My story starts in Amarillo, Texas, where I was born to a drug-addicted mother who was just a baby herself. According to the adoption agency, she was a couple of years away from turning 18, and my birth father was either on the run or already in jail. I was fortunate enough to have been adopted by a couple from New Jersey. I couldn’t tell you when I found out that I was adopted. It was just something that I always knew.
Growing up, I was the textbook definition of validating how I felt by having a female partner. Whether it was to hang out with or date – I couldn’t live without that dynamic. Still, the irony is that I also did not know how to be a part of these relationships as my life was plagued by severe emotional immaturity fueled by anger and jealousy. When I was either twelve or thirteen years old, my parents got divorced. My father had an affair with a close family friend, and that was the end of that. My dad was out of the house, and I knew that I would not be reprimanded anymore with the back of his hand or with his loud and angry screaming. I didn’t have to watch my mother provoke my father anymore and then cry wolf when he reacted. I was now the man of the house.
I eventually got a sponsor and took suggestions. I slowly but surely felt better about myself and got out of my comfort zone. I spoke about what bothered me, and I was brutally honest, for the most part,. Fellowship RCO was not only the best thing that ever happened to me, but it saved my life. I learned valuable life skills there, and I made lifelong friendships.
As guys, I got clean with started dying left and right; I realized that I could do this. On April 18th, 2017, my baby sister died from a heroin overdose in a hotel room in Newark, New Jersey. She was down in Florida with me but had to fly home for a court date that she never made it to. This was the final piece of evidence that I needed to know that I would never get high again.
Shortly after, I was offered a house manager job at Fellowship, Kyle jokes that a storm got me that job. Ask him what that means if you know him. I worked at Fellowship for two years and got my feet wet working in the drug and alcohol treatment field. If you have ever worked at Fellowship, you know what I mean when I say that job is one of a kind and cannot be duplicated. From the bare hands-on experience, to the countless training opportunities that Rick and Sara would put together for us; I was well-rounded and employable in the field.
I could type pages and pages about how important Fellowship is to my story and how I attribute nearly every aspect of life to that experience. I currently am a business development representative for a company that has locations in numerous states. I get to network with various professionals, attend networking events and work with families to find safe treatment options for their loved ones. Fellowship taught me the basics of everything from doing a client’s intake to holding their hand throughout the early stages of their sobriety. I have my dream job and dream life, and without that, I would not have what I have today.
My father currently has stage 4 Pancreatic cancer. He does not have much life left, and I wish I had taken the time to improve our relationship sooner. He is just happy that his son is doing so well. My advice is that if you have a sibling, parent, or friend with who you are not on good terms – call them. Tell them that you love them. I miss Brianne more than words can ever describe, and this stuff with my dad is kicking my ass. I was all over the place with this, but I hope that someone can take something from this and use it as a source of inspiration.