Today’s guest blog is a story of recovery. When I read Peters story I was brought to tears. Peter’s story resonated with me because I grew up with a parent who struggled with addiction. My father is now a recovering alcoholic and has been going strong living a life of sobriety for twenty years! I have so much respect and admiration for people who turn their lives around. The road to recovery isn’t easy but it’s worth it.
This is Peters Recovery Story
I used to live on the beach in Maui. I remember sitting with a sunburnt chest, drinking my second or third bottle of rum that day, and just watching the waves. I dreamed about walking into the ocean and never returning. I had no hope. My life had no meaning.
I left Hawaii and returned to the city where I grew up: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But I was suffering just as much with mental health issues and drug and alcohol addiction, and I was now homeless in the city instead of on the beach. After drinking two or three entire bottles of rum every day for about a year in Hawaii, both of my hips had developed avascular necrosis. To manage the pain, I began to use heroin. It didn’t take me long to become addicted.
I was walking to meet my drug dealer one day in February 2014 when I was suddenly hit by a car. This caused me to need a femur replacement and two hip replacements. I didn’t think I would survive the streets in a wheelchair. I remember lying in the hospital, planning to take my own life as soon as I got out.
Instead, I decided to call my mom, who was living down in Atlanta, Georgia. She said I could come live with her. So I did. For the next year, I grew stronger every day. I was in a wheelchair, I didn’t have a job, and I still felt I was living in darkness. Eventually, I began to have a sense of hope again. I began to attend a nearby church where I made some new friends and would meet my future wife. She saw something in me I couldn’t see about myself at the time.
My journey to sobriety wasn’t one of perfection. There were many relapses and setbacks along the way. I discovered that there isn’t simply one right path to recovery. For some, professional addiction treatment is needed. Others have a lot of success with 12-step meeting and therapy. Others lean hard on churches, families and friends, and communities. Most of us need a combination of these things.
Now, I’ve been clean and sober for almost a year and a half. I have a new career that I absolutely love, and I am living in a beautiful home with a kind and generous wife. I have seen first hand how much a life can turn around and change for the better. Sometimes I think back to when I was lying in the hospital bed in Philadelphia after getting hit by that car. I remember wanting to take my own life, and I thank God every day that I didn’t.
In order to find the light again, I had to walk through the darkness. And now that I’m in a more stable place, I can help others who are struggling just like I was. I can be a living example that things can always get better. My recovery story can now give others hope. And that’s something I wouldn’t trade.
*Peter Lang is a freelance writer from Atlanta, Georgia. In recovery himself, he dedicates himself to others who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.
*Featured image source:Pinterest