Column: The path from dark dependence to confident hope

Jameson Swain, Staff Writer

As I awoke from my sweat-drenched sheets, arms and legs quivering, my mind raced to come up with an explanation for my parents.

This would be the third time.

Staff Writer
Staff Writer

The date was December 28, 2011 and I hadn’t had any pills for twelve hours.  My body had again become so dependent on this substance that it felt as if the walls were closing in.

There was no way I could live without them.

The holiday was over, and as my brother and aunt departed I could barely muster the strength to wish them goodbye.

My brother makes mention of my clammy skin when we hug—I can’t tell him why.

I go outside to smoke a cigarette and dwell on the impending conversation.  It tastes terrible.  I lock eyes with my mom through the kitchen window. She has that same suspecting look because she knows what I’ve done.

I text my connect one more time in a last ditch effort to rid myself of the withdrawals and prolong the inevitable for just a bit longer.

No luck.

My mom walks into the garage and sees me slouched over, quivering.

Here she comes.

“Pack your bags, let’s go,” she said.

Little did I know this would be the last time I would see her for several months.

I was picked up by my interventionist after a two-week detox and was headed to Santa Barbara where I would begin a six-month program, much to my chagrin.

As the days turned to weeks and weeks to months, I began to get back a feel for what I wanted to do with my life.  For the first time in a long time I was okay with who I was and what I was doing.

My parents made a trip up to Santa Barbara about four months into the program and I remember the nerves that I was overwhelmed with waiting for them to arrive.  It felt more like an interview or progress check rather than a visit.

Today, I’m closer with my family than I have ever been.

On this journey I have had to say goodbye to many people that I once considered friends.  With some of these people it was a choice to not associate with them anymore, while others have lost their battle with addiction altogether.

Just two months ago I went down to Orange County to attend the funeral of my interventionist, the man who started me on my journey to recovery.

Addiction has no prejudice.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much money you have, if you’re a parent, son, daughter or how well it may appear you have things together.

It would be easy for me to dwell on the last few years and wonder where and why things went the way they did.  That’s exactly what I can’t do.  Instead, I choose to look at my experience as somewhat of an extended learning curve.

And now, moving forward, what can I do to help others suffering from addiction?  It’d be selfish of me to not share my story and provide a sense of hope and optimism for what could possibly be the start of recovery for someone else.

Two years removed from the lowest point in my life, I look forward now with a sense of optimism at what could be.  No longer am I a slave to a substance that my whole life once revolved around.

The path I chose to get where I am today I do not recommend to anyone, but as for me; I wouldn’t change a thing about it.