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A note from Damien: From time to time, I accept guest posts from others.  Justin reached out to me late last week asking if I would accept a blog post.  I think it’s important to share stories from other people in recovery as well as my own.  In particular, I was interested in sharing this story because I have a friend who is early in her recovery from pain medication abuse and while I can speak volumes about my recovery from alcohol, I felt somewhat inadequate in offering good advice for her situation.  I must also clarify that I do not represent nor endorse Muse Los Angeles Drug Rehab — as a friend said to me early in my recovery, “there are many paths up the mountain.”

Our own personal journeys in recovery are irreplaceable to others but I personally found it rather ordinary to myself and not with extraneous drama…or so it seems.

The first time I actually endeavored recovery, it was basically a detox state of affairs, and I felt that would undoubtedly take care of all of my substance abuse installments. How funny is that? I had a reasonably legitimate run with opiates, predominantly Vicodin, which I tuned to by and large due to its easy accessibility. I was taking about 8 extra-strength tablets per day; a fairly insubstantial inclination in comparison to some other more stout acquaintances I later came across in the ensuing years. A girl friend put me up for a few days and I arrived at her pad with a small prescription of Clonidine, which I had read (in John Phillips autobiog, Papa John) helped with opiate withdrawal symptoms, along with a few Valium and a 6-pack of beer (hey, I had a problem with Vicodin, not a substance abuse concern …) . The Clonodine worked quite well, and put me asleep for large swatches of the day. After three days, I pronounced myself ‘cured’, and made it home. I felt great, like I really accomplished something. I did precisely nothing, except temporarily get off Vicodin, which lasted a few months. 

Several years later, my problems were a bit more advanced, and I had a full-blown heroin habit, and why aren’t you surprised here? An old friend helped me get into an actual program via a musicians aid organization. It was full detox, as well as several months of sober living. I believe I was on the way to some form of sobriety, and ended up with about six months clean from all substances. 12-step meetings, being of service and continued therapy and meds certainly helped, along with a sense of community. But eventually, I had to move out, and did so with a fellow musician, who it turns out was very, very helpful. He taught me that I really wasn’t hitting my veins correctly when injecting smack. I learned how to register…and eventually also gave up the registration to my car, which was sold for $300 to (properly) fit in my arm.

I continued on this rough patch for several years, eventually found myself being busted with my dealer and spent a few months at the pleasure of Los Angeles Country, in a 4th floor walk-up. Upon release, I ended up at a faith-based drug program in LA. It wasn’t really out of choice, I just had nowhere to go. I learned, though, that I was actually ready for treatment.

The main aspect of this treatment that worked was the basic fact that it was nearly open-ended, and I initially stayed in  treatment for a full year, and then began working at the facility. It was time that I needed, and this was provided for me here, and I feel like I made the best of things. 

Article courtesy of Muse Los Angeles Drug Rehab

2 comments on “Guest Post: Justin’s Story

  1. Thank you for sharing your story!


  2. byebyebeer says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Damien. Justin, you’re a talented writer!


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