From Needles to New Life: Matt’s Story
Different From My Family
I was a blue-eyed, blond-haired kid being raised by my Mexican mother and grandmother in southern California. I had an older cousin living with me for a time. I looked different from all of my family and I felt different. My mother was absent a lot of the time, as she went to school and worked full-time to provide for her family. Because of this, my grandmother was the one that really took care of me. She was the one person that, no matter what I did, was there for me. When I was in trouble or scared, I went to Grandma; she was my “rock”.
I don’t have many memories of my childhood but the ones I do have are surrounded by severe anxiety coupled with fear and depression. I remember feeling that way as early as age six or seven. I covered up those feelings with anger. I wasn’t a big kid or a fighter at heart, but I learned at a young age that if I acted tough and like I wasn’t scared, then even when I got my ass kicked, those people would leave me alone after. I knew that if I could instill a bit of fear in them, they wouldn’t come at me again. Unfortunately, I spent the next 20 plus years acting that way.
“I spent 6 months in a room with 31 other men”
I didn’t know my dad. I’d never seen a picture of him or even heard his name. I only knew that I looked different and that my last name was different.
One day when I was 10, my best friend and I were in the front yard of my little house, when an old white Chevrolet Cavalier with Utah license plates pulled up. A white man stepped out, which was not a common scene in my neighborhood, and my friend said, “Who’s that?” I said to him, “That’s my dad.” Without ever seeing his picture or knowing he was in Utah, I just knew it was him. He, my mother, and I went for a ride to the beach and my mom said, “Hey, I wanted to tell you something; this is your dad.” Being very indifferent and not knowing how to feel, I just said “Yeah, I know.”
After meeting my dad for the first time, I also met my three half-sisters and half-brother, and for a few months, we’d go visit them and my father from time to time in Utah, or meet him in the middle at Las Vegas. In October of 1986, my Mom and Dad got married and we moved to Utah immediately following. Moving from southern California to Utah was a big culture shock. I instantly felt like an outcast because I spoke differently and had a different background than the other kids. The hardest part was being taken away from my “rock”, my Grandma.
My dad was a really hard-working guy with a very blue-collar way about him. We’d cut firewood all summer and use it to heat the house all winter. He’d worked his butt off his whole life and owned everything he had. When I was 13, my mother and father had another son. Our whole lives revolved around my dad and his way of life.
Substance Abuse Lead to Physical Abuse
“I knew I was going to survive the beating, it was the fear and the buildup that was the worst part”
During all of this, my father was a very functional alcoholic, but around that time things started to change a bit. His drinking really started to get out of hand. He’d beat me a lot and often times with a belt. I could walk through the back door after school or practice, and without seeing or hearing anything, know if it was bad or not. It’s almost as if there was this thickness in the air. A feeling of anxiety and fear in the atmosphere. I remember one day I’d done something to make him mad and he told me to go to the basement, strip down to my underwear, and wait for him. I don’t know how long I was down there but it seemed like hours. He eventually came down and beat me. I knew I was going to survive the beating, it was the fear and the buildup that was the worst part. On another occasion, I had shoplifted something and my father decided to punish me for it. In the kitchen was the wood stove that we used to heat the entire house and it would get so hot that the pipe coming out the top would glow red. The stove itself was about three or four feet from the wall and my dad drew a dot on the wall with a marker and told me to put my nose on that dot and stand there next to that stove. Of course it seemed like forever but I don’t know how long it really was. After a bit I was drenched in sweat and my legs were shaking and he just sat there watching. I remember thinking, “Why the fuck would you do that to anybody?” I bring these experiences up because, I can relate to others who have gone through trauma and that allows me to better help them.
I remember my alarm didn’t go off one day and my dad came down into that basement mad. He threw me around a bit, but I got up and headed to the top of the stairs. On the way up I said something or gave him a look and he smashed my head through the window pane of the door at the top of the stairs. I got cut real bad on my head from it and the demoralizing thing was that he still sent me off to school. I felt completely alone and abandoned as I walked to school, bleeding down my head. I felt dirty, ugly, and like there must be something wrong with me. On the way to school, I went down to a creek under the street and washed up the best I could, like a homeless person. Later on, I had to go to the hospital for stitches and stand almost naked in front of the cops as they took pictures of my body with its bruises, bumps, and cut. Nothing came of it though, and everything continued just as it always had. My mother continued to avoid taking any accountability, probably because she was just as afraid as I was.
