What Thunder Road Means To Me
Before I was admitted into treatment, I was one angry teenager. Of course, I thought I had all the answers and I wasn’t an addict. I just enjoyed using drugs. Everybody else I knew used, so it seemed normal to me. I felt my parents didn’t understand anything and they couldn’t help me. It was me against the world! I didn’t like the structure they set and I made my own rules and ran the streets. I didn’t want to come to a treatment facility, especially if it was rehab for 2 and ½ months!
I got more from Thunder Road than I expected to get. I learned to love myself the way I am and not to be so critical on myself. As long as I put by best into my work I didn’t have to be hard on myself. I learned that only I can determine how my future goes and I don’t’ have to dwell in the past and follow the sadistic natures I had grown up in. I learned that by being honest with myself, I could then be honest with others. By being honest, I can get honesty and with being honest, trust is gained and foundations to solid friendships are built.
I have learned that the only opinion that matters is my own, and I have built my self esteem so that what people say doesn’t hurt me and by being patient with people because not everyone sees eye to eye. I have learned coping skills to live a more happy and healthy life.
Also, Thunder Road has helped my parents and me to improve and flip our relationship 180 degrees. We can now have conversations that don’t end in fights or tears. Last, but not least, I found myself. It was a challenge because many obstacles stood in my way and I wasn’t exactly the popular peer. But, I figure, they are just scared to accomplish what I have gained.
What I am trying to say is that, to me, Thunder Road has been a place where I have transformed into a butterfly. It has been my shelter and protection from all the nasty things beyond its building. But I have got in touch with the side of me that sees the beauty in life and if it wasn’t for Thunder Road, then I probably would be an addict that did not realize what hurt me most. Until I am in my late twenties or thirties, so I clearly see how fortunate I am to get this experience as young as I still am and can embrace and retain all the coping skills and tools I have learned to live life as a happier, healthier Kailonne-Lynn. Thank you Thunder Road for helping me understand that there such a thing to have a fun lifestyle and be sober. It makes me look forward to being a recovering addict and to be like a number of the staff at Thunder Road who love there job and have appreciated their recovery and give back to us kids by sharing their experience, strength and HOPE! There is a special place in my heart that Thunder Road has filled!
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I’ve been thru pain.
I’ve been thru drama.
I’ve been thru broken hearts.
I’ve been thru trauma.
I’ve been thru hurt.
I’ve been betrayed.
I’ve been thru feelings and they’ve only been played.
I’ve been backstabbed and I’ve been through tears.
I’ve been thru a lot in these past few years.
I needed a break.
I tried to create ways for this pain to go away.
I couldn’t think
So I started to drink,
So I didn’t have to face these days.
Everything was getting so out of control.
Life was slipping thru my fingers,
And I didn’t even know
Physical, mental, and substance abuse.
I knew I needed help, but I didn’t know what to do.
Under the influence I caught a case.
The judge was thru with me and sent me to this place.
A place I thought I would never be,
A place that really just wasn’t for me.
390 40th Street, Oakland, California.
A place that puts all the cards out right before you.
A 60-day program of feelings I’ve never felt,
Didn’t know how quick I would actually melt.
I felt like it wouldn’t work,
Like it would just get worse and worse,
All this anger just built up.
I felt like I was about to burst.
I started working the program
To do better for myself,
And I was starting to get it,
That this was my help.
I am proud to sit here
Sober with 140 days goin’ tuff,
And I remind myself daily that ones too many
And a thousand’s never enough.
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Hi, I’m Mathew and I’m an Addict
Lately I have come to believe that there is quite a stigma attached to being an addict. Many say we are irresponsible, incompetent individuals with a lack of motivation or overall caring for ourselves and our surroundings. This may lead many to not trust us or even begin to understand what kind of people we are or what we are capable of. One thing that needs to be said is that I was definitely one who defined this stigma but that does not mean that I have continued down this path of dishonesty and unrighteousness. In fact, thanks to a spiritual awakening and the support of the Thunder Road team, I have made a complete one-eighty turnaround in my life.
My using really started the spring of 2006, my freshman year in High School. I joined the baseball team and my childhood friend asked me to spend the night at his house where we would play music together and smoke pot. So I consented because I knew my father wouldn’t find out and my mother, being an addict herself, always said if I ever wanted to get high, just let her know. Needless to say I called her the next day asking to have a sleepover at her house with another friend of mine so we could get stoned in the garage. That night ended up being the most wonderful high of my life and I felt as if I truly found something tangible that I could have and everything else to me started to become less and less significant. My mom gave me and a friend about 3 ounces of marijuana and it was off to the races.
