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207: Jason’s Story – Part 2 (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.
Continuing Jason's story this week. We move into the middle school, high school and young adult years. Rebellion, the results of a traumatic young life, whatever we call it, the downward spiral toward hopelessness continues. Lots of exploration of events and meanings.
Listen in to the conversation, and then share your thoughts with us.
How to find us and join the conversation:
Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/recoverysortof/message
Continuing Jason’s story this week. We move into the middle school, high school and young adult years. Rebellion, the results of a traumatic young life, whatever we call it, the downward spiral toward hopelessness continues. Lots of exploration of events and meanings.
Listen in to the conversation, and then share your thoughts with us. How to find us and join the conversation:
welcome back it’s recovery sord of the podcast where we explore the struggles of Life the challenges of mental health and recovery and the spaces between we express our personal views on life here and this podcast is not meant to replace medical advice or tell anyone the right way to live this podcast is best used as a place of curiosity and questioning to accompany you on your journey be aware there is strong language this week we’re picking up where we left the conversation off last week here we go [Applause]
[Music] Middle School yeah not uh not a great time for me necessarily you know I I kept trying to fit in um so my town even though it’s in Baltimore is is was extremely uh White I guess to say um and when I made this transition to the other school that was a better school I was introduced to other people uh I had no idea but you know um going from basically only interacting with white people my whole life and going to school with white people and then I go to this middle school and there’s a class of 30 kids and there’s seven of us that are white and it was I mean it wasn’t scary or intimidating but it was a whole new world to me and it was like oh my God and and what cool was was being redefined in front of my eyes culturally I was like oh there’s a whole different cultural cool now right and like I needed a starter jacket for the I didn’t know that right but I I liked certain teams I mean I like the Orioles I grew up in Baltimore right but we didn’t have a football team when I grew up so I like the Broncos or whatever but I couldn’t get a Orioles or a Broncos starter jacket that that’s not cool had to get an Atlanta Falcon starter jacket why I don’t [ ] know that’s one of the acceptable teams that it was cool um just [ ] like that yeah well I think this was pre Michael Vic I don’t know why Atlanta was popular probably just cuz it was Atlanta and that’s a popular place um um but yeah it was always trying to be what I wasn’t right I didn’t know what the cool [ ] was I wasn’t even in touch with the cool [ ] I didn’t even know what I was I spent my first half of Middle School um hanging out with my best friend named Michael Jackson uh and we would listen to rap and we were writing raps and like that’s what we were doing and that’s what was cool and then I don’t know somewhere in seventh grade Wayne world came out and I started listening to aosmith and and Pearl Jam was out and [ ] and like I don’t know like it was me trying on life you know what fits what feels good um but all that feels like I don’t know who I am and all that feels like I should know who I am and what the [ ] wrong with me and it the whole narrative the story was something’s wrong with me and that’s what I’m looking for right every step of the way so when things went well didn’t go well or or things were poor or I showed up in a way that didn’t feel good it was obviously me um odd things about Middle School we had these things called class battles all the boys from one class would uh run into all the boys from another class in the hallway between classes and we would [ ] fight like all day every day for weeks there would be like certain class battles and like it was usually around the gym area cuz it wasn’t monitored and like wow I don’t know I got really hurt one day like I what the [ ] was going on in middle school yeah what was happening at that place I don’t know it’s crazy the SEC bir guard at my school ended up getting shot with his own gun one day yeah maybe maybe I didn’t trans student or by by somebody who wasn’t a student who came into the building I yeah weird situation gosh could have been a lot worse um yeah so that was all weird that was my middle school experience for the most part um towards the end a couple of of uh people expressed interest in me like romantically which was a new thing for me which um something about that man became a real big draw for me in my life right this feeling of like being wanted you know of of somebody putting in effort and thinking about me when I’m not there and you know writing me nice letters and it was I never had thought of myself as an attractive dude I always just thought I looked weird uh and I had a big forehead and whatever so it was a it was a weird thing um but quickly became uh you know want want my first coping and relief seeking things uh right up there you know and it ties very strongly in with sex and intimacy and all that um there there’s a program sex and love addicts anonymous and I feel like those go hand inand for me like they’re they’re tied in pretty tight uh the the summer going between Middle School and High School it I don’t know if you remember like that summer of difference for you or if that’s the time it hit but it really felt like it was the first time I ever went away from home I went and worked at a summer camp for like I don’t know two months Summer with the Boy Scouts so I had a crazy situation in Rising Sun we didn’t specifically have a middle school so Elementary School went up to sixth grade and then Middle School and High School were in the same building from 7th through 12th yeah and you know I should probably be more specific because people across the us do this in different versions in their locality so for me uh kindergarten through fifth grade then sixth through 8th was middle school and then 9th through 12th was high school which is I think the norm around here but not everywhere I get that um it is an interesting thing I don’t know I guess just being outside of my family home and not having my parent oversight for weeks it was a very new and interesting experience and like meeting people with like I were I was like 14 I guess and I was around these other older teenagers 16 18 some of them I’m sure were smoking pot and doing stuff at the time but like they had those ideas of like [ ] the man that I had never heard before and it was like a whole new world to me here I am with no parental oversight hearing people say [ ] the man and reading these cool books about opening your mind and uh it was neat um I remember picking up smoking that summer cigarettes smoking cigarettes yeah it started off with like these [ ] camel unfiltered or something maybe even Paul Mall unfiltered or some crazy [ ] that I could get my hands on um and my buddy could I had already gotten in trouble for smoking before cuz my buddy could buy them and I wanted to be cool so I bought them from him but never actually smoked them um and then I was getting like these True Blues out of the [ ] cigarette machine a giant I ended up getting Wawa had cigarettes back then they had their own brand called Jack I don’t know what ever happened to them they were a dollar a pack could get a carton for $11 after tax crazy I know it’s nuts isn’t it um before I got to High School uh one of one of the bullying events that sticks with me is there was a fair in in my town and I was down there just hanging out and this boy and and his posy I guess or whatever his crew were hanging