I grew up in San Diego, California, in a small coastal community named Ocean Beach (pictured above), which is 23.2 miles north of the Mexican border. Looking back on my childhood, I have very fond memories of going on family vacations, hanging out with friends, playing video games, going to theme parks, riding bikes, skateboards, and bodyboarding at the beach.
There were an abundance of good times, however, I also vividly recall a lot of hardships. In fact, many of my earliest memories are psychologically disturbing experiences.
As I visualize all of the traumatic events that happened during my adolescent years, I realize how they could have increased my chances for developing substance abuse issues. My parents, aunts, uncles, and friends of the family have told me how outgoing and happy I was as a toddler and little kid.
They said I was always making people laugh, and had a ton of energy and enthusiasm. I don’t remember this phase of life, but I do recollect how things were from about 5-6 years of age onward. What I can declare with certainty is that I was extremely sensitive.
Table of Contents
- No Shield of Protection
- The Gateway Drug
- The Consequences of Marijuana Addiction
- My Dream Jobs
- Introducing Alcohol and the Hard Drugs
- The Progression of my Alcohol Addiction
- The Drug Enforcement Agency Pays me a Visit
- My Drinking gets WAY out of Control
- Probation and Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings
- Twelve Step Meetings Just weren’t my Cup of Tea
- Switching from Alcohol to Drugs
- Pills Made me Feel Great
- Eviction and Evacuation
- My New Life in New York
- Going Back to Cali
- My Opioid Addiction Begins
- The Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome
- Suboxone to the Rescue
- Relapsing and Back to Cali…Again
- Addicted to Heroin as a Drug and Alcohol Counseling Student
- Overdosing and Almost Dying
- Medically-Induced Coma
- My Wake up Call
- Ending my Addictions and Getting Healthy
- Supplements Took Away Cravings and Helped me Stay Clean
- The Book that Changed my Life
- My Personal Growth Skyrockets into the 4th Dimension
- Becoming a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor
- Unleashing the Power Within Me
- Becoming a Seminar Junkie
- Following my Heart
- The Exciting World of Entrepreneurship
- Falling in Love with Internet Marketing and Blogging
- OpiateAddictionSupport.com Takes off!!!
- Life After Opioid Addiction is Truly Extraordinary
No Shield of Protection
And along with being deeply sensitive, I was also highly intuitive, easily hurt, and had an uneasy, delicate temperament. For most of my life, I felt like I was lacking a protective barrier, or shield, that could defend me from the harshness of the world. My ability to manage my emotions was virtually nonexistent, and it often seemed as if I was on an emotional roller coaster of ups, downs, flips, and swift turns for much of my life.
When you combine my personality type with some psychological and physical abuse, it certainly increased the chances of me becoming prone to addiction.
Take this a step further, and imagine me in an environment where all of my good friends and roommates were abusing drugs and alcohol, with me having a strong desire for wanting to fit in, be accepted, and be loved, and what you now have is a circumstance of “high addiction probability.”
While my early 20’s were certainly when I began really screwing up, my addiction technically started many years before, with, as cliche as it may sound, the “gateway drug.”
The Gateway Drug
Up until the age of 15, I was a drug-free, straight-A student in my sophomore year of high school. I was very studious, and constantly turned down my friends’ attempts of trying to convince me to go surfing after school, instead of completing my homework assignments.
But that all changed overnight, after the first time I smoked marijuana with a good buddy of mine. I had been offered pot a few times before, but always turned it down with ease. What eventually led to my acceptance of the offer was curiosity.
I wondered what the big deal was, and my friends appeared to function very well under the influence of the natural drug, so it seemed safe to try it once. I figured if I didn’t like it, at least I could say that I tried.
The first time I smoked weed, I neither enjoyed it nor disliked it. In fact, I felt nothing at all.
Meanwhile, my two friends were laughing and having a great time, and they told me that some people don’t feel the effects the first time. We made plans to smoke again the following night, and when the time came, the three of us met up in the same dark alley around 8:00 pm.
After taking a few hits from a water pipe, my teeth started to buzz. Ten minutes later, we were in my friend’s bedroom playing video games and eating junk food. I really enjoyed the marijuana high. After that, I began smoking weed a few times per week. My grades began to fall, though I didn’t care, as I was having more fun than ever before.
