#hopeforMattie

img_2279-1They told me that drugs were dangerous. They told me that drinking every night would kill me. They told me just one more time could be the end. They told me not to do this. They told me not to do that. They told me I had to make a choice.

in 2009, a gentlemen from Clifton, NJ told me that recovery could save my life. He told me if I wanted something I’ve never had I would have to be willing to do something I have never done. I followed through on that advice roughly 5 years later. I got on an airplane, went to Florida, completed treatment, moved into sober living & I am now 27 years old, live in Texas & work for quite possibly the greatest place in the recovery field. My boss is a childhood friend & his boss is the reason I gave this recovery one last chance. How is that for a story book ending, right?

A New Start!

Wrong. the story isn’t over.

4 am.

I have a backpack, my laptop, a bottle of water & 2 sets of headphones because for some apple wanted to make everything more difficult with their new Iphone.

Im traveling to Houston, Texas. On the opposite end of this greyhound journey I will find a mother who reached out like hundred of mothers have done this year alone.

Over a week ago I asked the women of Facebook for help. I needed letters of hope written to a girl named Mattie, a 26 year old girl locked up in county jail, in Houston, Texas.

The number of people that reached out for her address climbed rapidly. 25 people within a few minutes, 100 within a few hours & now a total number somewhere over 400. There was literally no significance to the number of letters written at first glance until I took a step back.

Mattie is part of a generation, that I am a part of as well,  that is notorious for not getting things right the first time. Our generation that entitled, arrogant & the perfect definition of self-will run riot.

So why did I think so many letters is significant after taking a step back?

hundreds of different people writing letters meant that she would hear hundred of messages about how people found life chasing death.

I am delivering my letter in person. Again, I have been inside of detoxes, rehabs & jails in active addiction as well as in recovery. This though, I have never done. I have never traveled to a jail to visit a person I have never met before.

I often get asked what I do for a living. I almost never have the correct answer in my mind. Writing & posting this hours before my bosses get a chance to read it I can already tell you what their answer will be. I am speaking for others who aren’t capable of speaking up yet. I am hoping to say just one thing that will allow someone to get out of their own way & find recovery.

So here it goes.

Mattie,

We have never met before, we haven’t spoken & I do not expect you to care about anything I am saying. My name is William. I am 27 years old & have been in recovery for over 3 years. I live in Fort Worth, Texas. I had a great family, good upbringing & incredible education. I had plenty of friends, was a good athlete & involved in the community. I started drinking from a red solo cup, smoked a blunt & spiraled out of control until I landed at the last house on the block which was a long term treatment center in Florida. Their treatment plan was simple, they kept you as many days as they thought necessary. Thankfully, the clinical director resigned after a few months into my stay or I am sure they would still be holding me there. I completed treatment, moved into sober living, moved to South Carolina & then finally landed in Texas. I learned a valuable lesson somewhere in the mist of chaos though. Everywhere I went, there I was. I had plans to be in Houston next weekend for a few days yet I felt it ever so pressing to tell you this right here, right now. Everything you ever wanted for a life beyond your wildest dreams is sitting on the opposite side of fear.

I know that all seems so boring. I also know that complete strangers are capable of making more of an impact than anyone else currently in your life. Your mom told me you are beautiful, caring, loving & above all else, creative. I am not writing you this letter today to tell you that I think you are all of those things because honestly, I know nothing about you. I am writing you this letter because every single person in this world has the desire to know they are not alone. You are no longer alone. I am not going anywhere.

Mattie, whether you believe me or not, I care about the person you are & the person I believe that you can be. I hope that you will see how much support you have and while I can’t vouch for everyone, you have a life long friend in me.

Sincerely,

William

I’ve struggled to finish my thoughts on the opposite side of this letter because I was unsure what I needed to say. Since returning back to Fort Worth, I posted a status that created more than enough controversy, I did a video that had more emotion than ever before & I learned that hope carries way further than I had ever expected. This the first blog I am writing where I understand that it has already helped one person. Mattie has made more of an impact on me than I will ever make on her. I am grateful to be a part of her journey. When she is released in 12 days she will have a handful of letters. She will know to hold on, pain ends. HOPE was the only thing she ever needed.

Hold On, Pain Ends.

I normally ask for everyone to share this message in hopes that it will reach just one person. While I encourage that as well, I hope that you will take the time to leave a comment for Mattie to read in a few short days. It takes a village to raise a child & she needs us more than we will ever know 12 days from now.

Painkiller Addiction

Reach out! It can save someone’s life!

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from the eyes of an addict.

Hello,

My name is William Marotta. I am the founder of Choose Freedom & I currently am employed by what I believe to be the greatest place in the entire recovery field known as A New Start, Inc. I am 27 years old & I have been clean & sober for a little over three years now. In the recovery community, that’s bad ass. For the general public, they truthfully don’t care. 

The reality though, it will take every single person walking the earth to overcome this epidemic.

Six months ago I started this blog. I said it was truthful, raw & my experience. As time has gone on, I can definitely see how many people it has helped. Starting from just one person in a small apartment in South Carolina it has now transformed into half a dozen people helping me from all over the country while I now reside in Fort Worth, Texas.

The journey has been incredible. I’ve gotten to meet so many people, help even more than that & learn from the leaders that have come before me. That wasn’t why I started this blog though. This wasn’t why I started speaking up. This wasn’t what I had envisioned. If you’re in recovery, I hope you can relate. If you’re someone struggling with addiction, I hope you’ll reach out. If you currently love either one of those people, I suggest you keep reading. This is for you. 

I am in one hundred closed recovery groups. What exactly does that mean to the average person reading this though? It means that we can privately talk about our problems amongst ourselves. In fact, this blog will be circulated through most of them, whether I share them or someone else does. Most people in recovery will read this & then they will go about their day. 

February 13th, 2017. An estimated 144 people will die in this country from a drug overdose just like every other day of this year. What will we do about it? We will yell in our closed groups about how angry we are, we will mourn the losses of our loved ones & we will try and find a way to cope with the everyday struggle of being a recovering drug addict & alcoholic.

I started writing because I needed relief. 

I started writing because no one would argue with me.

I started writing because no one would judge me.

I started writing because I was ashamed.
I got sober inside the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I was taught to remain quiet about my recovery while I was sitting inside a church basement drinking black coffee. I am currently breaking my anonymity and I will receive messages from all over the country quoting the 11th tradition which means our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. 

