recovery

Rock Bottom (#6)

There is something to be said for being completely removed from society for a month and a half with no means of communication to the outside world. The only dialogue I had was with people just like me, and they all had their own reasons for being in a treatment center. I think it is fair to say that nobody struggling with addiction or alcoholism grew up hoping their life would turn out that way. After all, this disease does not discriminate by age, race, gender, ethnicity or economic status; it simply destroys all families and homes equally. Who would have thought that my life would have come full circle and I would end up right back where it all began.  (more…)

Halfway There (#5)

I can vividly remember stepping off the plane in Florida and thinking to myself, “what did I just get myself into?” Before I could even let my imagination run wild, I was greeted by someone who worked at the halfway house I was going to be living at. I stepped in his vehicle with all my worldly possessions and we talked about 90s era hip-hop as we drove to what would become my new home. When I pulled up, all I can remember seeing was some girl braiding a white guy’s hair on a picnic table outside of the property’s main office. My level of uneasiness went from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON 3 in a matter of seconds. I did my intake, took a drug test and got a quick rundown on all the rules. Then I was sent on my way like a tumbleweed blowing through a vast and barren desert. (more…)

Growing Pains (#4)

Right up until this exact moment in my life, there was always a blueprint for what path I should follow. First it was to get situated in high school and figure out where I fit in and what my strengths were. Then it was to get into a decent college and obtain a degree in some discipline that would become my career. It wasn’t that I was forced into it, but since my parents were the first to go to college in their families it seemed like the logical track to follow. At this point I was finished with both of those things, but I still had no idea what I wanted for my future and where I ultimately wanted to end up. A lot of my friends went to school for very specific careers and the fact that they seemed to have it all figured out made it even harder for me to admit I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I moved back in with my parents and continued to work at the job I had when I was still attending college. I told myself I was just biding my time until I could figure out what my next move would be. But I was not excited about my future; instead, I was fearful and apprehensive about letting myself and those around me down again. (more…)

College Daze (#3)

There I was, a recent high school graduate caught in the midst of a terrible heroin and crack cocaine addiction.

Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, and after taking a long look at this time in my life I am fully aware that the drugs and alcohol were never the problem. In fact, I believe whole heartedly that the drugs and alcohol were my misguided and selfish solution to the problem. I say selfish because I never once thought about how my choices were going to affect those around me who loved me unconditionally. It felt as if I was the center of my own universe; and if I was not getting what I believed was owed to me, I became resentful. But it wasn’t always that easy for me to distinguish between the rational and the irrational. At this point I was dealing with a drug addiction and an undiagnosed mental health issue that would be uncovered in the near future.  (more…)

HIGH School (#2)

Before I continue on with my story I would like to mention that I was overcome with anxiety as I was brainstorming this installment in the series. A lot of these memories bring me back to a time in my life that was very dark, very lonely and very confusing. I am not writing this so the reader feels bad for my situation, I am writing this to let you know we all have our fears. Fear is a normal emotion, and in the animal kingdom fear often times keeps those lower on the food chain alive. So in this regard fear is often times a balancing act between the rational and the irrational. I have already survived this part of my life, and it has shaped me into the person I am today. Without the trials and tribulations that I went through I wouldn’t have the insight or qualifications to begin to speak on these topics. So my fear of sharing my secrets with those reading was trumped by the fear of having another person go through a dark part of their life while feeling alone. We are currently in a war with addiction and mental illness, and the only way to combat it is to show the people suffering they are not alone. There are other people who have shared in those feelings and emotions. Once my mind made sense of this, the anxiety was removed and I was overcome with gratitude. (more…)

Who am I? (#1)

By Nicholas Bellofatto

Whenever someone asks me to describe myself, I almost always become confused and uneasy about what that question actually means. Do they mean my physical attributes? Do they mean the standardized test type questions that you can only answer with a #2 pencil? Do they mean I should describe myself how I think the world wants me to appear at certain stages of my life? Well in any case, I don’t really believe any of those options hold much weight if you really want to get to know someone. All those questions serve their purpose, but none of them could ever fully encapsulate what makes our hearts beat faster with love and excitement, our hairs stand up in awe and amazement or our eyes swell with emotion. (more…)