The Consequences of Marijuana Addiction
By the beginning of my Junior year, I was basically a full-blown stoner, and my GPA dropped to 2.5. I smoked almost daily, and considered myself to be an “enhancement smoker,” because it made things like surfing, movies, hacky-sack, skateboarding, music, video games, and even eating, much more pleasurable.
While marijuana had it’s benefits, I also experienced many negative effects from the drug, which included:
- Short-term memory loss
- Lack of motivation
- A fierce sweet tooth for candy, cookies, brownies, and ice cream
During the years I was supposed to be learning life skills and deciding what I wanted to do for a career, I remained stoned, lazy, and content with the prospect of attending community college. I had no real ambitions other than playing guitar and surfing.
Hard work was not in my vocabulary, but instant gratification sure was. As a result of my thoughts, decisions, behaviors, and view about life, I ended up dropping out of community college…several times in fact.
I didn’t know what the hell I was even going for.
No careers seemed like they would be a good fit, I wasn’t too interested in what I was learning, and I would constantly skip class to go surfing when the waves were good…which was quite often back then!
After failing to make any significant progress in the traditional school system, I finally landed the perfect full-time job.
My Dream Jobs
When I was 22, I started my new life as a “video game tester,” the absolute perfect fit for a lazy stoner that didn’t care for responsibility or matters of the serious kind. During my time as a game tester, I also started selling pot. Within 90 days, I was making so much money dealing drugs that I was able to quit my job, and for the next two years, I lived a pretty crazy lifestyle.
It started off as Nirvana. I had a great apartment, lots of money, and most importantly, all of the free time in the world to surf and play guitar whenever I damn pleased.
I no longer had to worry about graduating from college, and I was very proud of myself for beating the system. The days of working low-paying, dead-end jobs were over. I had arrived. I was living my life purpose, or so I foolishly thought at the time.
Along with the drugs and money came fortune and fame, and I soon had more “friends” than I knew what to do with. I had quite the entourage, which consisted of true friends, freeloaders that wanted to smoke free pot, and people that just wanted to hang out at the party house to socialize and get buzzed.
Introducing Alcohol and the Hard Drugs
It was all in good fun, until the days of innocence were nothing more than a distant memory. Up until the age of 22, I had only been addicted to marijuana. I had tried LSD and shrooms less than 15 times combined, and drank alcohol to intoxication less than 30 times.
But along with the money, fame, and entourage, came harder drugs and more alcohol. After the short six month age of innocence ended, I found myself trying many new mood-altering substances.
In the span of approximately two years, I had now tried the following new drugs:
After experimenting with these different substances, I never became addicted to any of them at that point in my life, but I couldn’t say the same for alcohol. The more I drank, the more I craved it.
The Progression of my Alcohol Addiction
At first I just drank for fun, but eventually I started hanging out with some new friends that drank alcohol every day, so that’s what I did. I loved how the alcohol made me more self confident and outgoing.
Looking back on it, that was where I started abusing alcohol. I was blacking out, making bad decisions, and getting into arguments with my girlfriend, among many other people. My friends even had a nickname for the person I became when I was blacked out on Jack Daniels:
A purely evil demon that kicked and punched holes in walls, slapped girls on the butt right in front of their boyfriends (who were much bigger than me), and even urinated on his own girlfriend in her sleep.
I’m not proud of what I did, but that darn whiskey didn’t agree with me. Actually, alcohol in general didn’t agree with me. After several months living in the abuse phase of my drinking, I quickly graduated to the next level, as I had now become physiologically dependent on the substance.
I started drinking alcohol first thing in the morning until I passed out at night.
I was barely eating, and I was severely malnourished. My mental and physical health deteriorated, and I was on a path of total self-destruction.
The Drug Enforcement Agency Pays me a Visit
Of course I felt that I had good reasons for drinking so much alcohol. You see, a month before my drinking really got out of control I had been visited by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). I knew the gig was up, and quite frankly, I was relieved. The lifestyle that used to be so fun and seemingly innocent had turned into a living hell.
I was stressed out all of the time, and my fearful thoughts were ruling my life. So as scary as it was to go to jail for the first time, a big part of me was grateful that I made it out of my drug-dealing career alive, albeit incarcerated.
After I was bailed out, I had a month before I needed to be at court for my felony arraignment. But instead of getting my shit together, I buckled under the extreme stress. The charge filed against me was “Possession with intent to distribute.”
