My name is Wesley, and I am a person in long-term recovery. What that means for me is that I have not used a mind-altering substance since February 6th, 2013. I was actively addicted to drugs, alcohol and a lifestyle of crime for 12 years. I lived to use and used to live. My life in addiction revolved around getting, using or finding ways to get drugs. I was homeless, hopeless and jobless. I found myself in detox, running scared but desperate for something different. After spending 8 days in detox I decided to go to a long-term residential treatment program on a pig farm in the middle of nowhere.
Two months into treatment the Federal Marshals came and arrested me and took me to jail for a warrant I had. I fought from jail to go back to treatment. About a month later the judge granted me permission to go back to the pig farm. This pig farm became the battle ground in which I fought my inner self and got down to the causes and conditions, the reasons why I used. It was not easy, sometimes taking life one minute at a time. I had lots of ups and downs. I wanted to run, but I made the decision to try this new found life without substances for one year; if I didn’t like it I could always return to the misery of addiction. I could finally look at myself in the mirror and slowly I started to enjoy life without drugs and alcohol.
The treatment center required me to find a sponsor and work the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous before I graduated. I rebuilt relationships with my family I had destroyed in my addiction; I learned how to live life on life’s terms. Upon graduation, I was accepted into a sober living program while I waited to go to court for sentencing for my case. At sentencing, I received credit for the time I spent in treatment and was sentenced to another year in jail. I felt let down, but I was not going to give up. I knew everything happened for a reason and this was only a part of my journey.
After being released from jail I continued to do the next right thing- I stayed clean, I attended meetings and church, I surrounded myself with others in recovery that I looked up to. I was determined not to let my past determine my present. I was accountable to not only myself but also my family. I was just recently released from supervised state probation. I currently work for an organization which helps those struggling with addiction and I was recently promoted to Supervisor. I get to show up and positively impact people’s lives. Today I advocate publicly for recovery whenever and wherever I can, because when the stigma is removed, and the love, hope and success are highlighted instead of the suffering, drama and tragedy, recovery is such a beautiful and inspiring thing, to me.