Wasatch Crest graduate, Brandon Rhea shared his recovery story with us. You can watch him tell his story and read his full narrative below.
I grew up in a loving home in South Jordan, UT. I was the youngest of three boys and one girl. My parents divorced when I was seven years old. That’s when the trouble started for me. I had an older brother. He and his friends thought it was funny to get me high when I was seven years old. I smoked marijuana, drank alcohol, used a bit of hallucinogens with them. At the time, I thought it was awesome. I had the older boys cheering for me and laughing at me. What more could a little brother want? As a result, I was spurred into thinking that drugs were the greatest thing in the world at a very young age.
In addition to my brother and his friends, I was also influenced by one of my really good friends. His father was an old hippie, so there was a cabinet in his house with as many drugs as we wanted. You name the drug, it was there.
It was the perfect storm. Throughout my formidable years, I was doing a lot of drugs and living fast. I never thought I’d make it to 30, and I was proud of that.
I was sixteen years old when I sustained a strange, but serious injury. The injury was bad enough that the doctor would meet me at the pharmacy and write me prescriptions. When I started taking opiates, it’s like what people say — I felt like I had arrived. My prescription pill use continued to pick up steam, and I was taking 40 to 50 Lortabs or Percocets with acetaminophen a day. I’m not sure how my body survived.
When I was 22, my doctor cut me off. There was no help offered, nowhere to turn, and I really didn’t care to get sober. Life went from bad to extremely worse. Within that year, I turned to the streets where I started committing crimes and using heroin.
The next 13 years were a rollercoaster of using drugs and serving jail time. During one three-month period, I was shot three times in drug deals and overdosed three times. I didn’t even quit after that. I went home, wrapped up my wounds, and started doing more drugs. I thought it was all normal.
My family couldn’t put up with me anymore. I believed that they were the crazy ones. I used to look at people in public and think that they must be high. I didn’t think there was any way that they can go through life without drugs.
Eventually, I started to realize that something was wrong. I assumed that there had to be a better way to live, but I really couldn’t stop. My use had slowly morphed into a very disgusting and terrifying thing. It scared the living hell out of me. I battled with getting sober, relapsing, and using for years and years until I began to understand that it was my problem. No one was going to stop me.
When I met my wife, I realized I didn’t want to lose her. I saw the life that I could have with her. She makes me want to be a better man in so many ways. So, I turned myself into detox, which I’d never done on my own accord. Immediately after detoxing, I went to Wasatch Crest.
Wasatch Crest was the best treatment center that I’d ever been to. The laid-back culture allowed us the freedom to grow into who we want to be and fostered a sense of community among the clients.
This time in recovery, I tell my sponsor the truth, I’m making it to meetings, and I’m consciously making an effort to change things about myself. I will have permanent life scars from my experiences. My body is covered in a lot of scars. My left leg is completely numb and the feeling in it will never come back. The scars are a constant reminder of who I was and how far I’ve come. I love who I am today.