PURPLE ALUMNI :: XII
I grew up in as the middle child in a loving family. I had everything I ever needed and most of what I wanted. Sports, school, and making friends came easy to me. There is no history of alcoholism or addiction in my family.
In high school I started drinking on the weekend and smoking pot. By the time I was 18, pot was an everyday thing and drinking was a few times a week. In college, without sports or family to hold me accountable, I started using drugs and alcohol to numb emotional pain and social insecurities rather than just for fun. I started using more serious drugs and it slowly took over my life. It was a downward spiral of failing out of school, arrests, and broken relationships.
I moved home and spent the next few years doing nothing but spending what little money I made on drugs and alcohol and trying to convince my parents nothing was wrong. It took me until I was 26 to even consider that I had a problem. Before then I was sure I just had bad luck and I was about to turn everything around. Another DUI arrest was enough for my parents to give me an ultimatum - get help and have their support, or stay in jail and be on my own.
When I came to Purple I didn't know much about recovery, all I knew was I hated myself and wanted to make a change. Purple showed me that I wasn't the only one who had been in that situation. And they showed me how to live life without drugs and alcohol and more importantly have fun and enjoy living life sober. I followed the suggestions of Purple staff and alumni because I could see how it had worked in their lives. I got plugged in to a network of sober young people that would be there when I left Purple. Also I learned that I didn't have to let my feelings and emotions dictate how I made decisions. Purple helped me get a job and prepare myself for life's challenges when I got out.
When I graduated from Purple I didn't know what to expect. I just tried to follow the suggestions of the staff and other sober alumni. That meant doing things a lot like I did in Purple - go to meeting, trust the process, and help other addicts in their journey. The crazy part is that no one is making me do those things anymore. I actually want to. I have figured out that when I do those things everything else like work, money, relationships and self-esteem just seem to fall into place. Most importantly, I can look in the mirror and know I'm living right and don't have to hate myself anymore.