By: Anthony G., Transformations Alumnus
Nothing, nothing, and pain…the only true feelings I was feeling at the time. I was a broken shell of a person. My family did not trust me, my friends did not trust me. I felt isolated on an island while living in the middle of crowded Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I could not hold a job anymore, since getting fired from my old occupation driving a Zamboni, a job I had held for a few years in Pembroke Pines, Florida. I would sit and watch people go to work in the morning after a sleepless night wishing I could be normal like them. I would watch birds and wish I could be as free as them. I could not, I was trapped in this prison I made for myself. Hopeless, afraid, pain. A few more feelings started creeping in. I started thinking suicide was my only way to freedom. Either that or jail to get me somewhere else. What have I become?
On a random day, my mother called me and asked if I wanted help. This was a new proposal to me. Since I had never been to rehab before, I thought it was like a prison or something you see in a movie. I did not know what to expect, but I did not know what else to do. While nervous, I jumped at the opportunity, hoping for a new tomorrow, but not really expecting to be able to change. I was in a permanent cloud from these drugs and alcohol. Whatever poison I was stuck on for that month. I left my spot on a new journey. Ended up at Transformations in the blistering heat of the summer. I was surprised with how nice the facility was, though that is not what I was there for. After some of the fog started clearing, I realized they were giving me some tools I had forgotten about life. Simple things like cleaning my room and buying food for myself. What did I turn into? I had forgotten how to take care of myself in every aspect of life.
The biggest tool they tried to teach was the fellowships. Unfortunately, I was resistant to it because of the anti-establishment ideas I grew up with in the punk music scene. I could not get past the God thing. And I was resistant to the idea of a sponsor. I went to meetings when I got out while living in a halfway house, though I soon found out that just going was not enough for me. I got high soon after. I ended up back in treatment. Did the same thing when I got back out with the same results. The owner of the halfway house was an angel in a way. Gave me an ultimatum, do it his way, or get out. I was even more broken than I was before I ever went to treatment. I tried it his way, which was through the fellowship of AA. I got the sponsor and started doing as I was suggested. I mean I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, and these people seemed to be doing great, so I continued doing that nine years ago now. I could never even imagine what the future would have in store for me.
I finally got a job through people I had met through the rooms. Went through my steps and all that. Started sponsoring people and all that stuff, but after a year I started getting back into the music scene and going to shows. Changed jobs to managing a tattoo shop and started a band of my own. I bought a van for the band to start touring and taught myself how to fix it. On my way back from tour, a friend that would become one of my best friends through the rooms called me and told me about an opportunity to work on race cars since I knew how to work on cars. It sounded fun so I started on my next journey.
Since then, through all I have learned from my AA family about responsibility and my better outlook on life I worked my way up to car chief on a pro team and have been doing the pit stops to go along with it. We have won races and crashed out of them, but the constant is that I have been clean and sober since October of 2012. Through hard work, dedication, and the support of others, I have gone from hell to the beautiful life I have now.
Sober date: 10-16-2012