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For this edition of Voices of Recovery, we take a look at addiction, not only carried to the most daunting of extremes, but how the lifestyle of drug and alcohol addiction in itself clouds and mires the obvious.

My story of alcohol abuse and drug addiction probably started back to when I was around 11 years old. I was living in Huntington Beach at that time and it probably had its roots when I learned they were getting divorced. It was probably right around that point where I started acting out a bit and not being old enough to fully understand what was happening blamed one parent over the other. I am not sure looking back how fair it was to that parent but when you are 11 years old it is hard to handle life changes like mature adults do. I had a lot of fear which I pretty much held in and kept it to myself. I was angry, I was afraid, but at that point I did not even realize it.

As I began to act out in relation to the relationship issues my parents were having I started hanging out with some of the other kids in the neighborhood. I was probably 12 or 13 at that time. To me, it looked like they were always having a lot more fun than I was having and seemed like along with having more fun they also seemed to have a lot of girls that liked hanging around with them. As a young kid in a depressing home environment I can see now why I was drawn to them. It also seemed like these were the kids who other parents didnt approve of so it also had a sense of rebellion by hanging out with them.

Older Kids, New Experiences

The first time I got drunk we had 3 tall cans of Olde English 800. And I will never forget how nasty it tasted but after passing around the cans and sharing it among us it was the first time I legitimately got drunk. I am not even sure it was that I liked the feeling of being drunk as much as it was doing something different than other kids were doing. And when drunk it also masked those other feelings I was trying to hold back. Had I realized that at the time, I can only wonder what may have been and whether or not I would have lived a normal life free of homelessness, addiction, and redemption through drug and alcohol treatment. There are some people who know they are alcohol and drug addicts when they take their very first drink, but my story wasn’t that simple.

I wasn’t a great student but did consistently get A’s and B’s in school. At that time aacrame was kind of cool and a lot of the kids believe it or not did it as a hobby. I found a roach clip walking home from school one day and for whatever reason made a macrame strap that I attached to it. At that time a lot of people had them as an accessory they would hang from their hats or whatever and I was no different. I lived pretty close to my school and one night forgot one of my schoolbooks that I mistakenly left in my locker. Me and a friend walked to school at night so I could go to my locker and get the book I needed, and unknown to me there were some older kids on the roof of the school who were causing trouble and doing god only knows what. As we walked to my locker, a couple of police cars showed up and arrested everybody. I tried to tell the officer that I didn’t know who the other guys were, didn’t know they were there, and we not with them….all to no avail. The cops simply did not care and did not want to hear us and arrested us on the spot.

Trouble with the Law

I never had anything against the police. I always knew they were there to serve and protect and help the community. But I think this was a pivotal moment, because even though I was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, and had never been in any type of trouble with the law, I was going to jail for something I was completely innocent of. I think I was 12 years old or something and I sincerely think that was a basic foundation that made me want to rebel even further and made me a bit more aggressive in my behavior. It wasn’t too much longer after that I began smoking marijuana and drinking far more frequently.

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