The DEA had found about three pounds of marijuana in my safe, which were all weighed out into separate bags that weighed quarter pounds and ounces.
Along with this, they also confiscated $4,200, which was neatly divided into stacks of $1,000 with rubber bands. Oh, and let’s not forget my notebook that had names of people that owed me money, along with the amounts they were in debt! Yes, the DEA placed that into their pile of evidence as well.
I knew there was a chance of getting off easy with a sentence of probation, but my fears got the best of me.
My Drinking gets WAY out of Control
The worst case scenario continued playing through my head, and I couldn’t bare the thought of serving time in jail. However, I had never taken responsibility for my own life, and I wasn’t about to start now. I began drinking more than ever. After all of my money and drugs were gone, my entourage disappeared overnight. My cell phone, which rang almost nonstop for two years straight, became silent.
Now it was just me and a few other alcoholic friends of mine, and that was just fine with me.
I drank day and night, night and day, with almost no food consumption, until my body could no longer tolerate the poisoning.
It got so bad that one day, every drink of alcohol I took came back out by method of vomiting. I simply could no longer hold it down. What ensued was a sleepless night, filled with psychological terror, and vivid hallucinations that were like waking nightmares.
I was experiencing delirium tremens (DTs), a psychotic condition typical of withdrawal in chronic alcoholics, involving tremors, hallucinations, anxiety, and disorientation.
Probation and Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings
That event was enough to scare me sober for about a week, then it was off I went on another bender. I managed to sober up again before my felony arraignment, and my parents hired a lawyer for me, as I had no more drug money, and no job, to pay the fees myself.
Over the next few months I went to court a couple of times, and eventually was sentenced to three years of informal probation, with a small fine, and 200 hours of community service at a nonprofit organization of my choice.
During those months, I stayed sober by going to AA meetings daily, working with a sponsor, reading the Big Book, and praying to the “Force,” which was the Higher Power of my understanding I got to choose.
Yes, the Force from the Star Wars movie! I was sick of being on the Darkside of the Force, so I chose the light.
After I got off easy on my charge, and completed 90 meetings in 90 days, I stopped going to AA meetings. I also stopped everything else I was doing for my program of recovery, and within 30 days I was drinking again.
Twelve Step Meetings Just weren’t my Cup of Tea
For the next four years, I strung together various lengths of abstinence from alcohol ranging from a few weeks to a year. Sometimes I went to AA, but generally I stayed away. After trying it out so many times, I realized that it just wasn’t for me. I never felt like I fit in, and to be quite frank, I didn’t want to.
The people there did not have a style of living that I wanted, and the idea of being “powerless” didn’t sit well with me. Combine that with the crazy “AA police,” the “Big Book Thumpers,” and the general atmosphere of “programmed” individuals, and I soon became disenchanted with the ancient self-help group.
I should state here that I believe AA is a wonderful program. I witnessed firsthand how many people changed their lives for the better as a result of following the steps and traditions.
Furthermore, the AA members that “live the program” are some of the most spiritual, kind, and selfless people I have ever met. I’m so grateful this program is here to stay, and I’m also thankful that I listened to my intuition and chose a different path.
Switching from Alcohol to Drugs
During my years of on-and-off drinking, I started using drugs more frequently. However, even when I wasn’t drinking, I would often use Valium, Vicodin, cocaine, crack, marijuana, speed, and other drugs, because they never resulted in me losing control. Every time I drank, there was a high percentage chance I would get arrested, and after two DUI’s and two Drunk In Publics, I was not interested in a free nights stay downtown anymore.
Of course I suffered some consequences from using the drugs over alcohol.
For instance, I went through Valium withdrawal, methamphetamine withdrawal, and had many all-nighters on stimulants. I never enjoyed watching the sun come up after a night of heavy drug use, and after a few occasions where I went without sleep for three nights, I decided that meth and crack were no longer viable options for me. By my late 20’s, I came to a point where I was just tired of all the partying and doing crazy things.
I mellowed out (a little), and I started to focus on only using prescription pills such as:
…and whatever other benzodiazepine and opioid medications I could purchase illegally.
Pills Made me Feel Great
However, at that phase of my life, I still hadn’t become a daily user. There were two main reasons for this. The first and most important reason was that I was broke, so I couldn’t afford to buy much. The second reason was that I was getting them from a few of my friends during the time of month their prescriptions were filled.