Whenever any of the abuse happened, I could smell the alcohol on my dad’s breath, so from a young age I thought alcohol would turn anyone who drank it into a monster.
I Left Home at 15
Luckily, I had a friend at school who’d figured out what was going on, which wasn’t hard to discover, because you can only show up for school so many times with whip marks from your lower back down to your thighs before people catch on. You can only “fall off your bike” so many times. I was spending a lot of time at my friend’s house and he asked me if I’d like to go stay with him and his family, the Thompsons. I pray often and thank God for my angels, which is what the Thompson family became to me, and I lived with them until I graduated high school. Mr. Thompson became my hero. He would literally give the shirt on his back to a stranger, and I know this because I’ve seen him do it. I call the Thompsons my surrogate family; they even included me in their family photos. This adjustment in my environment changed everything for me, but it also allowed me to still maintain at least a semblance of a relationship with my biological family.
My First Taste of Alcohol
“Getting it, burning it, making it, pulling that cloud of blood, and pushing it back in”
I did a lot of sports and had a lot of friends from that those activities. I didn’t do any drugs or drink alcohol, and I didn’t want to because of what I saw it do to my dad. I was selected, along with my best friend, Durlin, and one other guy from my High School,to go overseas and play a few football games in Australia. The team was full of good football players who had sports scholarships to various colleges, and then there were the three of us from this small High School, with myself being the smallest on the team by far. I really looked up to the rest of the team and thought I wanted to be like them, and to go to college to play football as they were planning to.
We were on the plane flying to New Zealand when the stewardess brought out the drink cart and all these guys I looked up to began ordering drinks. I really wanted to fit in, so I thought I’d order a drink but not drink it. The cart came around to my buddy Durlin and he ordered a Jack and Coke. I didn’t even know what that was, but I just ordered the same thing because he sounded like he knew what he was doing.
People don’t remember their first milkshake or their first hamburger, but I remember my first drink like it was yesterday, because of how it made me feel and what it did for me. With that one drink, I felt like I was one of those guys. I felt like I was six feet four inches, 250 pounds, and was going to play college football. I thought to myself, “ I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this the whole time.” I had a blast in New Zealand with this group of American football players and cheerleaders. I had never had a better time up to that point in life. Once I got home, I started binge drinking right out of the gate and it only took a few months after that to start using Meth.
The Ritual of the Needle
Just as with drinking, I also remember everything about the first time I did Meth. If drinking made me feel like one of those big football players, then Meth made me feel like Superman, so much so that I did Meth for almost five years straight after that. I started with lines of Meth but quickly wanted to try shooting it. I asked one of my friends who was shooting Meth and he said to me, “This will change your life.” I thought he was being dramatic, but in all honesty, it did change my life, because I got just as addicted to that needle as anything. It was all in the ritual and the process. Getting it, burning it, making it, pulling that cloud of blood, and pushing it back in. You get the taste of it in your mouth before it’s even in your body. I loved the ritual so much that if I had drugs but no needle, I’d hold onto the drugs until I could get one. It’s overwhelming what that needle did to me and how it controlled my life for the next ten years.
My drug addiction overtook my life and I started doing crazy things. I’d go to Las Vegas to score a bunch of dope get loaded for days on end. I’d sell drugs to support my habit, I began ripping off everyone I knew, and started to get into a little bit of trouble with the law.
At about 19 years old, I moved in with another friend and his family, the Johnstons. They noticed things were wrong and tried to steer me in the right direction. But I continued to manipulate them, others, and make runs to Las Vegas. I was ripping off and hurting anyone and everyone I knew. I took from my family, I took from other families, I took from my friends, I took from my Grandma. My Grandma even moved to Utah to be with us and I was so strung out that I didn’t show up to help her move. Eventually, after one of my multi-day binges in Las Vegas, the Johnstons told me I had to go to detox, and that’s exactly what I did.
Rehab: Round One
“I was breaking into houses and raiding medicine cabinets to get opioids”
After detox, I went through a residential treatment program in Salt Lake City, Utah, but I knew I wasn’t ready to be done using. Back then when you got out of residential treatment they released you to a lower level of care during the days, but you left the rehab at nights, similar to a partial hospitalization program. My mother had rented me an apartment near the rehab and I remember the day that they were going to release me to this lower level of care. I walked to the grocery store during lunch time and secretly bought a ten pack of syringes, because I knew that night I’d figure out how to score some dope and shoot up. And that’s exactly what I did. I used all the dope in one night and went back to rehab the next day. How they didn’t know, I can’t tell you.
