After coming to terms that I had a problem with cocaine my mother, along with some very close family friends, was looking for treatment centers for me to attend. My request was, a long-term facility, preferably one year and it had to be out-of-state. Well, those kind of places cost anywhere between $10k and $20k a month!! They were looking for a place for me for four months; this was between Aug. and Nov. of 2000. In those four months I was still using! How sick is that? I pass out for 3 days, come too and realize I have a problem with cocaine yet I am continuing to snort massive lines, “What is my problem?” I thought. My appetite for coke was immense. I could not get enough, while my loved ones were searching for a place for me to go to and get help I was still isolating myself to snort cocaine and drink 2 fifths of vodka. I’m always talking about cocaine but vodka played an intricate role in my addiction. In that 1 bedroom apartment there were times that I was so jacked up and so scared that living on the first floor someone one who I owed money to would come to my window. I remember many of times it being 4am and I am in darkness with two 8 inch carving knives in each hand KNOWING some one is at my window. It sounds disturbing but that is truth about drug addiction, it is not glamorous, sure it seemed that way when I was younger but eventually drug addiction carves away at your very soul, your heart, you become an unrecognizable human, to yourself. Drinking a 5th of vodka just got me through the first 2 hours of the night I then needed one more 5th to calm me down. I remember just being still and I could hear my heart POUNDING!!! My gosh how many nights I thought I was going to die.
So it took a while before I humbled myself before our God and asked for “mercy.” Those four months of still using and KNOWING I had a problem took a toll on me. You see before, I was not convinced I had a problem, but knowing I had a problem really shattered me emotionally and psychologically, the guilt was overwhelming. On November of 2000 I remember my mother calling me at work and breaking the bad news to me, she informed me that out of all these places that they had been looking at for 4 months this last one was the cheapest and yet they still could not afford $8,000/month. I will never forget her words, “What are we going to do? I don’t know where else to look.” I went to the back of the restaurant that I was working at and I prayed. My last resort was crying out to God. I was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church and I remembered my bases, my foundation of Christianity, I had not prayed for almost 15 years but that afternoon I said, “God, if you are real, please have mercy on my mother and then have mercy on me, I don’t want to die.” In that moment of brokeness I felt a connection something that can not be described with words, something that every person has potential of experiencing, our God revealed Himself to me. Just three days after I said that prayer my mother went to the family doctor and found out about a Christian facility that housed men with life controlling issues like drugs and alcohol, with the fraction of what the cost was for other treatment centers. After 4 months of searching and while I was also still using cocaine in those 4 months I finally ended up at a Christian facility, called Transformation Life Center on December 16, 2000, that saved my life. I used one more time after that (yes addiction is a sick vicious dysfunctional cycle, I used AGAIN) but remained clean and sober for the remaining 8 days prior to going to TLC on December 16, 2000. The old self was being put away and the new self was arising. The journey of despair was ending while the journey of hope was on the horizon. I sensed it, I felt a presence of peace like never before.
What you can do to protect them, how to communicate with them, monitor their activities, spot drug/alcohol use, and what you should do when you find it.