Within a few days of getting their new prescriptions, they would sell out, so I was only able to purchase small amounts at a time a few times per month.
If I had more money, I know I would’ve purchased more of the pills, because I absolutely loved the feeling of these medications, especially Percocet.
I would often crush up the Percocet tablets and snort the pill dust, then go smoke a ciggarette on the porch right afterwards, due to it amplifying the high and relaxing me further.
Eviction and Evacuation
After a few months of toning things down, the wildfires of October, 2007 hit San Diego. My roommates and I had recently been evicted from our two bedroom house that was a half block away from the beach, because we spent our rent money on drugs.
We were staying with friends in Ramona for a few days while we were homeless, and that’s when the fire came.
The whole city was evacuated. Shortly after that, I was living in a loaned out truck with the drummer of my band.
We didn’t take to being homeless very well, so after about a week my drummer told me he was flying back to upstate New York to live with his parents.
He offered to let me come out and stay with him, and since I had absolutely nothing worthwhile in my life (including a home), I figured it was the right thing to do. A week later I was on a flight to upstate New York.
My New Life in New York
The first two days I was there I went on a huge drinking bender. I spent over $200 on alcohol and drugs, and while I was passed out drunk, someone took a couple hundred dollars out of my wallet. I woke up with a huge hangover, and only about $100 left to my name.
At that point, I decided I had to do things differently in New York than I did in California.
I continued to use substances, though I was able to tone it down a lot. Within two weeks of living in the new town, I got a job at a popular deli, and within two months, I rented a room from a friend of mine.
I even had a girlfriend, and she ended up moving in with me rather quickly, as my roommate moved out into his girlfriend’s home.
I was living the good life for awhile. A change of location had a very positive impact on me. I only drank or took pills from time to time, and I was even paying all of my bills early. After a little less than two years of living this life, my girlfriend became pregnant, and we broke up two months later.
Going Back to Cali
I moved back to California, but instantly fell back into my old habits. I was living with my parents, I didn’t have a job, and I was drinking, using pills, and experiencing severe depression. I simply couldn’t bare the thought that I was going to be a father who wasn’t in the child’s life.
Finally, I made the most important decision of my life. I decided that I absolutely had to be a part of my kid’s life.
After four months of hell in California, I sobered up, then moved back to upstate New York. I had my old job at the deli again, and a nice two bedroom apartment that was two blocks from work. I was happy again. Two months later, my daughter Willow was born.
My Opioid Addiction Begins
Within a few weeks, Willow’s mom moved out with her new boyfriend. We shared the responsibility of raising Willow, however, we both started to use opiates on a daily basis. I preferred snorting OxyContin, as it made my emotional pain and loneliness completely vanish.
After about two months of using opiates everyday, I ran out of pills, and for the first time I couldn’t find anyone to purchase more from. I went to work on a Monday morning, and within an hour, I had a massive panic attack.
My boss was worried and concerned about me, so he told me to take the day off. I drank about ten beers throughout the day to ease my anxiety, but the next morning the anxiety was worse, and I was sicker than I had ever been before.
The Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome
I went on the internet and found out that I was going through opiate withdrawal. I ended up taking four days off work, and they were pure agony. I told my boss that I was having severe anxiety, and he was very understanding and told me to take the time I needed to get better.
I was exhausted, and spent most of the time on my couch or in my bathroom. I couldn’t sleep, and it felt like things would never get better.
On Thursday evening, I managed to score a big bottle of Valium. I took 15 mg right away, and within an hour I was feeling good enough to walk into town and get two slices of delicious New York pizza, and a Mountain Dew.
I went back to work the next day, and the Valium really helped me feel good again. However, addiction is a baffling disorder, because despite the intense acute withdrawal syndrome I had just experienced, within a few days I was snorting OxyContin again.
Now I was spending so much money on Oxy’s and other opiates that I had to barrow money from friends on a regular basis, because by this point I knew what would happen if I went a day without them.
Suboxone to the Rescue
Then I began selling my possessions, one by one, until a fellow addict sold me an 8 mg tablet of Suboxone, which is an opioid agonist medication that eliminates withdrawal symptoms and cravings. This was my savior, because now I could spend $5 to $20 per day, instead of $30 to $80.
The Suboxone medication, along with a morning cup of coffee, allowed me to feel happy and energized throughout the day, and I no longer cared about using Oxys or other pills.