While in rehab I met a beautiful girl named Sunny who fell in love with me, and of course I was totally into any attention I could get in that way. We went through rehab together, we talked about doing sobriety together, meanwhile I was already getting loaded before even leaving treatment. We started to use together, which got ugly and we became distant for a really long time. I bring her up because we were off and on for the following eight years or more, and she is a big part of why I’m still sober to this day. She got me to the Utah rehab center that I got sober in years later in 2003. I got sober for a girl and to save a relationship. The relationship didn’t get saved in the end, but I did. She needed me to be sick so she could save me as much as I needed to be sick so I could be saved by her. It was a weird dynamic, and once I did finally start to get better, the relationship went away because I didn’t need her as bad and I wasn’t sick enough for her to save me anymore.
Washing Down Xanax Bottles with Warm Whiskey
After my first rehab, I continued to bounce from house to house and job to job, getting pills and shooting Meth. I was breaking into houses and raiding medicine cabinets to get opioids. I got hooked on Heroine and ended up with a few DUIs, but managed to avoid any major charges, which I can only see as being the grace of God, because I even got arrested a few times with stuff on me that would have put me away for a long time. I did get appointed to go to rehab by the courts but I wasn’t complying with any of it and was just trying to beat the system. By that time I was straight slamming Cocaine, and the problem with shooting Cocaine is that you got to keep shooting up more and more of it. It’s the most intense right off the bat, but it also lasts the least amount of time. I began overdosing often and remember such times as when I had fallen through the closet door and woke up hours later, with the needle still in my arm, and then getting up and doing the same thing over again. During this time I put a lot of distance between me and my family. I was living in Park City, Utah, with some roommates, and my family didn’t know where I was. When you are doing that many drugs and you pass out or crash, you really crash. I’d even take a lot of Benzos (Benzodiazepines) to crash. And by “a lot” I mean, I’d wash down an entire bottle of Xanax with a warm bottle of Whiskey. One day in particular I was on a serious bender and had crashed hard. It must have freaked my roommates out because they called my mother, who I hadn’t see for a long time. Soon after, there she was, knocking on my bedroom door. I was out of it so I waddled over to the bathroom and stayed there for awhile. When I came out, my mother was sitting on my bed with the box full of my dirty rigs, cottons, and bags of dope. I still remember the look on her face as she sat on my bed, with tears rolling down her cheeks, breaking off the tips of the syringes while being cut by them. I had nothing to say in that moment.
After that I went home for a time and tried to be an adult; tried to get off the drugs. I lived there until I was about 26, but I started drinking and I drank like I shot dope: hard and fast. My dad was still drinking and so my mother had the two of us drunk in her house, sometimes getting into fights with each other. I was kept busy peddling some pills and hustling people to support my habit. I’d get two big hookups of Oxycontins a month, use these big scores to pay off what I owed to other people, and of course I’d use the pills myself as well. When I started using Oxycontins myself, I completely stop drinking because I didn’t like the mixed effect. I just wanted to enjoy the high of the Opioids.
Blackout and Alcohol Withdrawals
“It’s crazy how close to death’s door we were, and yet we’d keep right on using”
I started having these strange periods of blackouts. I remember one day in particular when I woke up on the floor and felt like I’d be hit by a truck or like I’d had the shit kicked out of me. I assumed that my dad and I must have gotten into a fight, because that happened a lot, but I called my mom, who was already at work, and asked if something had happened the previous night and she said nothing had happened. Later on that same night, I had a grand mal seizure in front of my family. Turns out, it was strictly due to the fact that I had stopped drinking. Even though I was loaded up on Oxycontins, my body was experiencing alcohol withdrawals. After the seizure, I spent three days in the hospital. I was going nuts during those three days because I was so dependent on the alcohol that drinking was all I could think about, and it didn’t help that I knew I had about 12 Oxycontins waiting for me at home. I got through that third day at the hospital and immediately called the one person I thought would understand that I needed a drink, and that was my dad. Sure enough, he came and I manipulated him into buying a bottle. I remember getting home, and when my mother saw that I was already drinking, she lost it.
