December 30, 2016
The Pain of a Dual Diagnosis
February 14, 2017

I am an addict.

by Charles Draleau

I am an addict, my name is Charles. My path to recovery was paved in significant amounts of misunderstanding for myself and the world. I come from a family in which all of us are now clean addicts. My child hood wasn’t one of poverty or neglect, it was however based upon a firm belief that as long as things look good to the outside world, then everything will be fine. This was not the case.

As I look back on my upbringing I find that around the age of 8 or 9 is when I began to make compromises, compromises to what it was I thought made me, me; and began to change my “image” to be what it was that I thought people wanted me to be or how I was supposed to act. It started with simple things like sports, clothing, hobbies ect. Through time however, these minor lies I told myself about who I was or who I should be evolved into a complete and utter empty shell of a person. I can honestly say that when I got clean I could not tell you what my favorite color was, or even my favorit food.

" I had reached a point where I felt it inside me that this was not a life I wanted for myself anymore"

I started using drugs regularly around 13 years old and continued to do so until I got clean at 27. Active addiction brought me to my knees. When I surrendered and decided to get clean, I had acquired disease from drug use, I was completely malnourished weighing 118 lbs, I had voluntarily given up my rights as a father and my family had cut me off. I didn’t have a single thing to call my own, even my shoes were stolen from someone. I had lost the fight.

Today I can look back and say that giving up the fight against active addiction was the best decision I had ever made. I had surrendered. My journey in recovery began with a trip to a treatment facility in Florida called Banyan. When I arrived I was picked up at the airport, the driver said a very simple statement that stuck with me to this day. His name was Frank, i got into the van to head over to the facility and he said “ You look like shit brother” to which I responded “Yeah, I feel like shit.” Then he said something I had heard before but at this point in my life was profound, he said “You know, if you do this now, you never have to do this again.”

My life up to this point consisted of spin dries at detoxes every couple of months or so when the regular daily tasks of being a heroin addict/ crack head became too much to handle. Literally, the highlight of my life was getting a few days in a detox and eating cereal. So when Frank said that simple phrase “..do this now, you never have to do it again” my own experience had shown me that if I didn’t do this, best case scenario, I get to wear detox scrubs and eat cereal again. I had reached a point where I felt it inside me that this was not a life I wanted for myself anymore, I’m worth more than that, I deserve more than that, I WILL WORK FOR THIS!

From that day forth, I put my all into staying clean, granted there were many days that I fell short of the spiritual principals I was trying to practice but one thing was for sure, I didn’t get high. I finished the PHP program at Banyan and moved onto their IOP program. Upon completion there I had moved onto a sober house and continued to progress forward to sitting here typing this blog. Today, I am a father to the most amazing son a man could ask for, I have gone through treatment to cure myself of hepatitis C, i have my family in my life today, most importantly, I actually have a life today. I’m proud to say that I now work for the treatment center I came to on that cold, miserable January 24 of 2015. If I was to have made a list of things I thought I would have when I was 2 years clean, I would have sold myself MILES short! I am a survivor, recovery is possible!