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132: Billy’s Story Part 1 (Sort Of)
Welcome to Recovery (Sort Of), the podcast where we explore the winding paths of mental health recovery. Join us on a journey of self-discovery and growth, as we navigate the highs, lows, and unexpected detours of the recovery process. From managing anxiety and depression to coping with trauma and grief, each episode delves into real-life experiences, insights, and practical strategies for finding balance and healing.
Billy steps up to tell his story. This isn’t a story told in the sense of a 12 step share, more of just a personal history. Billy recounts the events from his childhood and into his time of use of mind and mood altering substances. Listen in to learn more. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com, or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.
Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/recoverysortof/message
Billy steps up to tell his story. This isn’t a story told in the sense of a 12 step share, more of just a personal history. Billy recounts the events from his childhood and into his time of use of mind and mood altering substances. Listen in to learn more. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com, or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.
recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature
welcome back it’s recovery sort of i am jason a guy who is not telling his story today and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and you’ve probably guessed uh you know we came up with the idea billy did i’ll give him all the credit he wanted first to take turns telling our stories uh not necessarily so much in the way we’d share it in a meeting although i feel like mine’s gonna be exactly the way we shared in a meeting when it comes time but just more of a exploration of our stories and so that’s what we’re gonna do and of course i you know i’m making billy go first because that sounds way better for me so take it away billy yeah so one of my motivations for doing this is i like i’ve come to understand in my life at this point that everyone comes from different places and we all grow up in different environments we come into this thing of life with different tools and skills and abilities and that’s what makes each of us unique and special and wonderful and like everybody has a story to tell you know everybody has a fascinating things about them and a lot of people never [ _ ] get asked like about themselves or get a chance to talk about themselves or their experience in their life um and so i wanted to share with our listeners you know something about us like more than just what we share on here and where we come up with our [ _ ] dime store psychology ideas and what are you gonna do when everybody reaches out for sponsorship from you they probably won’t um so anyway so and i just wanted it really to get a chance for our listeners get to know us you know who we are and where we come from so um i’ll start with myself um i’m 47 now i uh yeah getting old uh i was born and raised in baltimore city uh my parents were healthy normal people young 20s debatable uh yeah they might have been unhealthy they were as healthy as i recognize healthy people to be um and so i was born and raised in baltimore city my parents were like uh i’m going to say working middle class family we grew up in a row house in hampden um didn’t they own a business well at that time my dad just worked for his family’s business he didn’t own it at that time so and get a little bit into that but so my family i came from a retail background uh my family owned a luggage and leather good business called turks becker’s it started in 1899 actually in downtown baltimore and then it spread throughout the years it got as big as like 40-something retail stores across you know virginia all the way up to like i think as far north new jersey pennsylvania they had stores in detroit but they were all in shopping malls and a lot of malls all around the country and at that time my dad was just employed by the business uh his father was running it which would have been the third generation um so when i was a young kid my dad just worked there i couldn’t even tell you exactly what he did i don’t know what his job was he just worked there in some capacity um and so we had you know a a working middle class upbringing we certainly weren’t poor by any stretch we had things that we wanted um my parents put us all into private catholic school we were catholic although in our household we weren’t overly catholic like there wasn’t prayer or any of that going on on a regular basis like we were just i think my dad put us in catholic school and we went to church on sundays because of my grandmother his mother more than anything because that was his upbringing that’s always fascinating to me because a buddy of mine from baltimore also went to catholic school and yet there was like very little religion in his house and i was like huh it’s always weird to me well the other down or upside i should say to catholic school for my parents anyway was that at the time the school we would have went to would have been 55 which in baltimore if you ever heard of that came notoriously a bad school i can’t say that it still is but back then in the 80s it was it might have been 56 but 55 was elementary school that’s where i went i was yeah so that would have been where i went to elementary school but 56 was the middle school which was yes pretty rough yeah so anyway it was an inner city school that didn’t have great you know reputations and um so they didn’t want us to go to city public school system and so they got us out of public school system and put us in and i had an older sister um week because i do remember vaguely going to public school in like kindergarten in first grade so i don’t know if something happened or somewhere along the line my sister would have been in probably third grade at that time so whatever reason they pulled us out put us in catholic school we started taking the public bus so we would take the bus from hampden all the way across to mount washington and we would go through we took the public bus with a lot of kids that went to poly tech which at the time was fascinating because we had our little school you know uniforms on and this were kids that were um it’s polly was a predominantly black school and a lot of kids that were high in the fashion so they like had like the cool sneakers and the cool outfits and stuff and we like had to wear these nerdy you know catholic school outfits to school was that la gears back then well i do remember it and being on the bus and like say we took the public bus and they would have those big ginormous [ _ ] boom boxes i mean like you know big as a piece of luggage you know kids would carry those things i think you bring up two two relevant points with this story uh one why is the only alternative to public school religious school right michael why don’t we have if you okay you don’t want to send your kid to public school why not have a private school that’s not religious why do we have to choose religion when you don’t want and the other point of like you said you don’t know if something happened because you were in public school and then you weren’t and you had an older sister and like the secrecy of families and not that kids necessarily need to know everything but yeah like we we do as families in