Rehab: Round Two
It wasn’t long after that when I was court-ordered to a treatment center for the second time, but I still had a bit of hustle in me and was, once again, looking to beat the system. While I was in rehab, one of my friends committed suicide. So the treatment center let me out for a day to go to the funeral. My counselor in rehab made me shake his hand, look him in the eye, and promise him that I would not get loaded and I didn’t. But because I still had those hookups dealing drugs, I went and got my next big hookup of Oxycontin and brought it back to the treatment center with me. I hid it in an abandoned car that was just over the fence of the rehab center, and I started getting loaded in residential treatment. Clearly, I wasn’t ready for rehab if I couldn’t even stay sober while in rehab.
The first people to notice you’re using while in treatment are the other opioid addicts. They pick up on the subtleties, like nodding off and your eyes being like pins, so I had to start giving them some pills to keep them from ratting me out. Sunny, who I had been dating on and off, came to visit me in treatment and that same day the rehab center asked me to leave because of what I was doing. I didn’t want to tell her that I was beeing booted for using, so I got with three Heroine addicts that were also being asked to leave and we compiled our resources to go get dope and a hotel room. In that hotel room, for the first time I watched a person overdose. He didn’t die, but I had never seen that before and it freaked me out so much that I started praying, which I was embarrassed about, because my relationship with God at the time only consisted of what I call foxhole prayers -praying only when I’m in the foxhole and bombs are going off all around. That’s when I was the closest to God. It’s crazy how close to death’s door we were, and yet we’d keep right on using. He did recover, but he ended up overdosing again shortly after and dying.
6 Months in a Room with 31 Other Men
“the only way I stay a victim is if I choose to”
Because of my hookups, I could get pills for around $5 each, then turn around and sell them for $40. I’d use the money to purchase Meth and Heroine. If I didn’t have the money, I’d steal, manipulate, and hustle to get the drugs. I’d even walk into convenience stores, grab two cases of beer, and walk right out like I owned the place. I wasn’t even stealing the good beer either, I’d take two 30-packs of Stroh’s because that’s as much as I could carry. One time a big Polynesian lady gave chase and, being 130 pounds, I couldn’t outrun her with a case in each hand. I was running as fast as I could but she was catching up to me, so I had to ditch one of the 30s. It must have looked really interesting to the bystanders as I ran down the road, hugging a case of 30s while a big Polynesian lady chased me.
I made it back to the hotel and was out on the front porch smoking a cigarette when I saw a police car pull up to the building. I knew that police car was coming for me, but I just didn’t have it in me to run anymore. That was a moment of clarity and serenity for me. I could have taken off and probably got away, because I would have had a huge head start, but I just sat there and smoked that cigarette. I watched them go to the lobby, come up the stairs, walk towards me, and I just surrendered right there. I wanted to be done using but I didn’t know how. I wanted to be sober, but I didn’t think it was possible for me, because once I got sober, that’s when the true pain would begin. They took me to the Utah county jail where I detoxed over the next few days. Detoxing in jail was terrible but I also think it might be the best way to do it. Nobody is going to come and check on you, see how you’re doing or what they can do for you. You just have to suffer and you can’t act like a little bitch about it because you’re in jail. I appeared before the same judge I had to present to many times before, and this judge had given me every chance in the past, but this time he was finally fed up with me and sentenced me to serve a year in jail.
I called up Sunny, the one person that always got me out of these scrapes. She had 3 years of sobriety at that point and told me that she’d help me if I was really serious this time, but that it’d be the last time she did so. She got me a bed in a Utah rehab center, but I didn’t want to go there because I knew that treatment center, and I knew you went there to get sober. I didn’t want to get sober, I just wanted to not have to serve my whole year in jail. The year would be reduced upon compliance with completing rehab. They ended up keeping me in a big holding room with 31 other prisoners for almost six months. I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, my birthday, and the super bowl all in jail. For Christmas they gave us two little white and green striped hard candies. I remember sitting there with those hard candies telling myself, “I don’t want to do this again.” I really meant that, but it just goes to show how much bigger addiction is than any of us, because by the time I was about to leave the jail I was asking everyone I knew to put some money on my books so that I could walk out of there with a little bit of drug money. When you leave jail they have to give you the money on the books in cash, and I was planning on using it to get loaded before I had even gotten out.
I knew that after getting out I’d have to be drug tested before I could be admitted to the Utah rehab center, and if I failed the test I’d be headed back to jail. The judge let me out of jail on a Wednesday and I wasn’t scheduled to enter the Utah rehab until Monday, so I had five days with nothing to do and $80 burning a hole in my pocket. For those five days I basically substituted my drug addiction with the addiction of needing Sunny, but I stayed clean.
