My name is Nicholas O. I am 21 years old and I am from Santa Fe New Mexico. I was 16 years old when I started making bad choices. The worst of the choices I made was saying yes to the dope game. I thought I was cool doing and selling drugs.

When I was 14 I started smoking marijuana. That led to painkillers at 15. By the age of 16 my life had spun out of control. I tried cocaine and Oxycontin and didn’t like either of them. I said I would never do it again. They were too expensive and I didn’t like the feeling they gave me. As time went by marijuana wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I picked up cocaine again, but this time in a different form. From the first time I smoked cocaine I was immediately hooked. It was like love at first sight. I started smoking it on a daily basis. I stopped caring about school and about how I looked. I just didn’t care about anything besides getting high. Soon I grew tired of the high. I still did it, but it wasn’t the same.

My best friend at the time was hooked on Oxycontin. “Oxy’s” became my next habit. I started to love that high. I started taking it on a daily basis. By this time I was 18 years old and a senior in high school. My addiction was getting worse. I was taking girls and a lot of other things in life for granted. Then my best friend OD’d (over-dosed) and died. I couldn’t believe it. I hated life. I asked God why he didn’t take me instead of him. I came to believe that everything happens for a reason. I stopped going to school and flunked my senior year. I didn’t care. My mom was depressed because I wasn’t the son that she had brought up. I told her I was going to go back to school, for her, and get my diploma. It was the least I could do.

In 2008 I received my high school diploma. My mother was so happy! After high school I planned to go to college. That didn’t wind up happening due to the drugs. I stopped caring again. I didn’t want to work or go to school or do anything at all. All I wanted to do was get high, so that’s what I did. For 2 years I smoked and sniffed my life away. It truly was getting old. One night my sister told me that she thought I should go to rehab. I said, “Rehab, I don’t need rehab. I can do it by myself.” That was a lie.

About 2 weeks later I told my sister I would go. I asked for her help in finding a center for me. She found a center in Santa Fe. Thanks to the grace of God I got in. It “took a minute”, but I got in. This was my first time trying to get sober. I was scared. I didn’t know why I was, but I was. It was at the center that one of my counselors recommended a half way house by the name of Healing Properties in Delray Beach, Florida. At the time I didn’t even know what a half way house was. She had given some of the other guys at the center the brochure and had asked if I wanted one and I said,” Sure, why not.” I held on to it and when my mom came to visit me I showed it to her. She told me that she thought it was a good idea and that she didn’t think that the 30 days at the center was enough time for me.

I really started to think about the idea of the half way house and started to pray on it. Finally, I told my counselor that I would like to go. I was willing. I told her that my mother would not be able to afford it. She said she would look into it and see what she could do to help me get there. My counselor called Healing Properties and asked if there was any help I could get. She asked if there was a bed available for me and they said yes and that they also had a scholarship program available, the “Stephen Schnellenberger Foundation for Sober living”. By the grace of God I received both the bed and the scholarship.

It was meant to be for me to get out of New Mexico. I’m truly thankful that I received the scholarship. It would have been hard for me to get in to Healing Properties without it. I am very grateful for the help that I got. I arrived at Healing Properties May 10, 2010 and I’m still here. It took a while for me to adjust, but I did. I’m loving life right now. I’m working and making my mother so happy. I am happy that I don’t have as much hate in my heart anymore. I continue to stay here at Healing Properties and do good things with my life. I come from a family of addicts and I pray and that I can at least change that for myself. Thank you Healing Properties and the Stephen Schnellenberger Foundation for all you have done and for helping me to open my eyes. I know that life is a great thing when you are sober and that living life without drugs is possible. I have 5 months sober. It’s been a rollercoaster, but I am loving it and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for me.

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