around and they wanted to they wanted me to go in the alley and fight and like I was terrified I I thought if I go in this alley they’re going to all beat me up and and you know I don’t know I’m always the guy that had and I don’t know where this anxiety level comes from but I would be walking through my bathroom and I would use the bathroom and i’ would be walking out and I would see a tiny little piece of toilet paper that got dropped next to the trash can right and I would go about my day and five minutes later I’d be walking back to pick that up because the story in my head says I know somebody is going to bend over and try to reach that and they’re going to fall and bust their head and die and it’s going to be all my fault for not just taking care of it wow and I don’t know where the [ ] that comes from but that was always my story story and it still is a lot of times and like the story that day was if I go in this alley I’m going to fall the wrong way and I’m going to hit my head and I’m not going to be here anymore and I couldn’t move from I was sitting on a curb as they were like trying to make me stand up to to fight me basically um and I ended up I don’t know how it got engineered or the idea got started but I I bought my way out of it I gave him $20 and I kissed his shoe and I you know just remember feeling so demeaned and I bring it up because going into High School I went to a high school that most of the people in my neighborhood didn’t go to again so I was like cool I get to reinvent myself and not be this awful thing that I feel like carry inside of me this shameful weak pathetic man you know and uh somebody from my neighborhood I remember them coming to my high school and telling people about the [ ] story and I hated them I like you [ ] bastard I know got me okay it’s okay I it people didn’t need to know I showed up in ways that I couldn’t protect myself without that story um high school man [ ] got crazy uh and in good ways in my mind for at that time at least uh I started seeing these people who looked on the outside like I felt on the inside like they did not [ ] belong in our society right they had crazy colored hair they had oh sorry uh they had clothes that didn’t fit quite right and just looked a little odd and and they hung out in these big groups at lunch and um I would just like and this was outside we had lunch a lot of time so I would go out and I would just start sitting closer to him because I didn’t ever know how to meet new [ ] people I’d never done that right uh and eventually I got in a little group and we passed this thing around and I thought it was we that’s what they told me and I’m smoking it and I’m acting high and it wasn’t weed come to find out of some other [ ] but this was the group that I I got with that did introduce me to you know what we call drugs or substances and uh life changed instantly that was high school high school yeah ninth grade very early on um smoked weed and for the first time 14ish yeah yeah I was 14 um definitely felt relief in a way I had never felt relief before and didn’t understand those kind of words at the time I just said this is [ ] awesome I’m going to do it again as soon as it stops feeling this way right yep um from that first moment it was not like people have conceptualized this as we lied to kids about how dangerous drugs were and so when they smoked marijuana and found that nothing bad happened they just assumed that it was all lies and they couldn’t believe any of the information I don’t know if that’s actually the process that happened that happened in my brain but I can tell you once marijuana felt good it was a matter of how many more and what else he got and like I never had concerns I don’t want to say I never had concerns of safet but I really it was it was never a question it was never like a am I not going to do this it was what’s the safest chance of me doing this you know um and so very quickly it became any pills people had we crushed stuff up and snorted it it was over the counter stuff it was prescription stuff it was whatever um didn’t get a lot like in my group or whatever we weren’t introduced to like any of the opiate kind of stuff at that point in time it was other [ ] that we were [ ] well I think in general too kids are kind of I mean teenagers anyway are kind of impulsive and kind of whatever and if everybody else is doing it must be fine like you just don’t think much beyond the immediate I mean I think that’s pretty normal because I remember being the same way like I know what is that okay I’ll do it everybody else yeah I’ll try it I don’t care well and and I I will say this in these words now and it’s definitely not how I would have described it at any other point but like today when I smoked weed for the first time was the the first time I felt warm and fuzzy and that’s what I had been looking for my whole life and I didn’t understand that and and yeah I wanted [ ] more of it and and I found a lot more of it right there was um somehow I with no money I managed to like steal change out of my parents change Reserve or something and fund cigarettes for four years every day a pack a day and weed and I don’t know times were good back then yeah right um but yeah that just became life pretty quickly was Life’s good if you have this to be able to get you out of the way life actually feels which is not good you know um you know I got some real different opinions about that at this point in my life um but yeah it was you know I remember being introduced to like acid pretty early on for some reason we had acid and I took it and just like took it and went to school I never thought anything about how will this impact me will I be able to handle it I’m like I’ll be fine it’s great um feeling like I actually connected with people for the first time I didn’t realize that then but feeling then like oh man I found my people this was what was wrong I just didn’t have my people you know and and like understanding now in my life I actually think that is a key component of a good life having my people and knowing who the [ ] they are and keeping them around me um had sex for the first time freshman year uh dated a girl that was like four years older than me um ended up losing my virginity in the woods didn’t know what the [ ] I was doing could not have told you where the hole was she put it in right probably lasted 8 seconds I don’t know right probably awful um we we tried a bunch more times at her house um didn’t learn a whole lot about it except it was a good Escape you know it felt nice first experience of Love after that I guess and the torment and torture of what that’s like to try to care about somebody and with her or someone else with someone else uh I think she was in love with me had my first experience of trying to break up with somebody when you’re not really feeling like dealing with how often they call you anymore and uh they don’t want that so that was kind of yucky but um yeah move moved on to the first love thing that was chaotic and manipulative and probably looked a lot like you know what my parents relationship looked like but with even more chaotic people in it cuz we were teenagers in a lot of hormones found out very early on that I I you know from the critical side you could call me a Serial cheater uh or somebody who doesn’t have many morals or whatever but yeah would quickly step out of relationships for the momentary relief of whatever somebody else was providing me you know um well there’s a concept too in our generation and I hear it now and it’s seems still so weird to me of like that people date that you would not just like in our generation it felt like anyway you got a girlfriend and you guys were like committed and together and there was exchanging of jackets or Rings or some symbol that you know we’re us and then you know but the idea that you would like date a couple of different people or that you would just see different