america tend to really keep secrets not only from outside the family right but even inside the family there’s a ton of [ _ ] secrets which i think is not healthy yeah that’s a big part of my story growing up is those having issues of like sort of you know the elephant in the room issues and no one talking about it you know my wife has pointed that out as i got older like growing up in an environment where that was completely normal not to talk about the most obvious ginormous problems and for my wife you know when i met her she had 12 years clean you know and her coming in and seeing the dynamic in my family and being like why is nobody talking about this like we don’t talk about that [ _ ] like what do you talk you know into her her pointing out how uncomfortable and unhealthy that stuff yeah was like to me that was i i’m like what do you mean like you don’t talk about things like this well and i think as kids you know we tend to think oh kids don’t pick up on anything they don’t know as long as we don’t bring it out in the open you know but kids are are way better i think than most adults at tuning in to the vibe the tension the the mood the atmosphere and so like that’s a very early point of like things not lining up you know i got these parents that say everything is fine and everything on the surface looks fine and yet i have this feeling inside that says something’s off and that’s like incongruity which doesn’t lead to you feeling like you have a good concept of of understanding the world like you can’t trust yourself now because you’re like oh well i don’t feel right but everybody says it is so something’s obviously wrong with just you know the way i pick up on things yeah that’s true but yeah so as a kid going to pop i mean going to private school we it was a small school um i played sports i got good grades you know was very involved very active in school i always learned and picked up things really well they didn’t really have gifted and talented it wasn’t like a catholic school that took trouble kids like if you were trouble in that school you got thrown out they only kept kids that were good academically and good students and that you know showed up regularly and i’m sure could afford to pay why didn’t you go to st thomas right in the neighborhood it was a catholic school so that’s where we actually went to church we didn’t go to school there i don’t i couldn’t tell you he didn’t have to ask my parents i didn’t i wasn’t involved in the decision making this you know process of that but that’s actually where we went to church with st thomas where my grandmother went um so yeah and that two i would say relevant things happened as i was a young kid probably before the age of 10 or i say relevant i’m sure there’s lots of other relevant things but two major life-changing things that happened one i was sexually abused at that age from the age of uh and it’s hard to remember exactly because it’s such vague memories that i spent you know 30 years of my life stuffing down and ignoring with drugs and that sort of thing but probably from the age of like seven to nine somewhere in that range uh several times being sexually abused by an older family member who was a older cousin he was a older teenager at the time and uh you know we would go over their house to hang out like you would my mom’s family was close they all lived they lived over in midfield if you know right next to him then a couple blocks away and my mom had another sister that lived in hamden a couple blocks from us so her sisters all lived around the family was kind of close and they hung out with each other so we’d go over there and hang out oh and they had a swimming pool at their house which was the reason we went over to their house a lot and you know so there was opportunities there he took advantage of sexually abused me my brother have come to learn some other family members besides us come to find out later um and that was you know at the time i don’t know how that affected me i mean as a kid that shits you don’t process it like you do when you’re older when you’re going through it and you know but some weird things about that not to make this too creepy but like so this guy had a lot of like uh matchbox cars and like these cool matchbox things and all this fun stuff and he would you know sort of lure you know up to his room with these cool things and i like to play with those things but then being in that situation was really uncomfortable and weird but then when we went there i would put myself back in that situation being lured with those things so there would be a sense of like as i got older trying to figure out how this happened like well i must have liked it or i must have i put myself you know that that victim stuff that we tell ourselves that have come to find out isn’t true that is very unhealthy well and and the part of it i think that’s damaging is we take on this blame of i chose it in the sense of i chose it all and it’s like it’s like if we had an older you know cousin that was charged with taking care of us for times when our parents had to have emergencies or went on vacation together or something and they fed us ice cream all day long and then we take responsibility for how that affected our health later right like well of course we [ _ ] chose ice cream like it felt good right right and i think we missed that just because you’re a child does not mean your sexual organs they might not work like an adult [ _ ] still feels good yeah and that’s nothing wrong with you because of that that’s how they’re programmed to work right and not only that at that age no one’s talking about sex or any of that stuff at all so you have no point of reference and definitely back in the 80s there is a little more talked about now probably not near as much as it even should be but there was no conversations and definitely none around catholic school around sex or you know what was healthy and what wasn’t healthy or any you know parents weren’t talking about it none of that at that age and they probably shouldn’t have been i mean i wouldn’t talk to my five-year-old about sex you know other than touching now there’s touching conversations but in any case so that was a you know major event that happened um and then also i had an eye accident i was about between i should know this but i was between 10 and 12 years old i was in a farm store and carrying some soda bottles and i dropped the soda bottle and somehow glass shot up and cut into my eyeball just to clarify for everyone because i call them the farm store as well but i found out for my wife that everybody in other areas thinks of a farm store as places that sell tractors and ships this is a royal farms which is like a 7-11 or a gas station a wawa there’s a little convenience store when you grow up in the 80s in the city it was called the farm store but it was rough now it’s rofo right right rebranding um so anyway that uh caused me to have an eye injury um through that i went through a couple of surgeries ended up having to wear glasses i hated that i felt you know as a kid for a number of reasons whether that’s a contributing one or whether i already felt that way but i you know as i got into early teens i felt different i felt you know unique i felt like people weren’t going to like me that nobody understood me there was things about being sexually abused i thought does this make me gay am i gay in some way not close your eye yeah not because my