Here is what I have to say to those people so you do not even waste your time:

Remaining silent is killing an entire generation & Someone promoting recovery saved my life.

If I back down now, I will never be at peace with myself. I used to think that the greatest sensation was the moments before the high. One final breath before a high would take over so powerful it was enough to roll my eyes in the back of my head & make every single problem disappear. 

I was wrong though. The greatest sensation I have felt is being a voice for so many people that are still afraid to speak up or no longer with us.

What does that look like though? What does it mean to be a voice? What does it mean to love an addict or alcoholic? Why are so many of us still crippled with low self-esteem, constant validation or eagerness for perfection? 

I wish I had the perfect answer for that, but I don’t. Im not a doctor, therapist or an expert. I am, however, a human being that can feel real emotion. I made a living out of testing the waters even when people told me that I would not be able to handle the tide.

Everyone around an active addict is willing to tell them they need help. Everyone wants to point the finger. Everyone wants to discuss the problem. Everyone wants their way to be the only way.

Is anyone going to help us discuss the solution?

 
Sincerely,

an addict & alcoholic in long term recovery.

want help? Reach out.

Want to tell your story? Reach out.

Choose Freedom FB Page!
A New Start, Inc.

#Rounders

          I have started this post more times than I care to count. I have erased it, started over & stopped all together. I have hesitated to publish this idea because I am not sure where people will stand. After all, I am a recovering addict. I still struggle with self esteem. No one really understands how long judgement will last or how long an impression will last. I still think about how I kept my deepest, darkest secret in for so long. I was not sure how to react. I was no longer certain that people would embrace me. I know longer wanted to be part of society. I remember my first night in love. I remember it so vividly. I was sitting in my grandparents basement & up my nose went a tiny blue pill. I threw up for almost an hour, but I had arrived. My name is William & that was the first time in my entire life I felt like I belonged. I apologize to society for the next four years of my life, while also taking blame for the last decade as well. My generation has destroyed itself. My generation has hurt the generation before us. My generation is crushing the hopes of the generation to come after us. 
          Mike McDermott, a character played by Matt Damon in the movie Rounders, states, “In “Confessions of a Winning Poker Player,” Jack King said, “Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.” It seems true to me, cause walking in here, I can hardly remember how I built my bankroll, but I can’t stop thinking of how I lost it.”
          I am sitting in a Starbucks in downtown Dallas as tears roll down my cheeks because of the absolute parallel that quote has in my life. I can hardly remember the people that I have helped, yet I can recall every single person we have lost. I recently was knocked down by terrible news. I always say I have become numb to losing a friend. This time, I had lost three in a twelve hour span. it hurt so bad. I cried. I screamed. I cried again. I screamed again.
           I’ve researched disease models, brain conditions and the concept of your brain rewiring itself after extended use. The extremely sad reality is that no matter what, it comes back to a genetic pre-disposition & a choice. In one article, Robert Downey Jr, who has a son currently trying to get help, states “it is an unfortunate reality that my son could potentially become an addict.” I’m sorry but I’m just not comfortable with the truth of that. People need to start speaking up, showing the community that you can recover so we can continue to research ways to prevent this. The public only sees celebrities, athletes and government officials recovering when for the most part they are already in a different class then the rest of the world. I see so many of my friends posting on Facebook about the wealthiest 1%. That holds true for so many other things in this world other then just wealth. If we continue to be silent who is going to help us prevent this for future generations? So many of us were selfish in our active addiction. It is time to be selfless, and for those who live by the book & think that we have a disease, “we can only keep what we have by giving it away.” It’s becoming more and more apparent that if we do not step out of the shadows and show our success stories we will never be heard. So whether or not you think this is a disease, its time to stand the fuck up & stop thinking that there is one way to do this thing. 

#Redemption 

            My name is Lisa. I am a recovering alcoholic & addict and this is My Redemption Story. I have struggled with addiction for 20 years of my life. My drug(s) of choice were Oxycodone and Heroin, but I abused LSD, Cocaine and Methamphetamines.             

             What you are about to read is in short my story. Some or most people would say there are underlying reasons as to why people become addicted to drugs. I would say that why yes there are don’t let them become the end excuse for continuing to abuse them.  

             I have been out of jail for 11 months now and I have come so far in those months, than I have in the whole 35 years of my life. I remember the day I was sentenced and I heard those words come out of the judge’s mouth. “You will be sentenced to 1 year in county jail for your 5th offense OWI” and “You will be sentenced to 6 months in county jail for the Possession of Narcotics.” He then proceeded to say “Your sentence is to be run concurrent with any other sentencing.” Of course, I was granted good time so I would only have to sit 9 months. At that moment, I cried. I was still angry that I got busted, angry at the cop who busted me, angry at the judge and angry with everyone but myself. I didn’t want to admit I messed up but rather wanted to make excuses for my actions. Such as “Well if I didn’t have that last drink I wouldn’t have been over the limit”, or “If I didn’t stop to get a bag of dope then my driving wouldn’t have been as impaired.”  

            Of course all this self-pity was actually making me feel more depressed and who was I kidding, I was just lying to myself and not taking responsibility for my actions in my own head. It wasn’t until I got to jail that things really started sinking in. Like “Wow, I am stuck here with 22 other females who are loud and obnoxious and I just want some peace and quiet.” Then you have those who like to start drama because they have nothing better to do with their time, those who stick to themselves and those who just try to get along with everyone. I was one of those people who tried to get along with everyone.  

            Eventually, I got settled in and thank God for plastic baggies, pads and Vaseline because let me tell you what, without it, I would have snapped more than I did on some people. The wonderful combination of the 3 makes some nice ear plugs. I won’t lie; I got into my share of a few fights and even ended up in the hole one time for sending mail in and out to another inmate. I was angry about that as well because in jail you do not have a lot to look forward to, so the fact that I had a pen pal in jail was cool to me. I was more focused on this than on myself for a while and it wasn’t until we got caught up that I started really focusing on why I was in jail.

