James began using drugs at age 11
My story began when I was very young in the home. Both my mother and my father were active alcoholics. Um, I had no structure. And once I hit my teens, um, you know, it was off to the races. You know, it was really whatever trouble I could get in. Um, I really had no one to teach me about integrity or work ethics or following through or principles. Um, I never heard any of that. I was very isolated.
Before long, I found myself using, more than just drinking. I started with drinking, a little bit of pot, and before long, um, I was trying acid, um, drinking more heavily, um, speed, cocaine. But when I first tried cocaine, everything else diminished. Cocaine for me, um, it was my perfect marriage.
James quickly loses control with cocaine
You know, there’s a lot of problems with using drugs, and physically, I was run down real early in my life. I was very unhealthy from using cocaine. I got into trouble. Um, I just had no direction whatsoever, and, as much as I wanted a good life, I just felt like that was an illusion for me. And I just immersed myself in a life of addiction and getting into trouble. I got arrested and taken to jail from high school. Um, they found pot in my locker, so they arrested me and took me to jail. And I was released a couple hours later. And then another time a friend had a stolen motorcycle and we went joyriding it. And I got arrested on that. That was very early. That was, um, 15, 16 years old.
Um, and then it was on to supporting the habit. So the way I learned to support my habit was checks. Um, early in my days, I would take my dad’s checks and write them and go cash them. I got in trouble for that. Or I would, my mom owned an antique store. So whenever I could, I would go in her wallet and take money. Um, anything I could do to support my habit.
My story began when I was very young in the home. Both my mother and my father were active alcoholics. Um, I had no structure. And once I hit my teens, um, you know, it was off to the races.
James struggles to understand and conquer his addiction
I had, just for me, for other people it’s other drugs. But I had what some term as an allergic reaction. So once cocaine entered my system, I lost all control. I had to have more physically, mentally, you know, in my soul, I had to have more. And so there was no stopping. Um, once I started using cocaine the only way I was ever stop was by an arrest or going into treatment.
I had a reputation of relapsing, um, that was, that was me. You know, I relapsed a lot. I didn’t understand the addiction cycle. You know, in the treatments, they teach you behavior modification. Really what they’re teaching you and what they don’t verbalize, I found throughout my years, or my trouble, I didn’t understand that they’re trying to teach me principles to live by. So once I started understanding principles, um, I started to make major changes. I stopped relapsing.
James continues to relapse, yet slow progress is made
For me every relapse, every bottom, was a step forward. It’s kinda hard to explain. I had five years clean. And, um, came right to the emotional state, I felt unworthy. I felt unloved. And, um, I just stayed in that emotional state, and I felt sorry for myself. And after five years of completely being clean and sober, I decided to, at the spur of the moment, to go get loaded. And, um, that relapse led to me being arrested for possession, but that was a blow to me. I had, I was applying all the tools, um, but you know, it’s pieces. Each time I went through a trial and a bottom or got arrested, they were all learning experiences. I walked away with positives – a piece to the puzzle. My life has been finding the pieces, and then putting the pieces into play.
So once cocaine entered my system, I lost all control. I had to have more physically, mentally, you know, in my soul, I had to have more.
As he replaces bad habits with good ones, James finds hope
I was always obsessed with solutions, finding solutions, because I really, truly did not want to live the way I was living. I truly had very specific goals and dreams I wanted, ah, to obtain. And I just needed the power to do that. And I was kind of clueless. A lot, to be honest, a lot of the information out there is diluted. You know, it is really diluted. The principles that work for recovery are very simple, and there not that many. They all spring from just a few. And habits is a huge one. Developing positive habits and learning that you had to replace habits. You had to eliminate the negative habit. You had to put a positive one in its place. So learning like that simple principle was so powerful for me. Um, another thing, again, was integrity, but another thing was giving back. Um, you know, we’ve heard it said there’s more happiness in giving than receiving. Well when that principle is applied, it is a cleansing to the soul. To give back unselfishly was a huge medicine for me.
My mission is to show the youth. The first thing I do is let them know they’re really worth it. You know, that they’re really worth it. And I find out what they really want right away, and let them know it’s okay. And I’ve been there, you know. I know that they’re scared. I know how it feels. I know how it feels to be very angry. Um, I know how it feels not to take responsibility. Another key, we can’t change anything until we own it.
Once a person, it’s magical to watch someone just take a baby step, and they’re so proud. And all of a sudden they have the courage to take another step, and it’s just an awesome thing to witness.
James turned his life around
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