I was 8 years old when I drank alcohol for the first time. Looking back, I was trying to find anything that could cover the shame and hurt I felt. I started smoking weed at 11 years old and continued all through middle school and high school. At 17, I began to try other drugs like meth cocaine and ecstasy.
Over the next 10 years I would consider myself an addict but I was “functioning.” I still had the full-time job, and paid my bills… but I smoked marijuana every day, and drank three to five nights a week while using hard drugs three to seven times a month.
When I was 27, I started my own business in the oil fields in North Dakota. I made a lot of money and from the perspective of the world I could have called myself successful, but I still was full of hurt inside.
I had a lot of time on my hands and would come home to Minnesota on the weekends to party. It was during this time that I was introduced to prescription pain killers. I instantly fell in love with them. I didn’t feel anything, there was no shame. At the time, I was always stressed with work and family relationships… and this made me not care. It covered all the guilt. I felt that opiates protected me from feeling unworthy they gave me an escape.
Quickly opiates spiraled to heroin use within a matter of a months, because it was easier to find and cheaper. My tolerance grew and grew and grew and so did my use. I couldn’t tell you how many people I’ve given CPR to that have been completely blue next to me -pretty much dead- from an overdose. There wasn’t a day I did not use an opiate or heroin.
Heroin had started running my life to the point where I left large contracts and work opportunities trying to find more heroin. I stopped answering clients phone calls or showing up to work with my team. Eventually, my family found me sitting at home asking me to stop killing myself… but it was the last thing I wanted to hear. I was so stuck and enslaved in addiction that I felt like no one cared about me at all. All I cared about was a drug.
I went from being a successful business owner to a drug dealer. Eventually that wasn’t enough and I started stealing from Walmart, thinking that was an easier way to support my habit. I was arrested and sent to prison. The whole time I was there, I told myself I’d never use again; I’ve had it with this life. Once I was released, I tried to stay sober, but it was an everyday fight. I was white- knuckling it until I finally gave in.
I got in a car accident with my three-year-old son in the car. I had gone to Minneapolis to pick up some heroin and fell asleep behind the wheel. My son to didn’t have a scratch on him, while I came away with multiple injuries. I know God was with us that day, and I am so grateful. I couldn’t live with myself if anything had happened to him.
Although I healed physically, I had a lot of shame in my life from that accident. I could no longer be in my son’s life and his mother wanted nothing to do with me. I couldn’t blame her; she was protecting him. I love my kid; I’ve always loved my kid, but I was I was so trapped in addiction that I couldn’t stop on my own. I tried, and I tried, and I tried to quit. I’ve been arrested 30 times and have gone to 5 inpatient treatments. It was never my intention to become a heroin addict or a meth addict.
Trying to find sobriety, I’ve always gone about it the wrong way. I’ve always been trying to quit for this, or quit for that. Quit to have my son, quit to get a job. I had a sponsor, went multiple times a week to meetings, but I was still searching for something. I honestly didn’t know what the purpose of life was and kept using drugs to fill the hole inside me.
After trying and trying and failing over and over and over at recovery, I just decided that I was going to die an addict. I made the decision that I was going to follow in my father’s footsteps. I was miserable. I honestly didn’t care if I lived or died. At one point I remember in 2014, I was sitting in the driver seat of my car with a bag of meth in my lap, and a twenty-two pistol. I put it up to my head, but I couldn’t pull the trigger.
When I decided that I was going to just die a drug addict, I was using meth and heroin every day. I was so hopeless, lost, and just didn’t care if I lived or died. I didn’t think there’s any way out, and I was sick of trying to quit. In the midst of that my best friend who had just graduated MnTC came to visit me. He just wasn’t the same anymore, he had this peace, contentment and joy… he had like a glow. I couldn’t understand it, a year before that he was right with me selling and doing drugs, we were a mess. And here he was a completely transformed person.
That ignited something in me, and eventually I came to MnTC, but it wasn’t easy. My first eight days here were so hard, I was so sick and could barely get out of bed. I was halfway out the door several times, but people around me kept praying and I also started to reach out to Jesus. I was reading my Bible, going to chapel but didn’t feel like anything was changing in my heart. I kept hearing people talk about “a relationship with Jesus, and how it will change your life.” and I just kept getting more frustrated because I was doing everything I could to create it, and felt nothing.
It was months into the program, during a worship service when I first felt God’s love. In that moment I just got so emotional, I broke down I started crying, I can’t even explain the feeling. Now I have a relationship with God and I no longer have to fight to stay sober.
I know where my identity is; I am who He says I am, and I am loved by God. I don’t need that approval I was constantly searching for, because I have God’s approval and he made me just the way he wanted me to be.
Today I have life that I never thought possible. Before coming into the program, I had no relationship with my son, but today I talk with him regularly. If it wasn’t for MnTC, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be alive right now. It’s not only changed my life, but the lives of my friends and family. Before coming here, I would strive for sobriety, but only end up feeling overwhelming shame. I know I can pick up my story and carry it with me and it’s not going to be use for shame anymore. I’m going to flip it around to glorify God for how he pulled me out of the mess and darkness I was in.
Your donation will go towards:
$25 Brand new bedding for one client
$50 One day of room and board for one client
$75 A tank of gas to transport clients to and from classes and activities
$100 Ten Life Recovery Bibles
$250 Curriculum books for one client
$500 One day in the schools for our Know the Truth Prevention Program