              I came to know God, my Higher Power. I started reading the bible daily, praying and even leading some Bible Studies. I began working on my flaws and figuring out where to start and then began taking steps in the right direction. It finally dawned on me one day that you know what? I was more thankful that I had been busted driving that night than ever. If that never happened in my life, I would never have had the chance to get to know who I really was, who God was and that I really had a purpose in life, and that I needed to stop wasting my time putting all my efforts into getting high but direct all that effort into focusing on how I can be a better person, help others and live up to my dreams, goals and aspirations in life. I finally had a purpose and I could tell that it was helping others. Just by the smiles that I would put on the faces of others with my kind words, or kind gestures.

             The day of my release approached slowly but surely and with the days counting down I became extremely anxious and scared. I was not sure what was going to happen once I walked out that door.  

              When the day finally arrived, the guards had come through to do one of their many checks, but they didn’t let me out. I started freaking out…this is one of your worst fears when in jail. What if the day comes and they don’t let me out? Time was ticking but slowly and I was getting inpatient. 

              Finally the doors to our cells opened for count and I stood waiting by my cell for them to come in. As soon as they walked through that door I asked “I have been here for 9 months and today is my release day. Can you tell me why the hell I am still in here?” One of the guards looked at me and said “I’ve been here for 9 years and I am still here.” Of course his cockiness didn’t make me laugh at that very moment. He thought I was joking when I was asking why I was still there. They did a little investigating and found that the paperwork from my county was not sent over to them for me to be released. Where I was sentenced they tend to house their inmates at another facility.  

                Eventually, they let me out and I got out of my oranges and into my street clothes. Took a deep breath and walked out those doors unknowing of what my future had in store for me but one thing I did know was that I wanted to smoke a cigarette. My mom had brought me a pack; I lit up and immediately felt a rush. “Ahh, this feels like home,” I said to myself.  

               It wasn’t too long after my release that I found myself starting to go back to old habits, getting caught up with people I met in jail who had no intentions of moving forward in life, but rather continuing down that path of self- destruction – a path that I couldn’t see myself getting caught up in again.

             I was fortunate enough that my mom and her boyfriend offered me a place to stay under the condition that I got a job and moved out within 3 months. I hadn’t had a job in 7 years of my life. I kind of laughed inside and thought to myself. What is a job?

               It wasn’t much longer than a couple of weeks later that I found myself injecting some Methamphetamines. Instantly, I was sent into a state of paranoia and of course everyone and everything was no longer reality but a living hell of hallucinations. I ended up at the hospital later on because I was burning up and turning into a bright red lobster. I had used a dirty needle and got a deadly bacterial infection called “Sepsis.” I ended up in the hospital for a couple of days on a strong dose of antibiotics and fluids as well as some lorazepam. I was hallucinating so badly that I literally thought I was dying and I probably was at that point.  

            Yet again, the good Lord saved me and didn’t allow me to go. I survived and with minimal long term effects if any at all. I was still stupid enough to continue using for a couple of months after that.

              I ended up getting into it with my mom’s boyfriend because I was not holding up to my promise of getting a job and so I said to myself “I am going to prove that I am not a failure.” That is what I did. I ended up getting a job at Taco Bell.  

              I started showing them I can make something of my life and I remembered the things that I went over in jail with myself on those lonely nights. I started incorporating them into my everyday living and it worked. I ended up moving out and into my fiancés house where I started building a foundation and incorporating structure into my life. With the help of God and the help of those around me who started seeing that I wasn’t a failure and that I could do anything I put my mind to. It then became an addiction to do good, because the reward of having my family in my life and telling me they were proud of me was even more amazing to me, and it made me feel even better inside.  

              I ended up leaving Taco Bell after working there for 5 months to find better employment after having a bad episode of Psychosis. I kept my faith that I would find something better. I prayed and prayed about it and it was delivered. I received a call from my old District Manager from Taco Bell. She wanted me to come work for her at another location. Despite my felonies and my criminal background, I was hired. I worked there as a Culinary Assistant for a Nursing home for 8 months before getting hired as a Front Desk Clerk for a hotel making more money.

            August 22nd, 2016 I was married to the man who stood by my side through everything. We have been through it all together, and I can say with confidence that we are happily married and get along better than we have in the whole 9 years that we have been together.

              I now wake up every day and put my efforts into helping others. My passion is being an inspiration to someone else and just hopefully my story will touch the lives of many others out there still struggling. Not only did I quit using drugs and alcohol, but I quit smoking too!

             I attended a program through a Church who offers a program to inmates. I was a volunteer there and sitting in because I will be facilitating this same program to inmates at some point really soon. I will also be offered the chance, not now, but soon to go into the jail and facilitate the program there. The jail said that it’s too soon from my release and to give it a bit. Until then, I will happily help others outside.

              I am corresponding with the Principal/Counselor for one of the local schools here in Wausau, WI. She would like to have me come speak to a group of classmates about the effects of drugs and alcohol. I will also be able to share my story with them, and hopefully it will touch them in a way that they will make a choice to not go down the same destructive path that I did.  

                I am also the founder of the Facebook page called Hope Fiend Addiction/Recovery Poetry. It is a place for addicts, recovering addicts and those who have lost a loved one to addiction to come and read and post their addiction/recovery related poetry. There is some involvement from members that “like” the page such as, contests, giveaways.. etc. This is all optional.

              The woman who was once antisocial, depressed, anxious and paranoid and feared the world has now come out of her shell. I am here now and to always be a guiding light to others and inspire people to not give up on themselves, believe and maintain hope and faith.  


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Personal page: William Marotta

Blog Page: Choose Freedom! 