I got another girlfriend, and she moved in within a month. She helped me raise Willow for the next year, though I was going back and forth between Suboxone and prescription pills, hiding my physiological dependence from her and others. At one point I even got clean from everything for about three months, though I was bored one night at band practice, and when I received a text from an old dealer of mine that they had Oxy’s, I thought one night of fun couldn’t hurt.
Relapsing and Back to Cali…Again
However, that one night of fun led to seven more months of hell. In the middle of that seven months, I moved back to California with my girlfriend, daughter, baby momma, and baby momma’s boyfriend. We all wanted to get out of that small town and start a new life for ourselves, and I felt like I had a real chance at happiness again.
My plan was to sober up as soon as I got back to California, but instead, my addiction became worse than ever.
I started smoking heroin daily, quit my job, and my girlfriend moved back to New York. My baby momma and her boyfriend were also using heroin, and things started to get more and more out of control. I was lying, stealing, and pawning musical equipment to continue to pay for my gram of heroin per day habit.
Addicted to Heroin as a Drug and Alcohol Counseling Student
Though I could function, hold a job, and pay bills while I was taking pills or Suboxone, heroin addiction was a different dynamic. My whole day revolved around getting money, linking up with my dealer, then smoking heroin ever hour or two throughout the day.
Believe it or not, during this time I actually started going to school to became a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor!
I was smoking heroin before and after class, and was able to hide my addiction from classmates, friends, and family.
Then one day, about three weeks into my first quarter of school, my dad looked through my phone and read a series of text messages between my heroin dealer and I. The gig was up, and the next morning I went to see my doctor to try and get on Suboxone.
However, to my amazement and disbelief, my doctor decided to put me on methadone and Valium.
Overdosing and Almost Dying
When I filled the prescription at the pharmacy, it was one of the happiest days of my life. I remember holding the giant bottles of pills and feeling like my life was about to get much better. However, I started taking way more pills than I was supposed to because I wanted to get high and numb my emotional pain, and within 48 hours of filling my prescription, I almost died from an overdose of methadone and Valium.
My parents came downstairs to check on me, and they found me lying on my bed, my face was greyish blue, and I wasn’t breathing.
They called 911, got me breathing again, and soon after an ambulance arrived on the scene. I remember feeling like I was being abducted by aliens when the EMTs were putting me on the stretcher and into the ambulance.
I was not conscious, but I literally felt like the I was in a spaceship, strapped down, and I was scared to death that the aliens were about to operate on me. As scary as it was, it was also kind of exhilirating, because being abducted by aliens had been a previous fantasy of mine.
I came back to reality for a split second as I vomited and saw an EMT with a look of total fear in his eye, frantically asking me a question that I couldn’t understand. They had obviously just given me a shot of naloxone, which put me into instant opiate withdrawal.
When I got to the hospital, I was having trouble breathing on my own. Apparently, while I was passed out in my room from respiratory failure, I vomited while lying on my back, then swallowed the vomit. This lead to an infection.
The doctors put me into a medically-induced coma, placed a breathing tube down my throat, and the machines were providing me with oxygen, while simultaneously getting the infection out of my lungs.
The next memory I had after seeing the EMT’s face was a brief flash of when the doctor took the breathing tube out of me. I remember struggling to breathe.
Then, all of a sudden, I caught my breath.
I looked up and saw people celebrating, and I think I gave them all a thumbs up.
My Wake up Call
When I finally came to full consciousness, I realized the severity of what had happened. I had narrowly escaped death, and it was a true miracle that I was still alive. I had messed up a lot in the past, but this was in a whole new league of stupidity. Due to my addiction, I nearly left Willow fatherless before she even turned two. This didn’t sit well with me.
I decided that no matter what pain I had to endure, I would never be selfish again, because it wasn’t about me anymore.
I was a father to a beautiful little girl, and she needed me. She needed a healthy, loving, and responsible dad in her life. My near-death experience was a true wake up call. I felt very guilty about what I had done, yet I also felt this knew sense of happiness.
When you almost die, then get a second chance at life, it’s an interesting feeling. I felt a new sense of confidence and bliss, and I made a decision that I was going to finally end my life of addiction.
