[frame style=”simple” align=”left”]https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-black-eye-injury-accident-violence-isolated-male-white-man-fight-bruise-image40074976[/frame]I’m the kind of guy that makes you cringe when you walk past me on the street, at least I was. Though I came from a wealthy family and had the best of everything growing up, I pissed it all away. My father gave me everything I asked for, only it was never enough for me. I wanted more. I was given a high-end sports car for my 16th birthday. I immediately crashed it and unremorsefully demanded not only a new car, but an upgrade on what I had been gifted. Though I could only be described accurately by the term “asshole,” a sense of entitlement wasn’t my only problem. I used drugs heavily, primarily cocaine. In a drug-induced rage, I punched my father in the face, breaking his jaw. I didn’t really have any reason to do it. I was out of my mind. My father said that when I wanted help with my drug problem, he’d pay for rehab. Till then, I was cut off. I left the house with three hundred dollars in my pocket and the clothes on my back.

Though friends took me in at first, my anger, particularly when I was high, made me dangerous to be around. Everyone turned their backs on me. I ended up alone, stinking, living on the beach and stealing sandwiches and drinks from tourists. I showered sometimes in the public restrooms, but there was no way to give my clothes a good wash. People kept their children away from me and the restrooms emptied when I stepped inside.

My ego kept me away from my family and friends for two years. I can’t write about the degrading things I did to get the drugs I wanted and to keep myself alive. It’s too humiliating. But my father held firm. When I called to ask for money, he had one question for me, “Do you want to get off the drugs?” If I answered anything other than, “Yes,” he didn’t let me finish my sentence before he hung up on me.

Finally, when I decided that my life was more important than my pride, I asked my father for help. My father did not come for me. He had someone from Cliffside Malibu meet me and take me immediately to the treatment center. When I arrived, I was broken and did not fight what I was told. That came later, when I started to feel better. When I became belligerent, the staff met me with kindness and the other residents reminded me why I was there, to get my life back. I stayed in treatment and trusted that my therapist and those who worked with me had my best interest at heart.

Sixty days into the program, I saw my mother and father for the first time. It was a teary reunion and the start of a true reconciliation. My family means everything to me. I am ashamed of what I put them through and am grateful that they care about me enough to give me another chance to be in their lives.

I’ve been out of treatment for two years and am completely drug and alcohol free. Though I have a job in the family business, it has been made very clear to me that I maintain my job based on my performance, not nepotism. I make a good living and I live within my means. I am in a relationship with a woman I plan to marry within the next year. Not only did I get my life back, but I found some humility and am now a person people want to be around, instead of someone they cross the street to avoid.