Like so many children who experience abuse and trauma, Freddy started experimenting with drugs and alcohol at an early age as a way to escape the mixed-up emotions of his childhood.
“I started smoking weed, and I fell in love with that,” he said. “I was always the kind of kid who hung out with older people, so as I got older, I started getting introduced to other stuff, and my addiction grew from there.”
He was a bright kid, and school seemed boring to him, so he would skip school to do drugs with his friends.
“One day, I started popping pills, and that was the worst for me,” he shared. “That’s what I fell in love with. I didn’t feel anything when I would get high, and it was easier for me to talk to people.”
The next several years were a blur of drugs and alcohol for Freddy. Fortunately, his mother worked at Healing Transitions’ women’s campus and kept encouraging him to get help, so he checked into the organization’s recovery program, but he says he was never doing it for himself.
“I had no desire to be in recovery. It freaked me out to think of never getting high again,” he acknowledged. “All these people were on my back, telling me to get help, so I’d go for a little bit, just to get them off my back.”
“The first time I came to Healing Transitions was in 2019. I stayed for a month or so, and I had plans to start using again the day I got out. I wish I would’ve stayed.”
He went back to his old habits as soon as he left, and within a few weeks, he had overdosed.
“That was a wake-up call for me,” he said. “I celebrated my 21st birthday in jail. Everything was at a low point. I lost my job. My car got repossessed. I was living at my mom’s house. That was probably the worst two years of my life. I was very depressed. I didn’t care what I did or what happened to me. I just didn’t want to be here.”
Eventually, Freddy’s mom and stepfather convinced him he had a choice: he had to leave their home and enter Healing Transition’s long-term recovery program or he would end up living on the street.
“I had nowhere to go, so I agreed to try again and went to a sober living house for a few months,” Freddy said. “But I was still drinking every day. Eventually, I got caught and they kicked me out of the house. After that, I had absolutely nowhere to go.”
Freddy’s parents had already given him an ultimatum and he couldn’t return to the sober living home. He didn’t know where to turn.
“I had a little bit of money at that time, so I found a hotel room and would get drunk and high in there alone. I wanted to kill myself,” he said.
One day out of the blue, he called his sponsor. He hadn’t spoken with him in several years, but he reached out. The sponsor, hearing the urgency and despair in his voice, called Freddy’s mom immediately.
“I’m not an emotional person, but as soon as my mom walked in the door of my hotel room, I fell to my knees and started crying,” he shared. “I cried for like 30 minutes. My mom took me home, let me get cleaned up and then drove me back to Healing Transitions. I was ready to give it an honest try this time. And I did.”
Freddy completed Healing Transitions’ long-term recovery program in September 2021 and began working for the organization last year in the detox center, caring for men in the midst of their own battles with alcohol and drug use who are taking the first step in their recovery journey.
“Detox is one of the most stressful departments,” he said. “You’re dealing first-hand with a lot of people coming right off the street, and a lot of times they’re drunk or high. But I love working with them.”
“Recovery is good. Everyone has their own path. I came here and they helped me build a foundation. I’ve met a ton of great people, and my recovery is very strong,” he shared with a smile. And then he continued, “I’m 24 years old, and I never thought I’d make it this far. I used to think life was all fun and games, but addiction isn’t fun, it’s life and death. After I started seeing it like that, I did what I needed to do to live. If you put your mind to it and you really want to do it, you can do it too.”