I am 46 years old and I will have 6 years clean on 4.18.23, I spent over 17 years in prison and 3 years in juvenile DOC due to my choices centered around drugs. After working a program I now know that I abused drugs to help me stay numb and not deal with my feelings of shame, guilt and anger. I was a victim at age 9 to sexual abuse and kidnapping that left me an angry little boy with such mixed emotions towards my family and not being able to process this event in my life caused me to seek acceptance in all the wrong people that were involved in all the wrong things. At age 39 when I was back in jail looking at another prison sentence I was given a chance that had not been offered to me prior. It was the DTAP program which is drug treatment alternative to prison. I started out at CBI Dodge men’s residential where I barely started to open up and started to talk about my childhood trauma, and then after almost 3 months due to my anger and attitude I ended up back in jail for threats towards staff. I was given another chance, and that’s when I took full advantage of the opportunity I had been given and I started to really work on myself and learn who Joe was, I spent a little over 8 months at another treatment called Amity and then I went to sober living, The Paxton House for Men really helped me get adjusted in living life with rules and guidance in a healthy setting. I accomplished so much while at sober living, I went to court for my drivers license and after 23 years I managed to get that reinstated.I then bought a used car and continued to do day labor work and I got to know more about the rooms of narcotics anonymous and what I needed to do in order to stay clean and work through the underlying issues that cause us to continue using. I ended up applying at Recovery In Motion Treatment Center and was hired as Support Staff. After about a year I got promoted and I have been the supervisor here at RIM for over 4 years. I recently bought my first house, and I am waiting to go in front of a judge to have my felonies set aside and all my rights restored. I am a member of NA and I have a sponsor that I work with and I share with others as often as I can some strength and hope because that’s how we stay clean, by giving away what was so freely given to us.
Get connected to positive people in your community and learn from those around you.
I began smoking weed in middle school and using pain pills in high school. I was a good kid who played soccer since 4 years old and has 2 sisters and parents who are still together. My father is in recovery but was sober before I was born so never had drugs or alcohol in my house. Addiction took over my life very young and destroyed it for 10 years. I was addicted to heroin (opiates) for 10 years and meth for about 3 mixing and matching of course. About 9 years ago, my probation officer gave me a chance to get on MAT instead of prison and told me he believed in me. My family always has but some stranger saying it sparked something in that moment and continues to. I am now going on 9 years clean. I am a felon but a few years ago got my rights fully restored. I work at CODAC health recovery and wellness and co-respond with TPD doing outreach to those in need. Very briefly that is the gist of it and I thank you for the opportunity, not just for me, but for others who share.
Words of Encouragement
The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is human connection!
Find your self worth.
I loved heroin for 30 years, I never cared about me or anything else just staying high. As long as I didn’t feel bad I was willing to sacrifice all other feelings, emotions, etc. into my 3rd prison sentence at the age 44, I finally found self worth. Learned to love me, Tony. I had to submit and admit I was powerless. I knew the life I’d been living for so long was meaningless. I’ve been sober for almost 15 months and living a purpose driven life. I’m a frequent church member, I attend NA meetings, I work, I spend time with family. I’ll share my story someday, it’s so scary, ugly, unfortunate, disfunction, chaotic. Until then just know if you are tired of surviving ,and ready to start living, I’ve learned a better way to enjoy life sober and happy find your self worth. Look in the mirror everyday and tell your self your worth it. I don’t care about looks, age, sex, gender, beliefs, none of that matters all that matters is that you’re breathing. “If you’re alive, you’re so special and so important you are one of a kind. The world needs you. You are priceless. I love you.” This is what I told my self everyday I till I believed it. It gets better once I found self worth it humbled me and I found empathy and compassion. So today I love everyone one as I love my self. GOD BLESS YOU ALL,
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We believe that it should be easy for Pima County residents to find help for mental health, substance use, and addiction. To achieve this, we created Pima Helpline as a centralized place to find mental health and addiction treatment, services, and support.