Feb 12, 2020
This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
“You’re just a drug addict. There is no hope. There is nothing left to live for. Nothing.”
That’s what played through my mind on repeat. Over and over and over again.
This was it. I’d been running my whole life but there was nowhere left to run. I’d lost everything in my life that was worthwhile. I was 35 years old and drug addiction had stripped me of everything. I lost my business, my marriage, my kids, my house, my car. Every possession I had ever had – save a plastic crate full of clothes I’d gotten from Goodwill.
I was looking at serious prison time. My only family in the country was caught up in active addiction themselves and we had long ago lost contact. I had no friends left – most lost to prison or dead.
With each loss, another piece of me died.
What had seemed like such a promising life just a few years prior had literally been burnt to the ground. With each loss, another piece of me died. And the dark hold that addiction had on my soul got stronger. And stronger. Until there was only a sliver of me left. The drugs stopped working. No matter what I shot, smoked, snorted or drank, the pain got greater. This would be the end. I just hoped it would come soon.
But it didn’t. Overdose after overdose just prompted me to change my selection of drugs up a little bit. At least for a couple of hours. My veins had collapsed and my body was giving out. My mind was almost gone. It’s hard to describe the despair and darkness I felt. Complete. Utter. Darkness.
My moment of clarity, which I believe was divinely inspired came at an unexpected time. God didn’t speak directly to me. No burning bushes. It wasn’t some profound intellectual understanding of my predicament. I was simply given the chance to see myself. Not through the lens of my addiction, but as me.
I remember sitting in my ex girlfriend’s car on a scorching hot August day. The humidity was off the charts. The AC was only partially working. My only concern was drinking the bottle of lukewarm $3 wine sitting in front of me. I chugged it in seconds, desperately trying to keep it down. I succeeded. For about a minute before violently throwing up all over the inside of the car. I was sweating, dirty, and exhausted. But, I could see myself.
The dark whispers of my addiction were interrupted by a part of me that had been silenced for years. They were replaced by a simple truth, “I don’t have to die like this. Maybe it’s too late. Probably it’s too late. But I don’t have to die like this. And that is enough. Enough to try.”
That meant going at recovery as hard as I went after drugs.
I didn’t know where to turn, but I knew I needed help. I had no money or insurance, so finding treatment was an extremely difficult process. But I was determined to go to any length not to die in active addiction. And that meant going at recovery as hard as I went after drugs.
I found a place that would detox me for free. The day I got out of detox, I went to an AA meeting. I got a sponsor that same night and began working the 12 steps immediately.
I knew I had co-occuring issues with clinical depression and anxiety that AA couldn’t help me with. And I needed professional therapy to address the underlying trauma that fueled much of my addiction.
So I proceeded to start contacting local treatment centers requesting information on any available scholarships. It took about a month, but my persistence paid off in the form of a scholarship to an outpatient treatment center. I simply gave myself to the process, going all in on therapy and taking the medication they prescribed me to manage my depression.
Amazing things have happened since. It’s never too late – or too early – to recover from addiction. The 12 steps, treatment and therapy saved me from oblivion. And everything I lost to addiction – and more – is slowly being restored. I’ve never been this excited to be alive.
Lack of insurance and money makes the journey of recovery more difficult. But it’s far from impossible. Get into a treatment center, work with a therapist and join a support group. Do what they tell you to do. Your life will change for the better.
If you find yourself in a situation like mine, where a lack of financial resources and insurance are preventing you from getting help, please make use of the following resources:
The Summit Wellness Group has compiled a very detailed list of detox facilities and addiction treatment centers located in Georgia that are free or low cost. They are all open to residents of outside states, in addition to Georgia residents.
10000beds.org offers scholarships to various treatment centers, which you can apply for via their online application.
Freerehabcenters.org features a large directory of low cost addiction treatment options. Expect to sift through a lot of outdated and misrepresented centers, but there are some legitimate gems as well.