eyes and then of course wearing glasses you know what’s up and that was another thing i was good at school and i got really good grades and i also played sports uh which seemed to be a little bit of a contradiction that didn’t seem to be a thing that most people did uh or that i saw anyway i can’t say it’s not a thing that most people did um and so as i started getting into being a early teen it was like well do i want to be cool and hang out with the cool kids or do i want to hang out with like the nerd kids that are getting good grades in school and you know to me that’s where that appeal to sort of the bad crowd came in is like i almost wanted to be a bad kid to fit in with that crowd more because my gut was to like do good in school and follow the rules and get approval like that felt like the right thing to do but i was so worried i would be rejected and my peers wouldn’t like me or the people that i chose to be peers with they were both peer groups i just chose to be with the kids that were getting in trouble and and doing things and even at the city in the city before we moved uh i started delving into some sexual stuff at a really young age at 10 11 12 i was like you know looking at dirty magazines and stuff with kids in the neighborhood that stuff would come up um and that’s probably too young to be exposed to most of that without any sort of anyone talking to you from an adult or healthy perspective it was like just being sexually abused and misinformation from kids in the neighborhood so there was a lot of uh and then catholic school where they don’t talk about any of that stuff at all other than you’re not supposed to do it or you’re going to hell right when you want kids yeah so growing up that way like i started to feel like i was destined for hell that something was definitely internally wrong with me and uh then we moved from the city to cecil county out to rising sun which was like the [ _ ] complete and utter opposite of anything that we had experienced um we moved into a giant farm house it was like a seven bedroom house built in the uh 1890s you know had a bunch of rooms big tall ceilings why did you move so at that point my grandfather had retired my dad took over the business so he was probably i’m guessing again i don’t know for sure but i guess he’s making a lot more money my mom wanted to get out of the city she didn’t want to live in the city anymore and wanted to move to the county so we moved to i don’t know how they found the house in cecil county again i wasn’t involved in any of that decision making nobody asked my internet kid how do you find a house in cecil county so they ended up finding this house out in rising sun and i mean from the outside it probably looked great like we’re moving to this little small town i mean at the time rising some was just several hundred people there was very small you know our elementary school was really small and so we moved out there to rising sun and it was definitely a different like a culture shock a culture thing um kids were doing different stuff you know kids around me had dirt bikes and were riding motorcycles and four wheelers and hunting and shooting guns and you know like i wasn’t around any of that kind of stuff growing up like just none of it so uh
that contributed to the uncomfortableness the not feeling like i fit in and then just doing whatever i could to to fit in and be a part of um so early on in my say that i was 12 when we moved from 13 to probably 16 17 i basically would say i was a a redneck you know like i immediately jumped in with both feet like yeah i’m gonna you know have a mullet and you know get into that kind of stuff and people had mullets back then yeah that was the 80s man i didn’t think it was real yeah i’ll see my high school graduation picture i have a mullet put that in this video somewhere um yeah so then we moved to rising sun and and just things were different you know it was a different way of life it was a lot of things to me was very appealing i liked it i liked being out around nature around the country getting into that kind of stuff um i our neighbor you know his family was from west virginia they were total hillbillies and i was all in with that i went to west virginia with his relatives you know family trip couple times because we were good friends um but that was around the age of 13 or so i was entered a smoke pot for the first time and immediately when i smoked pot for that first time i loved it i thought right away like this is this is the thing that i’ve been looking for my whole life all of a sudden all that uncomfortableness and the way i felt about myself like i didn’t care i was relaxed i was calm i actually smoked some weed i went to a party with some other kids and just i felt so different and just knew that that’s what i just wanted to do all the time and that kind of started you know my endeavor into drugs i wonder if that’s like that discussion in the courage episode we had just that you know feeling that 25 level and and you know smoking the weed and now i feel that normal 75 that everybody else seems to have all the time or other times yeah well it was a definitely i’ll make oh i guess in this term maybe it’s okay but it was definitely a crutch to like get over any sort of social anxiety or any anxiety that i felt you know i could get high and that went away you know it’s funny that we look at the term crutch as a negative right you wouldn’t ever think somebody who had just broken their foot you wouldn’t be like oh disgusting you need a crutch but if somebody is broken internally why wouldn’t they need something to assist them to you know be able to function as someone who’s not broken right it just seems like yeah duh and there were some other things too about so as a young kid like i was really late to hit puberty so i was early exposed into sexual stuff but i didn’t hit puberty until i was like 17. i mean i was weed probably yeah it’s probably the weed to [ _ ] me all up but like at 13 years old i was one of like the shortest smallest kids in elementary school um even into early high school i mean i don’t think i got she really got much taller until i hit like 16 17. your mom was a smoker did she smoke during pregnancy uh probably i mean i would guess that’s kind of before we even knew much about that yeah it wasn’t as widely like that’s not good yeah um what if that had anything to do with it and again all these are little things like i don’t know what one thing made me feel so inadequate as i got older but it’s all these little things that just lead up to a bigger problem but there was always a feeling of like not measuring up not having to be somebody different than who i was and then about you know and through that you know smoking weed that starts to introduce you to different different crowds of people this mostly started with my sister had uh an older boyfriend she was a little older than me she’s two years older than me so he would have been she was 15 and her boyfriend was like two years older than her so he was like 17 and then one of his good friends who’s a guy i’m still friends with today actually you know thought it was fun to get all the kids to smoke weed like he thought that [ _ ] was fun and uh they were into like sort of the heavy red metal rock music and had like the long hair and uh this was like the the rambo slash red dawn time in the late 80s where it was like yeah if the commies come we’re gonna run out to the woods and build a fort and like hold them all off with