Rehab: Round Three
I entered treatment again, where I actually learned a lot this time. I really tried to convince myself that I was ready to be done with drugs. I learned there that the only way I will continue to be a victim of these circumstances is if I choose to be, and they taught me that in a very assertive and in-your-face sort of way. The director of the facility had this great big guy stand on a chair during a group session and he then made me kneel down in front of this big guy and he said, “It’s up to you; you can stay down there or you can get up.” The empowerment of that finally showed me that the only way I stay a victim is if I choose to. The other thing that this particular Utah rehab center did for me was introduce me to Alcoholics Anonymous.
I graduated from the Utah rehab center and between that, jail, and a little bit of time out of rehab, I had almost nine months of sobriety. I was working road construction and doing well, until I went with the crew on an out-of-town job. I basically set myself up to drink. My whole intention was to go to the Shaker Bar with a couple of guys from my crew and just forget about life for a little while with a couple of drinks. I thought I could pull it off. Somehow that started my worst binge ever and I ended the day with three balloons of Heroin. I don’t remember how I got them, but I remember stealing from people on the crew and I remember using the Heroine.
No More Hustle
“it shows me what God’s power is all about”
When I got back home, things went down quickly. I lost the place I was living, had no place to go, and found myself in the same place I always seemed to find myself. In the gutter, broken, and I continued like that for another entire year until I was about 28 years old. Sunny wouldn’t answer the phone anymore. She said she loved me too much to watch me kill myself, and so she cut me off. Everyone I knew throughout treatment also had to cut me off. The only person who didn’t was my Grandmother, my “rock”, who rented an apartment for her and I to stay at. She tried to help me, but soon I was on, what turned out to be, the heaviest binge of my life. I spent three or four days on the floor in my Grandmother’s apartment, curled up in the fetal position, pissing myself, throwing up on myself, and shitting myself because I had so much poison in my body.
I came to one morning with no more dope, no more people to rip off, and, most importantly, no more hustle. I went onto the porch and I was drinking a warm Natural Light beer, smoking a Marlboro Red, and for the first time, I was completely broken and desperate. The A.A.’s Big Book would describe it as the jumping off point. I finished that Natural Light, set it down, finished the cigarette, put it in the beer can, knelt down, and said, “God, if you’re there, fucking help me.” That was the most honest prayer I had ever said in my lifetime. Something happened right then that had nothing to do with me. There was no more power in me at that moment than there had been before. If anything, I was at my lowest. I get choked up when I think about that moment, because, somehow, I’ve been sober since that day.
Amends and Freedom
From there I walked to my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. For the first time I wasn’t asking anybody for anything. I got a great sponsor who worked the steps with me. He’d read the Big Book with me once a week. If we couldn’t find a time to meet because I was busy, he’d meet with me at 6 a.m. He introduced me to his network of support and friends. We started doing fun things together and I felt a new sense of camaraderie with these guys. There is one person on this world who knows everything about me and that’s my sponsor.
Steps eight and nine were the hardest for me, making a list of everyone I hurt and how I was going to make it right. Then starting the process of going and knocking on doors was so difficult. Not everyone even knew the terrible things I’d done to them. For example, I had to go knock on the Johnstons’ door and let them know that, while they weren’t home, I broke into their house, broke into their gun safe, and stole two competitive shotguns and hocked them for $80 worth of methamphetamine. That’s not an easy thing to do, but I love that story because it shows me what God’s power is all about, because when I went back to the Johnstons and told them this, Mr. Johnstons looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Matt, I’d have done anything for you then, and I’d still do anything for you now.” Your life really begins to change when you start making the ninth step amends.
“the fears.. at the top of my list had all come true”
For my whole life it was like I had been carrying this big sack of boulders everywhere I went and with every attempt at amends that I made, it was like taking one of the boulders out of the sack. With time, that sack was gone and I can now walk as a free man. With exception of one person, I can now look anybody I know in the eye because of this process. All these years later, there is still one person that I have not been willing to make amends with.
I needed to clear up my court records as part of making amends because I was technically still on the run, and I had to appear in front of the same judge that sentenced me to jail for a year, essentially turning myself back in. At that point, I had one year and one day sober. He looked at me and he said, “I can tell there is something different about you and I want you to explain what’s going on.” At that moment, I pulled a one year AA chip out of my pocket and explained to him what had happened. He said, “Almost everyone that comes into my court has some excuse or lie, and you tried to pull that same stuff with me time and time again over the years, but this is the reason why I try to give people chances.” He suspended the rest of my court charges and fines, which is unheard of.
