Crack! A bolt of pain shot down my neck; coach’s words echoed in my head. “Never put your head down during a tackle.” I’m in 8th grade, 13 years old and I broke my neck. Playing football was my passion, and now it was gone. Without football, I began hanging around a group of boys who, like me, were bored. With boredom came the opportunity to dabble in alcohol and drugs. Over the next two years, my use increased and my life began to spiral out of control.
October 27th, 2012, my life took an about face. Finding drugs in my room, my mom scheduled an appointment with a counselor. The counselor asked questions and I answered truthfully. She gave me two options: go to inpatient rehabilitation or slowly kill myself while allowing drugs to tear apart my family. I looked at my feet and agreed to go.
At 15-years-old, before I could even apply for my driving permit, I sat in the back of my mom’s van, counting the endless cornfields between Columbus and Indianapolis, as my parents drove me to rehab. While inpatient, I heard people who “use” choose between two paths: They continue to be self-destructive, end up in jail or dead or they take the experience and turn it into something positive. It was now my choice.