David began using drugs in 7th grade

In 7th grade my dad, um, worked overnights, and I was walking through, uh, town. And I hit the square, and there was a group of kids about my age and one of the kids called me over. I came over, started talking. And, uh, as I walked over to the group they asked me if I smoked. And I thought they were talking about cigarettes, which at that time I smoked, and I said sure. And they passed around a joint. And the first time I hit that joint was the first time I ever felt like I ever fit in. From there I hung out with the same kids. Uh, the following weekend we went to a house party and from it was marijuana, alcohol, um, the next weekend. A couple of months later I tried cocaine for the first time. Acid was all there that same summer before 7th grade, and it just kind of mushroomed from there.

David’s drug abuse issues lead to methamphetamine

I didn’t have a lot of consequences. Uh, legally stuff finally started catching up to me in high school. So I moved back with my mom my senior year. And my senior year I was introduced to methamphetamine. And once I was introduced to methamphetamine, it was all over. I ended up dropping out of school my senior year. I ended up going to jail at 17, again at 18, a bunch of times at 19 – probably 15-20 times all together. Then I got to turn 21 in prison.

Methamphetamine gave me a feeling like nothing I’d ever felt before. You know, I felt like I could do anything. You know, it was almost like getting wings. It was just this amazing feeling of elation, unlike anything I’d ever felt in my entire life. I ended up buying it. I started dealing it. And then while I was in prison, I got introduced to some people who said they would teach me how to do burns. So I ended up hooking up with them whenever I got out of prison. And I got involved in manufacturing of methamphetamine at 21.

I ended up going to jail at 17, again at 18, a bunch of times at 19 – probably 15-20 times all together. Then I got to turn 21 in prison.

After a car accident, pain meds are added to the addiction list

At 22 I was in a car accident. I flew a Firebird 97 feet. I got 32 feet in the air. I died 3 times in the ambulance. And I was prescribed, I had really bad headaches, and I was prescribed morphine. And after about 6 months they cut me off the morphine, and by that time I was dependant on it. I started buying it. And it really increased the amount of methamphetamine I did. Because I tried to level out and still get that feeling. So, you know, I was shooting meth several times a day, and I was shooting opiates a couple times a day. Cause morphine and dilaudids were my opiates of choice. I never did heroin because I always said that’s what junkies do. So I was doing meth, I was doing morphine, I was doing dilaudids, I was doing everything under the sun, but that was the one drug I would not touch. You know, but, and I’m surprised I never did. Because everything I always said I’d never do I always did.

You know, the first time I snorted I said, “At least I’m not smoking meth. I’m just snorting it.” And then when I started snorting, I’m like, “At least I’m not shooting it.” And then when I started shooting it, I’m like, “At least I’m not doing heroin.” So as long as I didn’t do heroin I could always justify what I was doing. You know, and I know heroin addicts that are the same way with methamphetamine. They’re like, “Well I’d never do meth, that’s what junkies do.”

Sometime we create a line, you know? I knew I had a really bad drug habit. I mean, I knew it was out of control. I was an addict, and I could admit I was an addict. But I wasn’t a junkie because I didn’t do this, you know? I don’t do heroin, so I’m not a junkie.

You know, the first time I snorted I said, “At least I’m not smoking meth. I’m just snorting it.” And then when I started snorting, I’m like, “At least I’m not shooting it.”

David finally reaches a turning point in life

I did a couple outpatient programs and a couple residential programs, but it never really stuck. I never really did it for me. I did it to get out of trouble with the law. I did it to make my dad proud. You know, those were reasons I’d go into rehab, but I never actually did any of that for me. And, and jail got to the point where I would go to jail with money in my pocket to bond out, and I would stay in there for a week. It got to the point where it was less stressful in jail, and I could get caught up on my sleep. I could eat and gain some weight back. And then after a week, I’d bond out and go back to doing what I was doing. You know, I didn’t have to look over my shoulder in jail, so it was almost a peaceful place.
I went through residential rehab, outpatient rehab, jail, prison. I saw psychiatrists, psychologist, they threw all kinds of medication at me. And none of that ever worked, until it got to a point where I wanted to change. Nothing else really worked. I realize there’s some programs out there that put kids in an area where they’re clean and sober long enough that they realize, you know what, I can have fun doing this, too. So I think a big part of it is, uh, the people we hang out with. Um, if I always hang out with, you know, you can’t get clean if you’re always dancing in the mud. And a lot of times we want to continue hanging out with the same people. So I think still having people in your life that still care about you, still love you, and still give you at least some compassion. You know, don’t continue to foot their bills. You know, they’re probably going to go use that money to go buy drugs. You know I would have. But still let those people know you care about them. And over time, maybe they’ll hit that bottom. And some people’s bottoms are different, you know. I mean, for some people going to prison, turning 21 in prison would have been a bottom. For someone, being shot would have been a bottom. For some people, getting your kids taken, dropping out of school, you know, those are bottoms and different people have different bottoms. So I think it’s kind of hard to say this is one person’s bottom, this is another’s because I don’t know. A lot of people hit a bottom, and they grab a shovel, and they dig deeper. You know, that’s what I always did. And, for me, it took reaching a point where the pain was bigger than my fear of change.

It got to a point where I was actually trying to build my life in a positive way and yet I still had all these negatives things I was doing. And I knew that those two things couldn’t co-exist at the same time. They call it cognitive dissonance, but that’s a big word for it. But, basically, what it means is, “I can’t have two opposing values at the same time in my head and not know that I’m full of crap.” So, you know, it came to do I really want to get better, or do I want to go back? And I realized if I always did what I always had done then I always get what I always got and I didn’t want that anymore. So I had to change.

After finally changing his own life, David now seeks to help others

I think we need to be more honest in the discussions that we have because a lot of the times all we talk about is how horrible drugs are. And we never talk about the fact that, yes, they do make you feel good. Yes, they have these affects on you, but this is the impact they have over time.

In my addiction, it got to a point where I wasn’t using to feel good. At first, you use to feel amazing, you know. I felt so great every time I used. But over time I got to a point where I felt horrible and using made me feel a little less bad. So I was no longer using to feel great, I was using just to function. If I didn’t use I wouldn’t be able to function. I don’t think you realize it’s getting that bad until you’re in the middle of it. You know, I, I felt great. Going to people’s houses, most people in their life or death situation, and they feel like they’re getting ready to die, and they get a chance to leave that situation they will run away and never come back. Um, I’d be in a house that I didn’t know whether I’d leave alive or not. And I’d get out to my car and be like, “Man, that’s really great dope!” and I’d run right back in to get more.

There’s so much that’s lost because a lot of times we’re at an age where we think this could never happen to us. You know, uh, it’s amazing how many people it does happen to, you know. It doesn’t take long before you become one of those people. You know, I mean, I call myself a hope dealer. I always say I went from dealing dope to dealing hope. And it’s changed my life.

David turned his life around

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There’s so much that’s lost because a lot of times we’re at an age where we think this could never happen to us. You know, uh, it’s amazing how many people it does happen to, you know. It doesn’t take long before you become one of those people.