Caleb began using drugs at age 14

My first experience with it was my father was addicted to marijuana, and so I thought that I grew up around it so there was nothing wrong with it. And so I got excited about it, and so then I started hanging out with people who it did. And then I got exposed more and more, and I eventually tried it. And that was my first love. After marijuana, it was really what some people wouldn’t consider a drug but it is, but its alcohol. Um, and it became a release. And, um, that was my new favorite. And then I mixed them together because I could feel, you know, in the clouds, but at the same time I was, you know, the iron giant. I could take on whatever I needed to. And, ah, so I kind of got lost in that as well.

Caleb attempts to control his drug problem by hiding it from others

When I was 18 years old, my dad found out that I was smoking marijuana. And his advice to me was, “If I see it, it becomes mine. It’s not I’m going to throw it away. It becomes mine then, and I’m going to smoke it.” And, uh, my dad was the only one who knew about anything. And nobody knew about my drinking until I was 21, and which, you know, then it’s legal, and I can do it all the time.

To keep this a secret, I would go out on drives when I was 16 years old, and I went and bought gloves – golf gloves- so I could put them on, so that way I could hold a joint out the window, and my hands wouldn’t smell like it. So that way I could come back home. I had Visine on hand at all times. Um, I had cologne in the car at all times. I mean, I was totally determined to keep this a secret, and I did. I did for a very, very long time. And then at 21 years old when everyone found out I was drinking, then it kind of came around. Because then I didn’t care about the drinking, then I was like, “Hey, by the way, I smoke weed too.”

Losing control, Caleb begins taking risks to feed his growing addiction

The crazy thing about the addiction is it puts your mind into hyperactive mode. If I decided on a day that I was going to get high, and I didn’t have the money, there was never a day that I didn’t come up with it. I stole money from family. I stole money out of change jars. Um, I would sell clothes. I would go sell TVs, pawn stuff, um, just whatever it took to get it that day. I went to school high one time, and it scared the living crap out of me. It did. I was so paranoid with my teachers and everything like that I never did it again. But outside of school, when I would come in, and I smoked the night before I was very foggy, you know. I couldn’t, I couldn’t retain information. My grades went down very steadily, um, and I eventually became a failure at high school, but I never dropped out.

After an introduction to bath salts, Caleb’s world begins to crumble

Um, my third addiction came in at 22 years old. I was totally out of control. That was mephedrone, better known as bath salts today. I remember the first time I ever snorted a line, everything in my life was better. I mean, everything was. It was incredible. Um, and I still think back to that day and think, “Man, that was an amazing day.”
Um, but what led to all the events that came after were terrible. I mean, I lost everything. Um, I had to start fresh three times. And that’s when I really started getting into stealing. I didn’t care. My character as a person totally changed. I became this, a loser. I became addicted. That’s what I woke up to. That’s what I went to bed thinking about, you know. If I went to bed at all.

Everything rise and falls on the addiction. When nothing else mattered. When money went there, and it didn’t go towards the bills. When you’re thinking about the drug more than you’re thinking about family relationships. And you sever the ties and people are severing the ties with you, and you become alone. You stand alone. Even in a crowd of people you just feel by yourself, you know. And you move into stages of paranoia. You deal with everything else psychological about you know the addiction. Um, so yeah, I define myself as a loser at that time, and I stand by that today, and I’m glad I’m not that anymore.

I stole money from family. I stole money out of change jars. Um, I would sell clothes. I would go sell TVs, pawn stuff, um, just whatever it took to get it that day.

Caleb begins to realize he’s no longer in control

I feel like there’s a lot of people that are addicted to a drug, and they’re ashamed because in every addiction you hit a point where, “I want to stop but I don’t know how. Everything I’ve done for this. This is my habit now, this is my life. And once you reach that point it’s terrible.”

My addiction of the mephedrone, bath salts, lasted about 6 months. It was a very,very steep decline. And I had everything that I ever wanted. I had the big screen, the surround sound, the nice car, the nice place to live and within 3 months all of it was gone. It just disappeared into the, into the abyss. And I knew that I was out of control the day I realized, “Oh my gosh, I don’t have a place to stay anymore.” I took my rent check, and I bought drugs with it. I know I’m out of control at this point. And up until that there was other signs. I sold my second car for a 150 dollars so that way I could get 2 grams that was going to last me one night.

