Derek S. shares how finding recovery changed his mindset, and allowed him to re-establish valuable relationships with his loved ones.
Q: What was the turning point that led you to get help?
A: For me, the turning point was seeing my family after being homeless, couch surfing, and living in a car. I was high and went back to my mom’s house for some reason – maybe it was a safe haven. Seeing how hurt and sad my family was was a huge wake-up call. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, of living the way I did.
Q: How did you feel at the beginning of treatment compared to the end?
A: In the beginning, I felt hopeless. I felt like I didn’t have a life to live, and that my life would end without drugs and alcohol. At the end of treatment, I realized my life was just getting started. I was hopeful.
Q: What has been the part of recovery for you? Why?
A: I think the best part has been the freedom gained through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m no longer a slave to drugs and alcohol, nor to my mind. Also, having my mom back in my life is up there.
Q: What has kept you motivated in recovery?
A: Knowing I’m going to die if I back out. Having people who care about me. And how good my life has become. It’s something not worth trading for a high.
Q: What would you like people who are afraid to receive treatment to know?
A: Give yourself a f**king chance because you’re going to die. People just want to help you. You have nothing to be afraid of! Take a chance on yourself because you may not ever get another chance.
Q: What is the best advice you have been given?
A: “Let god shoot your next shot?” My best shot got me into hospitals, jails, institutions, and this rehab.
Q: What are some of your personal “rules” that you never break?
A: If it doesn’t apply, let it fly. Pick up the phone when I want to drink or use. Be of service whenever I have the opportunity.
Q: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
A: Hurt people hurt people. It doesn’t matter who hurt who first…what matters is your ability to heal and forgive.
Q: What gives your life meaning?
A: Helping others. People have done so much for me, and the only way I can repay that is to extend my hand to others.
Q: List 5 goals on your life’s to-do list:
- Never lose faith in my higher power; die sober.
- Leave the people I meet in this world better than I found them.
- Travel to all seven continents.
- Remember that growth is greater than stagnation.
- Write a book.
Q: Describe yourself in three words:
A: Happy, joyous, free.
Q: What would you name the autobiography or your life? Why?
A: I would probably name it, I Have no Clue What’s Going On, and That’s Okay. Because I really don’t have a clue half the time, but I have faith my higher power is guiding me even when I cannot see my path.
Q: What song best sums you up? Why?
A: “1-800-273-8255” by Logic. The song starts off with him wanting to die, and ends with him wanting to be alive. And that’s where I’m at today. I want to live.
Q: What do you miss most about being a kid?
A: Having no sense of time and no sense of urgency.
Q: If you could go on a road trip with any person – dead or alive – who would you choose and where would you go?
A: The question says one, but I’d choose my Nana and Pop Pop. I’d love to road trip across all of the US, Canada, and into Central and South America. I want to learn more about them, their stories, and the world.