Mike tore his knee twice in football during college. After his 2nd surgery, he began using painkillers. At first, it was just to recover, but then he could not stop. He went from drinking and doing drugs as part of the college experience to being fully addicted. He began to only feel comfortable when he was high.
Warnings and interventions from the people he loved were not enough. Instead, he hit rock bottom.
“I never felt good enough,” Mike said, “I would hide my insecurities and depression with anger, until I found drugs, which felt like a cure because it numbed those feelings better than anger ever had.”
Mike had a difficult family dynamic, and he often wondered why other people had it better. He also found a lot of acceptance through being good at sports, but when sports were taken away due to his injury, he did not know who he was anymore. He did not know how to cope with his parents’ divorce, his insecurities, or his depression, so drugs were the easier route.
Mike had to learn, the hard way, that if you live for other people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.
He also had to learn how to deal with his anger appropriately.
“Some one once told me,” Mike said, “Any little boy can punch a wall or yell and make others feel bad, but it takes a real man to talk about his feelings, face them and grow with them.”
On January 22nd, Mike celebrated five years of sobriety. Through his healing process, he learned that he had deeper issues under his addiction. He had issues he was not willing to deal with until he absolutely had to. He had to face the insecurities he had been avoiding.
He learned that sometimes he must try a little harder and be more intentional, but he has more peace about that.
“I can’t ever go back and make up for the way I lived or the people my addiction affected…hopefully my recovery ends up touching more people than my addiction did one day,” he said.
As he moves forward with his sobriety, he does his best to be the best brother, fiancé, son, and friend that he can be.
Over 20 million Americans have a minimum of one addiction. Sadly, only 10% receive the help they need. Overdoses have been on the rise. However, there is treatment. People can learn how to cope. If you are struggling with addiction, please know that you are not alone. There is help. There is hope.