Monthly Archives: September 2015

Nick’s Story: Recovery From Alcohol and Drugs

By Nick Savoy

It’s Sunday, April 17th, 2011 around 10:00 PM in Hubbard Hall at Michigan State University. God has two choices for me. Door #1 involves me falling asleep on my back, choking on my own puke, and passing away with a Blood Alcohol Content of .35. Door #2 involves me wandering out of my room at the exact second that I see others, and following them to the cafeteria where I’m able to receive help.

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I had my first drink when I was 5 years old. Someone had spiked the lemonade at my family reunion, and not made it clear. I remember a lady saying to me “Oh honey you can’t drink that, its booze”. “So that’s why the swings were so much fun today” I thought to myself. In eighth grade my parents had some scotch in the basement bar that they forgot about. After knowing about it for a while, my friends and I decided to drink some. The next four hours included me puking my brains out, calling my best friend and ruining our friendship. I hung out with three shit heads at Hartland High School during my time there. I played varsity basketball at my high school as a senior. I spent a lot of time and money smoking weed after school and finding ways to get drunk on the weekends. My parents were very strict, which made me desire the substances even more. During this period, my Mother’s relationship and me peaked to an all time worst. All she wanted was for me to be healthy; to live a good life full of distractions, but I was not mature enough to give her what she desired.

I attended Michigan State University during the fall of 2010. I can sit here and tell stories all day about college so instead I’ll just summarize it in one sentence: I had my privacy in which I took advantage of while messing up my classes, health, and criminal record in the process. There was a time when my Dad told me that I was going to rehab after the semester and I set a quit date. When it came to that date I woke up, sold jeans to a store, and used that money to buy alcohol and weed. That was step one for me.

Now back to April 17th, 2011 in Hubbard Hall. I remember having a refrigerator full of alcohol. I got so drunk that I did not realize that I was putting my life at risk. My Higher Power saved my life that night. I’m not sure if I wandered down the hall drunk to somebody’s room, or if I stepped out in the hall at the exact moment that kids on my half were in the hallway heading to the elevator, but either way, I followed the kids to a cafeteria and got arrested. I remember waking up the next morning in the hospital at 11:00 AM, being so intoxicated that I couldn’t talk. I reached into my pocked and found a Minor In Possession slip and in the “Notes” category at the bottom read “.35 BAC”. The fact that God chose door #2 from me was steps two and three.

I did treatment across the nation for an entire year. My parents spent a very large amount of money, and so far it has paid off. I got sober on April 21, 2011, and have never relapsed since. I spent time in Minnesota, Montana, and Washington at different centers.

I go to a university that is a large party school. However, I found other ways to have fun. I realized that while I’m out exercising or applying for jobs, those who have drank the night before are still sleeping. It is very possible for a 23 year old in my position that cannot partake in MSU’s main social event (drinking) to feel self-pity. However, through working the steps I have turned into a new person that is immune to self-pity. I work step 10 by taking inventory including those who I have hurt and whether I’m feeling self-pity or not. As a student at Michigan State University, all I want to do is get my degree in finance and become a Financial Advisor or Real Estate Agent.

Life is good today. My Mother and I are best friends. It’s nice being Mr. Goody Goody around my parents. I do service in the local community and have found healthy ways to get highs, such as helping others or exercising. The purpose of this story was to carry the message to a person in recovery, and for him or her to carry what they had learned to the next alcoholic, and then for the next alcoholic to carry it to somebody else, and on and on and on until it allows other alcoholics to realize the beauty of this world and possibly save a life.

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Hopeless? Not Anymore.

By Aaron Emerson (Editor)

Part of my vision for “Hope From Dope” is to bring awareness to the disease of drug addiction and to paint a picture of what addiction and recovery really are. As part of a larger project I am taking on, I am constantly re-reading some of my journal entries I wrote when I was in active addiction. And a couple of months ago I got the idea to start sharing some of these entries to readers of my blog.

The picture above is an entry I wrote in my journal back in 2012 after I relapsed right after serving a year in jail. At the time I was totally hopeless and it would be a while until I found any kind of recovery. I have to say that it’s often hard for me to look at some of these entries I wrote when I was addicted to heroin. At the same time, however, showing people how my life once was can be a powerful tool, at least in my opinion.