#Detroit

Choose Freedom          

        In the past, October 8th use to be just like any other day, but from this point forward it’ll be remembered as a day that started a tradition. We hear about people carrying the message. Speakers, concerts & conventions that flood bars, centers & hotels. It took way longer than planned to get here, but Detroit’s first ever Recovery Festival is here.
          So why am I writing about this? I’m sure artists & speakers like Tw1tch & Billy Pfieffer respectively can attract thousands of people, right? Well, you’re wrong. Joe Nester has a video that has been viewed 200,000 times. I’m willing to bet that there are more people from Detroit that have viewed that video than the current 100 people TOTAL that will be attending according to the Facebook event. That’s sickening to me. If Joe Nester came out to the city I lived in, the world would stop. I’d be there in a heartbeat. 
          I’m sorry to say this, but Mario Street or Brandon Kutchera putting on a concert by themselves are talented enough to have more than 100 people attend their concerts. Jenna Nichole has a voice that could stop 100 people on the dime in downtown Detroit. On any given day J-Rose & Born can silence a crowd with their talent while Boyz 2 Hype will keep everyone on their feet. Bobble says, “when it rains, it pours” which is so true because the idea of thousands of people not being there to listen to Kraze is devastating! 
          I wasn’t mad about this until I got a call from Carrie Turcotte, host of overcoming addiction & Norma Jean, who are both responsible for all this coming together. I didn’t even think about the magnitude of this event. Detroit is falling apart from drug addiction, lack of treatment & most importantly, lack of awareness. Why is everyone so fascinated with viewing a video 200 times as opposed to going and seeing these people in person? I recently posted a video of Dr. Michael Botticelli speaking at the Big Texas Rally. My friends watched & loved it. Their experience will NEVER compare to me standing five feet from him. So I have to ask the people who are within a few hours of Detroit. In active addiction, you would’ve driven a few hours for dope, right? So why is this different? Because now you’re clean? Because you have plans? We laugh at the newcomers that always say, “chase your recovery like you chased your high,” yet that is still SO true. 

          So here, I’ll help the general public out a little bit. Three reasons as to why you need to be in Detroit this weekend. 

1. Fellowship. How many times do we complain that we have nothing to do? THIS EVENT IS 10 DOLLARS. Don’t have the money? Cool, message me, I got you. Some of the Detroit members in recovery are the best dudes I know. They survived the street & now they are a blast to be around. So much of what getting through the tough times is being able to lean on people. This is the chance! I’ve never met Norma, Carrie or the Cincinnati kid & this weekend I get the chance for that! These are relationships that have been built over a LIFETIME of recovery & now God put the chance in front of me to put them all in one place!

2. Music. The music is incredible. These artists are passionate, selfless and ultimately continuing to carry the message for us all. It’s time to have some fun & start supporting the people who have come before us.

3. One voice. Are there not more people sick of the lack of funding? The waiting lists for treatment centers? Being heard starts here. Everyone needs to come together. People respect movements. The time is now to walk away from the computer screen & put action behind what we are doing. 
          The event is Saturday, October 8th, 2016. It’s at the Wesley Community Center, 10421 W 7 mile road, Detroit, from 12 pm-9 pm. The time isn’t now, it was years ago. The link to the Facebook event is below. Click it, comment & share it. If you’re someone within reasonable distance of Detroit this weekend, we would love to see you out there. 

–hope to see y’all soon
—-William 

Event!!!!

Choose Freedom!!!

#Lost

Hello,
         My name is William Marotta. I write the blog called Choose Freedom. I hope that some of you are reading this for the first time. I hope that there are some of you that have read every single post of mine in hopes to find some freedom of your own. I have never posted entries this close together. I have never once sat down in the emotional state that I am currently in and wrote something for the general public to read. I am exhausted, angry, irrational & most importantly, #Lost. I took a few hours today to go back and read everything I have written on this blog & i think what has created so much thought in my mind is the titles of each post. I have been unchained from addiction. I believe as a generation we are at war & completely undefined. I have shown the world Ryan, Amanda & Brandon. I speak up. Our system is broken. I continue to scream & definitely fed up. So I ask just this once, is this thing on? Can people hear me? 
           I was on the phone with Katrin O’Leary this morning. I called her because I was again approached about working for a treatment center that I feel is very unethical. I continue to make it clear, but I feel like people aren’t listening. Why would any honest person accept a position over Facebook? Anyway, I was crying while asking for advice and she did not have any. She said it is going to get worse before it gets better. I hated hearing that, but she is very accurate in saying that. I feel like I need to say this for the general public to understand. Please stop sending your loved ones to treatment centers that you know nothing about. There are always exceptions. If Katrin told me a place is expectional I do not even hesitate because I trust her with my life.

          Here is another thing. Can someone please explain to me how these treatment center owners have so much time to flaunt their brand new cars & luxurious lifestyles? I know that people are reading this and laughing, so I want to explain. I am sure most of you know who Chad Sabora is. If you talk to me for than five seconds, you probably understand that I look up to him more than almost anyone in the recovery community. I am going to say this in hopes that I do not upset him if he reads this. I am fairly certain you can count on one hand the number of pictures he has where he is dressed up in a suit. Why is that relevant to this conversation? We spend all our time saying politicians are corrupt and then people want to dress just like them. Chad has spent his life fighting WITH the still suffering addict. If I could pick one reason as to why he is the type of leader he is, its because that! Addicts spend their whole run in active addiction completely broken, ashamed & helpless. Chad still uses his experience in early recovery to relate and for that, I will always trust his experience and action.


          I do not talk about Chad or Katrin because I feel like I deserve to be in the same conversation as them, because I dont. They have come before me, they are continuing to pave the way & without them, my generation would be lost. I know that does not scare people. I get it. I think I have just reached a point of no longer being comfortable with the idea this epidemic going in the history books. I know that there are people who feel the same way I do. Just not enough people. I continue to repeat myself, we are fighting a war against insurance & pharmaceutical companies that have millions of dollars and no moral compass. We are fighting with with experience, scars, bruises & faded track marks. Even worse, we are now fighting we the emotion of the loved ones we have lost. Cindy King-Anderson runs a fairly new non-profit called Sean’s Bridge to Hope. She lost her son in May of 2015. The story use to just stop there until our generation is now starting to cause more of a problem. Sean left behind a heroin-addicted new born. This has never been a fair fight, but the ripple effect is showing the capability of how bad this can be. Cindy is an admin on my page. She recently started her Facebook page as well. Hopefully y’all take the time to check it out. 
            We are #Lost. There is no doubt about it. We continue to overlook the tiniest things. I posted a status that said I was removing myself from the world today to take time for myself. Someone made a comment that I eventually deleted that tried to compare where I am at today with where I was at in active addiction. I couldn’t help but laugh. If you are reading this sir, the phone that is in your hand I would have stolen three days ago if I was in active addiction. So no, this is not the same thing. I talk to Jessica Purdy pretty much all day. She made a joke that I could breathe for a few hours if I agreed to take the night shift. She has been working endlessly to help people in my hometown. She does not get enough credit for what she has done. I was talking to her at midnight last night. She responded to me at 2 am. I responded to her at 4. She responded back at 6. We talked on the phone at 7 am. She was in the hospital one day last week with a kid that overdosed, did an intervention & prevented another kid from leaving treatment for just one more day. By the way, none of those things were planned. She has kids, a significant other & pet rats to take care of at home. When it comes to creating change she is giving people like me a chance to speak up. I do not say all of that to make people feel smaller about what they are doing, but why are we up in arms when we need to cancel plans because a kid needs help? I can’t speak for everyone, but not only did I not follow through on any plans while I was getting high, I just didn’t show up. 
          I said it the other day. The time isn’t now, it was years ago. Look around & pick your head up. Audrey Porter legitimately gives her LIFE to helping people. MaryBeth Cichocki is out on the firing lines every day with tears still running down her face from the loss of her son. How is it possible that no one is willing to listen? Do people think I just picked these names out of nowhere? Let’s be real here. We have the biggest names in advocacy EVER, yet our generation is somehow finding a way to even complicate that. Blood-thirsty marketers prey on people who search the Internet for help, then they sell the facility and promise you three packs of smokes & you’re on your way. 28.5 days later they hope you slip up because they will then get another referral bonus for your trip back to detox. 
           This has never been about popularity to me. It doesn’t matter how many times this gets shared or liked. This is war. Its getting closer & closer to being ever so clear that we need to separate the honest from the corrupt. Families deserve to know what’s going on. Families deserve to know that their kids are in good hands. I continue to challenge people. I absolutely love the turnout that has come from it. We’ve gotten hundreds of messages asking how to help. We’ve gotten phone calls & emails demanding to be a part of it. Jessica Purdy says she isn’t done just yet. She started a revolution in my mind & it is only a matter of time now before the light shines bright enough on the crooks to make them disappear.


