I had received one from the MD State’s Attorney asking me to speak at a forum on prescription drug abuse and it caused me to reflect on how far I have come.
I had spoken at the original forum a few years ago during my incarceration. She had been at my sentencing and had heard my story and reached out to see if I would be interested in sharing my experiences with others. I quickly agreed because a) I was able to leave jail for a night and b) I wanted to be able to bring attention to the growing drug problem in the area where I grew up.
A few days ago I read an article from a newspaper back home describing the increasing number of heroin overdoses in my hometown. This time I reached out to her and offered my help in whatever capacity it may be needed. It looks like I will be speaking again in a few months, but this time I will be able to offer more hope than I had previously.
Three years ago I was taken from jail with an escort and told my story to a group of concerned citizens, many of them parents. I was allowed to change into normal clothes which hung loosely on me due to the fact that I barely ate anything. I had no control over any other part of my life at that time, so I chose to control what I put into my mouth. I was able to fully tell my story for the first time to my family who sat in the audience. I was able to show people that addiction comes in many different forms and is not a low-income minority problem. Then, just as soon as I finished, it was over. I was taken away from my friends and family again and escorted back to the cell I would stay in for another 7 months.
It has not been an easy road since getting clean. Recovery is a continuous journey and there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Comparing where I was then to where I am today is miraculous. I have repaid a huge amount of financial wreckage, acquired and maintained a steady job completely unrelated to the field I was trained in, and married my best friend. None of these things were easy and there were times when it would have been easier to regress to using drugs or drinking when the times got tough, but I know where that got me and I know that with continued work things will only get better.
I have written about what prompted me to start this blog in the about me section and if you have read it, you know that just because I stopped drinking and using drugs, that doesn’t mean that this disease doesn’t manifest itself in other ways. Anything that alters my mood or feelings is subject to abuse. As long as I remember that and continue to examine the motivations for my decisions, I can keep moving forward. I will always be an addict, but I no longer have to be a slave to the disease.