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For this chapter for Voices of Recovery, Danny once again learns to love living a normal life and reflects on some things that help him stay on the path of relief, recovery, and redemption.

I think the pivotal moment in my sobriety came from working with some of the people who are now working with me at 449Recovery. They really helped me realize the fact that I was more afraid of going back to the drug lifestyle that living a normal lifestyle. The thought of going back to heroin, meth, and crack began to be far more scarier than the thought of getting an 8-5 job and real responsibilities. By working with them and for them at our Orange County Drug rehab, I came to realize that the longer I stayed clean, the stronger I began to enjoy life, and the emotions of life. I remember someone telling a joke and laughing to the point of tears because as a user you simply numb yourself to real emotions, so experiencing those emotions after so many years of being numb to them was almost pure bliss. It was big deal just to experience a true emotion that wasn’t contingent on being high.

Real Emotions, Real Feelings, Real Life

Once I began to experience true emotions and learning to love a sober lifestyle, the fear of going back to a life drugs grew to the point where I knew I would do anything never to go back to it-and Rodney played a large role in that. The first time I met Rodney I was at drug and alcohol treatment and recovery meeting and still teetering between sobriety and using. And my initial reaction to him was that he was a guy I wanted to dislike. I had no reason whatsoever to dislike him, but for some reason I did or at least wanted to. Later I realized that it was because he could see through me, he knew when I was trying to manipulate a situation or take advantage of a situation. By that same token, Rodney has a wonderful gift for knowing exactly what someone needs for each situation. He knows when someone needs attention, when someone needs to be left alone, when someone needs encouragement. He always knew the perfect thing to say or do at the time I needed it the most.

And I still see him do it each and every day as he helps other people to get sober and clean. He can see through addicts, he knows every trick they can muster, and seems like he always knows the perfect way to not only handle a situation, but magnify and get the most of a situation to help the addict, help themselves, and see the bigger picture as to why they need drug treatment or rehab, or at the least help them come to some type of self realization. It probably was maybe one of the key moments in my life to cross paths with Rodney, and it may sound dramatic, but he probably saved my life.

Post Drug Rehab Reflections

Looking back, I realized how many things I missed because of my addiction. I basically missed out experiencing the wonders of growing up and adolescence. I missed experiencing the real emotions that play the key roles in enjoying and experiencing life for better and worse. My addiction robbed me of experiencing the things other teens most certainly take for granted. Then again, the true joys I experience now are brilliant in scope, and my story only fuels my drive to help others, with whom I can fully empathize with at a level most simply could not believe, much less understand.

Today, Danny is attending college working towards a degree in Psychology and Behavioral Science. He is an active member of 449’s staff whose contributions to 449 as well as those seeking recovery have been invaluable.

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