I had every advantage growing up in Colorado. I came from a good family, attended private schools and went to culinary school to become a chef. My alcoholism cost me everything. I lost jobs, houses, cars and much more important things like my dignity and custody of my young daughter. I’ve been homeless, on life support and in detox more times than I can count.
To understand the extent of my alcoholism, you need to understand my cravings: they were extreme and led me to drink everything from hand sanitizer to two gallons of vodka a day. My body was telling me that if I didn’t get alcohol into my system, I was going to die. My parents were always waiting for the call from the hospital or law enforcement telling them I had overdosed and died.
I tried countless times to get sober and couldn’t. But when I entered Arapahoe House’s Healing First rehab program, they offered me a new tool in my fight against addiction: Vivitrol. Vivitrol is a non-addictive medication used to control cravings for substances like alcohol, heroin and prescription painkillers. I was desperate to try anything and started monthly shots. Three weeks into my first dose, any cravings I felt for alcohol were reduced to quick thoughts that came and went. For the first time in my life since I was a teenager, I didn’t want to drink.
I received monthly injections of Vivitrol for one year and am proud to say it’s been 15 months and I’m still sober. I work every day on my recovery. Vivitrol wasn’t a magic pill that took my addiction away, but it was the silver bullet I needed to make sobriety a reality. It also helped that the shots were covered by my health insurance.
My recovery gets put to the test every time I go to work. As a chef, I use alcohol in a number of recipes and it’s readily available in the kitchen. But now, it’s just another ingredient to cook with and not something I have to ingest to live. It’s amazing to me that I’ve been able to save up money, keep a great job and set both short and long term goals. I’m working on repairing all the damage I’ve caused to my loved ones and my greatest hope is to one day be reunited with my daughter.
If Vivitrol existed 20 years ago when I initially needed help, maybe life would be different. But, for others out there struggling, I’d like to tell you that no matter how bad it seems, and how many times you’ve failed at sobriety, recovery is possible. You don’t have to feel like a prisoner of your addiction. Arapahoe House and Vivitrol changed my life.