Many who struggle with addiction die or go to prison. Yet, sometimes miracles occur. These are the stories of those miracles
Josh Moran Talks About the Early Days of Soberiety
My name is Josh. I am 35 years old and I’ve been sober for just over seven months. I got sober because I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I tried for years. I did the methadone program, that didn’t work out. I was functioning for a long time, so I was able to float, just keep a little bit of air coming in. I hurt my family a lot, but I didn’t see that. I was kind of enabled, which isn’t good. It was good at the time, but looking back, it was probably the worst thing for me. And I don’t blame them for that because they were just trying to help their son out. It was mainly financially type stuff, like if I didn’t want to pay a car payment, bills would show up at the house. They would be like, “You’ve got to pay this, you’ve got to pay this, you’ve got to pay this.” And I would just put it off and they’d pay it. So it wasn’t like they were just shelling cash out to me, even though they knew where it was going.
So I floated for a bit. I had basically been using drugs since I was 12. I didn’t start off with the hard drugs. Drinking, smoking pot, psychedelics, high school, and then it got heavier and heavier. Yet I knew I had a problem from a long time. But, like I said, I was functioning. I dealt with it. Stopped doing one drug for awhile, picked up another one, just kind of trading vices, I guess. But it got real bad I’d say November, December, last year. I met a girl and she was not good for me. And she liked to do all the same things I did. So it was kind of like off and running. And she had some other issues. Her family was really messed up. I care for people, so even though my life was crumbling, I stuck around because I wanted to help her when I couldn’t help her because I couldn’t help myself.
So it got to the point to where intervention came in from my family. And I’m Italian, huge Italian family, so it’s like family is first, period. So when they came to me with that, I was like, “Yep, let’s do it.” Rehab 35, 40 days. Boom, did that. I just played the system just to be like, “Oh, I’m good. Hey, I’m cured.” So got out of there and the girlfriend picked me right up out of treatment, right back to it. So on a span of, I’d say, two weeks, I spent around $3,500 just on anything I could get.
And then one of the… I still remember it to this day. I was supposed to go see my nephew’s football game and I forgot to put an alarm, my phone was wherever it was. I don’t remember what I did with it, it was a long night of debauchery. And I remember I was just slumped over on the couch and I woke up to my sister staring at me. They thought I was good after the first rehab. And just the look on her face, it was just like I was defeated. I didn’t have anything to say, and I’m usually good at manipulating people. I’d be like, “Oh, this is the reason for this.” But I was just like, “I can’t do it anymore.” So I went and stayed at her house for a little bit, like about a week. She took my keys, took my phone, took my wallet.
And I felt at peace with that. I was fine because I knew I had to get something done. I knew I had to get my life back together. And I finally hit bottom. I had thought I’ve hit bottom before, but that was just financial bottom, it wasn’t spiritual. It wasn’t just seeing what I’ve done to my family, like truly. So when they were like, “We have this place. It’s far from home, but here’s the plane ticket.” I could have take off running, but I was done.
I’m glad I did it. I love my life right now. I get to help people. I’m trusted, which is new for me. My family told me last party we went to, they’re like, “It’s crazy that you’ve only been to the bathroom one time this whole time.” Because I’d be in there constantly. But now I get to see the little things and take them in for what they are, and actually cherish things that I should have focused on and been worried about in the past. That’s all I knew was drinking and drugging, man.
Did you ever think you were going to die?
So give me context around that.
Well, with the heroin, I overdosed a couple of times. I remember the one time that got me into the methadone, was I woke up and… My dog is my everything. I had just broken up with a girlfriend at the time and she was the one, but she wasn’t down with me just not caring. She was older than me, she had a kid. And I’d give anything to go back there and put in the work to be the man, the man of the house, take care of her daughter, take care of her. That’s what I would say to her, I’d be like, “Oh yeah, do you need help with groceries or something?” And then the time would come and I’d dip out. I’d spend the money on drugs. So she kicked me to the curb and I was like, “Oh, pity me. You did this to me.” So I would try and just purposely overdose, try and kill myself. But I didn’t really have the balls for it. And plus I feel like I’d fall out before I even reached that amount because I never used a needle.
So I remember one of those nights I remember I fell out and I just woke up on the ground, and my dog had her head on my chest. And that was like, “All right, I need to go another route.” And I started leaving stuff around, started trying to hint to my family that I was using. So I would just leave my dope bags around. Because my ego… I’m not going to ask for help. I could do it on my own. But if you catch me, then I’ll be like, “Oh, okay.” So I did the methadone for a bit and then obviously I’m like, “Oh, I could use again. Since it didn’t work the first time I could probably just use heroin like a gentleman.” I didn’t really feel a change until I got to that point to where I was right before I came, took that plane ride out here.
Well, first off I have asthma and heroin was just destroying my lungs. So there were a few times where I ended up in the hospital with walking pneumonia, couldn’t breathe. My blood ox was like 70, maybe even below. I felt like an old man getting up in the morning to go to the bathroom, stopping to breathe. I even did heroin in the hospital, in the hospital bed at night. Because I smuggled a little bit in there because I was like, “Maybe I’ll need that.”
And I started thinking like my health. I’m like, “I don’t want to…” And having asthma attacks, if you ever had one, it is terrible. Like that fish out of water commercial where that fish is just breathing air and you could see it’s not having a good time, that’s exactly what it feels like. It’s the most helpless feeling because then the panic rushes in and it’s just terrible. So that’s happened a few times. Just trying to call out for help, but my room was a corner room and nobody can hear me. Scary. So that’s when I quit heroin, but then I was like, “Fuck it. Cocaine. I can do that.”
But I worked in a restaurant, so it was drinking every night. Drinking and cocaine is like meat and potatoes. It was just how it was. My dealer worked there too, and he would front me. So it was like… But I didn’t feel the change inside. Mentally, it was always there. I was always quick to be like, “Yes, I want to stop.” But that obsession I had. It wasn’t even the way it made me feel, but it was just the action of blowing a line of coke. Just the ritual of drug use is what I was addicted to more than the effects. So it was just… Yeah, that obsession, it was always there. Even though I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. And it definitely took coming out here and meeting people, sober people. All my friends were dirt bags. I don’t even think I should call them friends. They were just associates.
So tell me more about that. How important is human connection to your recovery?
Human connection is huge. Huge. For me, I have that codependency and it’s definitely self-seeking, but it’s also I enjoy giving other people advice. I enjoy being able to help somebody. And I wasn’t able to do that when I was in my addiction. And that’s why working steps, I’ve never done that before until I took that trip out here. Because I was never really super religious so the whole God thing was, “I don’t know. I don’t need that.” But once you hear people talk about it who have done it, and who it’s working for, it’s a game changer, man. It definitely is. And you just put it in your life, normal life.
I just talked about this earlier where somebody would be like, “Oh, you’ve got normal people things to do today.” And that’s cool, man. I never thought being sober was cool, but I’ve laughed more sober than I have messed up. At least that I remember, because when you’re blacked out, I could have a great time, but I don’t know what happened. I enjoy seeing people, I enjoy everybody around me. I have definitely more sober friends in my phone from the past seven months than I’ve had since I’ve had this number for years. It’s just wild.
And somebody told me that when I came in, and I was like… They’d scroll their phone, and be like, “See all that? Those are all people I met in the program.” And I don’t know how much more I could say that how happy and grateful and thankful I am just to have got this opportunity to be a man, straight up. I didn’t do anything for anybody when I was using. I thought I did. I thought I was the shit, but I wasn’t anything. Now it’s I want to be more and more each day. I want to give back to the people that stood in my corner when I was at my worst.
Good stuff, man.