Participant #2
Age 39

Bio of Addiction

K lived with his parents and brother in western New York. As a youth, K was a high achiever in academics and sports. He describes himself as an “extreme risk taker”, especially in sports. K began using alcohol and drugs casually at 14 or 15 years old.

“Nobody ever picked up that I was stealing, throwing rocks at cars, just always behavioral stuff that got me going. I was extreme, an extreme athlete, just looking for that high.”

“ I’m a believer I always had that addiction gene. I always felt different. (Addiction) something I was wired for.”

K’s mother passed away when he was only 15 years old. His grades suffered, he no longer played three sports, and he lost his childhood friendships. For 15 years, K  bounced between jail and rehabilitation. He spent time in the Marines, where he entered inpatient rehabilitation for alcohol. However, recovery remained elusive.

“I always knew shooting heroin was bad. I always struggled with drinking, why is it a problem?”

“Alcohol always fueled the fire.”

“Fear, not enough liquor to get to where I want to be. Friends would pass out and I would be up finding the rest of the beer.”

Turning Point

“I guess you could say I hit that emotional bottom, nothing super unusual. Hitting bottom comes from within. Guilt, shame, and remorse from life.”

“The hope I had for recovery, I had this friend, we use to use drugs together, he use to shoot into his neck, he was a freak, ….homeless…..thief…..and this guy got sober! That was the little hope I needed, he was a real loser. I guess, I guess I was the king of the losers now. You have to have some status.”

“I was ready to do the work. I was ready to take a look at myself.”

Recovery Attempts +30

K struggled for years to reach sustained recovery. He participated in many inpatient and outpatient programs while living on his own, in the Marines, or incarcerated. Recovery attempts were often supplemented with Suboxone and Methadone. K was removed from the Methadone program for using cocaine in conjunction with the Methadone.

“I told my twelve step sponsor, just tell me what to do.”

K went to twelve step meetings everyday for a year, and made a men’s group his home group.

“My thinking is the problem.”

“Find your own path, there’s no one way, just because I went to a twelve step program, doesn’t mean,…..not have shame, the things we do and the way we live, then you think to yourself, if anybody really knew me, they wouldn’t like me because they would think I’m a freak. Until your with other people from recovery.”

“Twelve step programs have always said you’re not unique, in some ways that is true, but in another sense we are all different, we came into recovery differently, the bottom is not external.”

“I don’t care if it’s a twelve step program, Refuge for Recovery, do something and do it with someone.”

K completed the step process in his twelve step program. K incorporated the Zen Buddhist life style into his recovery process. He spent time at Refuge for Recovery in Rochester, New York.


Life in Recovery
Over 10 years

“Looking back it has all gone by so fast.”

“I went through the chemical dependency program (while incarcerated), the last year in my masters program I had an internship in the same program! The guy that was running the program, was the same guy, amazing gift, to tell these guys that are incarcerated that are getting their GED, I got my GED in this program!”

Twelve Step Programs
Twelve Step Mens group
Refuge of Recovery.
Zen Buddhist (communal sitting)
Helping others

K currently holds a MSW and he is certified addiction recovery therapist.


Just do it!

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