people and go out like that wasn’t a thing right get to know people right you mean give it a chance to fail and like now in my life I hear that I’m like wow that sounds so [ ] healthy like you might date a couple different people and go I really like this about a person or I really like that or I don’t like this I don’t like that they treat me this way like all that’s so [ ] healthy sounding but it’s like God I was so desperate to be loved it was like I remember meeting a girl at a party at 19 and we drove down to like a pier at Fels point and just sat there and talked all [ ] night long till the morning and then we were together you know we shared all our worst miserable [ ] we accepted it about each other and then we figured out how to move in by two days later right and like yeah I just thought that was how relationships were that’s how you do it um so yeah grades plummeted because who’s got time to worry about that kind of [ ] right I got to focus on the [ ] that makes me feel good right right there’s there’s drugs and there’s women both of these things make me feel great um and I just need more of that uh so yeah I I just skip class all the time skip school all the time you talked about your buddy I had a buddy his brother dealt weed we would and lived four houses from where his parents lived so we would leave school we’d walk by we’d buy something from his brother we’d go to his house order a Domino’s deep dish turn on some music videos and we were set for a good day of life you know take a nap if you needed um couldn’t get anything together couldn’t had no idea who the [ ] I was what I was doing just did what felt good in the moment sought pleasure like I look at that now and say I had no programming to say this is how you have to treat yourself to feel good and you can’t just give yourself these once in the moment all the time like I never got that programming or training or modeling um but I didn’t know that then I just said man this [ ] all feels way better than what the [ ] I had before it let’s roll well there’s a little bit of weird social conditioning that doesn’t help anyone I think that we kind of tell kids at 15 16 17 you’re supposed to be figuring out who you are and what you’re about and what you want to do with the rest of your life and have a goal to get that done and like for a lot of young people like that’s [ ] one it’s ridiculous and two it’s completely overwhelming so it’s easier to just go ah [ ] all that I’ll just go have fun right right right yeah I’m [ ] 43 Billy still trying to figure out who the [ ] yeah it’s a lifelong journey and you ask half of their ask half of their parents who they are they don’t even know who the [ ] they are they hate their job they’re miserable they’re stuck in some kind of debt from school that they didn’t even use but they’re going to push their kids to make the same exact Choice here you go some fancy person put this on Tik Tok here’s the recovery sort of challenge I want you to take a piece of paper and fold it in half right on the left column right my morals and values the things most [ ] important to me and then on the right side look through your day and write what your actions prioritize is it those morals and values I don’t know but anyway for me it wasn’t so yeah so I think for a lot of us kids at that age going through that it’s like oh I don’t like none of that sounds appealing figuring out where I want to go to college and what I want to do with the I’m living in the here and now [ ] loving life and beautiful people and having need experiences as a young adult living in the world yeah and I want somebody to teach me about the [ ] that I’m discovering and becoming curious about not all the [ ] you’re trying to shove down my throat meet me where I’m at I am curious I need teachers right just not about the [ ] you’re trying to teach me you know right um so yeah I couldn’t get on board with school I I grades plummeted I failed I barely went I did summer school a couple times I ended up not going my senior year because I couldn’t go to the school I went to and the school that I had to go to is not a safe School uh in my mind um my parents offered to send me to a private school I declined because I just had no [ ] interest honestly um I did get my my good enough diploma or whatever my GED before the kids in my class graduated I signed up and took the test and felt extra fun for that I was like cool I finished before them um on the drug use side like it was generally just the weed the things we did but then there was a time when we didn’t have weed and my buddy’s brother didn’t have any to sell us and like instantly it wasn’t like what should we do now instead it was like we got to find different drugs we don’t have another weed dealer and so like me and this other guy are walking across this dark park into this neighborhood that I you know look let me just talk from Jason’s body white people don’t along here especially not at night right one in the morning and then we’re going in a dark alley I don’t know what the [ ] we’re doing man we could have been killed I have no idea I’m just trying to that’s how I say that to say that’s how much it hurt to exist without the thing on the other end of that J I was so willing to get out of myself right right so we get down there I don’t know what I’m doing we’re trying to buy cocaine I have never done cocaine I don’t even know what the [ ] to expect some guy on the corner offers me a girl I think he’s selling me a prostitute I say know uh we don’t want prostitutes like come to find out that’s the terminology in Baltimore cocaine is girl heroin is boy I’m you know exploring A Whole New World now right um and that just basically became life you know I I I tried to live um got a job at Royal Farms I met a girl who had a kid and you know pills were around and some heroin was around and and like things felt okay and then and then crack was around and like all these these thing I I just didn’t know what the [ ] I was doing Billy I there was no plan there was no this is how I get out of this this is how it gets better I I was just going about it man it became over time every time I tried it a a similar day in the life of Jason you know wake up try to get 10 or 15 or $20 whatever it is I need that day I got to have the the heroin to be okay but then at the end it’s got to be a speedball or I don’t don’t even feel it so I got to get a little bit of coke to go with that and then I need $5 for my ride over to get it like and then after you get the one you you go about it again how can I get the next $20 so up to the point between where you first you know picked up using for the first time and like maybe herwin or Coke or some of the other stuff no I’m just saying were there any like legal consequences where you able to see like that like cuz I think people socially use those drugs in high school and don’t end up into chaotic use as we did what like what it was that an immediate like right into chaotic use was it manageable for a time were there consequences that were indicators that it was a problem that you didn’t recognize depends on how you look at it uh did it turn into chaotic use like the day after I snorted cocaine with my buddies and we enjoyed the hell out of it did I chase it for the next three months every day no but you bring up an interesting point that I had forgot about until you just asked and that night when we did that I went and stole money from my father $400 after we did the first one because I wanted more and I knew where that money was yeah so that seems pretty [ ] unmanageable I’m not a guy that wants to steal from my dad right right but I mean through so and I just asked that because like even in my early like I was already had been arrested by the age of 17 for drinking and driving and using and some other stuff no interaction with the law prior to 18 except when I was 17 and things had gotten pretty bad I was basically