Today’s Face of Recovery – please meet Steven Martin!
There is a great deal of confusion, stigma, shame and discrimination surrounding addiction, addiction treatment and addiction recovery. Yet those who have the disease of addiction (whether to illegal or prescription drugs or alcohol) and are in recovery live healthy, productive, engaged lives — the same kinds of lives as people who do not have this disease. But all the words and definitions and explanations in the world are not as powerful as the people themselves. To that end, we are grateful to the people in recovery who have decided to share their experiences so that we all may put a Face to Addiction Recovery.
Addiction Recovery – It’s real, it happens to real people, and it happens all the time.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Steven Martin – today’s Face of Recovery.
How did your addiction start?
I was 13 at a friend’s house and his brother gave us a joint. I wasn’t an everyday user till I was about 15 when I was old enough to actually find more people that used. When I was about 5 years old I was playing in a field next to my grandparents house when a guy pulled up and asked if I wanted to see some planes. He molested me that day. I can still remember being kicked out of his car like a sack of dirt with the usual threats to my family. The police never caught him and in the 60s there was no help for children. So as it got swept under the carpet in my family it began to take its toll on me. I became more angry, more shut inside myself. That first time I got high I remember feeling finally disconnected from the pain of my childhood. I was able to forget that moment and go somewhere else in my head. That began my self medicating existence. There were times when I would draw a sober breath but not many. I would do anything that was offered to me as long as it took me out of myself. I even thought having my own family would stop the pain, and it just increased it with my wife’s addictions and her infidelities. I have used everything out there in massive quantities from alcohol to acid, heroin, coke and finally meth being the one I thought I would die with.
What was the turning point for you – what made you want to get sober?
I hit my bottom hard. I lost my job, left my wife, the house, our kids were taken, and I had a thought that I could clean up for 3 days and pass a drug test and beg my boss for my job back. I remember thinking as soon as I pass that test and get it back that I would get high again that night, because he couldn’t retest me for another month. So as my buddy was driving me to the test site, we passed by the welfare office where I get my visitations at. I had a moment of clarity, and it hit me, if I could quit to get my job back I should stay stopped and get my kids out.
What was your initial treatment?
Three days later I was in a rehab in Los Angeles, and I was totally into the 12 Step plan of action. I was able to be there a year. The skills and tools I learned there I still use today. I have a lot of people in my support network. I had given most of my life to this addiction.
Do you do anything differently, today?
I was in the rooms of AA for the first 7 years, religiously. Then I got very active in my Church and have since left the meetings, but I have stayed active with my same Sponsor and a few close members. I am actually feeling like I am missing my meetings and need to give back and help others. So I am planning to reconnect with my meetings and get back on the front line.
What is your life like, now?
I can honestly say that With God’s help and the guidance AA gives me that my life has changed totally. I was able to get my kids out of the system and watch them grow and move on. I have held the same job for 8 of my 9 years of sobriety. I met and married a nice lady who has been in the church her entire life and totally supports me. My family trusts and respects me again. I remember when I was still in rehab, my mom gave me back her house keys and said she felt like she could trust me again. Big milestone for me. It’s the little things that people that have never lost everything in their life take for granted. Those little things like being responsible, being trusted, smiling at me and not being afraid of me, those things are what keep me going. I have dealt with my past, and I have forgiven that man in my childhood, and with God’s help, I can finish this life with my head up and not be ashamed of who I am.
Do you have anything you’d like to share with someone currently struggling with a substance abuse problem or an addiction? How about anything you’d like to share with their family or friends?
If you are suffering and need help, you are not alone. There is help all around you. You just need to take that 1st step. This Disease doesn’t want to let you go. If I could just give you a glimpse of what it would be like, it would be Hope and love. Both of which were shown to me in rehab, by staff and other addicts.
To friends and or family – it’s just patience and love and hope. Remember that drugs and alcohol are not the problem, they’re the symptoms. Most of us have a feeling of not belonging, not fitting in, and we have some unresolved pain that we were never shown how to deal with. If your Loved one is suffering, they are like fruit on the tree. When there ready for help, it’s time to pick.
What is the best part about your recovery?
That I can face my life and when problems creep up, I know with confidence that all I have to do is ask for help. I don’t have to drink or use. I also know that I am loved. I wouldn’t trade my worst day Sober for my best day High. God Bless
Thank you, Steven Martin, so very much for sharing your story, and CONGRATULATIONS on 9 years RECOVERY!