Hitting The Wall
After four years of sobriety, working the steps, and sponsoring others, I hit a wall. At four years sober I thought I’d be doing good and have my life put back together, but I was dying inside. I started seeing a therapist and working through past trauma. I realized that if I don’t continually work on my past, then it creeps back up. It creeps up in my relationships and everything.
I kept working on myself and kept trying to be a better person. About that time, I met my wife. I didn’t think she was really into me at first. Her two-year-old son and I clicked right off the bat. I saw him being raised exactly like I was, without a father, and we just clicked. He’s one of my best friends to this day. He’s my son, but he’s my angel too. We got married when I was 33, had another son, and shared some wonderful years with each other, but then some things started to happen. I started to run away from my feelings and isolate myself. First, I lost my surrogate mother, Mrs. Thompson. She died very suddenly around Christmas. Then my “rock”, my Grandmother, also died. I began to blame myself for not being there more for her. Even though it was her time to go, I still felt this strange sense of abandonment because she’d always been there for me. Then, while I was at her funeral, I got a call from my surrogate sister, and she told me that Durlin, my best friend and surrogate brother, had died. Durlin lost his shit when his mother died and he began shooting Heroin. He died of a Heroin overdose just three months after starting to use. To add to it all, my loyal dog Samdawg also died. She had been with me for the entirety of my sobriety, 12 years.
<blockquote>”I feel motivated to pursue a new life with myself, my boys, my career, and my God”</blockquote>All this loss happened in a very short time and it was really difficult to deal with, even with 12 years of sobriety. I began closing everyone out. I focused on work, pushed everything else aside, and basically closed down as a human being. I was running from all of those emotions by staying busy. It was a really hard and trying time which had a direct impact on my marriage and my family. My wife needed connection, but I kept pushing her away. She gave me every chance to change, but I couldn’t, and she left. It’s been really hard.
In the fourth Alcoholics Anonymous step you list out your fears in writing and the ones at the top of my list had all come true. My Grandma died, I lost my best friend, and my wife had left. The only reason I stayed sober through all of this was because I was still surrounded by the A.A. program and support. People were sleeping on my couches just so I wouldn’t be alone. I became really depressed, couldn’t eat or sleep, and I lost an excessive amount of weight very fast. I wanted to stop feeling. There were several times when I found myself on the way to go buy drugs and would say to myself, “Just call one person and if that person does not answer then you can go.” Miraculously, the person would always answer. Because I’d had so many great years, I’d forgotten how bad my depression could get. Without my wife and family I felt like an empty shell. Throughout all of my trauma, addiction, and difficult years, I never felt like I wanted to end my life. For the first time I felt like I might just end it. When I did sleep, I’d wake up from awful nightmares, and sometimes even with this obsessive taste of gun metal in my mouth. I don’t even know what gunmetal tastes like, but that’s what was in my head.
I remember one particular Tuesday, about a year ago, I was driving to work when I realized that I was at the point that I was either going to get loaded or put a gun to my head. I had a 9mm handgun at home so I put it in my car, drove to a friend’s house, and asked him to keep it from me until he knew it was safe. I still don’t have it back.
I’m not in the best of spots right now, even after 13 years of sobriety. Right now I have a choice. I can deal with things like I did last year, or I can look at the growth over the last year and move forward in another way. Now, for the first time, I am trying to take a step back and honestly work on myself. I hope things work out with my wife, but if not, then I think I’ll at least be able to say I’ve done everything I can. That gives me some closure, because last year it was all about what I didn’t do. If there is one thing that I think my wife believes now, it is that I do love her unconditionally and I always will. It’s tough right now, but I’m trying to stay in a place of surrender. I can still love her, it just might not look like what I want it to right now. Whatever comes of all this, hopefully I can know that I really tried and live with that. I’ll always have my sons.
You can tell when a boxer is in complete survival mode. He’s covering up and just waiting for that bell to ring. That’s what the past year has felt like for me. But because I have stuck with and been surrounded by the Alcoholics Anonymous program, the love of my family, and my sons, I’m finally coming out of survival mode. I feel as though I’ve started living again. I feel a drive and ambition to love more, live more, and breathe more. I feel motivated to pursue a new life with myself, my boys, my career, and my God. No matter what I’ve been through, as long as I am putting one foot in front of the other, it might not work out as planned, but it always works out.