never home staying at a friend’s house um were your parents aware of your using or knowing something was going on or yeah well that’s what they did they they came with the police to get me uh you know as like a wellness check um and they basically I I don’t even know if I had option or rights I’ll be honest I know [ ] dick about my rights as a human being in America I don’t know what I’m allowed to say no to with the police or not I’ve heard so many [ ] stories that like I just generally say yes I’m like I don’t [ ] know can I say no and they tell me I can’t I’m like all right then yes um see yeah I I don’t know like what I agreed to in that whole thing so was there any like interventions as far as ohy or treatment or any of those they sent me to detx high school to they they sent me to detx so I I quit High School I worked at the farm store Royal Farms I call it the farm store from where I’m at I don’t know why um that’s what it was called thought it used to be the farm store so uh things got bad I lost my job there I’m at this guy’s house smoking crack all the [ ] time doing heroin still I think probably uh like not eating all day [ ] long and and then at the end of the night like just I guess because I my body’s [ ] tortured from smoking crack all day like I couldn’t eat very well so I would eat a mustard sandwich which is mustard on bread just like it sounds um and like a month of that and remembering and this is gross and too much information remembering like the bowel movement being so difficult and like hurting me and and and all that for like nothing to come out it’s just incredible exactly there’s like nothing being put into my remembering at one point seeing myself and I don’t remember at which stage this is or where but like I was so [ ] gray and sunken in I looked like an actual skeleton while I was still walking like no nutrition no ability to care about myself um funny because the world and my caregivers taught me that I wasn’t as important as the stuff and so I created a stuff and a substance in my life that became much more important than taking care of myself imagine that um but yeah I I don’t know exactly where it got they came and got me with the police and they did send me to detox that day and you were how old at that age 17 still it was like four months before my 18th birthday okay um and I went to detox for the first time got introduced to that and and it was nice to clean up and they I think at the time they were still like heavily medicating people as they withdrew so it was kind of not that bad um and then I came home and like I think I didn’t do anything for like six days and then I was like weed was never the problem and then I went and smoked weed and and drank for like a year and a half well and like so for me you know when my using started to progress even with the like drinking and weed but when the grade started to slip a little and sports started to go away and that using started to take over like I guess my parents tried to intervene in a few ways they tried you know they sent me to therapy they would ask now I didn’t want anything to do with anything they had to say but at least they made attempts did your family try to yes intervene or did they see things that they be like hey what’s going on you know let’s see um I there are probably more attempts than this because my family was not like they did love me and care about me and they did try to do some things right I’m not trying to take that away from them I don’t remember a ton I do remember one where I went and saw a therapist I think just like one time or twice but it was really somebody of prescribed medicine they said oh I talked to him for a while they talked with me they said oh he’s bored at school he’s not being challenge he’s having trouble folks and it’s add and they gave me Ridin which was great because I just took a few of them and I felt awesome um so yeah I abused the [ ] out of that um I do remember him doing that there had to have been so you been you had been diagnosed with a condition and given prescription medications yeah but I never put any stock into it like I never interestingly never once have I as an adult like identified with that person who got diagnosed ADHD like that’s weird to me but I I do think I probably have a version of it for sure um but it’s interesting that I don’t even like classify I’m like H they just [ ] gave me medicine they gave me what I wanted um I I’m sure there was other stuff but yeah at this time at 17 they got me they sent me to a detox um yeah I I things actually went well for a while I got a job uh the job liked me I got promotions I started being a manager went to McDonald’s manager School uh made friends I was doing Weed and Alcohol we were partying it felt good I had buddies we watched wrestling like [ ] was cool you know I hung out with a crowd that was loving to me and we didn’t do hard drugs and uh it’s interesting to see that now that like who you’re around can actually impact that kind of stuff oh yeah um ended up chasing a a female that I was interested in somehow back into heroin uh and then everything went downhill of course and back to that same old life you know every time of how do he get more money are we going to the stores to to steal [ ] phones and ibuprofen and crab meat today or you know is this a do something else through that time where you said things felt pretty good and all that was it really just the girl that took you back or was there still that sense of you know wanting to escape or wanting to oh I’m I’m sure yeah I don’t think it’s just a no no the there was still a part of me that didn’t feel whole or good or I don’t know what words y’all out there use to describe right just not yeah right still something missing discomfort yes you know disease my soul was still in a state of disease right um so yeah and my belief is that’s the thing I’m supposed to be working with in my life is my level of disease because that’s what tells me what I have to do when the moment comes where there’s a relief of pleasure available right and if I’m at a certain level of disease or thirst I’m GNA go for that water when I’m at a certain level and I need to be able to keep my level low enough that I get a choice that’s kind of how I look at my life um so yeah it it was something just you know maybe it was that life was fun for a while and seemed cool for a while but then after 18 months it lost his luster and was just what you do every day and got boring I don’t know you know could be that um where did it go from there always downhill always you know always always like there was some kind of stealing or scheme or somebody’s girlfriend was was a stripper or you know somebody was copping for somebody else and getting ripped off or you know I RI people off like it was just a [ ] mess getting in in trouble with the law like my first running with the law was actually from I had a traffic stop in Ocean City and I they didn’t find my weed but they [ ] gave me a ticket for a lights being out or some [ ] and then I never paid it and then they [ ] came to Baltimore and arrested me wow right yeah holy [ ] I was so pissed in central booking and scared as [ ] oh yeah I was 18 and then like somebody knocked my towel on the floor and I tried to use a dry towel and some large man told me I better [ ] not and I’m like oh my God what what am I I don’t belong here too sensitive for this [ ] um but yeah like I remember coming out of that no matter how scared I was in it coming out of that because I had always felt not Tough Enough not manly enough feeling like oh yeah having this Notch means something right right and I tried to hold on to a lot of that in my life like I don’t know why but there’s some stupid idea that like kids from the city are tougher than kids from the county so I held on to that like yeah I’m from the city and I’ve been been locked up now and you know after I had actually done prison time I came