My name is Joey and I’m an addict and alcoholic. My sobriety date is August 11, 2016. My drug of choice was more. Didn’t matter what it was but I always needed more. Growing up my childhood was not the greatest but it definitely was not horrible. At a very young age I truly felt like I didn’t fit in. Not at school, not at home, and definitely not in my own skin. I couldn’t stand myself for reasons I could never find. I was shy, quiet, and pretty socially awkward. My first addictions were lying and stealing. I would get a rush from stealing. And the lying did me just the same. All I know is that it made me feel different and I loved it. When I was 7 my mother died as a result of using heroin. I really didn’t know her and I assume what memories I had, I blocked out at a young age. Once my mother passed away my dad spiralled into his drinking and drugging more than before. I believe this was a huge reason I was so withdrawn from other kids my age. I carried a lot of guilt and shame from something that wasn’t even my fault. But I also felt abandoned. It was hard to believe a mother could choose a needle over her kids. It wasn’t until I became an addict myself that I realized the intensity of this disease. My dad eventually got clean and got his life back to together after years of wreckage. But by this time I was 13 or 14 and had already started drinking and smoking pot. I thought I had arrived when I found weed. This took me away from myself more than anything….So far. Drinking and smoking allowed me to socialize a little more because that’s what everyone in school was doing. I could finally relate so I started to come out of my shell more and more. It was right away that this became a daily thing. Smoking everyday and blackout drinking every weekend. Through school I started finding other things that helped me not feel. Ecstasy, Coke, pain pills, and even computer duster. I would try anything that suppressed my feelings. But I always said not dope because this is what destroyed my family. After high school I found myself in a blackout more than just weekends and the drugs became harder to resist. I found myself drunk at a field party one night and here, I was finally introduced to heroin. Didn’t know what it was and didn’t care. In my drunken stupor I snorted the dope and this is where I truly had arrived. This was everything I had been looking for. I chased it for 7 miserable years. In and out of jail and rehab. Broken relationships and just not caring about anything. I would have done anything for my next fix. I stole from family, friends, and anybody who was a good target. After many attempts to rehabilitate my life I found myself in jail again for my second 1st degree burglary. My only good option was Drug Court. So I took it. I failed at first because I was still using. But graciously they gave me a chance. After completing Project 103 in the Frederick County Detention Center I went into the Olson House which was amazing. I went to an insane amount of meetings when I first came home. I chased recovery like I chased drugs. Honestly, at first I was only going for the social aspect of it. Meeting new people and doing new things. But I was only fixing the outside and not the inside. In the long run I ended up getting drunk. I immediately told on myself. After my relapse I truly found out the the recovery is in the steps. I found a new sponsor and reworked the steps and truly found a new way of life. I continue to stay honest no matter what. The friends and family I have gained from recovery is beyond imaginable. If it wasn’t for God and Drug Court I would have never found the solution. The solution is in the steps. Then carrying it on to newcomers. I am truly blessed and forever grateful. Thanks for letting me share my story.