           I will leave you with this as I sign off this post on a Saturday night where I hope to inform just one family to do research. Funerals have come & gone. My friends are no longer here & I no longer have the emotional stamina to continue burying my friends. Jessica & I started out to create change and this is where it starts. If you’re reading this and ready to be a part of this change here is your homework; go to the Choose Freedom Facebook page, like us, and send a message with your name & email address. Want to be part of a revolution? Stand up and take action. 
Again, my name is William.
–thanks for letting me share

Want to be heard? Reach out

Want help? Reach out
Personal Page: William Marotta

Blog Page: Choose Freedom

#FedUp

It’s Thursday morning, 9 am. Is the time significant? Not yet. Is the day significant? Absolutely. If you’re an advocate in recovery you have most likely been placing people into treatment all week. So why does the time not matter yet, but the day does? Why is that relevant in a field where addicts get high 24 hours a day? 
          Here’s the ugliest truth for anyone reading. When a drug addict surrenders & finally asks for help, the chances of getting help immediately slows down when it is not between the hours of 9 am & 5 pm or Monday through Friday. How sick is that? Did you know that over 400 people die each day? If you’re withdrawing from heroin the hospital will not help you, If you have been arrested you will detox on a cell floor, but by far the worst, if you have state insurance you will have a three week wait. So hey, I know you’re a drug addict, but don’t get high while you’re waiting for that bed to open. Give me a break. Addiction started out as a disease & now we call it an industry. My last experience saved my life and the person who owned the place is what gave me hope. 
          This last time around I went to a treatment center in Boynton Beach, Florida. It was owned by a man with the absolute greatest heart. I talk about him almost everyday. But wait, notice how I used the word was? He closed his doors not too long ago for so many different reasons, some of which we may never know. Again, this is my story & it’s my favorite.
          I sat down at the time with my therapist, mother & father. I had just failed six drug tests in a three week span & if I remember correctly, I got high in the bathroom downstairs before my therapy session. Anyway, we sat down at 6 pm and by the end of the session I was getting on a plane to Florida to seek help. I didn’t really have an ultimatum. I was going to die if I didn’t seek help within 24 hours. My mom began calling places immediately. Before sunrise I had my flight, detox, & treatment lined up. Crazy, right? Did it help that I had private insurance? Absolutely. But wait, I just had a gentlemen call me at 2 am requesting help and I couldn’t even get a treatment center to pick up. The story continues with questions. Could it have been possible that I was flown down there to treatment without even knowing what would be accepted? Is that possible? Who would do such a thing? Oh. That’s right. Someone who isn’t a fucking crook. 
           I stayed in detox for about five days & off to treatment I went. Long term, big book step study & a building that was right next to a methadone clinic. Good ol’ Florida, right? I hope that made some people laugh. Medical assisted treatment is real and is something that needs to be acknowledged as recovery, not a crutch. I’m backtracking though. The point is this, the facility wasn’t different than any other. I stayed there for quite some time. I went to the same groups everyday, same meetings every night & stayed close with the very small group that was there the entire time. I look back on that seven month span in my life with so many questions. Was it the group therapy that saved my life? Was it the therapist that always kept her door open? Was it my fourth step that was in a few five subject notebooks? It could’ve very easily been one of those things, but looking back, it was the owner who had the biggest heart who NEVER put money before a human being. 
            I said all of that to say this. The treatment center industry is a business. That is the very bottom line. Everyone keeps searching the Internet, reading reviews and being sold by outreach coordinators. Want to know where the good treatment centers are? Find the owner of the place. Are they a good human being? Honestly, if you don’t know the owner, I bet you there is someone who does. I text Katrin O’Leary asking her for insight almost every single day. If she doesn’t have an answer I can almost bet my life that she will have one within 12 hours. I hope that starts to scare some people. I’ve refrained for so long from starting a list of all the places to stay away from because I’m not about to point fingers. Here’s my moment of justification though. THEY ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO PICK UP THE PHONE AT 2 AM. How sick is that? We keep letting it slide because we need beauty sleep to tackle the next day. Are you fucking kidding? Wake up! We are losing an entire generation!
           Here’s my truth if it’s your first time reading or if you’ve followed since #unchained. I’m a 27 year old recovering drug addict & I absolutely have a chip on my shoulder. I am angry, emotional & sick of losing this war. I’ve spent more hours on hold than I care to count, state facilities almost always have a waiting list & I am so sick of praying to God that a scholarship appears out of thin air to save a kids life. 
          I recently set out to find a way to make a difference. I speak with Jessica Purdy just about everyday. She’s been a leader, role model, inspiration & source of laughter when I need it most. Want to meet someone with a great heart? She’s it. This is no longer fun. This is personal. If you liked, commented or shared my Facebook post yesterday you’re most likely going to be talking to Jessica at some point soon. This war cannot be won with money. It needs to be won with experience & unity. 
          As I sign off on my shortest post to date, I can assure you it is not because I have run out of things to say. It’s time for people to speak up. It’s time for others to be heard. I ask each & every person reading this to get in contact with me. I ask each & every person to either share or comment on this post. None of us can do this alone & I really hope to hear from each and every one of you.

