At the age of 14, I suffered my first loss from alcohol. My childhood best friend got in a terrible drunk driving wreck. He was the passenger in a vehicle being driven by someone intoxicated. This was very traumatic for a 14-year-old to experience. I had to watch my closest friend in the whole world on life support. He passed away 5 days after the wreck. These deaths shook our entire community. It was literally devastating to many friends and families, but I was especially broken from this. I attempted to commit suicide for the first time. And at the age of 14, I was committed to a mental health hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.
By the age of 17, I had already spent over a year in jails and institutions. I was hopeless, scared and angry about how my life had played out so far. My parents had just recently got divorced because of my behavior and my dad moved to Las Vegas. I was on felony probation and my probation officer was already on her last nerve with me. I got suspended from school which was a common occurrence. It was different this time though. I had a suspended commitment to the Ohio Department of Youth Services and my probation officer wasn’t happy. In fear of going to DYS, I went on the run. I sold all of the electronics in my parent’s house and disappeared. By the end of the night, the most life-changing thing happened to me. I injected heroin for the very first time.