Mark drank and used drugs most of his life, beginning with alcohol when he was only 12 years old, then progressing to marijuana, followed by hard drugs. Mark’s father worked three jobs and provided for his family, but Mark wanted more. When Mark was 13, he figured out the way to get everything that he wanted – he became affiliated with a gang. Mark started selling crack and ended up in juvenile prison for a gang-related attempted murder charge. Mark returned to life in the gang after his release, where his drug and alcohol usage became worse. He lived this way for many years and went to prison six times.
Mark has two sons that he always took care of with the money he received from selling drugs and felt he was entitled to live how he wanted since he was taking care of his responsibilities. Any drug that he sold he used as well but found his “drug of choice” when he was introduced to methamphetamines (meth). Mark went from using meth, to cooking and selling it. Mark’s meth operation drew a lot of attention, and after being raided, he ended up with a 7-year prison sentence.
A Grateful Recovering Addict
During his time in prison, Mark participated in a drug program. While there, he was inspired by a metaphor: “A man was walking and fell into a hole, people passing by said that they would be back to help, but no one ever came back. A man was walking by and heard him, so he looked down and the man in the hole was desperate to get out and thankful that this man stopped. The man who stopped jumped down in the hole with him and the guy said, why would you jump down here with me? He said that he had been down there before, and he could lead him out.” Mark gets emotional when he thinks of this metaphor because he was led out and is now clean and sober.
Mark is currently working towards his bachelor’s degree in addiction counseling, and recently learned he was on the president’s list for holding a 4.0 GPA. “My sons are what motivates me every day, and after I get my degree I will do what I am passionate about -spreading the message of recovery.”