Before becoming addicted to cocaine, I never knew what a “co-occurring disorder” was—I’d never even heard the term before. Little did I know this phrase was responsible for nearly ruining my life, and destroying my relationship with practically everyone in it. Doing drugs always came naturally to me. As a teenager I had what I believed to be a boring life and an excess amount of money in my pocket to escape it through drugs and alcohol. I started drinking and smoking weed when I was about 13 and just graduated to other drugs from there, eventually developing a cocaine addiction when I was 20.
When I was abusing pills as teenager, my parents entered me in two different rehabs, neither one of them worked. They were relived when I stopped on my own, but didn’t know that I’d just replaced one addiction for another. I graduated college by the skin of my teeth, and told my dad that I wanted to travel before going to work at his company, he indulged me and let me take six months. My plan was to stay at a friend’s house in New York between trips abroad, but I never quite made it out of the country—there was just too much coke to do here in the states.
Life soon became and endless cycle of euphoria and agony. I’d bitten off more than I could chew with coke and had gotten out of control. After attacking my friend over money in a drug-induced stupor, he kicked me out of his house and I had nowhere to go. I called my parents and they wired me money to come home. I didn’t tell them why I needed to come home, but they could tell when I got off the plane. I was 40 pounds lighter than when I left and couldn’t stop moving around. Instead of judging me or yelling at me, they just insisted I give treatment another shot.
I entered a luxury dual diagnosis treatment program that was holistic based because I wanted to learn if there was anything more to my drug addiction than boredom—and there was a lot more. The excellent therapists I worked with during my therapy sessions were able to unlock a deep-rooted depression. I needed to learn how to address it in a healthy and constructive way. When I successfully graduated from their program I left with a refreshing self-awareness I’d been missing and trying to substitute with drugs all my life. Last month I celebrated my first year of sobriety. I remain dedicated to my therapy and have never once lost sight of what I learned about myself when my inner light of self-awareness was turned on inside me during my treatment.