Ending my Addictions and Getting Healthy
I guess you could say that I had finally reached my bottom. Within a week I was out of the hospital and back in school. Ironically, during the week I was in the hospital, my class watched a documentary called Methadonia, a film that displayed many hardcore New York street junkies nodding out on high doses of methadone and benzodiazepines.
I had to make up some school work, so I watched the documentary and wrote a paper on it. I was even on 40 mg of methadone while I did this, because the doctor prescribed it to me after getting out of the hospital!
However, since I didn’t want to get stuck on methadone, and due to the fact that I was in school to become a drug abuse counselor, I got off the methadone in eight days.
I took Valium for a short duration afterwards to minimize withdrawal symptoms, and then I got off that drug as well. A few days after discontinuing Valium, I decided to quit smoking cigarettes. Shortly after I stopped smoking, I eliminated caffeine from my diet. Next I drastically reduced the amount of sugar I was consuming.
I began eating healthier, and during this time I also started taking nutritional supplements to rebalance my brain chemistry.
Supplements Took Away Cravings and Helped me Stay Clean
These supplements were specifically formulated to increase natural production of dopamine, endorphins, and GABA, which are the main neurotransmitters in the brain that I was deficient in from opiate and benzodiazepene abuse. These supplements were the biggest reason I was able to make such an easy recovery.
After quitting opiates numerous times in the past, I would always be strongly affected by Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). PAWS is a set of symptoms that occur after the acute withdrawal.
The longest I had been clean off opiates in the past was three months, and for that whole duration I suffered from the following symptoms:
- Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
- Extreme fatigue
- Aching muscles
However, this time around, I quickly became physically and mentally healthy as a result of taking the correct supplements for coming off opiates and benzos.
The Book that Changed my Life
Five weeks after quitting opiates, I read a book that radically altered the course of my life. What I find extraordinary is how the book ended up in my life. I was sitting next to my younger brother during our family’s Christmas party, and he was opening up a present that our cousin gifted him. He tore off the final piece of wrapping paper, and held up a book that was titled The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, by Neil Strauss.
I laughed because it was a book on how to pick up women, and I thought it was a pretty funny Christmas present. However, I found myself curiously attracted to what lay inside, so I asked my brother if I could browse through it.
He handed it to me, I read the first page, and I was so compelled by what I read that I asked to barrow it for a day or two.
I finished reading it in less than two days, and my mind was completely blown. However, it wasn’t because of the strategies I learned on the art of picking up women. Instead, I was amazed at the transformation the author of the book went through during the two years he studied the art of pickup.
He changed his image, started working out, began going to personal development seminars, read a ton of self-help books, and learned how to use something called Neuro- Linguistic Programming (NLP).
I was so fascinated with his personal growth that I decided to copy what he had done, so I began purchasing the books he recommended for self-improvement.
The first book I read was called Introducing NLP: Psychological Skills for Understanding and Influencing People (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), and once again, my mind was blown. Learning NLP was like having an owner’s manual for the brain. My whole outlook on life changed.
My Personal Growth Skyrockets into the 4th Dimension
Next, I read Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement, a book by the self-help guru Tony Robbins, and I conditioned a whole new mind set. I was a completely different person after reading Unlimited Power. Instead of being fearful, lazy, and self-conscious, I was now confident, happy, focused, motivated, and passionate about creating the life of my dreams.
Within three months of quitting opiates, I was:
- Lifting weights
- Taking supplements
- Eating healthy
- Doing well in school
- Reading 1-2 books a week
My physical, mental, and emotional health were at an all-time high, and I was loving the person I was becoming. Personal growth become addicting. I ordered personal development audio programs from Tony Robbins, and started setting goals and achieving them, while expanding my world and conditioning an even stronger mental outlook.
Becoming a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor
At this point, I was almost done with school, and had recently started my four month internship at an Opiate Treatment Program (OTP). I had only been off opiates for six months when I started my internship, but I felt like I had been sober for ten years.
The amount of progress I made in such a short amount of time was almost unbelievable.
I ended up performing so well during my internship that within a month of starting, the Clinical Director offered me a full-time, paid counseling position after I completed my 255 hours of training. I enthusiastically accepted, because I really felt I was built for working there. I had been addicted to opiates, made an extraordinary recovery, and now I was able to help other people conquer their opiate addictions. When I started working there full–time, things were very exciting for me.
