If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have given you some whimsical answer like my 4 year old gives when you ask him what he wants to be for Halloween. It wasn’t “I want to be an addict”.

My upbringing was fairly normal. My father was an officer in the Marine Corps and my mother stayed home to take care my two siblings and me. The only real abnormality was that we moved every few years but it was never an issue with me. I tend to adapt to situations quickly and making friends did not seem to be hard for me. It’s difficult for me to know when all of that changed. At some point along the way, the idea of what others thought of me became way more important than what I thought of myself. When I had my first experience with alcohol I no longer cared what others thought about me. I chased that feeling throughout my addiction and all the way into my recovery.

The story begins with sneaking sips from my father’s beer from the time I could pull myself up to a table. I have always had a love affair with alcohol. The one thing that stands out most about my first full-fledged experience with alcohol was that it ended up in a blackout. I have never had control over my drinking. At times I attempted to fool myself but the reality is that the moment alcohol entered my body there was never any guarantee that I had any control over my actions. This was the continuous battle between alcohol and myself until it brought me to my knees. This story isn’t about the destruction of my past. I drank to excess, used drugs, had arrests, and even attempts at treatment. The trail that led to me was one of broken promises. I wrecked my life and by the end of it all attempted to bring anyone along with me if they happened to get in my cloud of chaos. By the end I was praying for death. I pleaded for God to take the pain away. I cried myself to sleep hoping I would not wake up because as much as I wanted to stop drinking/using, it was the only solution I had to deal with the turmoil I had created in my own life. The thought of suicide passed through my thoughts often.

If you asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have given you some whimsical answer like my 4 year old gives when you ask him what he wants to be for Halloween. It wasn’t “I want to be an addict!” but that’s exactly what happened. When I think back to those days, chills overwhelm me and tears come. I have an extreme sense of gratitude because today that is no longer my existence. I am no longer a prisoner of my addiction. The cloud of chaos has been blown away and has been replaced with serenity. That is what recovery means to me. Peace of mind and a sense of comfort in my own skin that I often fought to attain through my use.

Addiction and recovery are still so misunderstood. Even I can forget where I used to be more than 12 years ago. I live in a small town and a local arrest this summer had the town abuzz. A young woman hit a pole downtown then drove a few more miles where she hit another pole and her car caught fire. Her baby was strapped in a car seat in the back. The mother was high on heroin. Luckily, both were uninjured. The story was spread by locals via social media. The mother was referred to as a loser, a scumbag, and a waste of human life by the people sharing the article. When a family member brought up the incident to me she used some of the same terminology. I asked, “Did you hear about the guy in Albany who woke up in county jail and had no idea that he ran over a friend with his truck? He was drunk and high on cocaine.” She gasped in disbelief at the actions that people are capable of. I replied, “That was me.” She was shocked. My intention isn’t to chastise that family member or anyone else that shared her opinion. What people don’t know is that I am just like that mom in the car. I did horrible things in the name of addiction. But I turned my life around. That mother is not a waste. She, too, has the ability to turn her life around. I hope she becomes a woman who, just like me, people would never believe was capable of such craziness. There is hope for her. I am proof of that.

My name is Sean Faucher, and I had my last drink/drug on July 20, 2002 and am full of gratitude today that I no longer need to consume any mind-altering substance to deal with my problem…me.