–thank you for letting me share.

Want help? Reach out.

Want to be heard? Reach out.
Personal page: William Marotta

Blog page: Choose Freedom.

#Junkie

        I sat in a therapist’s office for the first time in almost a year. I sat there contemplating what had gone wrong over the past twelve months to warrant an outside opinion on my life. We sat there for a few minutes before she asked where I wanted to start. I laughed, she laughed & we started a conversation from nothing. It was incredible. I think it’s important to back track in life every now & then just to create a better understanding for what’s going on. I’ve talked about my mom & dad in posts before. I’ve talked about movement & moving towards a clear answer for this epidemic. Everything has always been about helping the still sick and suffering addict. Can you blame me? I am still a sick and suffering addict & I can only keep what I have by giving it away. I spend most of my days reading other blogs, speaking with other addicts & trying to create change in my own personal journey. Have we ever shined light on what we do to our family & friends? Is anyone willing to speak up and admit guilt for the actions of their drug or alcohol use? Why is it that people still believe an addict is a man under a bridge? I don’t believe I am a bad person. I was incredibly sick. My actions though still need consequences. Making amends isn’t about forgetting the past, it’s about repairing the damage. 
       I’ve spent weeks, months & years trying to figure out what the fuck I’ve been trying to say. I’ve spent years trying to decide what I even think about this entire concept of addiction. I’ve talked to doctors, old timers & politicians. Last night I was sitting with the sweetest girl on the planet and we had conversation that lasted several hours. Nothing became more clear in my mind, but I watched things click in her mind. 

        Here’s where I stand. I’m 27 years old, fairly intelligent, I cannot accept compliments, my favorite song of all time is either White houses by Vanessa Carlton or Ironic by Alanis Morissette, I love tattoos, piercings and at one point in my life, I was a #Junkie. 
        I grew up in a town called Wayne. It’s also located in possibly the worst, but best state in the country, New Jersey. I have a brother, sister, step brothers, step sisters, two moms & two dads. I cannot say for certain how many grandparents because the answer is a lot. I have cousins, aunts & uncles. The family is by no means small. Growing up, all the kids played sports, all the parents watched & the families always got together even if we didn’t get along. 
        I went to school just like every kid and never got in trouble. I hung out with the same kids every Friday after school because our moms would alternate who would watch us. Some of those kids, ended up being the most successful people I’ve ever met. We stayed close for the next thirteen years of my life. We went to soccer camps together, argued & knew everything about each other. Right before I broke my leg, I stepped away from the high school soccer team. & never played for Wayne Valley again. They ended up winning a county title. I will argue to my last breath that they were the greatest team to ever go through that school. I’m sure the class of 2005 & 2006 will argue, but of course, I’m being bias. 
       2005 & 2007 were also two of the most incredible years in the wrestling program when I was around. In 2005, My absolute hero in the world at the time was diagnosed with Leukemia. I was crushed. I cried in my basement for hours. I was 20 pounds underweight, weak and completely inexperienced. Weeks later, I ended up on the front of the Herald news for one of the biggest wins of my life as we beat the township of West Milford. Looking back, this is exactly where I am finally started to understand the idea of balance. I was on an emotional high, took my eyes off the goal & 3 days later lost to a kid that had no business in the same conversation as me at the time. In the same week, I went from a reason for success to a reason for failure as a team. That’s how I saw it at least. I ended up having a solid season that year & advanced to the regional tournament. 
        Did I always know that I would become an alcoholic & drug addict? No. I didn’t. I never understood stories like that from people. But hey, that’s their story. This is mine. Right around this time, things between my parents were not not so great, I began to self medicate regularly, & life started to slip. 
        The following year, I couldn’t hold weight for wrestling. I took the easy way out, moved up a weight class, & life took the biggest turn possible. I was in a car wreck. I had a broken femur and was nowhere near capable of doing anything for a pretty long time. In that time, I was introduced to morphine, oxy & an array of pills which would ultimately become my drug of choice. Oh, which one? My drug of choice was more. I wanted more, I wanted to feel less & I wanted to die faster. Yes, I was an alcoholic. I loved heroin & cocaine. Ecstasy was for music festivals & meth was for when I had nothing else. I just didn’t want to feel. We get so caught up in what drugs we are doing. People need to pay attention. When I was getting high some these drugs weren’t even a thing. This kid called me the other day seeking help, I was completely amazed when he told me that he was only using five bags of dope a day. That was a Monday morning for the guys I ran with. Times are different, chemicals are getting stronger & as a result, people are dying faster.
        Everything happens for a reason. I was a #junkie. Everything sounded so great, right? Life was incredible for so long. Honestly, it took some time for things to get bad. I held a job, was in a good relationship, always made my commitments. Eventually, drugs won. I can’t say this enough, it was all drugs, not just heroin. I joke around saying it, even though this remains true. The reason alcohol didn’t bring me to my bottom was because for so long it wasn’t readily available. It was easier to go to Paterson ave. and grab some blues instead of waiting for a kid to come through with a case of beer. Just being honest. 
       I was never the problem child. My parents will claim that too. It was always my brother & sister. I built a fairly good reputation growing up as the kid who never got in trouble. Until I couldn’t stay out of trouble.
       I was talking to some one last night and was laughing because of my ability to always ramble on. If you’re still reading my blog to this point, I must’ve said something that has struck a chord, but before you continue reading in the future, please understand where I’m coming from. 
        Nothing will ever be perfect. I’ve put pieces of everything I’ve learned in life together to hope for the ultimate prize. A life beyond my wildest dreams. According to Alcoholics Anonymous, “what we have is a daily reprieve contingent upon our fit spiritual condition.” When I read that I truly believe in most of it. I cannot always say I’m spiritual anymore. This is fucking personal. This lady texted me from South Carolina saying, “I hope you’re enjoying your time in Dallas. I hope you’re coming back with your gloves and a few weapons. It’s going to get messy.” She is an older advocate, but that’s what we need. 
        I was a fucking Junkie. I was a degenerate. I loved heroin, pain pills, cocaine, ecstasy, molly, acid, mushrooms, marijuana & methamphetamine. I loved vodka, whiskey, rum, beer & wine. detoxes, rehabs, & jail will not always be the answer. In active addiction I stole valuable possessions from my family that they will never get back. I burned bridges with people in my life that will forever remain on the outside. I made people believe they were crazy. I stole time from the people around me. I cheated in relationships. I cheated drug tests. The most important thing I cheated was myself.  
        I say it with tears in my eyes as I sign off on yet another post that I hope reaches just one person who needs it. Drugs ripped apart my life. Choosing freedom allowed me to live. 

thanks for letting me share y’all.

