My name is Dodge and I am an addict. I started drinking and using drugs at around 13, but at a different level compared to my peers. I had to have the most of whatever it was that was being brought to the party. Looking back now after working with a sponsor and doing step work, I can honestly admit I was an addict long before I found drugs. I had to be the fastest, and I had to have all the attention. If you do one back flip into the pool, I had to do two back flips into a pool. So, naturally once I found drugs, I had to be the one with the most. Along with that, I had to always put on this imagine that I was having more fun than anyone because I had more and I could do more. My addiction took me away from anything good I had going for me in my life.
Recovery has brought all that was lost back to me, and I have learned how to maintain it. For some reason I thought the key to active addiction and having a manageable successful life with drugs was to always to make more money. It didn’t matter how much money I made; I always would lose something. Either I would lose the car, the apartment, or the job. As this went on, and isolation became more present in my life, I lost friendships, family members would no longer speak to me, and being a father to my son was foreign to me. Jails from here to Texas, and corner store bathrooms were all I was familiar with and all that I was left with was just a hollow shell of my former self.
After a moment of clarity, I thought to myself that I may or may not have a problem but let me try and go to treatment anyway. I didn’t get much from going to treatment. The truth is I got out and used the next day. The one thing I did get out of going to treatment that has played a very pivotal role in my recovery was a sponsor. As meetings were brought into the treatment center I would listen and judge. Everyone was talking about getting a sponsor and going to meetings. I heard a man speak of hope in a way that got my attention. The next day I called him, and he got me connected with a sponsor. I was staying in a halfway for a month. Sneaking around drug tests, lying to everyone about how much time I had clean. Through a series of events which now I know was my higher power working in my life, I ended up moving to Fellowship Recovery Community Organization. Again, I squeaked by my first drug test under the radar. They suggested 90 meetings in 90 days, get a home group, have a sponsor, work the steps, do service, make your bed, and be in by curfew. I followed the rules because I really had nowhere else to go. After being around some of the great men at Fellowship RCO, and all the staff, I came out of a meeting one night and finally had enough. I couldn’t take the dishonesty-of who I was, and what I was doing. I called my sponsor and came clean, and my recovery began July 15th, 2020. I took every suggestion that was given to me. I became honest with who I was and surrendered and started working steps.
Christmas came, and I was ecstatic. It was the first Christmas with my family that I was going to be clean. My son, brother, mother, father, and grandma were all going to be there. It was one of the greatest gifts that recovery has given me so far. I had not seen my son for about 3 years, and I hadn’t been a part of Christmas with my family for 2 years. On December 28th, I was supposed to head back to Fellowship. My father and mother went to the hospital because my father was having some side pains. About 15 minutes before I was getting ready to leave, and saying my goodbyes to my brother, son, and grandma. My mom called us and said my dad has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
I called my house manager Jerome and told him what was going on and I was able to stay with my family. On January 15th, 2021 my father came with me to pick up my 6-month key tag, and on January 21st he passed away. Everyone from Fellowship, my house manager, and sponsor were there for me. They said, “don’t use no matter what, go to a meeting and share about how you feel.” I took all their suggestions. I am still clean today. I could not have done it on my own, and will always give thanks to my higher power, sponsor, and Fellowship.
Today my life is amazing, and full. I got to take my son to a 4th of July fireworks show, I get to play board games with my mom and grandma. My dad golfed at the same golf course 4 days a week, and they started an annual tournament in his name for cancer awareness and I get to be present for all of it.
My brother and I are 5 years apart. There was a time he didn’t want anything to do with me. He once told me I was never the big brother he needed. Today our relationship is something I’m grateful for. We go fishing, work on cars, talk about life, and have fun with each other.
The biggest gift I have ever received from recovery is having my family back in my life. Sure, the cool things come back like the cars, the jobs, fun things to do because you have money now, but to me the best thing so far is my family. Today I’m a full-time student working on becoming a civil engineer. I never dreamed I would have that opportunity. I would hear people talk about having a life beyond your wildest dreams, keep coming back, and don’t leave before the miracle happens. I never knew what all that meant early on, but today I’m living it. Thanks for letting me share.