Nick has been able to rebuild his relationship with his mother and brothers, and now he can help others do the same!
Nick is the youngest of three boys whose parents divorced when he was young. He admits that he was spoiled and played both parents to get what he wanted. His brothers stayed with his mom most of the time, but Nick would go back and forth between both parents. He liked to stay with his more lenient dad, who was also an addict.
At the age of ten, Nick started drinking alcohol and using marijuana. When he was twelve, he was using regularly. His addiction got worse, and by the time he was fifteen, Nick’s mom sent him to a recovery program in Utah. He hated the program, and was angry at his mom for sending him. He explains, “I always loved my mom, more than anything in the world. She was a wonderful lady, but I was always mad at her for that.”
While he was in Utah, Nick didn’t use, and completed two years of high school. He thought he had recovered and wanted to return to Maryland to be a normal student and play sports for his senior year. Nick convinced his dad to get him out of the program and let him come back to play football and baseball.
Upon returning, Nick earned the starting quarterback role on his varsity team. He drank occasionally, and once the football season was over, he drank frequently. During baseball season, Nick hurt his arm and started taking pain medication which he became dependent on..
He played baseball for a year in college, but his reliance on pain medications led to a heroin addiction, and soon, Nick didn’t want to do anything other than feed his habit. He quit school and managed to survive for several years with the help of his father.
He eventually moved back with his mom, but he wasn’t able to hold a job or have a relationships. Again, his mom tried to help by bailing him out when he got in trouble and sending him to rehabs. One of the programs had a spiritual focus, and that was where Nick discovered his desire for a relationship with God.
Unfortunately, he returned from one of the rehab programs to find that his brother had started using, too. Nick returned to his old ways and even began to sell drugs out of his mother’s house. His mom had finally had enough and said they couldn’t live there anymore. Enraged, Nick went to Las Vegas to live with his father. “I was not nice about it at all. I could not control my emotions. I am a completely different person now. I don’t even recognize the guy that I used to be.”
Nick lived two and half years in Vegas. He was always high, repeatedly arrested, and at one point found his father on the floor unconscious from an overdose and with a blood infection from shooting up. In the end, Nick was living in a trailer that didn’t have power or water. He was exhausted, and when his aunt came out to bring him home, he returned reluctantly to the East Coast.
Nick has a family friend on the Board of Helping Up Mission who recommended that he and his brother come to HUM. Although Nick was not ready to stop, his brother was ready, and came to HUM’s Spiritual Recovery Program. He recalls “I wanted to stop, but I didn’t want to.” As Nick went through several other programs, he realized, “I didn’t really want to live. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to do what I was doing, but I couldn’t stop.” He kept trying and kept slipping up, but all of those places helped keep him alive until he was ready to stop. “I always believed that once I was ready to stop, I could with God’s help.” Nick called his brother after he had messed up again, and his brother suggested he come to HUM.
Nick remembers walking through the door and just crying. He was worn out and wanted to stop. When he came in it felt good and safe, and he could finally let his guard down. At HUM, he could focus on what he needed to do to get better. He had the chance to address the root causes of his addiction. For the first time, Nick didn’t immediately seek out a social circle. Instead, he focused on his recovery and did the work he needed to recover.
One thing Nick had to work on was his relationships. He was tired of hurting everyone. When his mom came to visit, it was tough to see her, and they both cried. She visited every week and welcomed him home.
There were years that Nick didn’t communicate with his mother, and there were times she enabled him, believing she was helping him. Eventually, she made the tough choice to say “whenever you are ready, I am here.” It was certainly tough for him to hear, but now Nick proudly declares that his mother is “the best woman I ever met. She is loving and caring and always did everything she could for my brothers and me. She always put us first.”
It has been almost a year since Nick graduated from HUM. He now works as an Intern in the Program Office at the Mission and helps other men find their way. Thanks to you, Nick has been able to rebuild his relationship with his mother and brothers, and now he can help others do the same!