yeah so we would go out into the woods and build forts and you know do all kinds of dumb [ _ ] while we were smoking weed and drinking and carrying on as kids i mean looking at the situation today y’all might have been able to hold off the red army just saying but uh you know that was where my using started and in the beginning it didn’t have a ton of negative consequences i mean i kept up with my grades i still played sports you know i started smoking cigarettes real young i’m sure that didn’t help with the growth stuff either you know and uh but that crowd of people that the the bad kids that were into you know the bad stuff yeah that was what appealed to me that’s what i thought was cool and that’s what i wanted to be but it was hard to let go of like getting good grades and playing sports but slowly but surely that stuff started to go away and you know i did graduate with honors from high school i was plans to go to college and do all this kind of stuff and you know i could see at that point in my life my addiction had really taken off i graduated when i was 17 and i was i would say probably full-blown addiction at that point i hadn’t gotten into most of the heavy drugs but i was drinking alcohol every day smoking pot every day you know would do like coke or any other acid any other kind of drugs that came along the availability of those things at 16 and 17 wasn’t the same as i got you know as i got older and i got more access to resources you know but young it was like any time anything came along i was never afraid to do it or try it or you know whatever and uh along with that came other bad behavior sneaking out of the house stitching school you know and the things that i thought were important weren’t important and what became important was just partying and having a good time and so at 17 um i graduated high school and thought i’ll go to college later i’ll do all this stuff later there’ll be time to like and i always had minor jobs like i would go i worked for my family’s business at one point and i thought well that’s a cop out that’s an easy job to have you know plus i was using all the time and i was worried like if i worked actually with my parents people would know what i was doing so i got other jobs at other places and i always maintained like held a part-time job so that i could have access to money you know because i liked having all my own money i didn’t like having to lie cheat or steal for drugs so i had access to money i had access to drugs and i could that’s a good story yeah i don’t know if it’s true or not but that’s a good story so like a lot of my early years like i’ve never had to resort to actually like sticking up people on the street or doing any of that stuff as i got into harder drugs later there was definitely manipulation and that kind of thing but i was never like oh my god i gotta go out and steal [ _ ] to support my habit um which i think is what contributed to me thinking i don’t really have a problem these [ __ ] guys have a problem i’m doing fine i got a job i support myself you know what i mean i’m doing good right um but i got in some pretty serious trouble at 17 i actually was out the summer after i graduated i was out partying with some friend a friend of mine and got pulled over we were drinking and driving and we had like a quarter pound a pot in the car that was all divided up into separate baggies and that sounds a lot bigger than what it was actually you know the story sounds like we were dealing drugs and we sort of kind of were but it was like homegrown backwoods you know rising sun crappy pot that his uncle grew it’s one of those kind of deals it wasn’t like some great weed that we didn’t anyway long story short the cops don’t care if it’s backwoods rising some weed or not to them it’s a whole bunch of weed and it’s all divided into baggies and so i ended up with some pretty serious criminal charges out of that big time dealer out here on my resume and uh that started me into the legal system of like oh great now i’m into court and probation and judges and you know at that time my parents got us got me a lawyer and i went to treatment uh my first time in a treatment i was 17 it was a private adolescent rehab um and it was fun it was like a summer camp you know it was great it’s out in the woods out down in uh lower delaware and the program at the time was called new beginnings at white oak which they’re not around anymore i don’t know whatever happened to them it didn’t work if that place is yeah right but they had like a ropes course and you would go and they did all these like trust exercises with you know and it was my first introduction to like recovery and addiction and that there was a problem you know with my using and i definitely wasn’t ready to stop i only went there for court stuff but you know what i remember was that’s the first time that i had actually talked to another human being about being sexually molested i actually talked to a counselor there when i got clean for the 30 days or whatever that you were in there i told him what happened he asked if i wanted to talk to my parents about it i said i don’t want to talk to them about it you can talk to them about it if you want to but i’m good you know that was the extent of of that you got 30 days off the bat yeah that’s all so uh i got out of that place and immediately went right back to doing what i did and getting high because i didn’t want to stop using right was there a period where it like seemed alleviated then though like was it like oh i don’t have to use as much and i don’t have to be as bad so to speak i don’t know i feel like you held a job the whole time so i really didn’t yeah uh and that’s of course part of the contradictions of myself it’s like
i was always in some state of trying to manage my using like i i and manage is such a loose term in that respect like i never i didn’t frequently i should say use to the point where it’s like oh my god i can’t go to work the next day you know that happened occasionally but like that would happen i’d be like whoa [ __ ] that’s a problem like i can’t do that so as long as i can still like make it to work the next day and i would use these justifications you know to sort of manage my using and i started looking at like the wrong markers for things so like i would look at things like well i made it to work as the goal not i’m actually showing up with an ability to actually do the job in any functional manner i made it to work i took a nap for four hours but i made it yeah and i just had jobs that either didn’t matter that much or one of them was like a cleaning company where we went out and cleaned offices at night and one of the guys that worked there we got high when we went there so you know whatever kind of shitty work we did it didn’t really matter that much it was empty in trash cans and sweeping floors you know it wasn’t like overly difficult um so yeah then i started in it’s just some joke in there about working for cleaning while you’re living dirty or something i don’t think that way anymore so yeah this episode has been brought to you in part by voices of hope inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voicesofhopemaryland.org
