Robert was homeless and sleeping in a shed.  The twenty two year old South Dakotan was addicted to alcohol and methamphetamine.

“When I first started using drugs and alcohol, I felt I had found what I was looking for…just the cure for the human condition.  I thought it was everything I was ever wanted.  But, in time, it turned out to be the opposite.  It got to the point where I wanted more.  That’s all I lived my life for.  I didn’t want to do anything else.  It was really attractive to me.  No matter what was going wrong in my life, the drugs made it all go away.  I didn’t stop with meth.  I also tried LSD, alcohol, acid and cough syrup.  In time, most of my money went to drugs and drug paraphernalia.   The addiction eventually turned me into a paranoid derelict who was homeless with periods of total insanity.”

 How bad did it get? 

“I was spiritually sick, mentally sick, physically sick, emotionally sick.  It got to the point where doing drugs were no longer something that gave me pleasure.  Instead, they took charge of my life.  I was overwhelmed by their power.”

 While in the grips of the addiction, Robert was picked up on burglary and theft charges.  The hard-core meth addict was convicted and taken to jail—a wake up call that probably saved the young man’s life.

“I was behind bars when the towers in New York City went down.  I had time to reflect on my life and what I wanted to do with the rest of it.  For the first time, I realized drugs and jail weren’t what I wanted.  I honestly felt there was something more in life for me.”

 That train of thought was a major change for Robert who had become a slave to the drug addiction. 

“I broke a lot of morals and values to get what I thought I needed.  I became really selfish and thought only about me, myself and I.  Quitting seemed impossible because I couldn’t imagine my life without drugs.  By 18, I was spiritually dead.  I had experienced many bad highs and bad trips, dropped out of high school, lost my popularity and friends and spent most of my time isolating myself in my room using more drugs.”

With the help of a twelve-step program, Robert underwent a life changing transformation. 

“Jail is a dark place.  It’s definitely not a place you want to be.  Just being around the other inmates and seeing the sickness in their lives was an eye opener.  It gave me time to contemplate and set some productive goals for myself.”

 Once he found his purpose in life, Robert was unstoppable. 

“I became clean and sober.  When I got out of jail, many of my friends were gone.  I remember sitting in my bedroom---not craving drugs and it felt great!  It was amazing.  When I was using, I never thought I’d ever be able to stop.  I accepted drugs as a way of life.  But, here I was---for the first time in years clean and sober.   It was awesome!”

 Now that he’s in recovery, Robert’s message is this:  it is possible to live without drugs in spite of the overpowering addiction. 

“If you’re battling an addiction, there is a solution.  Something can be done.  Twelve step fellowships produce miraculous results.   The question you have to ask is---are you willing to follow the recipe that’s given by these groups?  There is hope once you quit.  There’s no wrong way to do it.  You just need to quit.  You need to work with the programs to replace what drugs once did for you.”

 Now that he’s no longer using, Robert says life is fantastic.

“I’m comfortable with myself.  There’s no other place I’d rather be than where I’m at right now.  Today I have a deep compassion for those who struggle with addiction.  More than anything else, as horrible as my drug addiction was, the one good thing that has come from it is the new appreciation I have for life today.”