Participant #7

C

33 years old

Single 

Bio of Addiction 

C was raised in a two parent household, with his brother in a rural community. C’s family is a closely bonded family, that participates in a variety of family activities. C can not recount any instance of abuse while growing up. C’s first use of alcohol was at a millennium New Years Eve celebration. During his freshman year in high school, C remained a casual beer drinker and pot smoker. C’s paternal side boast a high tolerance to alcohol. 

“My friends were like have a beer, naw, I’ll wait until I’m older, and they laughed..”

“We grew up knowing it is our rite of passage. And to this day, I find it fascinating that it’s a rite of passage to remove ourselves from reality. You have to ask yourself, is this a good thing?” 

“We were a normal family, we had money, I had a mom and dad, we were together. Doing fun stuff. I reminisce about all the good stuff growing up, all the positive vibes, it was all in place.”  

In his early twenties, C used Subutex once and suffered spontaneous addiction. Subutex (Buprenorphine HCL) is a mixed Opioid antagonist, used in treatment of Opioid addiction. C used Subutex and alcohol on a regular basis for the next 7 years.

 “I started needing it more and I definitely need it, and now I definitely needed him (supplier). Alcohol became my coping mechanism.” 

“It was for heroin addicts, but I didn’t know. I didn’t know the person selling it was trying to get money to buy heroin.”

“During those 7 years, I hid it from everyone, no one knew, not even my brother or my friends.”

“An actual real connection gets lost with people sometimes.”

Turning Point

C finds family life, working, and having friends is difficult due to  Subutex and alcohol use. 

“I never got to the point that I had to quit, I got to a point that alcohol didn’t affect me anymore.”

“One day at work, a co workers spots me talking to his ex heroin dealer. He tells me to be careful, and tells me all the things I knew about him. I was like, oh shit.”

C’s coworker reaches out to help. 

“Just in case you don’t know, I’m in recovery. Just in case you want help I’m here. He didn’t push recovery on me, but obviously, I didn’t take it.” 

“Every single day coming to work, I’d have a 1.75 liter of vodka between my legs. I’d either have a 1.75 or a deuce, and tried to stop at McDonald’s to get the biggest free water cup I could and fill it with vodka.  I would take it into work.” 

“I’m driving to work that day and I see a black cat. And I think to myself, what could this mean, I have a 1.75 liter between my legs and my life is on the verge of falling apart. And I just laughed to myself.”

“A coworker texted me while I was driving to her house. “She told me not to drink and drive. Ok, mom.” 

When C arrives at his coworkers home. His coworker advises C to call John his friend for advice. 

“People say, stay away from females in recovery. But it was a female who got me into recovery.” 

“We are going to be late (going to the his first meeting). Don’t worry the meeting starts when you get there.”

“John was in no hurry. We smoked like two or three cigarettes and drank two or three energy drinks. And that what was entering recovery was for me, I connect with people on another level.” 

Rehabilitation 

Addiction 7 years 

Recovery Attempts 1 

C went to a twelve step group and recovery through exercise during his rehabilitation. 

“It was that moment that John reached out and I knew it felt right and I trusted my gut and took it. I never looked back.” 

“That’s the blessing of experiencing material satisfaction from a substance. You can actually get tired of it, and once you get tired of it, you stop seeking satisfaction in materialistic anything. I don’t have to seek something, I can be myself.” 

“I did get seizures when I stopped. They seemed to last for a day and a half. I guess I should of sought help” 

“I’m into fitness in recovery more than anything else.” 

“Walking is so cool. That’s a whole other world when your walking.” 

“The first hike I ever went on, with Rocovery Fitness was amazing. There were real connections and conversations. Near the end of the hike everyone was saying things like so glad we came and did this. I found it fascinating  that I felt the same way and I never felt this way at meetings. Yet, I was attending twelve Step meetings, people were sometimes quoted as saying “I never went to a meeting I didn’t like and I always feel better after leaving a meeting”. But I never felt that way about a meeting myself.” 

“New people in recovery have nervous energy, and they have to get up and use it. So it kills two birds with one stone, it gives people a positive place to put that nervous energy and it also develops that peer support network.” 

Life in recovery 

Recovery 5 years

“I feel like I lost myself, my family and my community. And now that I’m in recovery, I’m not doing that again. I’m not going to follow down a path that isn’t me and isn’t true. That means so much to me. That’s recovery.”

“I have kept my sober support community, now that I’m out of twelve step.” 

Works full time 

Volunteer (C distributes food to the impoverished, the homeless, and the addicted on the streets of Rochester, NY) 

Recovery Bonfires

Recovery Fitness

Freelance photographer

Legacy 

“Freedom, I have no path, faith, program, mindset, guru or sponsor. I only have my heart and my gut. I’ve learned it’s ok to trust them and it’s ok to fail. It’s in these experiences I gain scars, memories, friends and new experiences. Life flys by, way to fast, regardless of whether you live to be 110 or vanish tonight, it’s over in the blink of an eye, and you better get it while you can, there ain’t no dress rehearsal, you only get one shot, and the only way to get it is to follow your gut and take the risks. My freedom from drugs was inspired by those I know who are just the most free, period! I hope to become known as one of those people one day by someone.” Chris Copeland

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