"I thought the way I was doing it was okay because I had a prescription"
Recorded December 11, 2019 Archived December 11, 2019 18:08 minutes
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DescriptionTo start you are a person in recovery correct? Yes. Okay. So to begin do you mind telling us what you were addicted to? Oxycontin and percocets. Okay, so what was the pivotal moment that made you want to change your life? Um when i went to go coach crossfit and was extremely high from taking 4 oxy in the morning before i went and my feet started to tingle while I was teaching the class and there were 23 people relying on me to keep them safe doing movements. And my feet were tingling and i was like wow and my legs started to get numb and i was like if anything were to happen right now I wouldn't be able to move or help someone, so that was kind of what made me realize if i wanted to do this crossfit thing and have my own gym i can't come to the gym messed up on drugs. Wow...okay, can you remember how, why or who you started misusing drugs with? So to start how you started misusing drugs to begin? Um when i first was allowed to run again after a surgery i got in 2017, I knew that if you crushed up a percocet and snorted it, it got into your bloodstream faster and i really wanted to run because it was the first time I was allowed to run and I knew I was going there for physical therapy just to run on the treadmill. Right. And if I didn't run that day than they wouldn't let me run for another 2 months so I crushed 2 up and snorted and as I was going there i was like that was probably not the best idea i should of just took it and let it run its course, but i was taking multiple before and it was taking so long to work. Mhm. I was so sure that if i snorted 2 it will be by the time I get to the physical therapy office i will be able to run and not feel pain. So that was the first time. Wow um okay, do you know who you started mis using drugs with, or was it all by yourself? Oh it was all by myself. Do you have regrets? No. Because going through what I went through made me appreciate life a lot more and like certain things and on top of that it just made me understand those type of people that get in a situation where they are addicted and I never experienced that in my family or anything like that so and i've never been one to say i'm addicted to something like i've never been one to get addicted to things. So that, being addicted truly opened my eyes to a lot more and than made me understand even if ya know if i thought i was doing it for a good reason because i was getting prescribed it, cause like my doctors are saying oh you're in pain here's another prescription. Mhmm. It felt like it was okay, but realistically it isn't because once it ended thats when, when my physical therapy ended i still was looking to get more, so. Wow, okay, um how do you feel or think differently about drugs now? Now i'm very cautious of any type of pain im in. Um i still have to get hip surgery so i'm kinda cautious with that just because I'm currently trying to figure out a way to see if i can get a medical marijuana card for that instead of being prescribed percocets or oxycontin or any type of pain killer because of what I went through. Um so it makes me look at the drug marijuana a lot differently, because before it was like you just did it to get high with your friends. Mhmm. Now it's like wow this is actually something I can use for my pain and not be like snorting oxycontin. Right. Or getting addicted, it's something that I can actually use that just makes you want to eat more and feel better. So i think that changed my mind about it because at first i was like why is this going to be a medical thing when people just do it to get a good stone, you know what I mean. Mhmm. Just to get high, and then once i went through what I went through I was like wow this alternative doesn't mess with your kidney, it's less room for addiction to get to the point to where I was and I wasn't even doing other hard drugs like heroin or like I was literally just trying to get healthy to play a sport again and the next thing you know i'm addicted to something. Right. So I think it changed my view on also the doctors themselves because they just kept prescribing me it, like it wasn't even a question of like this kid might get addicted, like hes a college athlete he wants to get back and play. Right, put so much focus on how bad say marijuana is on the street but not realizing the impact of like pharmaceutical drugs that doctors are prescribing. Exactly. Which is crazy, um do you feel like people judge you or treat you differently because of your past? 100%. Um when i first started being more open about it people started being more different uh when I first started telling people when I realized I had a serious issue when I was teaching that crossfit class um my therapist said I should start telling people, and when I started telling people, people were shocked more than anything because I never was a reckless kid I never did anything, ya I got in trouble in high school for fighting and stuff like that but I never was like stealing and I was always doing right by my mom and I were working so many jobs. Mhm. Just a lot of people didn't think I would be that type of person to do something like that, which also made people have a bad taste in their mouth about me, like there is a good amount of people don't talk to me anymore because of it and were like how could you not tell me and like that you needed someone, but at the same time I really didn't know I had an issue like everyone else until that day when I was starting to feel my legs go numb. Right, and you were like oh this is an actual problem. Yeah the moment I knew other peoples lives were at risk while I was high was when I was like alright I think this is an issue, but at that time I was just like I was getting the