Meet Myles… this is his story of addiction, recovery and how the Cenikor Foundation has helped him make positive change in his life.
Cenikor is one of the oldest and most successful substance abuse treatment centers in the nation with services throughout Texas and Louisiana. Since 1967, Cenikor has expanded to assist more than 1,000 people a week achieve better health and better lives. They are committed to helping people deal with behavioral health issues and addictions by providing a full continuum of care through a variety of programs including short-term and long-term inpatient programs, detoxification, outpatient and intensive outpatient services. Cenikor Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, dedicated to assisting people in developing the skills needed to become responsible citizens free of substance abuse.
Myles’ Story | To talk about my experiences with the Cenikor Foundation, I first need to delve into my struggles with addiction. My name is Myles H.- I am 22 years old. A lot of people may relate tragic events, or an unstable childhood to their addiction, but for myself that was not the case. I had more than most growing up and my family was always there for me. I was raised by my mother and her mom. My father I have never met and to this day is not a resentment of mine. He was never there, so that was it, he was never there. I have two older brothers Josh and Kyle. I was the youngest so again I got more than I probably needed, be it attention or material things. Really my memories as a child are filled with so many positives that I cannot think of anything negative.
If there had to be one significant event that started my decent into drugs and alcohol, I would have to say it was when my grandmother passed away in 2004. To me it felt like a dream, to my mother a nightmare. My mother had her own struggles with addiction and didn’t have to do anything but make sure my brother and I got what we needed, until my grandmother passed away. Then she had to make the effort to go back to work as a LVN, something she had not done since before I was born. Again, I would not say I was forced into using drugs for the first time because of some event like my grandmother passing away, or my brother showing me weed for the first time. I would say for myself it was curiosity that caused the chaos.
I started smoking weed for the first time in high school. It was mysterious and illegal, something I would have never had the nerves for just a few years prior. But something was never satisfied. I was searching for the next new feeling. The next “great escape.” At 15 I tried acid for the first time, something that at the time felt like a religious experience. If I had access to it everyday, I would have done it. Let’s just say that my body became a new training ground for whatever kind of chemical I could get my hands on. My mother soon became overwhelmed with bills and stress. We lost our home, and eventually moved into a hotel to find another place to live. This turned into a time in my life I would never want to live again. Daily bouts of depression loaded with enough hydrocodone and methadone to keep me numb and depraved. I would go 2 weeks without food, as long as a I had a pill, drink or smoke in my stomach to settle the sadness. It was easier at the time to ignore, run, and fade away then attempt to change anything. My mother worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week just to give my brother Josh and I what little we had and we still took everything from her to get what we wanted.
After what seems to be a sick version of Groundhog Day, it eventually turns worse. My mother overdoses. At first it seemed like it was not real. I had lost many people before I lost my mother. Friends, Grandparents, but nothing relates to loosing the person that brought you into this life. The only thing that may have kept me from breaking down after she passed away was probably the methadone.
I ran away from the grief, but to run away I had to face some things that I had never faced before. My oldest brother Kyle decides to take me in along with his wife, but they would not allow my brother Josh to live with them. They knew that he had an addiction problem, as for myself I was able to sober up and act like nothing was wrong with me. So as I am going to live with my oldest brother, Josh had to find somewhere to go. This ends up becoming my first experience with Cenikor. The structure of Cenikor seemed to be the perfect program to help Josh deal with his behavioral issues and addictions. During this time I had to go back to High School, get a job, and do things when I was so used to doing absolutely nothing everyday. At first it was easy, but stress and anxiety eventually took over and I had to find an escape. Alcohol has always been something that I thought was more acceptable than the drugs I was used to taking. So if I go to school and work all day, I deserve to drink when I get home right? Meanwhile, my brother Josh is having a hard time adjusting to Cenikor. He probably went through the most “assessments” as we like to call them here than anyone I have ever met. The Orientation Phase of Cenikor which usually lasts 30 days took him 61 days.
The summer of 2010, I find the first full time job I have ever worked at. I was a janitor for a fitness center in downtown Dallas. Not the most glamorous job in the world but I was getting a steady paycheck. And I couldn’t have had it easier. I didn’t have to worry about paying for rent, or food, or clothes, my brother was providing everything for me. But I choose to throw it back into his and his wife’s face. I was actually able to save up money for a car, but I would go and steal alcohol every night to get my fix. I still remember calling my sister-in-law to tell her how great my therapy session for addiction went, while intoxicated. That same call she tells me that Josh got terminated from Cenikor. So yet again I hang up and find another way to get more alcohol into my body. Eventually enough is enough. They told me that I have to stop drinking or they are going to kick me out. You would have thought that that was going to be enough, but I knew I was going to do what I wanted to do in the end.
