Recovery Is Possible


Ryan Grubbs, BSW, TCADC

Looking back at my early teen and high school years, I can see now that my behaviors were that of an addict/alcoholic. I suffered some things in my childhood that I did not understand. I wanted to escape my reality and I found that alcohol and drugs allowed me to. The first time I drank alcohol I drank myself into a blackout drunk. When an older friend introduced me to marijuana I thought I had found the greatest thing ever. As a junior in high school I was introduced to cocaine. I began using on a regular basis and loved the way it made me feel. I could drink more alcohol and party longer, what was not to love? Despite all the alcohol and drug use, I was accepted into college and moved away from home. Initially the freedom of college was great and I spent most of my free time drinking and using cocaine. That first semester my GPA was 1.6% and I was put on academic probation. I knew then that I was gonna have to put more time into school or I would fail out and have to go back home. By my sophomore year in college I had brought my grades up and was taken off probation. One day playing basketball with friends I tore my anterior cruciate ligament in my knee. I was prescribed Oxycontin for the pain and a date was set for my surgery. I can remember my orthopedic surgeon explaining to me that this was a time released, non-addictive pain medicine. After being prescribed oxycontin for about 7 months, I had become physically dependent on the medication. Little did I know at the time that this drug would finally get the best of me. I was able to graduate from U.K. and get married with no one knowing how bad my opiate addiction had become. I was a functioning addict. I had found a very good connection for oxycontin from the street. By the time that this connection got busted for trafficking I was doing 8 to 10 oxycontin 80 mg a day. With this connection gone I began paying eighty to one hundred dollars a pill. I was buying from new sources and going into places that made me nervous. Eventually, the police busted into one of the places I was buying from and my secret addiction became public knowledge. I went from a happily married father of two, to an unemployed, divorced, miserable shell of my former self. I lost my self-worth and my identity. I was ashamed of who I had become and felt utterly hopeless. I became estranged from my family and friends and struggled to hold any type of gainful employment. I know from firsthand experience that it is not just the person with the disease of addiction who suffers, but also the spouse, children, mothers and fathers. Our family and friends can be mentally devastated by the repercussions of their loved one's disease. When (through government action) the oxycontin became nearly impossible to find on the streets, I turned to heroin. I thought I had it bad with the oxycontin addiction, but heroin literally destroyed me. I found myself living out of a van and doing whatever necessary to get my next fix. I went to inpatient treatment eleven times. I know now that each of these trips to treatment were necessary, and probably saved my life. Often I would stay clean for several months after treatment, but for some reason I could never maintain long term sobriety. In April of 2015 I again found myself in a treatment center in Radcliffe, KY. Feeling miserable and defeated again, my therapist said "this is the only war that is ever won by complete surrender". I don't know why but that resonated with me. He went on to explain that I didn't have to fight and struggle anymore. I was at my wits end. I had nothing left to lose. I made up my mind that I would try this new way of life. I could admit I was powerless over my addiction and that my life was unmanageable. I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as "I" understood him. When I left treatment (for the last time) I surrounded myself with people who were doing the right thing. I changed my phone number and cut all ties with my former "associates". I discovered a new way to live. I was told that the only thing I had to change was everything, and this was true. When one has been in the depths of addiction for years, living life on life's terms can seem overwhelming. This is why I chose to use a self help program that uses steps as a guide to living. I was able to come to terms with the harm that I had caused during my addiction and make amends to those I had wronged. I was able to mend my relationship with my two boys, and God blessed me with a beautiful baby girl. He put an amazing woman in my life, one who also carries the message of hope to the still suffering addict. Through this journey I have met some amazing people. I have been given opportunities that I once thought were unattainable. I have learned not to discriminate against different types of treatment. What may work for one person, may not work for another. I do know that one must make up their mind, to completely dedicate themselves to their recovery. For me, a complete psychic change was necessary. Mind, body, and soul, I am one hundred percent dedicated to recovery. I have developed a relationship with God, and I know that He carries me daily. That I am alive today to write this, is in itself a miracle. Ethan Health has given me a platform to reach more people suffering from the disease of addiction. When I see that light come on in someone's eyes, I know what we are doing is making a difference. Today, I am part of the solution and not the problem. I try to live each day with an attitude of gratitude. By God's grace I have been given another chance at life. Today I realize that no matter what happens in my life, using drugs will never be the answer to my problems. As I am writing this, I reflect back on my four years of sobriety. Not every day has been easy, but every day has been worth it.