prescription and they should of, not that they should of stop me but they should of been like. Ya no ya. Ok you just took 200 pills in a matter of like 3 months, lets reevaluate you and see if there's another thing we can do instead of just like let's keep feeding this kid pills until he can run again or stand up again or X Y and Z. So I think me telling people made me lose a lot of people but I also gained a lot better people in my life because of it. Thats awesome, Um are there any people from your past or people affected who weren't using or misusing with you that you still speak with? But you said that you did that all by yourself right? Yeah so I did that all by myself. Okay so that question gets kind of bummed out. Haha. Are you active in the community to help others stop or educate before hand about drugs? Yes um I do talk to a lot of people that are going through recovery that go to my gym, so that's a big thing um we work with this program called the phoenix. Um that does like a lot of clothes drives and stuff like that and we also do people have to go through 3 meetings with them before they are allowed to get there free month of crossfit classes. Oh wow. It's kind of like a sobriety thing. Mhm. And then every 48 hours you have to take a drug test throughout every month to get free classes, so its like your paying us by showing us that your sober. Thats awesome. So we just started that, that just started up again, we don't really do it that much in the summer because not that many people have interest. Um I don't know why but a lot of people will ask me about the program now that the winter is coming, so doing stuff like that and just being more open about it, like the more I talk about it um whether its just at work or if im going back to my high school sometimes um I try and go talk to them. Hearing that other people have the issue the same way as me and not just someone who is addicted to heroin that just started taking percocets. Right. It's so vague that not many people realize that wow someone who got surgery that is a college athlete is more likely to get addicted because there incentives are more persistent. They do have the money they can go get it they can get surgery. Right. There like more pressure on a college student than if you don't go to school you don't have any responsibilities and your just sitting there trying to get drugs. Yep. That's just your everyday thing I'm trying to get drugs and get that high while still trying to be an everyday student and athlete and so I think that helps more because not that many people realize it I think it changes the view mostly on like well if I get this surgery it will be easier to recover from i'm just going to keep popping the painkillers like no you can't do that. Right. You have to only take a few because of this, and everyone is like oh it's just surgery. Oh it's no big deal. Like I'm not taking it for my, like I didn't go out of my way to get it, like I needed it. Ya i needed it too but then there came a point where I should've stopped and I didn't because. But yea at that point you were addicted, what was the name of that program? The phoenix. The phoenix alright, have you personally ever suffered from any overdoses or near death experiences due to your addiction? Near death experiences? Never an overdose but near death experience would say uh I was driving home one night from work and I was already a few I think I took like 3 or 4 percocets or oxycontins before work and I got to work at 12 that day and worked till 7, and I was driving home and one of my friends hit me up asking me if I wanted a beer and I said sure and for some reason it was a natural reaction I just grabbed one and took another perc and im probably sitting at 4 or 5 that day and then I started drinking and than like the 3rd or 4th beer in I felt like really fucked up and than I drove home. And I should of not drove home and I was like a solid 25 minutes away from my house, like I had to go back on the parkway. Mhm. And then go back on 9 so it was not, I put myself in danger that day, that day probably should of been the day that made me realize I should probably stop but that was like i will probably say uh a month or 2 after I was able to walk again, I was taking whatever the fuck I coulkd cause I could finally walk again. Right. So. Okay, well at least you learned right? Yeah, haha. Have you lost any friends or family from a drug or alcohol addiction and did that influence your behavior? Um I did lose a couple friends but they were like they were also people that were not a good group of people that saw an opportunity when I first got my prescription to get it to sell it and I was just not doing that I wasn't okay with that, and I also just really wanted them all for myself. Right. Because of how it was helping me, “helping me” at the time, um I can't really think off the top of my head just because I never lost people because they found out it was more like I was cutting myself out of the world because I was ashamed more of that what I was doing because I knew what I was doing was wrong but I didn't care. Okay. So I did whatever I could to make sure that I when I was in the public eye I was at work or I wasn't in the public eye because when I was at work I had to be professional I had to do this I had to do that, but when I wasn't at work I didn't care who was looking at me or what anyone was thinking or how I was acting, so I lost a lot of friends in that aspect in the way I was acting not from me necessarily telling them I was addicted. Um and than my one sister, I have 2 older sisters, but one of them struggled with addiction of I would probably say more alcohol than drugs in um high school but it was a little bit of both, and she was like, we didn't talk for like 4 or 5 months, because she was so disappointed in me because she. Because of what she went through. Yeah, like I was, she's only