I instantly began selling and smoking everyday without any realization of what the hell I was doing, but hey, I was high and had money in my pocket and at the time I was getting the best grades I’ve ever had and still playing baseball and being a kid. I remember making a list with my friends of all the drugs we were going to do that summer. And by god we completed it with time to spare. This was lucky because I got my first experience of real drug trouble by being caught stealing alcohol with a buddy of mine and I was grounded by my father for the following semester. But in order to find time to smoke, I took up football where I was a quarterback but more importantly I was able to get high during school and after practice on occasion. As a result of this, my grades drastically dropped and I started getting in trouble for cutting class. This carried on the whole year and then the summer involved a lot of cocaine and ecstasy, two drugs that I found to be absolutely exhilarating. It was around that time that I learned my parents met in Narcotics Anonymous, but I promised myself I wasn’t a drug addict and I would never end up there. But I soon found out that I loved stimulants a little too much and I lacked the ability to save money when doing them. I always wanted more and I would go through great lengths to get it.
At the beginning of my junior year my father got fed up with the lying and using and kicked me out of the house and sent me to live with my mother in Richmond. There I was taking BART to and from school everyday and I wouldn’t leave the town until about 7 every night because of football practice. I tried coming back to my father’s house but a few more coke binges ruined that several times. Things were starting to look up at the beginning of the second semester, I settled down at my dad’s house and got a girlfriend and began doing more normal things, yet still had barely enough sanity and grades to get by. It must be my charm that kept me around that school, for all the faculty and teachers took a liking to my reckless intelligence. At the end of junior year, I lost my friends, house, sports and girl.
This time it was off to Fairfield with my mom the meth addict. There I realized that I only had drug buddies and when they weren’t there I found faith in a new stimulant, and that was the beginning of a 3 month meth binge that lead me to the brink of death. I left my mother’s house with my guitar and backpack and through some friends got a train ticket back home where I couch surfed for a week and eventually got set up with my current guardian, Dave Rose. I went to the high school first because that was the only place I knew as home and it was truly a life or death situation. He got me re-enrolled in school and they saved my life. I was behind in school but they helped me gain back the credits. I began speaking to my father all the time, and going to out-patient rehab. I started doing all this good but I kept smoking pot every day in order to a have a vice that kept me sane. I eventually realized that it was only a matter of time before I went back to the hard stuff.
So I checked into rehab where I stayed for 24 days and learned so much I couldn’t begin to explain it now. They stepped me down to Intensive Out-Patient where I am still going and my family relationships are the best they have ever been. I’m busy with school, but happy and sober. I have a sponsor and I’m working the 12 steps that have saved so many before me with such worse circumstances. Not only is the world opening up for me, but I can see it do so before my very eyes. I couldn’t help but pity myself because of all the things I don’t have, but honestly, at least I now have myself. And that is all one could hope for in this world because people spend lifetimes trying to figure that out. I can finally see my path and it’s a day at a time. But it’s also another day without using and lying to the people who care for me and love me for who I am, not for how much money I had, or who I hung out with. I am beginning to “accept the things I cannot change” and I realized that people will try and bring me down by tempting me. But honestly, I don’t care for them anymore because I would hate more than anything to be back at day one, with a new guilt and self loathing I can’t begin to imagine. I want to be a success story that makes my family and friends inspired, and proud to tell. I owe it all to them.
- Mat J.
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"Treatment for me was not just about treating the chemical dependency; it was about a group of staff that cared about the teenagers and wanted more for us than we wanted for ourselves."
- Juanik T.
"There’s many things that Thunder Road has offered me and I’m glad that they were there for there for the taking."
- Julio M.
"Thunder Road has helped me become more aware of my actions and past behaviors. I know now that I am responsible for all my actions. Also, I am powerless over anybody else, but me. I believe everything happens for a reason. I am here for a reason."
- Rhea T.
"My name is Andrew and in my experience with alcohol and drugs, it got me nowhere in life fast. I first started smoking when I was about twelve years old. From there it went to drinking. When I was twelve years old, I O’d on alcohol and went to the hospital. From then I became a drinker. After a while I felt like drinking wasn’t my thing anymore, so I moved on to weed. At first I didn’t like it so much, but when I saw that my friends were doing it, I thought that it was cool.
"From there, I was starting to smoke and drink more and more throughout the years until I was about fifteen years old. I was clean for about one year. But right about when I turned sixteen years old, I got into using ecstasy and I was using that for about two months straight. And then I went to treatment at Kaiser and I was clean for seven months, but shortly after I drank with a friend. After all that I got back on track and was clean for two months, then I relapsed again on ecstasy with one of my good friends, but he was the smart one and didn’t do it. From there, I came here to Thunder Road where it has been pretty helpful and I feel like I’m learning things. With that, I leave you with my story of using."
- Andrew A.