True Story: Layton

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

LaytonRaymondMy parents split up when I was very young.  My mother had lot of stepfathers in my life and some were quite abusive.  The only person I could really cling to was my older brother.  I was always with him and his buddies.  They would go off in some other room, and I’d sit by myself.  When I finally figured out what they were doing back there, I thought, “Wow.  Whenever these drugs are around, nobody cares how much money you have or what you’re wearing.  Everybody’s just happy to be a part of it.”

At the time, I felt like I was losing touch with the only man I ever knew, my very first best friend.  I didn’t want to lose that connection, so I started getting high.  I was probably about 12.  Then around the age of 14, I started taking pills.  When I took pills and smoked pot, I felt better about my life.  I had a thousand problems in front of me, but didn’t feel like anything was wrong.  I loved that.

Going on through high school, I never had the guidance to have the right kind of relationship.  So, I found the most messed up person I could find.  My girlfriend’s parents changed my life in the worst kind of way.  Her father and I became close.  I was like, “Man, somebody’s finally seeing something great in me!” Then one day, he came over and laid down a big block of methamphetamine on my table.  He said, “Well, son, can you take care of this?  This will take care of you and you’ll never have to worry about anything again.”  So, I started selling methamphetamine and eventually, I started using it myself.

I was 18 and barely out of high school when the police caught me and put me on probation.  After I got out of jail, I was in an abandoned house, just going from place to place hoping someone would help me.  I stayed on the streets for many years.  It was so surreal.  I mean, I had a diploma!  And here, I had lost everything.  There was nothing beautiful in my life anymore.

Then a buddy at work came to me and said, “Man, this drug will make you absolutely happy about everything.  You’re going to feel twice the man you are today.” That’s when he put heroin into my life.

Later on, I married a girl who was also a drug user and we started doing coke together.  When she left me, my heart was just in pieces. I remembered what my buddy had told me: “You don’t have to feel like this if you don’t want to.” I grabbed my whole savings of $900 and bought as much heroin as I could.  I went into a corner of my room and did drugs till I blacked out.

I started getting very sick from heroin withdrawal.  Then I had to do it.  It was no longer enjoyable.  I had no choice.  I remember sitting on my bed, crying over my plate of heroin.  I kept telling God, “I’m so sorry I’m like this, but I cannot stop.”

Finally, I was leaving the dope house and a cop stopped me.  I didn’t even lie.  I got in the back of the cop car and thanked him.  I said, “You have no idea, but you’ve just changed my life forever.”

When I finally got the opportunity to go to the Phoenix House Dallas County Judicial Treatment Center, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  It was hard to take in at first, but I started picking up on relationships—healthy relationships with boundaries.  I met men I could call brothers who weren’t trying to hurt me.  At last, I felt whole.  It’s still very emotional when I think about the change that it took with me.  I completed treatment in six months, and since April 10, 2010, I have never relapsed.

After I left Phoenix House, I looked at it like, “This world was made for me to be successful.”  It’s been nothing shy of a miracle.  I met my wife in recovery and we have a beautiful five-year-old son.  I have a great job as a land surveyor.  I’m a supervisor with a crew of four people.  I’m purchasing my home.  I can look at my mother with blue eyes—not red eyes—and tell her I love her.  Every day, I’m grateful.

The biggest lesson I learned at Phoenix House is that victims will always be victims.  I used to blame my father, my brother.  I was never the problem.  Now, I take personal responsibility for my actions.  I meet my financial responsibilities.  I take care of my wife and son.  I’m a good man today.  I couldn’t say that before.  When I look in the mirror, I love the man I see.

If you or a loved one needs help for substance abuse, call us today at 1 888 671 9392 or send us an email.

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