I Can’t Live Like This Anymore

After years of drinking, drugging, jail, and totally messing up my life, I finally found the help I desperately needed . . . at David Lawrence Centers .

By Jon

I’ve spent more than a fourth of my life behind bars . . . and about half of it in my own personal prison, made by my own choices.

I grew up in a broken home, spending my childhood with my dad, who was good to me and taught me morals. But when he fell on hard times financially and could no longer support me, I had to move in with my mom, who was drinking and drugging. I ended up getting high with her at a very young age, and by 13, I was drinking and drugging too.

That was my lifestyle through my teen years, plus I was selling drugs and getting in trouble with the law. When I was arrested at 18 on ten felony charges, you’d think that would be a wake-up call. But I was sent to drug court, where they gave me a second chance. I was put on probation, but I violated it immediately, and I just found ways to manipulate the system. I wasn’t willing to work on myself; I was just looking to get it over with.

Over the years, I spent 104 months in jail altogether. That’s a total of eight years and eight months, but I still never learned. I was a mess, and I didn’t care.

Things got even worse when I was 22 and my dad died. Well, he had a heart attack and was brain dead for 15 minutes before they revived him. Then he was kept alive on machines, unable to move or talk or anything. He was basically a vegetable, kept alive by machines, wasting away. It was so awful, I couldn’t even bring myself to visit him in the hospital. It just tore me up inside. I didn’t know how to handle my emotions.

And so to avoid dealing with it, I drank more, took more drugs, and dove deeper into a criminal lifestyle. I was only interested in myself. I didn’t care about anything else. I just went off the deep end. After a year, the family finally decided to pull the plug on my dad, and he died.

Death was pretty much part of my life through my 20s. Over the years, a lot of friends died, mostly from overdoses. But none of it was enough to make me stop the harmful life I was living. Then one day, after another close friend died, I finally said, Enough. I can’t live like this anymore.

I was mentally and spiritually broken.

Second chance

Right about that time, in 2014, I was arrested again, for drug possession charges and driving on a suspended license. Somehow, I ended up in drug court again, which never happens. You usually get one shot at drug court, and if you blow it, you don’t get another. But my case must have slipped through the cracks.

Looking back now, I think it was a God thing, a miracle, for me to get a second chance like that. Because this time I was ready to make some changes. I was beaten and broken, and they gave me this opportunity. And I wasn’t going to mess it up.

Part of my sentence included 90 meetings in 90 days, including three counseling sessions at week at David Lawrence Centers . That’s when and where things really started turning around.

The counselors at David Lawrence Centers taught me how to be accountable and responsible. They taught me time management. They got me involved in a 12-step program and taught me how to live sober. They put me in situations where before, I would’ve made the wrong choice, but now I was equipped to make the right choice. They taught me a lot of life skills, how to deal with emotional things. They taught me a lot of things I couldn’t see about myself.

David Lawrence Centers was amazing in helping me get my life back on track. They showed me how to be of service to other people. I got involved in volunteering. I got a job, and I’ve held it all along.

I do a lot of work with drug court, and in the recovery community, helping others. I tell my story at detox centers and 12-step meetings, trying to give people hope. I feel bad for all the lives I messed up when I was a drug dealer; now I want to help people get clean.

I’m engaged now too, and my fiancée and I are fostering two teenagers. We got a call from DCF, saying these kids needed a foster home, because they’d been bounced around so much.

Can you imagine that? Me, the former drinking and drugging criminal, earning enough trust that DCF would ask me to foster a couple of kids. I never would’ve believed it a few years ago. But people trust me now—my customers trust me, my family trusts me, and even I trust myself, which is a big deal.

I’m so grateful to David Lawrence Centers in playing a big part in this transformation. I couldn’t have done it without them.

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