Feeling lost and out of control, Caleb eventually bottoms out

I remember my first bottom was the day I realized that I don’t have a place to live anymore, and I got into my car. You know, I still had my Lexus, and I was proud of it. Yet it was trashed and filled to the top with all the stuff I could fit into it from my apartment. Anything that meant anything to me. And I drove out of that out of that driveway feeling like, “Man, how much worse can it get?” Little did I know the next one was even worse.

My next rock bottom was, it was a Saturday, and the person I was staying with she had gone for the day. And, um, I had totally forgotten about a gram that I had. I apparently hid it from myself, and I found it. Well, it’s just me alone, and I did the whole gram in about an hour. And it was then I felt the most paranoia I’ve felt in my entire life. I was hearing voices. I was hearing people knock on the door. I mean, I was, I had a cold sweat. I was scared out of my wits, and all I could do was lay in the bedroom with the door closed. And just look at the ceiling and just, you know, thinking, “God, just please help me. This is so terrible. I don’t know how to get out of this. I want to be done, but I’m so lost.” And that was my worst rock bottom, just that moment of emptiness. From there I kept going. I kept going and kept going and kept going. Um, you know, like an idiot. And eventually, I started getting this feeling in my stomach like all of this is about to come to an end, and you’re about to get caught.

Um, so yeah, I define myself as a loser at that time, and I stand by that today, and I’m glad I’m not that anymore.

A life-altering event triggers Caleb to finally seek help

I was going 75 in a 45 at 5:30 in the morning ten days before my birthday. I’ll never forget it. I was blacked-out drunk. I was actually on my way to my dealer’s house, and uh, the cop was behind me. I didn’t realize he was behind me for about a mile. He had his lights on, and I finally came to just in a moment of conscience and saw the lights. I pulled over, and uh, I knew that right there was when I got busted. I got a DUI, and I got busted with possession. And then they gave me the Drug Court program as an option, and I decided to take it.

When I started the Drug Court program, um, I didn’t have any issues. And the reason was because when I got pulled over on, um, in December, it scared me so bad because that was that moment when I knew this is coming to an end. And I said, “I’m going to have to sober up.” And so um, I had stopped doing the bath salts. So when I started the program it wasn’t that difficult. You know it was just something I decided to do. And if you decide to do it, and that’s what you make up your mind to do, you can do it.

Finding his way back, Caleb offers a message of hope

The thing I would say to people who are in addiction right now is your story is just the same as mine. It’s just different day different time different drug, different place. But the best thing about it is, and one thing I’ve noticed is, there’s hope in recovery. There is. Because not only are you going to move out of the addiction if you’re committed to it, because the help is there. But you’re going to find all the tools you need to grow out of it, and then to grow back into the mature person. Because I found out in the program that if I was 14 when I started smoking weed, and I stopped doing the drugs at say 23 or 24 then my maturity level was a 14 year-old. And so you have to then cover all those years, and get yourself back up to that mentality level you’re supposed to be at. And that’s where you find the hope. You find out how to be a real man, a real woman, how to develop those relationships, how to keep a job. I mean, everything from the most difficult stuff to the easiest things. There’s hope in it, and when you get into the program, and you start seeing the difference in yourself, and you begin to mend the relationships with the family that didn’t want to know you or you didn’t want to know them, your heart is just filled. There’s a void that’s filled. You no longer have to cover it up, you know?

Another thing I would say is that I’m not going to lie. Drugs are amazing. They cover up what you’re trying to cover up. But if you look at the long haul, the big picture, after you lose everything, and you’re sitting there wondering why you can’t stop. Then you realize there’s gotta be something better. There’s something bigger out there. The bigger picture is there if you’re ready to see it.

Caleb turned his life around

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But the best thing about it is, and one thing I’ve noticed is, there’s hope in recovery. There is.