Matt B’s Recovery Story
Raised in a “good home,” I was dealing drugs and a full-blown addict by age fourteen. In two months, I celebrate getting my one-year sobriety chip. To celebrate, I’m going to Israel to live on a Kibbutz for two months.
Raised in an upper class, low-crime neighborhood in a family that was supportive and loving, I wonder how I became an addict? My journey into the world of addiction started as it does for so many —smoking marijuana by age thirteen.
What I know today was I was born with the disease of addiction.
By eighth grade, I was also using Xanax, alcohol, and just about any drug I could gain access to. It was around that time that I was arrested for dealing. Taken out of school in handcuffs and sent to an alternative school, I found myself surrounded by other kids in trouble.
Being sent to an alternative school was the worst thing that could have happened to me. The school was so bad that you couldn’t have a pencil because they thought you might stab someone with it. There I learned how to be a better drug addict.
Young and foolish, I continued selling drugs to support my opiate addiction, and, once again, was arrested. This time, I was prosecuted for a felony crime. This error in judgment led to an additional one year ‘sentence’ at the continuation school, as well as mandated treatment in an adolescent drug program. To survive in the school’s rough environment, I was jumped into a gang by age fifteen.
By my sophomore year, I left the continuation program and returned to my original school. Later that year, I was arrested again for breaking into a good friend’s home. This time I was convicted of two felonies and spent forty two days in the juvenile detention center. Eventually, I dropped out of high school, was kicked out of my mother’s home, and sent to live with my dad. Now working at a warehouse in a high crime area of Fort Lauderdale, I found drugs extremely accessible.
It would have been good for me IF it weren’t drugs. I was an addict in the worst area of Fort Lauderdale, where I had super easy access to drugs.
By age seventeen, four years after my initial drug use, I had hit rock bottom.
Even though I was an addict, I always knew not to touch crack or heroin. I took my first hit of crack at seventeen and became a real junkie. I did everything and anything to get crack. My life was unmanageable. Even though crack is my drug of choice, I was snorting pills and taking anything I could find. The scary part is I have two older sisters and a family that loves me, but I didn’t ask for help. When I closed the door to my room, the demons would come out, and I would use until I vomited. It goes to show you that no matter your intentions. your addiction will control you. That’s how I ended up in The Palm Beach Institute’s adolescent program.
I had been attending meetings since age fourteen; however, I had never taken the program seriously. After my life had spiraled completely out of control, my dad took a firm stand. He called the police on me and had me “Baker acted.” I spent four days in the hospital, then went to The Palm Beach Institute’s adolescent treatment program.
That was almost one year ago today. Being clean and sober is the most amazing thing ever. Being sober you are reborn and you learn how to live again.
My life in sobriety is rich and fulfilling. I work in the restaurant industry and enjoy healthy leisure activities with my sober community. I also enjoy renewed relationships with my family and can speak fondly of the strengthened bond I share with my mother.
I look at how my mom and I are today, and we have a conversation. We enjoy spending time together.
Committed to long term recovery, I work the Twelve-Step program, and hope to return to The Palm Beach Institute as a patient tech, once I reach two years of sobriety. My prospects are promising, and they look forward to my returning to The Palm Beach Institute; so, that I can share my story and growth with newly-recovering addicts.
Addiction was a chapter in my life. I finished that chapter and ripped that chapter out of the book of my life. I can never go back to it. The chapter is gone. I go to a meeting every day. I try to always be honest with myself and others. I reach my hand out to newcomers. I try to give back.
My kids will never see me with a beer or smoking a joint. I will set a good example for them. If I get angry, I will run to a meeting not a bar.
The Palm Beach Institute helped me on the road to recovery. My continued dedication to the Twelve-Step program keeps me on this healthy life path. I don’t use, and I don’t take medication anymore. My medicine is going to meetings. I try to get two doses a day.
Nobody is going to get you sober but yourself. You have to want it. I am a statistic for staying sober, not dying. Don’t die as a statistic of drug abuse. Live as a statistic of recovery.
The Palm Beach Institute Gives You What You Need
I’ll start by saying this, if you’re an addict or alcoholic, you’ve been born with a “warped” set of ideals. The things you want, and the things you think you need, are often going to put you in situations that make your life worse. You think that everyone may be out to get you and that your discomfort and problems are caused by the people and places around you. That being said, early recovery should be a relatively uncomfortable situation for you. If you’re at a treatment center and you’re very comfortable; and, you aren’t being at all stressed out by the feedback, you’re getting from your treatment team, something is wrong! You’re continuing the cycle of seeking the easiest way to get the best feeling — and that truly is the center of your problem!
The Palm Beach Institute provides a safe environment with clean rooms and good access to therapists, doctors, and nurses; however, if you’re looking for a resort stay, you’ll probably be disappointed. If you’re serious about recovering, that disappointment is a good thing! It means you’re breaking the cycle of doing whatever you want to do; and, instead, you’re beginning to learn to take suggestions! Ultimately, this facility will provide you with the opportunity to detox from substances, eat fairly nutritous meals, and begin to learn coping skills to deal with life. Be aware, though, that the process of recovery is based on YOU! It simply is not based on how spotless the rooms are, how nice the staff is, or how luxurious the campus appears.
If you aren’t desperate for recovery, your chances of relapse are extremely high. But if you’re simply finished with living the life of an addict/alcoholic in the grips of addiction or alcoholism, you’ll find that The Palm Beach Institute gives you what you need. As for me, they fought with my insurance to keep me until I was ready to leave; they helped me find a halfway house; and, their staff was utterly instrumental in my finding a job. You can expect the same help if you’re willing to do whatever is necessary to recover; but, if you still think that YOU know what’s best for you, nothing they do or say can help you.
No one on the planet can convince you to want or “get” recovery; no facility will ever be able to accomplish this. If you simply cannot take another day of drinking and drugging, you will be totally willing to do anything that can take you out of that life. If you show up to a treatment center and are uncomfortable, please understand how much of a good thing that is! If you’re anything like me, a hopeless drug addict and alcoholic, you will think that The Palm Beach Institute isn’t what you want —and, that’s exactly how you’ll know that it’s what you need to recover. Stop looking for the perfect place at the perfect time, because you’ll never find it; and, you will very likely die of your addiction/alcoholism, and the horrible accompanying depression, before you realize that finding that perfect place is a total fantasy.
The Palm Beach Institute was just what I needed. I hope it can be the same for you, and I wish you the best of luck.