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in that rehab though i was first introduced to 12 step in a meetings aaa meetings all that stuff i did sort of immediately felt at home in n a meetings mostly because especially in the late 80s early 90s that was seemed like all old dudes and [ _ ] aaa and it was all people that i could relate to in n a it was even though i was young it was guys i was familiar with from around like their rising sun party scene it was old biker pagan guys and you know what i mean like people that use drugs they have a kind of similar look to them i don’t know that makes sense yeah um and so i felt and there was younger people there too and you know i just felt more at home in a meetings but of course i didn’t stay and i didn’t stay clean and uh and this is where things get really hazy because then my using really progressed into like my early 20s um i ended up in treatment again at some point in an adult treatment center um my using definitely got to the point where it was a lot of harder drugs more often you know lots of acid trips and cocaine heroin wasn’t a big thing around back then so it wasn’t as available but uh crank i think that’s crystal meth i’m not sure they used to call it crank that’s what the old bikers used to call it you know that’s where you get the crank from the old biker dudes and uh you know just doing whatever was available whatever i could find to get high you know was really it but predominantly drinking smoking weed every single day of my life and uh you know college and things were on the back burner now all this so through all that legal stuff i ended up with like a five-year probation sentence and you know had to report every month and drug tests and counseling and all that and i never i i did all this physical things i was supposed to do but i never stopped using i took i can’t remember what they were called now but all the how you get through drug test things the drinks and the pills whatever that all that [ _ ] i did all of that [ _ ] all the time to go past my drug tests wow yeah sounds expensive uh i probably was yeah i can’t i don’t remember um hey and then it just gets hazy as to arrests and things like that but along the way um i ended up at in at 19 i ended up in n a i don’t think out of treatment kind of on my own of like yeah i think this like i really think i have a problem now i think i need to stop life isn’t going oh and i had went to college and dropped out and then went to college again and dropped out no at that point i’d only went once and dropped out because it interfered with my party right um and then i went to n a and went to meetings for i went to meetings for a total of about nine months and celebrated nine months clean but i didn’t actually have nine months clean i went for several months and actually got clean and got a sponsor and started doing some stuff and then somewhere in the middle there um my cousin had said hey you know a group of us as a female cousin with a bunch of her girlfriends from high school said hey we’re going down to senior week at ocean city do you want to come stay with us and i said [ _ ] yeah because who wouldn’t want to go stay with a group of high school seniors graduating for senior week so i said [ _ ] yeah so i went down to senior week and drank and partied with them that whole week and then came back and was like oh [ _ ] i can’t tell any of these people in n a any of this these are all my new friends and people so i’ll just act like i’m still clean so i just acted like i was still clean and kept going to meetings did you like use after that here and there you just yeah just that week up to nine months and and i didn’t think that it was okay i knew i just i don’t know but imagine if there wasn’t right i’m just thinking imagine if there wasn’t this uh prioritization of clean time or or the stigma around the idea of relapse and if it was just like not a big deal and if you’d have been able to talk about it and be honest oh yeah man i i slipped up i went down there i did that you know i’m back i’m all in like i wonder if that would have you know what i mean like who knows if you went back out because of the shame of feeling disauthentic or inauthentic with those people after a time or yeah i can’t i don’t know i mean i it’s so hard to think back then now to what i mean because our secrets i could tell you what put me in the place of wanting to use again was going back around my old friends you know after that time because there was something to be said for like i did like partying you know and i mean there is some fun around that stuff going and people carrying on and drinking games and lots of sex and yeah you know what i mean like there’s excitement and all not as much random sex happens clean and sober i gotta be honest no and when you’re just showing up and like going to work and paying your bills and there’s not as much excitement i mean maybe there can be i’m sure there can be there i have different things that excite me now but 19 20 years old like yeah i’m gonna eat lunch when we leave here yeah term goals is it was not on my healthy people might have long-term goals i did not um so yeah so then i just went back around my old friends and old people that i liked and and in the beginning said i’m not gonna use but i’m still gonna hang out with these guys and it’ll be fun and i really probably thought that but whether i really thought it or just lied to myself is hard to say right but then i ended up back around my old friends and started using again and uh i’m not one of those people that came in and out or says it ruined their high or none of that happened i went right back to getting high i was like [ __ ] yeah like i’m good and i did that for eight years until i got clean this time but um
then after that i can’t remember when heroin kind of came around to the area of rising sun um it was like the early to mid 90s and then i did heroin for the first time and i [ _ ] i loved that was the new thing of like oh this is what i really been looking for my whole life like this is what i want and uh that got fairly unmanageable a little more unmanageable than some of the other drugs uh unsurprisingly yeah and so in the time that i actually was clean my brother was in a really horrific accident um he was coming home from high school bringing his girlfriend home driving down the road and a guy crossed the center line and hit them to head on at like 80 mile an hour he was passing another car or truck and he couldn’t see a car around there so he just jetted out and when he jetted out they were there he was going like 80 some mile an hour my brother’s probably gone 60-ish mile and they hit head-on with no brakes so of course it tragic accident my brother lived he was severely messed up in the hospital for months and months of time with all kinds of reconstructive surgery it killed his girlfriend at the time that was with him um and i mean i was very selfish back then it had some impact on me i’m not gonna lie because i was clean at that time and i tried to help him as much as i could went saw him in the hospital and did all that i mean i will say i’m grateful that i was clean in that time frame for my family and stuff probably for my mom be one less thing to worry about although i’m sure she’s still probably worried about me right um but by the time this is a few years later and by the time heroin came around so he was sort of better he had gotten a huge settlement from this accident several hundred thousand dollars and was also and at that time we had gotten to hanging out a lot and you know we’d gotten pretty close after his accident and