home with that like yeah I’ve been to prison now and I got a [ ] tattoo now what right like none of it meant [ ] meant that I I had some better ways to hopefully keep people from attacking me because I didn’t want to get hurt um but yeah man chaotic use I I don’t know what you want to know about what it looks like or what it look like up here in the city it looks like running around in [ ] awful parts of town all day uh on and off and in terrible [ ] Alleyways and abandoned houses trying to shoot drugs or take a [ ] depending on what you got to do at the moment like shooting puddle water that has obvious rainbow colored oily [ ] in it like it’s [ ] ugly man it looks terrible you you it looks like death amongst the living in ways you know but I’m sure there was a community there or did you have a community or were you pretty much so I I wasn’t as communi up as a lot of the community like a lot of it in my neighborhood was the older heads that were you know the community portion of it and so like I got to know some of them peripherally um but I really shied away from that because I didn’t trust nobody so I never gave nobody my [ ] money and they often didn’t trust you know me to get their [ ] for them which is probably wise a lot of times uh so yeah I I ended up being a lot of times I would be the guy that had the car so I was making the $5 per person riding them around so I got to know people that way but yeah it didn’t feel like much M car it didn’t work for long I had like quick downhill stints you know put put 25 cents in the gas get us back back over uh and did you try to work or how did you support yourself was it just through theft and stealing was there random jobs yeah I didn’t have any real any real work in me um it was work was all day every day getting more there wasn’t no time for anything else every time I tried it didn’t last long I was stealing from them or taking too long to leave to come back I think I tried a couple of pizza delivery jobs and I was like delivering to the terrible neighborhoods in Baltimore like Park Heights and then copping in between deliveries and [ ] trying to smoke crack and deliver pizza and being paranoid and getting robbed and out of my [ ] mind seeing goddamn Shadow People while I’m trying to drive around in the dark yeah it’s not I don’t know how I didn’t die Billy honestly I really don’t know how I didn’t die it’s a [ ] mess all of it um had some car accidents you know wrecked some cars um didn’t kill anybody didn’t die thank God uh got publicly embarrassed like tried to steal some [ ] from Right Aid and run out of this little mall we had in town and like the [ ] UPS guy guy tackles me cuz I’m a bag of bones holds me down till the police arrest me and then getting arrested on like it wasn’t Christmas Eve it was like December 21st but my dad I had I had all the scams right my dad always felt bad for me and Christmas was coming and I didn’t want to feel bad at Christmas not having nothing to give nobody so he gave me some money to go shopping with and like my plan was I was going to get high with that money and then I was going to go to the mall while I was all high and steal a bunch of cool [ ] to give people right it’s genius uh but I got high with that money and and the high wasn’t all that good and like I ended up going to like [ ] Safeway to try to steal some [ ] planners for people and got caught and like they would have let me go but I had like [ ] probation or I don’t know somehow they looked something up and I got locked up um yeah man uh ended up getting prison time you know grew up a little bit uh went through their boot camp program that they don’t have anymore cuz it was deemed like illegal for some reason or another I’m not sure why it wasn’t terrible it was all right there was a lot of kind of where you went out somewhere to the woods or was this in the facility um so in in Jessup um where they have a few of the jails they had a a fenced off area and it was its own separate little jail it was the boot camp portion of it and you know there was people in different phases and we did all the boot campy stuff like you would and you had to put this [ ] tree on your shoulder with like six other dudes and squat down with it that [ ] [ ] hurt that was brutal they should have closed it for that [ ] um lots of [ ] running and and training and [ ] and then for the last two months you went out on road crew during the day and and picked up trash on the side of the road and [ ] like that so wasn’t too bad um got bullied again had a situation where uh this guy had gotten into a few fights with some other people and he wasn’t like huge or nothing but he had won the fights uh and like we were playing some cards for stamps and like I had won his stamps and he and he took him at the end and like I didn’t my body just shut down like I wouldn’t get out of bed I played tired all day even as like the rumor of what was happening made its way around the tier and my buddies came to say hey you want to go do something about that I’ll go with you and I was like nah man [ ] them stamps I want to go home I don’t want to [ ] up my release date all that [ ] right dude I would have [ ] up any release date if I could have had the pride of standing up for myself that’s the reality too scared yeah too [ ] scared too scared um hey I don’t know did it save me from dying that day you know possibly I don’t know I wasn’t much of a fighter that guy had won a couple already right oh and you don’t feel good about yourself it’s like that means so much you know what and and I hadn’t thought of this there was some other [ ] bullying that went on there uh my buddy who was my buddy but didn’t necessarily look out for me all that well uh had another buddy there that was kind of a dick and like yeah there was some bullying going on there too and uh just realizing that recognizing it for what it was I wasn’t a part of their crew I was a guy you know hanging around to take some of the burn of the jokes right you know and some other [ ] through those any of those did you have times of trying to get clean through your usion did you go to treatment any more times yeah there was a couple of times I tried getting clean um I can’t remember the instances that led to them if they were emotional bottoms or just running out of [ ] options in the moment and not knowing what else to do um moved out of my house and my mom ended up paying my rent and buying me [ ] groceries while I was a roommate with somebody else and the person I was a roommate with was a girl who was like I didn’t even know but was in love with me and like I don’t know what the [ ] was going on there why she was letting me live with her I was trying to move my girlfriend in like it was a [ ] mess and like yeah yeah that Jesus Christ just all kinds of craziness man and I couldn’t take care of me and were you just so emotionally UN in like Out Of Tune emotionally yeah I didn’t know what the [ ] was going on I just thought we were cool I thought we were buddies and [ ] like the first night I met her we had gotten drunk and we messed around but then we ended up never doing that again and like nine months later moved in together I just thought we were friends I didn’t really pick up on the fact that she was hoping something more would eventually come out of that I didn’t know um ended up getting a lot of prison time because I stole [ ] out of that house while I was living with her like her checkbook and wrote myself a couple $45 checks out of her bank account and some of her CDs and air conditioners and that’s still [ ] me up [ ] felonies are still [ ] me up right nobody wants to process your credit card payments for your small business when you have forgery on your [ ] record yeah yeah [ ] right stupid [ ] anyway um see yeah all that stuff I I did go to treatment a couple times don’t know when where tried some different places I went once for probation because probation wanted me to go so