I start attending AA for the first time 1 month before I turned 21. At first I honestly enjoyed it. But the ever looming thought of turning 21 and actually being able to purchase alcohol was too intriguing for me to stop. At this time I was sick of lying and sick of running. I told my family that I had relapsed, knowing that the consequences were going to be great. They said that I had to find a rehab and go to it. So my first thought was to try Cenikor, but after calling them they told me that since my brother Josh did not complete the program what made them think that I could do any better? They said go to a 30 day treatment first, so I found a short term program for me to go to. The place I found was called Grapevine Valley Hope. My insurance covered it and I was even able to keep my job by going on a medical leave. Again I enjoyed being sober, enjoyed everything that they were teaching me, but the ever looming thought of turning 21 was still over my head. The day I turned 21 in Grapevine Valley Hope, was the day I already knew I was going to relapse as soon as I was released. I completed the program a few days after my 21st Birthday. My options for living were limited, they found a Sober Living Home for me to go to that was near my job. I told the other 6 men living there, that were probably twice my age, that I was ready to stay sober and live differently, knowing deep down that I wasn’t. The transition was different and I stayed sober for a few weeks just in fear of loosing what I had. But it wasn’t long before I was drinking after work, and before work, and then just needing something in my body 24-7. I would wake up to a bottle, if I didn’t then I would be terribly sick, I would shake and it would feel as though my body was deteriorating. I soon found out that I could not afford my habit. I would spend so much on alcohol that I wouldn’t even eat. If I had alcohol then I wouldn’t even really need to eat anyways. Everything was alcohol first, other needs later. It was maybe 3 months living in my new place that I looked at my bank account and realized that I couldn’t pay rent, or pay anything for that matter because I had no money. I began a last ditch effort to continue to feel numb for a little while longer by getting Direct Deposit Advances on my checking account, just to get some last sources of money to feed my habit.
Eventually enough was enough, and I decided that I needed to go to Cenikor. I called them up, told them my situation and they said they would check me in, in two days. Needless to say that was probably one of the hardest two days. I had nothing and the wait felt like a lifetime. I went into Cenikor and I knew it was going to be an all or nothing effort. So I went into it with my all. The adjustment to Cenikor really wasn’t that hard for me. I honestly expected it to be harder than it was, but I think my adaptability to places and my patience are two of my strongest qualities. I spent 32 days in Orientation, learning and eating, and eating. Needless to say that I eat really well here and it is very structured for that in the beginning.
My first months in the part of the program called the First Phase went by so fast I could barely believe it. I was always doing something. I would work from 6am to 4pm come home, shower, eat, help clean the facility until they said the house was closed and then I would go to bed and do the same thing again the next day. During the First Phase of the program, Cenikor receives the residents work wages so that they can continue to fund the program and give us things we need like food and a place to stay. There is a lot of structure here from everything you wear, to how your dorm is, that it feels very “Boot Camp.” But a lot of things just become habits and don’t really feel like rules. I have seen a lot of my peers come into the program and either leave or get terminated. This place has the ability to weed out the unwilling. I have met and gotten attached to some of these people and some have been really hard to see leave. But I know that I will complete it and I know my life depends on this place. I owe Cenikor a lot so even when I see myself sometimes hating the rules that sometimes seem like nonsense, I also find myself smiling when explaining the program and the “nonsense” to someone new I meet. If you try to pick apart the program, try to find everything wrong in the little things, this place can eat you up alive. But if you just accept them for what they are and go with the flow, life becomes, life. And even real life had its moments of confusion, anger, and “nonsense.”
I am currently in the Final Phase of the program called Re-Entry. I now earn a paycheck, I can have a cell phone, and I am even allowed to leave the facility for certain times, be it just to get out and see my family or go to the bank or the store. Before I can graduate from the program I will have a car, I will have my own place and I will have two months worth of living expenses. That is what drew me to Cenikor, the promise of a new beginning. Even though it has taken me 20 months to get to this point, it has all been worth it. I have been through a lot, and have gone through a lot of things that I felt at the time wasn’t fair, but in the end I accept those things as life and I accept where I am. I still have things I need to work on to keep myself sober, but today I am at the cusp of being really back in society, with real problems and real challenges, but I don’t run from them anymore. If I feel like I can’t do something on my own, I ask someone for help today, which for me is a big thing. Sometimes I still find myself telling myself I can do everything on my own, but for some things I need to ask someone for help if I am going to succeed. “Your Life is Yours Alone, Rise Up and Live It.” Terry Goodkind
Do you know someone who needs help? Please, please share this story and information with them. Watching a loved one spiral out of control as they abuse drugs or alcohol is difficult to watch. It is also difficult to find the treatment that they deserve to get their life back on track. Cenikor knows the pain associated with watching the self-destructive, harmful behaviors that substance abuse takes on not only the individual but their loved ones. Find a Cenikor facility near you or explore their services to help find a suitable location for your loved one.
Help Support Cenikor. There are numerous reasons to give to the Cenikor Foundation, but the best reason is helping people become responsible citizens free of substance abuse. Cenikor gladly accepts donations and has a variety of volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in getting more information, please visit www.cenikor.org to learn more. And don’t forget to share this post using the social media buttons below to help bring awareness to Myles’ story and this great organization… you never know who you might help by doing so!
Very special thanks to Myles for sharing his story with us and to all of the supporters who have made these Love Capture Give ® sessions possible by purchasing sessions through Tressavent Photography.