Personal page: William Marotta

Blog page: Choose Freedom
Want to be heard? Reach out.

Want help? Reach out. 

#meetAmanda

        I’ve learned a lot about myself since my last update. I’ve learned who I can trust & who I should steer clear of. I’ve learned what gives me peace & what causes distraction. I’ve learned what makes me sad & what makes me angry. 
        The stigma surrounding addiction has been something that irritates me to my very core. I’ve sat and thought about this for a few days so that I could legitimately have it make sense in my own mind. After a couple minutes of reading, I’m going to introduce you to my friend Amanda. She is another recovering addict who will continue to inspires thousands of people. 
       I think the reason the stigma is so bad is because people are still thinking an addict or alcoholic is someone living under a bridge. I get so frustrated when I hear someone qualify themselves as an addict with, “I was homeless for a year.” Hey guys. Newsflash: That does not make you any fucking bigger of a drug addict. Chris Herren, an Ex-NBA player, was spending 25,000 dollars per month on drugs. Does that make him worse than me? Probably not. Just means he didn’t have to steal and manipulate as much as I did. We are so set on looking at our own personal differences trying to validate that we are addicts instead of looking at the similarities and being grateful that we are overcoming addiction.  
       I say all of that to say this. If we all have different highlights to our personal journey, why is it that we think one exact way of recovery will work for everyone? I got CLEAN in Alcoholics Anonymous & I got SOBER in Narcotics Anonymous. How much does that irritate people? Have you ever been to a meeting and accidentally slipped and said the wrong word? An old timer probably freaked out. I have someone in my life who was FULL BLOWN addict. He will acknowledge it whole heartedly. He woke up one morning, moved across the country and takes everything one day at a time. I have someone else in my life who still goes to five meetings a week. There is a girl who was on methadone for two years. Why does it matter the way a person finds help? 
       I took a lot of time in between these posts because I wanted to make sure I understood this for myself. The truth is, I don’t. I sat in my therapist’s office last week talking about where my head was at. Well today, I’m grateful that I’m not where I use to be and that’s enough to keep me clean & sober. Tomorrow, I might need to call an old sponsor or even hit a meeting. 
        If we continue to look at active addiction as the homeless man sitting under the bridge, we will inevitably fail. If we continue to look at treatment centers as dollar signs, we will inevitably fail. The only way out of this disease is in a body bag so either we better come together or the death toll will continue to climb. 
        As I sign off, I’ll leave you with this; Amanda is a brilliant girl who never once set out to be a drug addict. She has also never once looked down upon anyone looking for help. If you ask her today, she will probably tell you that her method of recovery is, “whatever works.” 
I hope y’all take the time to read what she has to say. As I get ready to head up to D.C, my next post will be published Monday night. I have had almost 100 people reach out give me their story of where it all took place. It’s not too late to speak up. I look forward to hearing from many more of you. Talk to y’all soon! 

Hello,

       My name is Amanda and I’m an addict. If you saw me today, addict would probably be the last word you would use to describe me. However, of all the words I’ve used to describe myself, addict is one of my favorite. Do you think that’s odd? 

       We’ll give me a minute and let me try to explain what I mean by that. Being an addict means I’m living for the first time. Being an addict means that I was stronger than whatever tried to kill me. It means I walked to the gates of hell, made a deal with the Devil, & lived to tell about it. I’m not just strong I’m a damn warrior. All of us in recovery are. Do you think being an addict makes me weak? Do you think I don’t hear you when you call me a junkie? Well let me tell you something; as addicts we wear shoes you couldn’t even lace up, we wake up day after day after day to fight the same demon that tried to kill us the day before and that my friends is anything but weak.

      You may live in a rural area or in the middle of suburbia thinking this could never happen in your family. “No way would my child ever touch that garbage.” Well let me tell you about me. 
       I grew up as an only child. I was very spoiled in some respects. I had enough attention and I knew my mother loved me. I’m made As and the occasional B. I was intelligent and I was determined. I played volleyball I had some cheer experience. I was active in theater & soccer as well. But you know what I didn’t love? Myself. I had a huge amount of anxiety and awkwardness that no one seemed to understand? I hid it with a smile and well spoken words even though my insecurities were always present. 
        In high school, I smoked weed, drank and thought I was always having fun. I was partying. Wasn’t everyone? The problem was I wasn’t having fun. It would take me years to realize that I began slowly killing myself at the age of 15. That’s society is still failing to realize. This is the key point you miss when you snub your nose and call me a “junkie.” By the time I realized I was dying, I was already living dead. I didn’t wake up one day and decide heroin in a syringe was what I wanted. I never I take wanted to take sip of alcohol or one hit off a blunt and lose all control over my decision making. Something in my body and my brain tells me it’s not enough. I didn’t wake up one morning or sit in class and daydream about living in a tent, bathing myself in a McDonald’s sink, or standing in front of Speedway begging for a dollar. But that’s where my addiction took me from the suburbs and a college classroom to the gutter. Until I was eventually knocking on death’s door, nobody even knew. There’s a picture attached that shows me in the midst of my addiction. Doesn’t look like your typical heroin addict does it? That’s the point I want to stress. I am someone’s daughter, I am someone’s mother and I am someone’s best friend. You can call me a junkie and say you’re glad that I’m not your kid, but your kid could be shooting dope living under your roof and you probably don’t even know it.