I went to like this state funded terrible [ ] rehab that was in the middle of Baltimore and a terrible neighborhood for $55 for 28 days like um I stayed like six seven I never made it anywhere I just always left store Insurance ran out or whatever it was and um always came home feeling good enough to get to running again that’s what I felt a break a re yeah yeah it’ll be different you know I’ll do it one last time to say goodbye to the feeling of it and then I’ll be done with it and the truth was humans can’t say goodbye to feeling okay and that’s what the [ ] I was seeking at that moment you know I got this world telling me I’m a piece of [ ] and I’m terrible and I’m just pleasure seeking or [ ] an Abomination no I just want to feel okay in my skin well that’s the problem with using is that even if in the beginning it was the World by the end it was me telling myself I was a piece of [ ] and that was based off of me not living by my own [ ] morals and values at some point along the way you know whatever I wanted to be hoped to be thought I could be didn’t [ ] matter anymore and it was lying and stealing and cheating and all the [ ] that I judged everyone else for I was now doing so you know I frequently said like I didn’t come to recovery with a bunch of like self-esteem and self-worth and I probably didn’t [ ] deserve to I wasn’t a nice person I did a lot of bad [ ] and I could fix that there’s a way you can you can Rectify that and and make that better but that’s also not an excuse to continue to run out and do the same [ ] over and over again and this be like well it’s not my fault like and I I don’t disagree with you at the end of my road I was definitely also my biggest critic who thought I was the biggest piece of [ ] and why the [ ] can I get my [ ] together what’s wrong with me let me rephrase it’s not necessarily that I can’t look at everyone else and and their part in it it doesn’t help me get better until I accept some of my part in it as well like I have to look at you know the whole picture the whole picture like I to where I am because of my upbringing family and sexual abuse like all that matters but my role in that matters too and at some point I have to you know take a look at that as well well I guess my my stance is the fact that that’s where you and I met ourselves at the end of our you know journeys of seeking relief in that direction right we met ourselves at this place of yes I agree with the world I too think I am a piece of [ ] [ ] is the programming the world gave us that got us there it’s the fact that the world met us with those behaviors you have make you a piece of [ ] that got us there instead of them meeting us in a loving way that actually could have changed how we acted right and us meeting ourselves there at the end of our road only in my mind reinforces how [ ] wrong they got it you know um yeah turned 21 in prison uh so I came out ready to experience bars I had never done that before um and on my first night out I said I’m going to go I have to report to parole and probation tomorrow I don’t know if they breathalyze I know they do your analysis I’m only going to have three beers tonight first night out of prison I had my three beers turned to my buddy and I’m like I mean four is not that big de and he convinced me not to but like the signs always the signs are there I’m not healed I’m still seeking something you know right um so for like a month I was a little off the hook being crazy at the [ ] bars in Baltimore I had never done it before apparently I I don’t I’m like a blackout drunk in public I just don’t remember anything after a certain point and thankfully thanks Jim he got me home every time to my door and in my bed and I don’t know how but hey that’s a month of my life I also probably would not have survived without somebody carrying along um I ended up running into I was on my way back to heroin and cocaine use uh through this alcohol use by the way um I had decided one day that that’s what I was going to do I was going to go run into my friend and and you know do some of that uh but I ended up running into a girl I had dated using um highly attractive girl very very beautiful right I don’t think that’s I I guess it’s subjective but I don’t know she was really really hot I was like this girl is amazing and she looked incredible right so here I am coming out of prison I haven’t been around girls for a long time here’s this woman I dated before and she’s she’s clean and she looks really really healthy and I was like how what hi and she told me about na that’s what she had been doing and I was like cool I’ll come obviously if you’re there right um and that I had been introduced to 12 steps before i’ had been to some na meetings um the main goal was to pull the wool over whoever’s in my life eyes and manipulate them and think something was going well I never really identified in or heard much I asked some lady uh to be my sponsor CU she looked really good like I didn’t I was here to not do anything serious um but uh I went to this meeting and and for the first time in my life I did actually hear something and I was like wow that’s a little different and like I started going to these meetings I also did continue to try to seek that heroin and cocaine on the side um but but I did hear something here I used the stuff I peed dirty for parole I ended up having to make a choice at some point and I I chose I wanted to try to live this life of something different of abstinence at the time um and and that began this journey of what I call recovery although I don’t know how much they’re different anymore um I got I ran into a guy in one of my first meetings coming around that time uh that was from my neighborhood Who was one of the cool kids and like we had grown up peripherally we were around the same age we knew each other like but I was never as cool as he was or hung out with the cool kids like he did and like it was so important that he was in that meeting because there was something about it said oh this isn’t just where the dorks are right I thought the cool people were still out there and they knew how to get high right and the dorks were in this [ ] church basement but like him being there said maybe I can be here and be okay um and it’s interesting cuz I I just had breakfast with that guy yesterday oh yeah how old were you then 26ish 25 my original clean date was 12252 2001 so I met this guy in this meeting in the end of 2001 I was 21 um and yeah I’m 43 now we had breakfast yesterday he’s one of my best friends friends um kind of awesome but it he really had to be there that day for me to feel like it was all right um got a sponsor worked steps ended up sleeping with my first sponsor’s wife and many more people outside of my relationships caused a bunch of [ ] chaos our whole group of people that were supporting each other my sponsor my girlfriend our spany brothers and sisters and Network all just kind of [ ] blew up and then I used again um I tried anti-depressants somewhere in there while I was clean for the first time they kind of helped had a lot of sexual side effects they were kind of annoying but I did feel a little better on them um but but interestingly like after relapsing and then coming back or whatever never thought about him again for like 10 years like I don’t know why yeah I I don’t know where they went in my brain or where I decided Ah that’s not the [ ] answer um but somewhere I did um ended up in the relapse it was quick brutal ugly like lost tons of weight within weeks and was just [ ] terrible and in three months looked as bad as I had ever looked and was back in the criminal justice system again W violating [ ] um through all that ended up getting transferred around the criminal uh uh the prison system in Maryland and ended up in work release and working out a Bob Evans and I met my wife at Bob Evans as I was attempting to sleep with every waitress at Bob Evans at the same time