Getting Sober at 17 yrs old.

[fa icon="calendar"] May 10, 2017 11:06:29 AM / by Peter H


I grew up in Mtn. View, California and at the age of 17, I found myself at a crossroads. Once my addiction had reached the point of requiring professional help, my Mom and I went to see a doctor that specialized in chemical dependency. When the doctor came to greet us, he was not what I expected. He was an older gentleman that appeared as if he only knew medicine rather than being able to possibly comprehend what I was going through. He sat us down and said to my Mom…”You are basically putting Band-Aids on the problem…if your son does not stop what he’s doing…he’s going to die.” I could tell my Mom was fighting back the tears and doing her best to remain strong. The doctor went on to tell us about a treatment center in Minnesota that could help.

Many old timers in the program have asked me “Peter, how could things have become so bad that you had to enter treatment at the age of 17?” My response is simple… "my addiction and alcoholism had become so bad that treatment was absolutely necessary. I was tired of the lifestyle, the danger, and the certainty that if I continued, I would not live long enough to see my 20th birthday.” I had no dreams or aspirations of going to college. The only thing I could focus on was getting my next “fix.”

Prior to my using career...I was the typical "All American kid from the suburbs with high aspirations of one day becoming something great.” My life consisted of school and year-round baseball and football training. 

While in treatment, I learned about a local collegiate recovery program. My parents and I flew from California to tour the campus and meet the staff. Frankly, I was hesitant at first to join the program. Moving 1,500 miles away from home was a monumental commitment. Nevertheless, it was a commitment that needed to be made. When I was greeted by the program staff and current students, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort and hope for the future. The program welcomed with open arms and it was the first time in my life that people no longer looked at me as just an addict and an alcoholic. I was encouraged to use my leadership skills, participate in student government, study abroad, and represent the program at a national level in Washington D.C.

I experienced some difficult times when I first came joined the program. I grew up playing baseball and football and many of my closest friends went on to play baseball for Division 1 schools and some went on to play professionally. I had my chance...however different plans were in store for me. I spent many afternoons in my counselor’s office expressing my feelings of envy and anger. Why was I here in Minnesota and my childhood All-Star team mates were playing on fresh cut grass for top Division 1 schools? With the support of staff, my friends in the program, I came to realize that I was here for a reason, I was given the opportunity to make an impact in the recovery community and provide leadership within the program. This program has made what I once thought impossible....possible. 


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Topics: substance abuse, Drug Rehab, Recovery Program, Drugs Adiction, Chemical Dependency

Peter H

Written by Peter H

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