For this weeks Voices of Recovery we continue the story of Ali, whose strong personality and battles with addiction had him teetering between endless cycles of addiction and recovery. For this edition, the challenges of a stressful new career challenge the will to maintain sobriety. For previous edition in this series please click here for Voices of Recovery:Drug Addiction Relapse is Never Permanent Continued.
At the height of your addiction how much coke were you using daily?
I would say I was going through a gram a day. At that time as well I found myself calling in sick to work or just not going in altogether, and would sit around the house watching porn, doing coke, and really just completely removing myself from day to day reality and just checking out entirely. And at that point was the first time I checked into rehab.
How old were you at that point?
I was 28 years old the first time I went into rehab. My sobriety lasted about 3 months but what happened was the cohorts I met in rehab only served to give me bigger and better connections and get me access to other drugs I didn’t or rarely had access to before rehab. It is an irony that a poorly run rehab can excel and ramp up drug and alcohol addiction because I was meeting people who had connections to getting other types of drugs. And in this case, this was when I was first introduced to Meth.
You are not the first to tell us how some drug rehab centers merely serve as a building block to other drug connections, nor are you the first to move from Cocaine to Meth. What was your reasoning for that progression?
At that point in my addiction, I was pretty much doing a “party of one” type of thing where I was using on my own and by that point had little to no contact with my friends and ceased doing most of the social things I used to enjoy. So meth was that perfect solo drug where I could use it and spend hours upon hours by myself cleaning the house or watching porn or whatever. It was cheap, lasted a long time, and lent itself to long periods of solo use. At that point I knew I had a legitimate drug problem, or just an addiction problem in general with my personality type and at that point tried for sobriety once again.
What did you do differently this time that you didn’t do last time?
This time I went directly to AA and bypassed going to rehab altogether. I learned about AA through my first stint in rehab but I did not take it nearly as seriously as I should have and figured that I could save my family the heartache and the costs associated with detox and group homes and that whole bit. And through attending AA and going through the 12 step program, I realized and figured out my problems were not with coke or meth or just alcohol abuse…the problem was with me. Because when I removed the drugs and alcohol-I was still a mess. And by that realization I was able to work on my own self, my own needs, my spirituality. I began to help others in recovery and be of service. And that really helped me out and I was able to continue that sobriety for 2 years. Unfortunately, I was tested once again when I took a new job with incredible demands, and while it was financially lucrative, the stress of the job in conjunction with the money made me lost touch with my roots, and stop doing the things that helped me stay sober. It wasn’t long after that, I went back to drugs and alcohol.