Here at Palm Partners we are very lucky to have a guest blogger, Max Goddard, who has shared his experience strength and hope with us. Below is his story, a very hope-filled message that can make anyone grateful for their sobriety!
“I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire since the age of 2. I was born in Connecticut to parents who were (at the time) both in recovery with two years clean. At the age of 2, we moved to New Hampshire to live with my mother’s parents. At age 4, my father relapsed and was never able to get clean after that so shortly after my mother made him leave. From then on I had a fairly normal childhood but being in school in a small town, I never felt like I fit in. Like most addicts, I felt like I needed something different. Around age 12, I was given some pot for the first time. After that first time getting high I was convinced that’s what I was going to make my goal in life; to stay high. I started surrounding myself with people who would get me what I needed to get high. From age 12 to 15 it was smoking weed. This led me to screw around in school and not take anything seriously. My mother found out I was getting high and since she was in recovery since before I was born, she was not pleased. I had been taken to meetings with her from the time I was a baby so I knew that using was not a good idea but I thought I was different. I was sadly mistaken.
At around age 16, I was introduced to opiates for the first time. Pot had stopped getting me high to the level where I wanted to be and as soon as I got my first opiate high from pills, I knew that’s what I had been missing. At that point, I was rarely in school and spent a majority of my time at friends’ houses or driving around selling weed to get money for pills. It was not long before I started getting sick when I didn’t have any pills in my system. At 17 I dropped out of high school and found a job doing plumbing. My motivation to work was only to get money for pills and to drink on the weekends at parties. The guy I worked with fully enabled me using pills and smoking weed. He only did pills “recreationally” but he would let me be high on the job and had me get pills for him. At the age of 18, my use had gotten so bad that I could not maintain my job. I would either be too sick or too high to work or skip out on jobs to go sell pills. I got fired and after that I was introduced to heroin and my life was entirely unmanageable. I was still living with my mother and grandmother and I took to lying to my grandmother to get money to use because I knew she would give it to me.
My mother knew I was smoking weed and drinking but had given up trying to stop me. She would tell me I had to stop but never enforced it. After I started using heroin, the next 3 years of my life from 18 to 21 got smaller and smaller. I withdrew from all my friends to a point where only 3 people would spend time with me and that was only because we were using each other to get high. I continued lying to my grandmother to get money to get high and hustling and robbing people to get what I needed.
I remember the day my life changed and my road to recovery began. I had borrowed my grandmother’s car to drive to Massachusetts to get dope and came back home with her gas tank empty. My mother woke me up in morning and made me drive the car to the gas station to put gas in her tank. On the ride there she had mentioned to me that I was going to eventually have to detox off the pain meds that I had gotten for my ankle surgery in January. It was now June and I was still getting scripts; once she mentioned this I suddenly had the urge to come clean to her. It took me the whole ride to work up the courage to tell her but once we pulled into my driveway I just bluntly told her; “I’ve been doing Heroin”. She was surprisingly calm when I told her and I was sure she knew for a while but was in denial about it since she was in recovery. After I told her she just asked me what I was going to do about it. I told her I was going to need to detox and she began to try and find a place for me to go. I was far from done though; I manipulated her into giving me money to get high by telling her I needed $300 to pay off my drug dealers before I got clean. We weren’t able to find a detox in New England for me to go to so I spent the next week trying to detox at home. I would go a day or two then would leave to go get high.
This put my mom through hell. Every time I would leave she was convinced I would die. After a week of this, she found a rehab in Las Vegas. I was tired of being sick so I decided to go. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I knew I needed to change. Sadly the rehab was not a good place at all and there was no information given on 12 step programs or what one would need to do to stay clean after leaving. The detox and residential programs were not separated at all so the entire time I was there I was able to get Suboxone from people who had just got there. I had no idea what it was going to be like when I left and I thought I was going to be able to go home and stay clean; I was wrong. I went home and got high within an hour of being back. I had $200 in my bank account so I told my mom I wanted to get cigarettes and she gave me my debit card and let me borrow her car. I went and copped and came home and overdosed that night. My mom came up into my room to find me passed out with rigs, dope and my spoon sitting on my coffee table. She got me to the hospital and I was alright by the time I got there but she was mortified.