um she working there at the time or yeah she was working there um and then also while in this work release I got passes and visits and stuff and so I got a pass to go home used my pass to go home to go visit somebody from my neighborhood a lady who was now in some kind of long-term rehabilitation center for her drug use instead of prison uh and we had sex in the woods and Twins were created um so I got that going on on one end I am ending up meeting a very serious girlfriend on the other I probably told both of them I was serious it didn’t play out well there was lots of anger and hurt people Story of My Life relationships lots of hurt me ling a lot of that going on um but here I am I got twin dog daers I got a a serious girlfriend I got an apartment for the first time in my life not cuz I wanted an apartment or thought there was anything to it Billy but because this girl that I was currently dating my wife wouldn’t spend the night at my mom’s house because she said she didn’t like the way it felt and that pissed me off because every other girl I’d ever slept with just spent the night there and it was fine wow and I was like God damn it now I got to get my own [ ] apartment to have her spend the night so I did um but yeah here I was uh uh I guess at this point like 24 and trying abstinence or were you yeah so when I I relaps went to prison came home kind of sort of tried to get back into 12 step but I was like ended up living in areas where it just wasn’t really convenient meeting wise and the people I knew weren’t at the meetings nearby me and really didn’t do much for my recovery for the first two or three years um and then kind of started to get back into my old home group and get back into the recovery scene a little heavier as I saw that my life was not working out but that’s when you had a few years of absence after the work release program and all that okay yeah yeah so um you know trying to do all that trying to figure out life trying to understand what the [ ] makes us happy not really just trying to chase all the things people told me I was behind on chasing right I got to get a career and catch up to all the people that went to college and you know we got to buy a house and we got to do all those things and like let’s race race race to get this [ ] yeah um and that’s kind of how it went switched around jobs got into construction which was intimidating because I was not raised working with my hands at all and knew nothing and it was another place where I showed up not manly enough um but gaining some of those skills through the apprenticeship and and you know learning on the job was I felt a little better about myself and that’s I guess part of the interesting thing it’s like each step of the way is I’m treating my insecurity it kind of works you know I was a I was in the gym six days a [ ] week always trying to get bigger and bigger and bigger to be big enough that somehow I wouldn’t be scared and like it did help Sol the [ ] somebody described this recently it’s like it’s not even exactly the what it’s that figuring out like hey I can like put some effort into stuff I can work at it and I can get better and I can develop some skills so maybe you know I am whatever you want to a [ ] loser in this area but I don’t have to be I have some choices now and it’s like uh I forget the the saying it’s like the but anyway just knowing that like hey I can work hard and apply myself and get better at things and so you know having those experiences of construction or the gym do start to build some selfworth right right in our case and mine very similar I always felt not manly enough I think that helped a little bit as to what those things were but you know just knowing like hey when I apply myself and try like I’m not a [ ] loser well and from a therapy standpoint I would say people feel [ ] terrible when they don’t have any ability to impact their feeling or situation and so if I can establish a plan of something that I think might help and actually do the steps to work towards it yeah that feels way better than sitting here doing nothing right you know um it’s just a shame that like I think I could have put half that effort in in some different directions and probably gotten a lot better results and healthier results um but it did get big and sexy and that was cool I mean I I I never saw it or felt it really unfortunately I I had the uh the overinflated ego about it at times but like yeah I mean it it looked good I guess it helped me with social acceptability it helped me with seeking some of these relieving things I saw um but I guess the way I can conceptualize this portion of my life is like working towards all the lifeb building stuff that we talk about or that Society talks about I was getting the wife getting married engaged uh getting the kids getting the you know I had twins from a different woman so now I got to have a kid with this woman so that we actually have a kid in the house all the time because that’s what families look like and then we got to buy the house and have the fence and know we better get a dog and all those things and that’s what I did and and the career and we got to get paid enough and like none of it ever really felt good but it felt like there was something to do right oh well we’re working towards it it’ll feel good later when we get all the [ ] right and then I feel like we hit this place where we got the stuff and then it was just you just do that every [ ] day for the rest of your life I guess [ ] and well where did like 12 steps and that fit in all that like was that a part of that process yeah absolutely absolutely um of course I in this time we ended up buying a house we moved to a different area which was like s miles away from where I I was going to recovery cut that off but I not everybody knows so your wife isn’t well at the time I guess she was well you guys had gotten married or you weren’t married we were probably married at this time okay but she isn’t in recovery she doesn’t go to 12 steps she’s not doesn’t have addiction history so yeah so all that recovery part is kind of what I’m going to say quote unquote your [ ] yeah yeah and so she never treated like that there was always space for me to do anything I needed to do to take care of myself I believe um I got the suggestion to include her in more of it a lot of times and a couple of times I tried and I don’t know if it was a boring waste of time for her or if I couldn’t get past the guilty feeling I had about it being a boring waste of time for her but either way it just didn’t go very far right um so it was a very separate thing it it was that was something I did off by myself um probably an escape at times to just get the [ ] out of the house and away from the kids who want my goddamn attention that I don’t have to give to him uh because I don’t feel good um but it was heavily involved but we moved to this new area and I’m going to meetings and there’s the cruise and the clicks and like I don’t know any [ ] body and I’m not feeling welcomed or you know and I’m just getting annoyed by it and I ended up at a meeting where I felt a little more welcomed and of course it’s a meeting where some other new person to the area didn’t feel welcomed and said [ ] it I’m going to start my own meeting [ ] all these eny people that have been around here forever so like I ended up being like the senior member at the meeting there wasn’t many mentors there wasn’t many people to challenge me and like that’s probably not a good situation for me in most of my life now maybe it’s a little more reasonable now I got a little bit better idea of self-reflection at that point I was just a guy unchecked I was a guy with no better information around so I was just running on mine right um yeah so we got into the slog of hey we got all the stuff that the world says will make us happy and that we need for a good life and that this doesn’t feel like a good life for me um