I really enjoyed my job, which consisted primarily of:
- Individual counseling
- Group counseling
- Helping patients develop Treatment Plans
- Writing progress notes
- Providing addiction education
In addition to what I learned in counseling school, I was also continually developing my skills by reading books on:
- Person-Centered Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
- Supplements for addiction recovery
Along with these books, I was reading self-help books and doing audio/workbook programs by Tony Robbins. In fact, the things I learned from Tony Robbins about psychology became a very large part of my counseling style.
I simply couldn’t learn enough about addiction recovery and the chemistry of personal transformation. I was obsessed with developing my counseling skills, and I really strived to become an extraordinary counselor.
Unleashing the Power Within Me
After counseling full-time for ten months, I went to a Tony Robbins seminar called Unleash the Power Within that changed my life forever. I had already made dramatic improvements in my life, but after that four day seminar, I was a different person.
I totally crushed and overcame my limiting beliefs that were still holding me back from reaching my true potential.
Here is an essay I wrote about my experience a few months later:
Unleash the Power Within was the four day event that radically changed my life FOREVER.
I had read Tony’s books and done most of his audio programs the year leading up to the seminar.
As a result I had totally shifted my psychology and improved absolutely every area of my life.
Before I started learning from him my life was completely upside down.
I was drowning and had no sense of direction or purpose. My emotions were all over the place.
I had at least mild anxiety most of the time and was ruled by fear.
I was a slave to my mind. Constantly focusing on negative things, with an inability to take control.
My relationships…toxic would be putting it mildly.
My health and fitness…..horrible.
I was a scared shell of a man that desperately needed a breakthrough.
After reading Unlimited Power I started to change the way I thought.
After doing some of Tony’s audio programs I had gained confidence and conditioned an incredible new mind set.
The first day of UPW I wrote down all my fears, crumpled the paper, and threw it onto the flaming hot coals I was supposed to walk on at the end of the night.
When it came time, I walked on the searing coals fearless and painless.
Throughout the rest of the seminar, I broke through limiting beliefs that had been holding me back for years.
Tony did a series of guided visualizations while we were all in a peak state with intense emotion, lighting and music that imprinted my nervous system with such magnitude that I came out of the program a different person.
I felt a new sense of confidence and happiness.
The morning after the event I boarded my return flight home.
I read through my UPW workbook to review what I had learned.
I had a BURNING DESIRE to design a future that was so compelling that I would be pulled towards it with unlimited passion and energy.
On the flight home, I got out my journal and began to write down and visualize the life I wanted.
By the time I got off the plane for the first time in my life I had a crystal clear image of what I wanted for my life.
It’s only been four months since I attended UPW, and I know I will never be the same again.
The amount of changes I’ve made is UNBELIEVABLE!
I never thought life could get this EXTRAORDINARY.
I never thought I’d feel this happy, healthy and fulfilled.
My career is taking off.
I have amazing relationships with my family and friends.
I’m in the best shape and health I’ve ever been in.
I have COMPLETE CONTROL of my mind and emotions.
And most importantly….I have crystal clear goals and finally have an ultimate vision and purpose for my life which guides me everyday.”
Becoming a Seminar Junkie
After that event, my personal growth skyrocketed into a new dimension. The essay you just read was actually the grand prize winner in a Tony Robbins contest. I won a free ticket to his advanced seminar Date with Destiny.
After I found out that I was the grand prize winner, I knew that I could do anything in the world that I desired, as long as I wanted it bad enough.
At this point in my recovery, books and audio programs were not enough for me anymore. I felt my happiest when I was traveling the country to attend seminars on personal development, health, and wellness. Shortly after attending Unleash the Power Within, I went to a 4-day seminar on qigong and food-healing.
My mind was completely blown into the stratosphere. On the very first day, me and 300 other people did something called the Breath Empowerment, which is a 45 minute advanced breathing exercise that hyper-oxygenates the body.
Upon completion of this exercise, I felt absolute pure bliss for five minutes straight.
Though words cannot describe the state I was in, I can only describe it as feeling like being on the drug called ecstasy.
However, my state was totally natural, spiritual, and I started crying tears of love, joy, and immense gratitude.
This experience, along with the qigong techniques I learned, compelled me to study qigong and food-healing in more depth. I practiced qigong everyday, and a month later I became certified as a Level 1 Instructor.
Following my Heart
At this time I was really getting into health and wellness, and I quickly grew disenchanted with being a full-time counselor at a methadone clinic. In fact, I was outgrowing it so fast that I started to dislike my job.
