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  • Writer's pictureTodd Youngs

The Face of Addiction

Updated: Feb 27, 2019

A brief retelling of a sad and hopeless state of existence.

I was 29 years old at the time this picture was taken; I am now 51.  I spent a great deal of my life as a chronic alcoholic of the hopeless variety.  By that I mean heavy daily drinking, including drinking in the mornings; two DUI’s; mood disorders of depression and anxiety; assorted bad behavior; and eventual cognitive impairments.  I sustained a nearly uninterrupted, two decades-long dependence on opiates  (mostly heroin and oxycontin) with benzodiazepines supplementing in the last decade of chronic use. 

My taste for heroin also included a very ugly appetite for IV cocaine, crack, and significant amounts of methamphetamine.

After more than 20 years of bona fide addiction, my life truly was a sad story of broken dreams. I had many missing teeth, collapsed veins, Hep-C, many jail visits, shock-time in the penitentiary, a trip to the psych ward, treatment center stays, 5 different methadone clinic enrollments, Suboxone and Subutex therapy, no girlfriend, no job, and no life.  By any standard, I was utterly hopeless.

In 2009 I emerged from the ashes of my burned-out life.   Like the legendary Phoenix,  I was reborn.  This miracle was attained through a special synthesis of 12 Step recovery and ritually guided, altered states of consciousness.  Today my heart is full of gratitude.  I pray, I work, and I experience the joy of living each day as the gift that it truly is. 

I am devoted to carrying this message of hope. 

My interest in this field is personal to me on another level, too.  I lost several of my closest, life-long friends to this affliction. The often heard admonition, “jails, institutions, and death”  is not an exaggeration;  it is a vivid and tragic reality.  No activity is more important to me than extending a helping hand to sufferers and their families. 

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