Learn how Clay sought treatment to successfully overcome his addiction to alcohol and meth and how his recovery from the disease of addiction allows him to help others who are seeking treatment. Clay is a Utilization Management Lead Coordinator at Starlite Recovery Center.
I was born and raised in Memphis, Texas. I come from a wonderfully loving and caring home. My parents raised me with morals and values and I never wanted for anything. I was afforded every opportunity to succeed in life. My family wanted nothing but happiness for me, but happiness seemed a foreign concept for most of my life. I always felt out of place and I never felt like I was a part of anything. I was also an extremely sensitive kid. I was riddled with fear and anxiety for as far back as I can remember. Being gay and growing up in a very small town, I had a difficult time dealing with life in general. I always knew that I was different, but I was so afraid to just be me, and quite honestly, I had no idea what that really meant.
I made very good grades through high school and college. I took my first drink when I was 13. I didn’t get drunk and I didn’t continue to drink that night, but I did recognize that I loved the way it made me feel. I was a pretty sheltered kid and I didn’t get in to a lot of trouble. I was, you could say, a late bloomer in terms of the progression of my disease.
It wasn’t until the age of 21 that I began to really get involved in the party scene. I started drinking more and more and I found my way to stimulants, specifically cocaine. For the better part of 10 years, I was a fixture in the gay nightlife. As my disease continued to progress, I ran the gamut of drugs, and in 2010, I discovered the ultimate party drug – methamphetamines. I had arrived. I remember the feeling I got from using meth and I was terrified because I fell in love with it from the moment it entered my body. Over the course of 2 years, I experienced a darkness and despair that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I stole money and pawned everything I owned to feed my addiction. I destroyed family relationships and alienated myself from everyone who cared about me and loved me. It turned me into a monster, into something that was evil and dark.
My meth use resulted in multiple trips to institutions as well as severe psychosis. I was literally insane and completely isolated from society. Meth had taken everything from me and I was at the jumping off place. I couldn’t imagine life with drugs and I couldn’t imagine life without drugs. I had no idea where to turn or what to do, but I could not live like this any longer.
My parents had been trying relentlessly to convince me to seek help and go to treatment. I don’t take a lot of stock in the term “rock bottom” and I firmly believe that each person has to get to a place of true surrender. It takes what it takes, and drugs had beaten me into a state of reasonableness. There was a moment, while laying on my couch in my empty, lonely house, where I had a moment of clarity. I looked around my sad, miserable existence and said to myself, “this isn’t my life. This is not what I want for myself.” I called my mom and dad and asked what my next step would be because I was tired. I was tired of dying. As it turns out, they were just waiting for me to say the word. Before I knew it, we were in the car on the way to check me into treatment.
Thus, my journey to recovery and freedom began. I completed 38 days at a facility in the Texas Hill Country and the seed of a new life was planted. After treatment, I moved to a sober living home in Kerrville, Texas. I knew nothing about Kerrville, but I was willing to do anything for a new way of life. I had a couple of rough relapses, but while in sober living, I had met some really great people who carried a message of depth and weight. The recovery community always accepted me back with open arms and with no judgment, whatsoever. I finally got to place of complete surrender, where I was totally convinced of Step One, and I fully and emphatically accepted this 12 Step program and new way of life.
Today, I have a host of friends from all different walks of life that in my past life, I would not normally mix. I trust these men and women implicitly and am honored that I get to share life and grow spiritually. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for these wonderful souls.
Today, I have a fabulous job at Starlite Recovery Center where I get to give back to this industry that planted the seed for me in 2012. I get to make a difference in the lives of others each and every day. I get to be the voice of addicts and alcoholics who are struggling with this disease. I get to work around incredible people and be a part of a team that truly cares.
Today, the relationship I have with my family is better than anything I could have ever imagined. I get to be present for them and be there for them in a capacity that I just couldn’t in my addiction. My parents don’t lose sleep at night worrying about whether I’m in jail, on the streets or dead. They have their son back.
Above all, I have a beautiful and perfectly imperfect relationship with my Creator today. I get to grow spiritually each day. I get to have really cool experiences with God and share them with the beautiful people in my life today. Sure, life is life. It’s not perfect and bad days happen, but all in all, I’m happy and I’m free! Thank you, God!
If you’re struggling, reach out. Don’t think, just take action and seek help. We’re here to help and want you to experience this life of recovery. You are good enough… you are wanted… you are loved! We do recover! May God bless you and keep you… Always!