I was still very passionate about helping people recover from addiction, but not in the form of counseling them at a treatment center that provided extremely powerful drugs. I just didn’t feel like I was supposed to be there anymore.
I had been uninspired there for a few months, then one day I remember sitting in my office, and getting this gut feeling, this voice in fact, telling me my time there was up, and it was time to move on.
I didn’t know what I was moving on to. I just knew I was meant for greater things. For a couple of months leading up to that moment, I had been reading books and attending workshops on business and marketing so I could help my dad sell a natural, topical pain reliever he makes from home that is called Self-Heal Balm.
So when I got off work that day, I told my parents that I was giving my two weeks notice the next morning, and I was ready to become a full-time entrepreneur.
The Exciting World of Entrepreneurship
They were on board with my plan, so the next day I submitted my letter of resignation to my boss, and two weeks later my life as an entrepreneur began. Looking back on my decision to leave the counseling profession, I realize it was propelled by two events.
The first event was when I found out I had won the grand prize to the Tony Robbins essay contest. The second event was in the same week.
I learned that in 1519, Captain Hernan Cortez landed in Veracruz, Mexico, with the intent of beginning a great conquest. He immediately ordered his men to burn the ships, which meant that they were either going to win or die trying, because they didn’t have the escape plan anymore.
Handing in the letter of resignation was my way of “burning the ships,” and it was one of the best decisions of my life.
After I left my career as a counselor, I immersed myself in the world of business and marketing. My parents paid for me to attend approximately 12 business workshops, and ordered me several books to read as well.
I became extremely passionate about:
- YouTube Videos
- Online courses
……You name it! I was obsessed with learning as much as I could, as fast as I could, because I wanted to be my own boss and work on projects that I was passionate about.
Falling in Love with Internet Marketing and Blogging
As a result of my studies, I quickly became competent in business and marketing, and after attending a workshop on internet marketing, I knew that was going to be my area of focus. I understood how many people you could reach with a good website and blog, and the possibility’s blew my mind.
I began reading books and watching webinars on internet marketing, and soon after I felt like I had a good grasp on it. Over the next few months, I helped my parents launch their herbal products onto a professional ecommerce website, and began blogging and video marketing with my dad to attract visitors.
During this same time frame, I also started my own blog, www.OpiateAddictionSupport.com.
I was writing blog posts on opiate addiction recovery, and for months I was really just writing for myself, because there was virtually no one visiting my website.
I took a short break from blogging to travel to Orlando, Florida for ten days to attend my Level 2 Qigong and Advanced Food-Healing training, and returned home with certifications for both.
Upon my return, I started to work on my blog more, and I got into a relationship with the woman of my dreams. Things were starting to take off for me. I read books and watched training videos on how to make a living as a professional blogger, and within two months, I made my first $20. I was very excited!
I had never been more passionate about any career in my life, and I decided that I was going to put more time into my blog.
OpiateAddictionSupport.com Takes off!!!
I began writing more and more articles, and within six months, I was starting to see the fruits of my labor. I started getting more visitors to my website, and they were leaving comments about how the information on the blog helped them to quit opiates once and for all.
I also started to make more money, and since I was doing so by helping people recover from opiate addiction (my passion), I became overwhelmed with joy. Around this time I became a Certified Strategic Intervention Coach, and I began to receive emails from individuals that wanted to be my coaching clients.
My coaching style is a blend of everything I’ve learned over the past several years.
It’s a mix of Strategic Intervention, Holistic Health, and my own strategies and interventions I’ve developed. Fast forward to present day: It’s now been 30 months since I built my website and started blogging about opiate addiction and recovery.
I have over 60,000 visitors per month, there are over 150 articles to read, and there are over 4,000 comments on these articles combined. I absolutely love writing articles, answering comments, responding to emails, and working with clients in my O.A.S Coaching Program.
Life After Opioid Addiction is Truly Extraordinary
My relationship with my daughter is better than ever, and I am so grateful for all the blessings in my life. Opiate addiction recovery is my ultimate passion.
I’ve made it my life’s mission and purpose to help individuals recover from this disorder.
I am constantly learning more, writing more, improving my skills, and teaching others how they can overcome opiate addiction and live the life of their dreams. Life is amazing, and I owe it all to getting clean, trusting in the universe, and going after my dreams.”