The barriers to addiction recovery often seem insurmountable, whether it’s the pain of withdrawal or the fear of facing the wreckage brought about by substance abuse. And addicts too often opt for what they believe to be the easy way out. They stay in their addiction, put off their recovery and end-up making even more of a mess of their lives.
But the barriers to addiction recovery are not insurmountable. In fact, they’re even easier to hurdle than you might suspect. And once those barriers to addiction recovery are hurdled, you’ll find a life worth living again.
Okay, so every day won’t be a holiday. But every day can be a good day. Just so long as you stay sober. Got doubts? Just check the addiction recovery story of Richie Lapinski.
Richie Lapinski grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey, a close-knit port city bookended by Newark and New York Bays. His father, a deputy fire chief in neighboring Jersey City, coached football and baseball. His stay-at-home mom ran the youth cheerleading squad.
“I played sports every season,” Lapinski told Jersey Shore Online. “[and I] had many friends. I loved growing up in Bayonne. I pretty much had a perfect childhood.”
Indeed Richie, like his older brother before him, was big on sports. So much so that he became an “all-state football star and all-county baseball player with 12 varsity letters and four state championships.” Unlike his older brother though, whose lackluster grades prevented him from receiving a scholarship, Richie also excelled academically. He “was vice president of his high school class, a member of several prestigious high school clubs as well as a member of the National Honor Society.”
Even with an ACL injury the last football game of senior season Richie won a scholarship to Lehigh University. A second ACL injury though would sideline him for good. It would also re-introduce Richie to painkillers.
Without the motivation of sports, Richie did what many college students do -- he partied. Hard. Richie’s partying wasn’t limited to alcohol though; it also included opioids. Lots and lots of opioids. Before long Richie had switched from pills to heroin, which was cheaper and much more readily available.
Richie supported his habit by selling drugs and stealing from his family. The hard life eventually caught up with him though. And “at 22, Lapinski was arrested, convicted, and spent three years in state prison.”
But prison wasn’t enough to drive Richie into addiction recovery. And upon his release, he was back at his old habits -- drinking and drugging, dealing and stealing. Richie went for the fast money. And he got it too.
Then Richie lost it all. Again. Before he’d even turned 30.
“I was finally tired,” he said. “Tired of being burden to my family; tired of feeling like a loser. I didn’t want to live. I truly didn’t want to live. I was so tired of being in so much pain. After 10 years, I was willing to take suggestions from people who got sober.”
Richie went to detox in Florida. Then he stayed on for rehab. He joined A.A., got a sponsor and worked the 12 Steps. He took the energy required to hustle and put it to good use. By day Richie moved furniture. By night he was a treatment center tech.
Slowly but surely, Richie got his life together. He got his license, a car, a phone. He also proved himself at the treatment center, and now serves as the rehab’s outreach coordinator.
“Today I spend my life telling my story and spreading the message that there is a solution to this terrible problem [of addiction],” he said. “I'm able to help people get the help they need. I have a purpose today and I wake up excited and motivated to help my fellow addict and alcoholic that is still suffering. I am living proof that addiction recovery is possible.”
We at Recovery Boot Camp wish to applaud Richie and all those who prove addiction recovery is possible. And who continue be shining examples of the benefits of true sobriety. Richie’s addiction recovery story isn’t just proof that it works if you work it; it’s proof that it can and does work wonders.