so I I I started to struggle badly with depression I started to struggle to get out of bed to go into work um sometimes multiple days a week I was treating that with like some kind of pornography in the evening so at night I’m like staying awake into the wee hours of the morning looking at this stuff that’s bringing some relief to the way I feel but then in the morning I can’t get out of bed for work and then I’m just not going back to bed I’m getting back on the computer like it was it was ugly at times and then there was times it wasn’t none of that and it was just I don’t get out of bed for a few days and like I can remember sitting in my house in the evening in my bedroom in the back of the house it was all one floor and like my wife and kids are out there in the living room and I can hear them laughing and [ ] and there’s a bridge like a mile from my house and I want to go drive off of it right I don’t I didn’t have joy I didn’t have happiness I didn’t have contentment it was just everything felt different levels and miserable um and I treated myself with being a getting into [ ] addictively obsessive and compulsively I look we can call those words shameful I’m not looking at it shameful now I get it what I was doing was trying to find a way to [ ] feel better at every step of the way right I was meeting myself at the level of how terrible I felt but we can use those words and I’m not offended by it like I got into video games at times and played them obsessively I got into golf and played it obsessively my wife was uh reminding me of some of these things yesterday when we were talking about it I got into this local Music Magazine Shockwave that like went and interviewed hard rock music and [ ] for a while and that was a thing being like a online personality for them kind kind of a precursor to the podcast yeah um I got into beach volleyball for a while um we even 12 step stuff uh every Saturday going out with the guys or planning three convention trips a year with the guys like getting into [ ] anything that’s new and feels good for a little while you know and then just Ram it into the ground till it doesn’t feel good anymore and I have a question about that because I have some of that but I don’t typically tend to do things to what I would consider addictive place but I do have a lot of like I’m always interested in new and adventure and and new things and I heard recently in a some relationship stuff that I’ve been working on what they consider that is like that’s a relationship need called novelty and I guess like most things that become addictive it’s like when you take a good thing and turn it into something harmful right you know so I guess did you feel like it was more towards the novelty side or like novelty run a muck to where it was causing issues in your life no no I’m I want to say you’re G to make me do this but you ain’t making me do nothing I’m going to tell them myself um so in Sex and Love addicts anonymous they actually address this issue of novelty in relationship um and and the how the new Love is the thing we want not necessarily love right we like that first 3 to 6 months of the relationship and then we Chase trying to get that back for the next few years while we’re miserable or seeking it in other places outside um and yeah that is a huge part of what I go for it’s really can I will you give me permission to ma’am is what I’m going for right because once you give me that okay that was the goal to feel like that was enough you know and so it was always about the novelty of the the the higher the it wasn’t about the the number but each individual ual one meant I was enough again and after you’ve done that for me once or allowed me to once it’s not it doesn’t matter as much the second time I’m not getting as big of a hit of enoughness when you let me the second time you already let me once so it sounds like you’re talking specifically more about relationships I guess I’m thinking novelty on life experiences like the beach volleyball or the other outside interests or all these different things like that I think of Life novelty more is what I’m referring well I I think and me in my mind anything I do one place I’m doing it everywhere you know in different versions of it but that’s one I can see really intently um I guess yeah but I I almost I don’t feel like it’s the novelty portion of it that makes it I think it’s the fact that it’s new and there’s a lot more interesting and learning to do about it that’s fun because I actually like the thing I’m doing and so it’s a very good distraction at all times to be there instead of in my life where it doesn’t doesn’t feel good I can sit at home and look at videos about volleyball techniques or read about volleyball or or text the girl that I’m talking to at volleyball and that’s not home that’s where it feels good somewhere else so that’s what it is for me and I guess that’s that weird balance right cuz at least what I know what they say like for quality of life type stuff like you should be learning new things and experiencing new things but it’s like when we take that to a place maybe of avoidance or whether we’re neglecting certain responsibilities because of course you know at our age we probably can’t go out and be the next you know world champion volleyball player maybe probably not right right was so if that’s our approach you know like maybe that’s a sign that it’s not so healthy yeah yeah H but I guess I I guess I’m just I I and maybe there’s a justification like I was just recently talking with my wife about this of like I I like novelty like that’s a part of me that I like to travel I like to go do different things like I was told her the other day I’m like within the next year I want to learn a piano like I just I want to learn a piano a violin dude I need a violin player yeah so anyway and it’s just a matter of like I like that about myself that I’m curi curious and inquisitive and I want to learn new things and I want to have new experiences I don’t want to go to the same places we’ve been before I want to take trips to new places um so yeah so I’m just justifying that’s not bad I guess in in my mind the whole goal though it’s not about whether I want novelty or not it’s can I treat the underlying guy under there that doesn’t feel okay right now right here in the moment right because if I can do that it doesn’t matter that I like novelty I won’t do it to a to a place or a point where it impacts my ability to take care of this guy right here right now in this moment right or am I using it to a point of avoidance but I’m ignoring so as long as my focus is on taking care of the guy under underneath of it I feel like I can keep pumping him up and I don’t need as unhealthy of a thing to fix it and that’s my my goal over time is just keep healing him to use less I guess yeah and I know my approach to a lot of things earlier was like to be like Allin 100% you know what I mean like if I was going to do something new it was to the exclusion of family responsibilities or relationship responsibilities or household responsibil you know cuz I’m doing this now don’t you see how [ __ ] great this is right [Music] [Applause] right have you found that listening to the recovery sort of podcast has helped you in your day-to-day Journey please share the message of compassion and well-being with the loved ones in your life connect with us more at recovery sort of.com Facebook Instagram threads YouTube and other social media spasis and have a great [Music]
- 33: Recovery Cliches and Sayings – Part 1 (Sort Of)
- 35: We Were Entirely Ready to Talk About Step 6 Some More (Sort Of)
- 28: How Would You Like Your Corona, Rare or Well-done? (Sort Of)
- 44: The Pain of Addiction Doesn’t End (Sort Of)
- 47: Step Nine – Made Direct Amends to Such People Wherever Possible, Except When to Do So Would Injure Them or Others (Sort Of)
- 32: Recovery Dharma – Everything You Wanted To Know (Sort Of)