started partying a lot together and then we all got into heroin and stuff together and he had all this money so he bought this house and we all just lived there in a big giant party house you know and i still had a job i still had my own job and i still contributed somewhat to the house and did that it wasn’t like i just mooched off my brother for years although he took care of me plenty i’m not trying to act like i didn’t but he had other friends that it kind of would piss me off that did nothing and just hung out there with him and did his drugs all day you know i wonder if that was real friends and things like that the mirror of yourself though like they pissed you off because there’s some of that going on for you too oh i’m sure it’s because i was doing that to some level it’s not like i wasn’t like totally self-sufficient you know what i mean there was some level of like hey i’m gonna buy a bunch of heroin and here you can have some too and i wasn’t like no no that’s i i’m above that right that was not happening my seventh tradition states that i’m just not gonna allow that there brother right um but he had this house and it was i mean we tried to maintain it to some level we actually did pay bills we had roommates we all kind of paid rent and people kind of had jobs and different facets and then somebody’s job along the way became just selling drugs out of the house that became their job and they were the ones going to philly and getting the drugs and so like my brother and i didn’t have to be involved in that part of it for a long time um there was somebody doing all that part we just had someone at the house all the time who paid in drugs so it was kind of convenient um and it kept me out of certain elements of using that i didn’t have to be involved with you know i wasn’t somebody who had to run back and forth to philly all the time or run back and forth to baltimore all the time i just never did that wasn’t something that i did and so i at that time i worked for my family’s business and i actually it’s hard to say i was a good employee i mean i could have been a much better employee and i did embezzle money from their company oh that took some cash but i was a good guy well and what i’m the only thing i mean by that is i managed a retail store for them and the store was successful like the store made money and we sold and i was good at sales and good at certain aspects of that as much as it would have made if you weren’t stealing it right and that becomes a thing like could it have been better could things have been different could i have taken on more responsibility or a different role in the company i mean all those things and again being high all the time i don’t know what world of delusion i could have been living in too there should there could have been some delusional things going on there like it was doing just fine whether i was there or not that could have been real too but i showed up for work and i did some semblance of a job at a store that was somewhat successful you know in a company that had 30 some stores that they weren’t all successful you know there were other stores that weren’t successful so anyway but whether that could have been more luck i can’t say for sure i don’t attribute that to anything great that i was doing while i was on heroin in the bathroom but in any case um at that point in my life you know things did start to get pretty like that’s a point in my life where i could really see like oh [ _ ] i am definitely addicted to drugs like i could not go without being high any amount of days and then things started to really that house got pretty crazy it was you know my brother played in a band with some other guys who played in a band so we would have like a band there playing all the time and people just drinking and partying and car crashes and i mean just any kind of chaos you could think that would come with a situation like that was that house the cops were there bunches of times i got arrested there at least once they charged me with servant minor to alcohols because i was one of the only people there that was 21 and owned the house so yeah it was like weird [ __ ] like that would happen um and the cops were there quite a bit for neighbor complaints and different things um
yeah and that’s when things were pretty chaotic and then there was an incident there where the cops did like the and i wasn’t there for this event but it was pretty severe they did the kick the front door in drug raid on the house like guys with guns and masks coming through the front and through the back and [ _ ] breaking windows and they were doing this like major drug raid on the house and i happen not to be there i happen to be with another guy out getting some other drugs and uh that situation could have been really a lot worse than it turned out to be had they been like an hour later we would have got in a lot of trouble because it was like a friday night and the group the guys that go to philly and get all the heroin so we used to i guess i’m not giving anybody any good information but we used to do is pool all our money we’d say all right who’s got what to throw in for the heroine we’d pull all our money the one guy would go up and get whatever and then we’d figure out how much we had to sell to make all our money back and then divvy up the rest amongst each other so you would in essence get yours for free as long as he could sell whatever to everybody else you know so we had a system worked out something like that didn’t always work out that well but occasionally it did i’m just thinking about the incompetence of the police force that didn’t know to wait another i know right so and he was on his way back from philly i was out with another guy and we went and got like an eight ball of coke and we’re coming back because friday night is gonna be like a party night with the band and the keg and all that stuff i mean that was like a normal and we literally drove by the house with all the cop cars in the yard me and the guy with a coke and we just kept on driving you know yeah right on by and we’re like holy [ _ ] so it was kind of that close to being like a serious situation not that it wasn’t serious they still charged us with all kinds of crazy stuff and again it sounded a lot worse than it was or maybe it was minimalist thinking at the time but i was charged with all kinds of heroin distribution because there was things like scales and baggies and empty baggies and all kinds of paraphernalia everywhere and we were trying to grow some pot plants that we weren’t really growing you know we weren’t good at cold this is like we had a major weed but we’re a bunch of drug addicts trying to grow pot plants so there was like six or seven pot plants that were you know three or four feet tall growing in the [ _ ] room and just a lot of [ _ ] like that it was it was like a failed drug addict
