I Remember Being a Happy Kid

Before I used, I was very outgoing and full of life, just a happy kid. I had started smoking weed and promised it would stay like that and I would never get into other stuff. It was fine until weed started to not be enough.

As my addiction grew stronger, I made situations seem harmless and justified in my mind. I reached a low point where I would do anything to change my mood, anything to get high. At this point it wasn’t just weed anymore, I had started getting into pills and alcohol heavily, often together.

I didn’t know who I was, I had completely lost myself. My addiction caused pain and immense fear from my parents. They didn’t know how to fix me; they had completely lost their son in a year. I was miserable and completely confined in my addiction, but I needed a help that my parents couldn’t provide for me. I’m lucky that I received that help before it was too late.

My parents were watching me die, they had to help. I was not willing to ask for help or accept I wasn’t using drugs normally. I was having some very close misses with death, my life was so confined I thought the only was out was suicide, my parents saw this and admitted me to a psych ward for stabilization, I spent seven days there and was transferred to Wilderness Treatment Center. My dad took me, and I was full of fear and trying to distract myself from that. When I arrived there, I wasn’t talking to anyone to describe the way I felt in that moment, I fought but I was scared and tired. After a while I started opening and eventually surrendered. which provided me a tremendous level of relief that drugs never could. I started looking at sobriety optimistically.

I learned a lot at WTC, I learned a lot about myself and how to fit into a new community. It was very difficult to comprehend that I was at a treatment center in Montana, I learned I could not trust my own choices, insanity and self-will had dominated me.

I understood I was using too much, but I didn’t believe I was out of control, just overindulging. After some time at WTC I started to see my addiction, the things it pushed me to do, the people it pushed me to hurt. My life was just as unmanageable in treatment as it was at home.

At family week, I got a lot of stuff out, but also left a lot out. I wanted it to seem like it wasn’t too bad and that I could still go home. My counselor saw right through this and strongly recommended halfway for me. A couple days later we left for our sixteen-day wilderness trip in Glacier National Park.

Throughout the trip I learned the importance of acceptance and working through things instead of avoiding them. I needed to accept the pain, not escape it. This trip granted me a new sense of gratitude and serenity that before I could never comprehend, especially gratitude for my family. I began to understand peace, and my relationship with God grew.

When I returned from Glacier, I felt gratified. My parents notified me that I would be attending a therapeutic boarding school, it took a while, but I accepted it was for the best.

As soon as I arrived at Rising Peak Academy it was like I had forgot all my skills I learned. I returned to being deceitful and dishonest, I was looking for ways to relapse. It seemed like whenever I spotted an opportunity to scheme, I couldn’t say no. I was completely powerless, it was especially easy because other people were in the same situation.

Thankfully I never got an opportunity to use because I know it would be a huge setback. Something changed, I started getting into my steps and working an honest program.

My focus shifted to living in the solution instead of the problem. I no longer must look over my shoulder or worry about keeping up with my own lies. My relationship with my family and God is better than it has ever been before, it is honest. I can honestly say that I am grateful for Rising Peak Academy and Wilderness Treatment Center, these programs have helped me figure out who I am.

Addiction has forced me to grow up early because it is an adult disease. Everyday there is work that needs to be done in my life. As soon as I become lazy in recovery, my addiction will be waiting right there, ready to pounce. I am responsible for actively working in my recovery. If I lose sobriety, I’ll lose everything else that came with it, including myself.