Voices of Recovery – Drug Addiction and Homelessness

drug and alcohol addictionVoices of Recovery is a multi-blog series intended to deliver the true stories from drug and alcohol addicts own, real life stories of addiction. This week, we continue the story of Errol, whose abuse of drug and alcohol led him to homelessness. As a middle class kid from Huntington Beach, his story into the depths of addiction proves that addiction knows no social or wealth barriers. You can read Part 1 of Errol’s story here- Urban Camping, Freedom & Drug Addiction.

I was a smaller kid and had a baby face so it allowed to me to get away with a lot more stuff that other probably couldn’t because I had an innocent look to me. I was able to walk into grocery stores and shoplift liquor with relative easy. Because of that, I was able to bargain with others who had marijuana and we could work it out where I would go in and steal some booze to share with others, and in turn they would share their drugs with me. Typically, I could get a bottle of vodka or on occasion take a lot of the small plane sized alcohol bottles of all different types….that became pretty common and I never get caught(at least for shoplifting).

It was about this time as well where I would wait for my mom to go to sleep at night, and then take the keys from her purse and take her truck out for a joy ride. She had a little Datsun pickup that I would take and pickup a friend or two and simply go where we wanted to go. Later we were talking with a police officer who approached me and a group of my friends and starting asking questions about the infamous Huntington Beach “baby driver” who was known to frequent the neighborhood. And we all kind of stood around smirking and saying we had never heard of it…I think at heart I kind of liked it a bit as it gave me a bit of infamy and maybe made feel like I had a bit of power or something. Eventually, I did finally get arrested for it. This was maybe the second time I was arrested and it coincided with my increased abuse of alcohol and marijuana. But it also began to have an effect on me where I didn’t fear getting arrested. I didn’t like it by any stretch but by that same token I didn’t fear it nor would it bother me as my problems gradually progressed.

Ironically, as I became a full blown addict and my drug and alcohol addiction turned into weekly runs where I would almost want to get arrested as it would be almost a relief from the massive amount of drugs and alcohol and almost like awaiting “the other shoe to drop” to use a cliché. That was the kind of life I was living and it seemed like the only normally life I knew how to lead. And no matter how hard I wanted to change and no matter how deep down I knew it was wrong, all my brain knew was the life of drugs and alcohol.

That was the kind of life it was, even when I wanted to do something different I simply knew nothing else. Later I learned this is not uncommon at all in people suffering from drug addiction. I ended up being arrested over 40 times in 3 states, being pronounced clinically dead 3 times and had to be brough back to life, I lived in the bushes next to a freeway, I probably broke every bone in my body at some point or another. And while a lot of people suffer through drug and alcohol addiction, for whatever reason there was something in my personality that made me take to the extreme. And because of the depths of my addiction, I did not perceive myself as being a homeless drug and alcohol addict. I convinced myself that I was living some type of dream life where I was experiencing the ultimate in freedom. I could do whatever I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do it, and had absolutely no responsibilities other than scraping up enough money to get my drugs and alcohol.

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