Overcoming Youth Addiction to a Brighter Tomorrow: Joui and Dave Share Their Amazing Stories (shared by http://recoverywell.org)

Photo credit: Pixabay


Every recovering addict I’ve interviewed agrees that a major part of sobriety is accepting responsibility for their past actions. But I met quite a few whose substance abuse began in childhood — long before they had the ability to truly understand what they were getting themselves into. They faced a uniquely difficult challenge and still managed to overcome, with stories of courage and strength that just about anyone can find inspiring. Here are just a few of the stories they shared with me.


Joui had no one to depend on, but eventually found the support he needed


Joui fell deep into the world of substance abuse before he could even drive.


“I have been living on my own since I was about 14 years old,” he said. “I’ve been very heavily involved in selling drugs.”


Being immersed into that kind of situation made a major impact on how he grew up — with both drug use and devastation all around him.


“My life was a complete wreck, from friends dying to just seeing some of the worst things you could possibly ever imagine,” he reflected.


Eventually Joui realized he needed and wanted a new life. He decided to check himself into drug rehabilitation, where he found healthier ways to cope with not only the temptations of drugs and alcohol, but the resentment he felt about his past.


“I learned a lot of coping skills [in treatment], from seeking safe environments and anger resolution. That gave me a better outlook on the way I present myself as a person and how I should go about things in a different way instead of automatically jumping the gun by getting angry about something,” he explained.


One of the most beautiful lessons he learned in rehab was to trust in people again. He said that although he didn’t have anyone to lead him in the right direction as a child, he knows now that help is always out there — and if he can find help, so can anyone else in need.


“Don’t think that nobody is out there for you, because it’s going to be a shock when you … realize how many people are out there who are going to put their hand out and pick you up. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall … someone’s always going to pick you up,” he shared.


Dave found a healthier escape


Addiction found Dave before he had even become a teenager:


“At age 10 when I began escaping reality and my emotional issues, marijuana and hallucinogenic were my choice of drug. Then probably 5 months into my quest to erase my mind or wander into oblivion, I found alcohol, and that quickly became my rapacious creditor.”


His life took repeated dangerous turns, including a DWI (driving while intoxicated) charge at age 17 and a near-fatal car accident three years later. He finally made the decision to head to a rehabilitation facility in Boonville, Missouri, but ran into even more trouble before he could arrive.


“On my way there, I got off at the wrong exit because I had drunk a gallon of vodka on my way there. I blacked out, I hit a curb, and when I came to, I found myself in the custody and care of Boonville’s finest,” he described.


Still, sobriety escaped Dave for several more years. Eventually, he began to wonder if it was even a real possibility for him, noting that before he entered alcohol treatment he believed that his fate may be to end up a statistic.


Fortunately, his time at Serenity Rehab in Michigan helped him find the sobriety he feared was out of reach. He said that although he knows his disease will be a lifelong battle, he has a much brighter view for the rest of his life:


“I was seeking solace and escape, and you can seek solace and escape through recovery and treatment. It’s not curable, but it’s manageable and it’s treatable.”


It’s a terrifying thought that addiction can sink in its teeth before someone has even become an adult, but that’s what makes Joui and Dave so inspiring. They fought back against a darkness they’d spent most of their lives in — and they came out stronger than ever before.

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