like 2 years older than me, so like we were in high school together like I watched it all happen and I would hear what people would say about her and everything and like, but again she was doing it, I love my sister to death, but she was doing it for a different reason, like I literally thought I was doing it and was okay because I had a prescription I had surgery to back it up there, I'm still 4 or 5 months out from stopping physical therapy, so why should I stop taking 5 oxycontin a day. RIght. Like this is the way my mind was going and it wasn't going like oh my sister was in high school when she used to go to the high school wasted. Yeah you weren't even thinking about that. Yeah, and do drugs at lunch and it wasn't like, like I wasn't doing it in that manner so I thought I was doing it the right way which I wasn't. Okay, and my last question for you is what is your home like, home life like, than vs now? Oof, um than my home life was really rough um because when I got the surgery in 2017, they initially, stockton told me they were going to cover it by insurance and they didn't. So I got a bill for $21,700.53. Haha. I remember exactly how much, um and I couldn't pay it and my actual father is an extremely rich man and he doesn't talk to me and he refused to pay it, so my mom took him to court for that. So that added stress on everything and than uh I had to take out a loan because I couldn't afford the payments so that added more stress and i'm like wow, I can't even walk for another 2 weeks and I have a loan I just added on top of my school loans. So I had to drop out of school because I was like I gotta start working more um once I was able to walk so I did that and than my mom and I barely talked she kinda felt, I kinda felt like she was resenting me because now she doesn't know what to do because now she's going back to court with my dad for this money, she doesn't know how i'm going to be able to afford it and I still got another loan on top of the loans she knows I already took out for school, so more debt piling on top of me. Mhm. And at the time both my sisters didn't talk to my mom because of other family situations like they were just fighting and my step dads dad was in the hospital for a heart attack, so like a lot was happening. All at once. All at once and once I was able to walk and things started to get going well my uncle was diagnosed with lung cancer. Oy. So that kind of shifted everyone's attention, not saying that I wanted attention but like. Mhm. Like everyone started caring more about that and I noticed my relationship with my whole family started to fall because I was always by myself no one was asking how I was doing anymore and it was more like, it was like you don't see the 7 empty bottles on the table like clearly my prescription is like open like I can get as many as I want and no one is going to say anything. So there was a solid 4 months where I didnt feel like I had a family like I was just going through the motions like, wake up everyday go to physical therapy, go to work than come home shower and go to my other job and then go to bed. Mhm. And then the next day the same thing over and over again from monday through friday, and no one asked no one said anything to me I never knew when they were going to go visit my uncle like it was just like my family kind of stepped away from me. But then once I got done with everything it started getting a little bit better and then we lost my uncle and then I started getting better because everyone was like coming to each other I guess and being there for one another and then when I first openly told my mom and my step dad sitting down that I was addicted to oxycontin and percocets, my kidney, cause I went to the hospital and they said my kidney was getting a bunch of plaque in it because of all the percocets and oxycontin. Right. My kidney couldn't filter any of that as quickly as I was taking it, um so I obviously had to stay in the hospital for 3 days, and my parents needed to know so, I'm not just going to be there and the insurance was going to call them anyway so I had to tell them before I went in and then that's when I think they realized what was going on. Oh we have a problem. Yeah, cause like I said when I was younger, no one ever needed to take care of me from a young age like my dad left when I was 13 and from then I started working as a busboy to doing newspaper to cutting peoples grass. No one ever needed to take care of me because I was always very independent. Your very independent. So I guess they thought when I was going through that and because im 21 years old I should be able to handle that independently, but I wasn't able to um but once I told them and we sat down my mom was with me in the hospital for 3 days while I was getting my kidney cleaned out and stuff, I think that's when our relationship started going back to normal and my family started caring a lot more because they realized this wasn't just like me being a knucklehead like this is a serious issue it's not like im trying to go back to play lacrosse and that's it. Right. Its like no i actually don't even think about lacrosse anymore because i need to wake up and take 5 of these pills just so I can go to work everyday. Right. That's not healthy, so it definitely was one hell of a roller coaster and I never realized how much in the beginning of the situation when i got surgery and the environment actually affected me, cause if my uncle wasn't going through that and everything with the money my family would of been a lot more at ease and like I wouldnt of felt as much I would say pushed to get healthy to work again. Right. Like if I had no time limit and no one told me I had to start paying off a loan in 4 months I would have not been pushing so hard to be able to walk again and run and do simple things. Mhm, wow alright well thank you so much for letting me interview you. Of course.