Mike’s Success Story
My addiction manifested long before I got involved with either alcohol or drugs. Looking back, I can see that most of my childhood decisions had been leading me on a path to self-destruction over which I was destined to lose control one day.
Whenever I found something that made me feel good, I always wanted more. There was no pleasure for me in moderation. I would always eat all my candies within a couple of days, while my brother and sister would make them last for a month or more. I spent my pocket money almost instantly on little things, while other kids would save up and buy something more meaningful. Those actions and decisions may seem insignificant, but they have shaped my way of thinking and behavior. In the end, they made me lose everything.
My family gave me all the love and support I could wish for. I had money and opportunities. I went to a private school. I had the means to make my dreams a reality and try whatever I wanted. I graduated with a Master’s degree in Architectural Engineering. I am writing this to emphasize that the disease does not give a damn about who you are, how much money you have, or how successful you are.
I first tried alcohol at the age of 14: me and one of my friends decided it was a good idea to check out his dad’s liquor cabinet. My friend had a couple of drinks—enough to feel inebriated. I, in the meantime, tried each liquor there was in the cabinet and vomited for two days straight after that. In high school, this kind of behavior became a habit, but I was still able to keep things under control.
During my freshman year at the university, alcohol and marijuana were replaced by other drugs. Some of my classmates took amphetamines to be able to study for exams all night long. I fell in love as soon as I tried them, and by the end of the semester, I was swallowing amphetamines like candy to get through the week without sleep. Most people took stimulants to get through their studies, while I used them to improve my guitar skills, get high, and talk everyone’s ears off with some nonsense. My friends pulled away from me. I started skipping classes because I was either high or sleeping after a binge.
I somehow managed to get through graduate school, but it was a constant roller coaster. Instead of trying to solve the main issue, I spent all my energy trying to control my addiction. When a particular substance started causing me problems, I would simply switch to something I deemed less dangerous. I now understand that it was my disease speaking. Each new turn of that spiral consumed another piece of me, until there was nothing left.
I wasn’t your typical drug addict: I had a roof over my head, a job, and I didn’t have to roam the streets looking for a dose. But I was plagued by loneliness and despair. I hit the bottom in April 2017, when I missed my chance to get the job for which I had been studying for seven years and working in another position for four years. My boss advised me to seek help on several occasions, but I simply ignored him. As a result, I let the company down and was fired. I had no job and no money to pay off my debts. My relationships were in ruins.
When I got fired, I realized it was time to seek out help. Having no experience with addiction treatment, I thought it would take me just a couple of weeks to get back on my feet. But I was gravely mistaken. I am lucky that there were people around me who persuaded me to continue my treatment. I was directed to EcoSoberHouse, and that changed everything. It turned out that substances were just the tip of the iceberg of my addiction. A side effect of the real problem, if you will. Addiction is a mental problem that stops you from enjoying moderation.
It took me ten months to recover from it. I now know what thoughts and behaviors my disease generates. I can recognize these impulses, deal with dangerous thoughts, and acknowledge if I have made a mistake. If you asked me to give a bit of advice to someone wanting to get on the road to recovery, I would say this: focus on the healing process and do not let temptations distract you. If you are honest with yourself about the benefit and harm of your own actions, you will succeed.
Now, ten months later, I finally feel at peace. I am enjoying life. In May, it will be a year since I have last taken drugs or alcohol. It feels like a miracle, because before, I could not last for five days without them. I hope to get back to working as a civil engineer. Everything will be different this time. I have much more knowledge about my problem and have a community of like-minded people behind me.
If I could do it, so can you.