True Story: Orion

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

I have a family history of drug addiction, and my dad is still currently struggling with it. He and my mom got divorced when I was young, so I was around addiction, but not for very long. Mostly I blame my personality; I was always obsessive about everything I did, always wanted more. I was never satisfied. So when I started using drugs I was just so consumed by it, even from the very first time I smoked weed. I’ve heard some people say that it took them a while before they became addicted, but not me. I was obsessed.

That was when I was about 12, and after that it was drinking and then my drug of choice, which was Percocet. I was never put off by the knowledge of how bad a drug was for me, so I kept trying harder drugs even though people said they could kill me. Once I got into Percocet I pretty much stopped doing everything else and my life just fell apart. I was 14. I got arrested a couple of times, and I couldn’t remember some things I did or said while high. One time my mom was crying, and she said I’d told her I couldn’t stop using even though I wanted to—and I had no memory of ever telling her that.

When I was arrested for the third time, my mom had had enough. She talked to my drug counselor and they referred me to the Phoenix House Academy of Dublin, New Hampshire. I went in for an interview was admitted a week later. I didn’t even have to wait. I was pretty defiant in the beginning, and on my 30day update I had my bags packed; I was convinced I’d get my mom to let me out. But my family and counselors were like, “Nope, you’re not ready.” I thought, “Oh crap.”

So for two months I was pretty badly behaved but then something clicked – I don’t know what it was – and I started to open myself up and give treatment a chance. It was slow going, mostly because a lot of my behaviors were pretty impulsive. I tended to do whatever I wanted and say whatever I wanted, and I needed to take a closer look at that tendency. In the end, I’m really glad I was there for six months because that’s what I needed to work on my behaviors. For me, my family was a big motivation—making sure I made things OK with them.

I met some of my best friends at the Academy, and I loved all the counselors. I still go up there once every two weeks to visit them, volunteer, and talk to the kids. When I completed treatment I took all the advice they gave me. I stopped hanging out with the kids I used to do drugs with, made new group of friends, got a job, and got my driver’s license. I used to play soccer before I started doing drugs and now that I’m sober I’m able to do that again. I’m still in high school and looking forward to graduating early in January of next year. I’m planning to go to college in Florida to become a psychologist or a counselor.

I live with my mom, my stepdad, my younger brother and younger sister—my other sister lives with my dad. I’ve gained my family’s trust again, and they all enjoy having me around now much more than they used to! I’ll never forget graduating Phoenix House and having my whole family there, my cousins and aunts and everyone telling me they’re proud of me. I mean, my mom didn’t know what to do with me back when I was using, it was really hard on her and it still is when she thinks back on it.

I hope that other kids who are in the position I was in will realize that nobody can make you get sober—you’re the only one who can do that. You’re the only one who can change your life. But believe me, when you do change your life, it will just keep getting better.

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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  • Sister of Orion

    I’m proud of my brother for getting treatment for his addiction. He is not negative like he was when he was using.

  • Mom of Orion- Dawn

    We are proud of Orion for his accomplishments. Keep up the good work!!!! Every day does keep getting better and better. Love You, Mom

  • Chris Averill

    I am very proud of you and think you did a great job in not only regaining your life but allowing other folks who may be struggling that the drugs dont have to win.
    You are a winner and I know you will be able to do anything you want to do in your life.
    Congrats and know that many of us are so glad that you turned your life around.
    You have so much to offer the world.
    Go get it,, decide what you want and go for it.
    Way to go,,, Chris

  • Scott Folsom

    This kid truly rocks!

  • Melissa and Sam

    We are so proud of you Orion! Sending you endless support 🙂

  • kathleen

    I’m a mother of an addict whose addiction is destroying not only him, but the entire family. He has just been accepted into PhoenixHouse. Your story has given me hope for our son. His drug of choice is heroin, but like you, he started out years ago with pot and drinking, then pills. The pill supply disappeared and someone introduced him to heroin as a replacement….That was the beginning of the end….But now we are regaining hope and thank you so much for your “testimony” . God Bless you, and your mother! I think it’s hardest on the moms. If you ever get to Rhode Island, it would be great for you to visit Phoenix House in Exeter and tell your story. Hope is so important. Thank you for that. And when my son calls to come home after a month, I’ll try to be strong, too.

  • Jade

    This just popped up on my news feed and I have to comment. I don’t know if any of you will see this because it’s such an old post(Orion, Sam, Melissa, and Scott F), but on the off chance you do- Hi guys! I miss you all and hope you’re all doing well!

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