Michael was always small for his age which made him an easy target for bullies on the school playground. He also struggled with a speech impediment as a boy.
“I never really acknowledged it but I realized recently that for my entire life, I’ve carried this worry and fear around, and I think it came from being bullied as a kid,” he shared. “I think using drugs and alcohol gave me a false sense of confidence because I was really insecure as a kid.”
As the years went on, Michael and his brother both found themselves struggling with addiction. Michael said he got to the point that suicide looked like his best option.
“Before I got into recovery, I was into the ‘game’ of selling drugs, using drugs, using alcohol,” said Michael. “Pretty much searching out anything outside of myself to fill the void inside myself.”
In the midst of Michael’s struggle with alcohol use disorder, he was also caring for his older brother, and no matter how often he would relapse, a small voice in his head reminded him that his brother needed him.
“That’s when I realized how selfish I was being, I hit my rock bottom, and I reached out for help,” he shared.
Michael’s brother made him a deal: if Michael would go to a recovery treatment program, he’d join him. The brothers found spots in programs in Greenville and Little Washington and started short-term programs together.
As soon as Michael finished that program, he knew he was ready for a long-term recovery program that would help him address some deeper issues and really get to the heart of his drug and alcohol use.
“I called a few programs, but no one was available to take my call,” said Michael. “And then when I called Healing Transitions, someone answered right away, did the intake interview with me over the phone, and said ‘How soon can you get here?’”
That was all it took for Michael to start the long-term recovery program at Healing Transitions. True to its mission to remain open for everyone, anytime, and as many times as it takes. That was the day Michael started to turn his life around.
“I was so relieved to start the program,” Michael acknowledged. “But I was scared at the same time. I was so used to trying to get through each day that trying something new felt different. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, and I was afraid people here would judge me.”
What he found once he got settled at the men’s campus was something completely different.
“I relapsed the first time I came here, and then one day, I knew I needed to get back to this program and get on track,” he shared. “From that day on, I just started moving forward, doing the work to help myself heal.”
And it wasn’t only Michael who started to heal, thanks to the program at Healing Transitions.
“I have had the privilege to sponsor other men who are starting out the program, and when I see them struggling, I can share with them about my experiences.”
Tragically, his brother passed away a few years ago from an overdose.
“He is a driving factor in my recovery,” said Michael. “I know he’s with me in spirit. I know he’s smiling right now because God used him in my life to help me out.”
Michael has been in sustained recovery for several years and currently works in construction in North Carolina.