My Story: Chuck W.
My first use was at 6 years old. As far as cigarettes, I just played around with them at 9-10 years old. I still smoke today, it has gotten harder for me, I have attempted to quit smoking cigarettes a few times. I would like to give them up but it’s not easy, I think smoking may be giving me heart problems. At the age of 16, I was selling weed; I was in high school and in Regents classes and was an A student. Over some years I started skipping classes and by 18, I was hanging out with other classmates and kids from other schools. I thought it was all good because I came from a good home and my mother was a disciplinarian. My use became a problem for me when I started drinking along with smoking marijuana. It progressed to me experimenting with other drugs. I experimented with Valium but didn’t like those, then I started doing coke and sniffing lines. My marijuana use became less, and coke became my number one drug, I’ve been doing that from the age of 18. I was sniffing coke and drinking then I dropped out of school. It was touch and go over the years. I continued using coke, and at 21 years old I knew I was addicted. I was still hustling but was not too good of a hustler. I would like to glamorize it, but it was a sad thing. I also had mixed feelings I wanted to hurt myself, but I didn’t, and I did not want to hurt other people.
In 1995, I went to my first rehab, John L. Norris, due to catching a sale charge resulting in probation. It was the best thing ever, even though I was negative towards it at first and I was kicking and fighting over it, it was a beautiful thing. I stayed for 45 days and I was a year sober after that and then did outpatient at park ridge. I started telling my story before my year was up. I learned to live sober for a good period of time. It was the best feeling ever. I used to go to all of these events and did all the right things, I even told my stories on different stages. I had a sponsor, went to support groups, and had a home group. My sponsor came and got me a lot. I loved the fact that I had a sponsor that cared and shared and taught me the steps. I have never gotten rid of the Big Book, my pamphlets, or my readings. What changed and sent me back was boredom and depression combined with stress. I am now in mental health treatment and have been labeled with PTSD. Knowing what the effects of that is today helps me to strive to do better, be better, and move forward in my life. Because of the many inpatient and outpatient programs I have gone through I have learned a lot from each and every one of them. I keep growing and learning.
I know it is really up to me to nail it down this time and keep my act together because I see now my thinking and behaviors and actions all led me to be in these institutions. I just want to keep striving. Right now, I am connected to Huther Doyle and have an amazing support system, people who really care. I am striving for my certificate of completion for drug court. I don’t know how many times I will have to go back and forth with this, but I think this is the last time.