After this I continued to use for a month until once again I’d had enough. I told her I needed to go back to treatment and this is when I found Palm Partners. I got on the plane with the intention of going through treatment then staying in Florida and moving to a halfway house. I learned a lot coming here (the first time) but in the back of my head I still had reservations that I wanted to use. I manipulated my therapist and said I would go home and do outpatient. I went home after 26 days of being in residence and went to a meeting the first day I got home and told my mother I was doing 90 meetings in 90 days. But the second day I was home I ran into a friend and convinced them to give me some pills. I knew I shouldn’t, but I did anyway. I got away with getting high and my mother didn’t find out so I continued to go to a meeting every day with her and pretend like I was doing the right thing. I was able to get high every two to three days but after about a month of this I was miserable and came clean to my mother about using. I decided to go back to Palm Partners and stay in Florida this time. I came to detox and was there for 6 days and my insurance dropped me; I was devastated because I had no clue what I was going to do. At this point I realized I was truly powerless. I was in Florida with the clothes I came down with and it was looking like I had no place to go. I broke down in detox and I feel like this is the first time I truly surrendered.
Luckily, Palm Partners scholarshipped me to a halfway house and I started my first experience getting clean outside of treatment. I spent a little over two weeks at the halfway in Lantana and was going to meetings and staying clean but not actually trying to find a job and support myself. I stayed clean for about 90 days and moved to two different halfway houses in Delray after I lived in Lantana. I was going to meetings but wasn’t working a program or surrounding myself with people who had real clean time. I was not putting a real effort into finding a job and my mother and grandmother were still supporting me by paying my rent and sending me money for food. I started a bad downward emotional spiral after about 60 days clean and was depressed and miserable. At the beginning I didn’t want to use, but after a while it seemed like the best option. I had met a girl who I really liked and related with in the sense that we were both depressed and miserable and not working a program. We were both living in halfway houses and started to plan out our relapse.
The day I relapsed was December 23rd, 2012. Me and a friend I lived in halfway with borrowed a friend’s car for the day and picked up the girl I had been planning on using with and went to Lake Worth to cop. I pawned a watch my best friend had given me for $60 and we were able to find dope very quickly. We all got high and went home and didn’t get caught. The next day, (Christmas Eve), me and the kid I got high with got money sent to us and we borrowed the car again and got high all day. That night we went and picked my girl up and she wanted to get high, too; so we went and copped more dope and went to McDonald’s parking lot and all shot up. After we did this, the girl fell out in the car and stopped breathing and I had to give her CPR and after a few minutes it wasn’t work. She started sounding like she was going to puke so I opened the door from the back seat and leaned her head out; but she didn’t have her seat belt on and fell face first out of the car onto the pavement. She was still passed out and people saw her fall out of the car so I jumped out and put her back in the front seat and we left quickly. By the grace of God, no one called the cops.
Once we got back in the car I continued to give her CPR as we were driving and luckily after about 10 minutes, she came to. We dropped her off at home and by this time it was 11:30 and our curfew was 11 so when we got home they asked us to UA (take a drug test) and we told them we wouldn’t pass it. They asked us to leave so my friend and I packed what little clothes we had and instead of going to a detox or treatment, we went and copped then slept on the beach. For the next two weeks we continued to get high. I sold my cell phone the second day and we continued sleeping on the beach every night and were trying to get high every day by pan handling, having friends send us money and whatever we needed to do. It was miserable.
After two weeks of this I was drained. I hadn’t showered, I was sick and I couldn’t look anyone in the eyes. I called Palm Partners and told them I was coming to detox. I got here and I was broken, depressed, hopeless and suicidal. I still didn’t think I was done using and I just had nowhere else to go. It took a lot of time but after two weeks, I got to the point where I knew I was either going to overdose and kill myself or start taking suggestions, be miserable for a while and have faith that working a program would help me get better. I decided that I would take suggestions to get better so that my loved one wouldn’t have to see me die and eventually I would get to a point where I can love myself. I got a sponsor and started working the steps. I took whatever work my therapists gave me and was as authentic and transparent as possible with all my work and my steps. I have been here a little over a month and it is still hard but I have finally gotten a glimpse of hope and I have faith that if I fully give myself to this program, my life will be a complete 180 turn from where I have been. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I am finally feeling I have hope for what my life can become. I am finally starting to think and feel that I can be truly happy.”
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.