My name is Billy and I'm 26 years old. I grew up in Victorville, California.
When I was doing drugs, my biggest fear was that I'd have to sleep in my car with no place to go and no one to talk to. I didn't know who to cry out to. I knew God was there, but I had no idea He was listening. I wanted to cry out to my mom, dad, sister or friends, but they weren't there at the time. That was a big fear of mine, that I would be alone.
That really frightened me as well as waking up every morning and wondering if I'd still want to keep doing drugs or if things were gonna change. Most of the time, they didn't. Either I had work or I didn't. If I didn't have work, I'd be doing drugs. If I had work, I'd still be doing drugs. That was a nightmare over and over as well.
My family was totally against my drug use. They told me that I knew better, but I would never listen to them. My mom would tell me that they raised me different. In the back of my mind, as soon as I got the next drug or when I was ready to do the drugs, I always knew I was doing the wrong thing, but I would do it anyway.
My drug use progressed from cigarettes to marijuana to acid to speed to cocaine to crack cocaine and to mushrooms. I thankfully never tried needles or else that would've been the top. Other than that, I tried them all.
Methamphetamine was my drug of choice and the hardest one to kick. It controlled my life. It had control of me completely. The people I grew up with were all doing methamphetamine. The more it was around, the more we would do. It was impossible to get away from in the town I was living in. It was always there.
It controlled my life.
My childhood friends who didn't do drugs preferred not to be around me and the friends who did. We became the wrong crowd. When the good crowd and the bad crowd got together, I could tell how much they did not wanna be around us. They knew that we were doing wrong and they were trying to do right in their lives.
I'm lucky that my drug use didn't cause any long-term physical effects. I did lose a lot of weight from doing drugs, but since I've been in Teen Challenge, I've gained that weight back and more actually.
If I was talking to a person that was using drugs, I would tell him that eventually he's gonna lose it all. No matter how much on top he thinks he is. It's gonna overpower his other desires. If he continues to use drugs, the hopes and dreams he thinks he has are gonna be stolen
I hit rock bottom when I was living at a friend's house and I only had a few days left to live there. We had a drug-induced confrontation and he threw me out. This friend was much bigger than me so there wasn't much I could do about it. After the fight, I knew that was the end. I had nowhere left to go.
My last bridge was burned. I had not a dollar in my pocket. I had no drugs left and I had nothing left to do. After that, I had no idea what was gonna happen. Luckily, my mom realized she needed to take me back in and help me get into Teen Challenge.
The first time I was introduced to Teen Challenge was after my mother gave me their flyer. The phone call was really quick. He said, “Just be here next Tuesday at 8:00 in the morning and we'll see you for an interview. Bring an I.D. and your Social Security card and we'll start from there.” I was really excited. It went real fast after that.
Tuesday morning, I showed up and went through the interview process. I was rather nervous. I wanted my parents to be at the interview with me. They wouldn't let my parents come with me. They let me know it was all right. They were just gonna ask me a couple of questions.
They asked me, “How come you wanna be in the program? What is it you've been doing?” I let them know, “I've been addicted to methamphetamine for years and it's stolen everything and I wanna change. I know my parents want me to change and they're down there supporting me right now. I've read a little about your program and I came here hoping that this is the place for me.”
They told me, “Here's what you need to do. Go get a physical and a couple of tests done and the following week come back and we'll send you somewhere. We'll find you a bed in one of the centers throughout Southern California.”
Since I've come to Teen Challenge, my life has completely changed. I have hope and dreams. I have love for my family. I'm a totally different person. I never thought I could be so happy. I never thought I could have friends like I have here or responsibilities like I have now. I never thought I'd be able to go through with things that I do now.
I never went through high school the way I'm going through school here. It's just been great, the restoration with my family and seeing all the great things in my life and my friends' lives at Teen Challenge.
Teen Challenge gave me sobriety. It gave me a place where I didn't have to worry about friends calling me to see if I was gonna do drugs with them. It gave me a safe place where there are other people that don't wanna do drugs anymore as well. It gave me hope and peace. It's given me everything I could ever want. Teen Challenge is a blessing in my life.