uh but so they charged us with all of this stuff i mean oh there was five of us that lived there all five of us got charged with you know distribution of heroin distribution of marijuana uh possession of all those things maintaining a public nuisance and then conspiracy charges on all that which doubles everything that they put a conspiracy on you know it’s just a bunch of crazy [ _ ] yeah that was like ridiculous and that’s the way i felt it’s like this is ridiculous like we’re not major drug dealers you know supplying to all of cecil county it’s like but it doesn’t matter or maybe you were yeah um and that was sort of a foray into me going to jail that’s how i ended up in jail so i that was a violation of probation obviously through up until that point i’d been able to either finagle or talk my way out of violating probation like i would fail a drug test and be like oh but i’m going to these meetings and i’m doing better i’ll try and because i was like clean cut and shaved and wore a suit and tie to work every day and a little white the right part and white was with cecil county too so yeah um i was able to talk my way out of things a lot and get a lot of second chances and a lot of breaks because i looked the i was i looked the right part for someone trying to get their life together right um but i really i mean getting my life together not the way they thought i should get it together oh we got the heroine cool i got the coke it’s all coming together it’s good i just do the heroin all night and i do coke to keep me up the next day it works out um so yeah things got pretty chaotic after that and that started a series of events where it was like well there’s no denying there’s some real problems going on here um why was i so i ended up doing a year in the cecil county detention center uh which is just the local and for whatever reason the judge saw that i was getting brakes and he didn’t like that very much so uh he gave me all my time in lock up like wouldn’t even give me work release or anything so it made me do and at the time in cecil county you could only do a year was the maximum or then they would send you down to department of corrections well everybody kept telling me oh dude you’ll be fine if they send you down department of their corrections you’ll get immediate release because they’re overbooked and everything’s crowded and you have no violent offenses it’s all just drug possession and petty [ _ ] like they’re not going to care anything about you they’re going to send you in with an ankle monitor so i was like yeah that’d be great i can do that fine just send me home so i can get high that’s really all i want to do um but that’s not what happened he ended up giving me 364 days in cecil county detention center with no work release which meant i had to stay here in cecil county in lock-up and i only did like eight months of that but i spent my 21st birthday in jail spent my 18th birthday in rehab and uh that was my only real length of time spent in jail you know i was in the cecil county detention center so i never been to prison or anything after that was a series of trying to use successfully without using hard drugs so after i got out of jail i said well i’ll just drink and i’ll just smoke weed and that’ll be fine and i still just did those things to complete excess of my life i still drank every day to black out like and just thought that was normal like that was you know and you’d go to the alcohol classes and they’d be like do you you know do you black out when you’re drinking like [ _ ] yeah like that was a goal absolutely people drink for any other reason right um and i just thought if i just drink and smoke weed i’ll be able to manage my life then then it’ll be okay and it it wasn’t you know um i did that for four yeah about four years and eventually ended up violating the probation on something or another i can’t remember oh so from the whole thing with the drug raid on the house i ended up with a four year suspended sentence um and so if i violated probation i had to go do that four years and then of course i violated that probation and through this i had gotten other arrests too i don’t and they’re all vague and like i i think i’ve had four at least four maybe five duis sprinkled in there in different places and a couple different possession arrests that would always be plea but so i always had lawyers and i’d never quite i mean my experience with the legal process was i would go in the lawyer be like all right here’s what you’re charged with this is what you’re going to plead to this is what you’re going to have to do and i would either go okay or no i don’t want to do that like but i never quite paid much attention to like what it actually meant in the long scheme of things like i don’t know what that means it was just go see the lawyer and then all right well what do you think i should do here how do i stay out of jail what probation sure or whatever so you were you were uh well-versed in going to a power greater than yourself when you didn’t know what to do right but i lost my license at times so i had my license taken away i had to go through driving classes to get my license back and alcohol monitor programs um all that stuff sprinkled in there somewhere along the way um but then yeah that four years was like and i never did heroin cocaine acid nothing no heavy drugs i just was gonna drink and smoke pot and have a manageable using life and uh i mean i managed i ended up in a different room off a guy that also drank all the time and i partied with him at his house and could never really maintain any sort of quality relationships um could never maintain any sort of girlfriend type relationships like those relationships were all for me were always relationships of convenience like i hung out with a girl as long as it was convenient and fun and felt okay but as soon as somebody else came along or she wasn’t available or she wasn’t doing what i wanted to do i just well let’s get a different girl and i’m sure i’d sometimes they would stop calling me it wasn’t like i pulled all the strings sometimes they just stopped calling me i’m like hey where’d she go why did she stop calling me like [ _ ] she’s not calling me back anymore like that happened too but that was like relationships were just kind of like that they were just relationships of convenience and there was no emotional or intimate connections um and then at some point that life just got pretty shitty like i could see that it didn’t matter what drugs i was doing or you know what what drug it was like i used to excess until it took precedent over everything else in my life you know using that to come first and then as long as i could use then everything else could fall in line behind that and when you’re just drinking and smoking weed that’s a lot easier to maintain but there’s still a lot of chaos that comes with like hey i blacked out last night and spent all my money and uh now i gotta figure out what i’m gonna do for rent like hey i blacked out last night and crashed my car into something and i don’t know what i hit or where i hit it but my car is [ _ ] up like exactly it wasn’t a person yeah you know or asking people hey you know i don’t know what i did last night do you remember you know who i was with or where i was or what the [ _ ] happened you know you know there’s just something about i guess for me i can’t say for everybody but something about what that just did to my soul that i was like i don’t i’m just existing at this point i’m not living a life that i’m happy with i’m not living a life that i’m proud of i you know hurt and abused and took advantage of relationships with people that love me like my family my parents you know aunts uncles relatives all that sort of stuff i mean just to go back i remember like i had my graduation party when i graduated from high school and like two hours into my graduation by my whole family had come everybody had come to celebrate and my parents put on this big party in like two hours in i’m like all right i got all my money now can i leave like i want to go out with my friends i don’t want to be here for this party anymore this shit’s for you guys it ain’t for me and uh getting into like an argument with my parents about that and totally not seeing their point of view you know i mean totally not seeing like wait this is supposed to be my party for me i should be able to do what the [ __ ] i want you know not appreciating that hey people came out of their way to give their time and attention to an accomplishment that you did right