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One of the issues I faced when I was in my addiction was feeling like recovery wasn’t possible for “someone as bad as me.” I used to say all the time that I was too far deep into my addiction and too hopeless to ever find recovery. It wasn’t until I met people at 12-Step meetings that I knew were once as hopeless I was that were living a life of recovery where I realized that maybe I could too.

I know there’s thousands of people out there that are feeling these exact words I wrote in 2012. They are convinced there’s no way out, that they are too far out. They have dug themselves too deep of a hole. I now know today that isn’t the truth.

I went from shooting heroin for years, living in a homeless shelter, in and out of jail and rehab, being not wanted around my house because I stole from my family, to who I am today: a father, son, brother, a writer for a community newspaper, a college student, and a friend. If I can do it, anybody can.

That’s not to say it’s easy. Getting sober and staying sober may be the hardest thing some people EVER do. Not using some days may feel like climbing Mt. Everest with 200 pound weights attached to yourself. But if you are in addiction, recovery is possible. If someone you love is using and seemingly hopeless, stick with them. You just gotta find the right resources, the right help, and fight one day at a time.

If you read this, share it with a friend or on social media. It could be the motivation or inspiration someone really needs. Recovery is possible, I promise.

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Your Clean Time: Celebrate It!

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By Aaron Emerson (Editor)

As a person in recovery from addiction, I try my hardest to keep my mindset focused on each individual day. Every morning I say a prayer and prepare myself not to look back and to not get too far ahead of myself, either.

However, there are certain days that I firmly believe should be used to look back and take stock, all while taking pride in achievements. Sobriety dates. Clean dates. Recovery milestones. Whatever you wanna call them, they should be valued and looked at with great importance.

While living life “one day at a time” and staying sober “just for today”, having milestones to look forward to and celebrate is good for a person’s recovery, at least in my opinion. For addicts, staying sober and living a life of recovery can be a fulfilling and fun thing, but it is also challenging. It takes a lot of strength, courage, and commitment to be able to stay off addictive substances once that line is crossed into the disease of addiction. Sometimes one day can seem like three weeks when fighting off cravings or trying to get through a tough time without reverting to our old ways.

That’s why I believe staying sober for a certain period of time is a tremendous achievement. In my own sobriety, I follow along with the 12-Step world’s milestone marker of 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, six months, nine months, one year, 18 months, and then every year. Whatever time frame or milestone you choose to celebrate, I would just suggest to set them beforehand. One thing my recovery coach did for me in my early recovery was come up with a few dates (30 days, 90 days, 6 months etc.) to celebrate if I got there. When they came, he would take me out to dinner or to see a movie. It really enabled me to be proud of myself.

While celebrating clean time is nice and fun, it can also help to evaluate your recovery. While taking some pride in my accomplishments, I also take the time to look back at my recovery and determine what has helped me get to this point, and to also figure out if there are things I need to do different. (For instance, when I got to 60 days I decided it was time to start working my steps more).

Recovery from addiction should be a personalized plan. Though the symptoms of addiction tend to be the same, everyone is different and everybody has different circumstances. I am strongly against the treatment method that “one size fits all.” One thing that works for one person might not work for another.

Set up your own plan (preferably with a recovery coach or sponsor), but one part I would suggest that really helped me was celebrating clean time. Take pride in your recovery! It truly is an accomplishment! If you are in recovery, be proud of yourself if you are staying sober. And if you are not yet in recovery, just remember that you can have it. If this once hopeless heroin addict can find recovery, I promise you can, too!

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Damn You Heroin: A Poem

By Wes Emerson

Damn you heroin, the king of all drugs..brought to young kids by inner city thugs …

Damn you heroin: you change people’s lives…Ruining many sons, daughters, husbands and wives.

Damn You heroin, You came straight out of hell —Your dealers don’t use you, They know you too well.

Damn You heroin, when you first enter the vein, you yield a rush your victim will never again attain.

Damn You heroin, you just won’t go away …but your lovers pursue you day after day.

Damn You heroin, You’re but a big lie…Your users don’t care if they live or they die.

Damn You heroin, for you crush people’s dreams…You laugh as families fall apart at the seams.

Damn You heroin, you lay claim to the soul…Once healthy people are no longer whole.

Damn You heroin, how you make people wail…Your “clients” are rendered dead or in jail.

Damn You heroin, for the downfall you bring…Depression, hopelessness , shameful actions—of thee I sing.

Damn You heroin, for all you assail…But know in the end? Jesus Christ shall prevail!