like not not fully realizing at the time like what i’d look at now is like that’s a conflict in my soul like i know inherently somewhere in me i know that that shit’s wrong but i’m so caught up and self-consumed that i don’t recognize it or own it right um and so yeah i mean it was i violated that probation i had this four-year prison sentence and i just thought [ _ ] and my roommate at the time had a gun and i thought and nobody was there and i was by myself i said i’m just gonna blow my [ _ ] head off because i can’t keep living this way this is going to be the rest of my life is going to be in and out of jail no matter what i try to do no matter when i try to stop nothing has ever worked you know i’ve been to treatment i’ve been to meetings i’ve done all that stuff and nothing works like i’m inherently and uh it was i hate to say like that light bulb moment or moment of clarity or whatever it was like could it be the drugs that are the power could it be if you just stop using like things might get better for you and i was like i don’t [ _ ] know you know and i was did the only thing that kept me from killing myself was my mom i knew my mom loved me was the only person that ever cared about me definitely more than i cared about myself at that point i didn’t give a [ _ ] i i you know would go out and drink and drive like i don’t really care if i wreck and die like who really cares and some knights even thought i’m just gonna take this car off of this [ _ ] road into this tree and just be done with this nightmare of a [ _ ] mess i’ve created you know and thinking that was normal like thinking that’s just part of like because they would ask you that stuff in counseling like do you ever think of killing yourself you’re like oh no yeah but i always went through those programs thinking my job was to tell them what they wanted to hear not to try to be any kind of honest or sincere because my goal wasn’t to try to get better or healthy my goal was to just get out of that right because my belief was that if i could just get high and use as much as i wanted as often as i wanted i would be fine and that everyone else was the problem um and when you’re surrounded with people that you’re using like that seems to make sense and then i found my way to n a and i it was i’d been to meetings throughout the years and i had been court ordered at different times i had popped into meetings over that eight year period because i was court ordered to get my slip signed or whatever and then i figured out i could just sign the slips however i wanted because they didn’t [ _ ] know anybody at meetings like i was smart enough to figure out those concepts like no one at the court is watching the people at n a that’s a completely different entity and they’re not even [ _ ] allowed to ask and if they do the people in n a aren’t even allowed to tell them that i was there or not like so they can’t even check on me if they wanted to you know it’s a whole conflict of interest there just gave a lot of people some ideas so you can just fill out your own court slips i mean [ _ ] it if that’s what you want to do yeah still stamp her at the next meeting and uh so i would just you know simon but anyway um i remember there was this meeting on wednesday night and it was that was all that happened happened stance on a tuesday and i went to that next day woke up decided i wasn’t going to get high well that night i smoked all my weed and got totally [ _ ] up and smoked all the weed that i had all of it just kept rolling joints and smoked all of it and the next day woke up and went to a meeting and found my way into n a and then that starts a whole other recovery journey yeah and that’s actually what i was thinking about as you know the time went up here towards the end of the episode i was like this is great not only does this become a two-part thing where you get to tell your recovery version in another portion of this but that also extends the portion before i have to tell my story i have to do it um so many similar things i mean just to point out a couple that struck me that you know that feeling of wanting to fit in with the the cool kids that necessarily weren’t doing their best actions um you know being locked up when i turned 21 those kind of things going to rehab for the first time at 17 like definitely compared in myself to a lot of that and just it’s some of it’s tragic man the ways we feel at the end that really hit me pretty hard the hopelessness of that and the feeling of like i’ll never be any better and really from a compassionate place to where i’m at now like it was never about us being good or bad well now in in retrospect like i look at so many things like i had so many opportunities or breaks you know that a lot of people don’t get that i’m now completely grateful for like i had a family that loved me and at almost any time in my life if i went to my parents and said i need help i need to go to treatment they would have sent me to tr you know they would have paid for it they would have done whatever and they would were always there to support me and growing up like i felt some sense of entitlement to that stuff and not realizing like hey like a lot of people don’t even grow up with both parents let alone two parents that love them and would do anything for them in these times i wanted to go to college i’d go to my parents hey i think i want to go to college will you pay for me yeah we’ll pay for you you know so they were always there like encouraging me and trying to motivate me i mean they had their claws as parents and some of that’s contributed to my using it’s not like there’s not something going on there but i had a lot of things that it took me a long time to be grateful for and to really like be like [ __ ] i’m so lucky yeah well and i think that’s a been the shift as therapy goes on right it’s not really blaming the parents it’s not that the parents were terrible or wanted bad things for the kids right it’s really has nothing to do with their level of love whatsoever it’s just what did the parents get in their lifetime and and know how to provide and what stress level were they under which you know we could get into a whole discussion about why having payments to parents on a monthly basis just because they have children is totally helping their stress level if nothing else in the financial aspect and you know providing a way for them to be better parents but um maybe that is something we addressed one day but yeah man it’s uh it was good to hear your story yeah so thanks for being willing to share all that and we will have to have a part two about where it goes once you find those rooms of narcotics anonymous that part’s easy you say so but there’s a lot in there too so uh thanks for listening that is a little bit about billy and we will continue to explore that and i guess we will see you next week
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