        There is hope though. The first thing I need you to do is keep an open mind. Tell someone you love you may be battling with addiction that you want to help them get help. Recovery is not a one-size-fits-all program. Recovery is not a race. It’s a learning process. What works for me may not work for everyone and that’s okay. Help is out there though. There are detox centers churches clinics 12 step meetings and plenty of online support. If you or someone you know may be struggling with addiction please reach out for help. You are breathing and that means you have a purpose. It’s not to continue to sabotage yourself. Your purpose is to live and teach others how to live. Please feel free to visit me and my friends in recovery. We have a group called New Age Recovery. You’ll find people who have been there and found a way out. People who are willing and eager to help you find a solution.


Sincerely, another addict willing to help,
Amanda



Personal page: William Marotta

Blog page: Choose Freedom

#theCincinnatikid

     Alright so we are going to play a game. First, I’d like you to pick a state. Once you have a state in mind I want to you to think about how bad the drug problem is statewide. Now multiply that by 10 and that’s how horrible it is in Ohio. In the midst of all that, imagine having a kid who has been on the front lines at every single possible intersection trying to change the game. That person exists and his name is Brandon Kutchera. Most of you may know him as “the Cincinnati kid.” 
     I don’t think there are words strong enough to articulate how much of an impact this kid has had on our society. In a generation where kids need a hero, newcomers need someone to follow & parents need living proof that there is a solution, Brandon has been it. 
     I have been writing for over ten years, I’ve battled my own demons, buried friends & stood at the forefront of this war. This was the first time I cried writing a story of triumph about someone. I caught up with a couple of his closest friends in order to really get a grasp on him. 
     A mutual friend we have is Amanda. She’s bright, funny and courageous. I asked her about the impact Brandon has had in her life. She spent roughly eight years in and out of treatment centers. When she relapsed after some time clean she wasn’t really sure where to turn. After months of dishonesty with others & herself she turned to New Age Recovery. A group Brandon has pioneered that has roughly 4,000 followers. She went on to say, “Brandon never judged me. He encouraged me and loved me right where I was at because that’s just the kind of man he is. He stayed in close contact with me trying to get my state insurance approved and find me a treatment center.” I have an inbox of messages just like that statement describing him the exact same way. The one thing that caught my attention was something else Amanda and I ended up talking about, which was his music. She went on to say, “I watched him go to the Hope Over Heroin rally with a backpack full of CDs he intended to sell but gave most of them away!! He was geeked when he went to hand one to a lady and she said, “I already have one and it’s in my CD deck in my car!! That’s how he spread the message of recovery through his music but there’s so much more to him.” 
     There is always more to someone. We are all fighting a battle everyone knows nothing about. I’ve said it before, I’m so grateful for the people who have come before me. I’m so grateful for the people who took the time to open the doors and connect me with Brandon. How did Brandon end up on this side of this hideous disease though? Where did this all begin? 
     “Hi my name is Brandon Kutchera, I’m also known by The Cincinnati Kid. I’m a musician/motivational speaker and I’m also a survivor of heroin.” 
     This is Brandon’s story, not mine. I’ve learned that so often we over look the smallest details. Why is it that Brandon doesn’t acknowledge himself as a drug addict? Why is it that he leaves that until the end? Brandon doesn’t let his heroin addiction define him. Brandon is a musician who writes about his addiction & recovery. He is more than just a heroin addict. 
     Brandon grew up in Ohio. His parents were hippies and his dad quickly introduced him to marijuana. If I was willing to bet, his parents didn’t imagine it would ever graduate to the extent it did. Much like others, Brandon quickly upgraded to cocaine and alcohol. Every time I speak to a mother of a really young addict there is always a turning point from where is was manageable to where all the wheels fell off. For Brandon, he had quite the same experience. “My first child’s mother after pregnancy was prescribed percocet so I decided to experiment having heard they produced a high. I remember the first onset of a feeling that would take me 13 years to overcome.” No one ever thinks it’s going to be them, no one ever thinks they could possibly fall that far down. In fact, the more I’ve talked to Brandon, the more I learn that his willingness far exceeded what should’ve been clear indication to change. 
     I asked so many people for their input. I got so much about him and this story probably won’t even do it justice. I was talking to Joann Miller, again another mother who is changing the dynamic of this war with brutal honesty and determination. She’s the leader of “heroin news,” a page that is committed to the truth. She’s recently began helping me with Choose Freedom as I continue to be given more opportunities such as this one. Anyway, I was asking her for some insight about this story, “Oh, I have the perfect person for you to talk to, you could probably write a couple hundred pages on Brandon.” Here’s the thing though, a couple hundred pages wouldn’t do this justice. He wrote a song called “Every time I C U” and posted it right after a 65 hour window where Cincinnati was hit so hard with overdoses they are beginning to force the Governor into a state of emergency. I was reading comments all over social media and came across a girls post who will remain anonymous. “I just lost my boyfriend and can honestly say the only thing that has gotten me through is listening to this song on repeat.” If that doesn’t speak volumes to the type of music he is producing, I’m not sure anything else ever will. 
     I could spend the next couple paragraphs going over the entire history of Brandon’s drug use. Instead, I’ll quickly some up a period of time because what’s most important is Brandon on this side of addiction. Quickly realizing he had a pill addiction, he graduated from Percocet to Oxy. He was making good money working for his Uncle as a car salesmen. He bought himself a nice car and spent money on himself. His family at home never saw any of that money & he spent most of him time either working or in his basement where he had his recording equipment. He became often became violent, something that proves exactly what drugs are capable of. Brandon is farthest from violent according to most of the people around him on a daily basis. He eventually lost his family, house and soul. Landed in treatment, relapsed, found heroin, found treatment, found heroin, found the 12 steps and life was good. His mother passed away on February 28, 2011 and I’m forever grateful that she created Brandon and gave me the chance to cross paths with him. May she rest in peace.
     Brandon got high that day. Sounds about right. I was in a treatment center for almost 100 days and basically their objective was to eliminate all reservations. Losing my mother was personally one of  mine in early recovery. I tip my hat to Brandon for being so honest about that.

     The next part of this story I chose to leave in Brandon’s words. Completely uncut. 

     “I overdosed at my child’s mothers house. I ended up in the hospital with tubes coming out of me not knowing what happened. I got clean again. I went back through the CCAT house and did the deal. I got a sponsor & was working the program. Then one day, I guess I hadn’t had enough. I stole my aunts wedding rings got some heroin and overdosed in Frisch’s with my sponsor. We were celebrating my 90 days. I face planted in my spaghetti and the whole restaurant went crazy. I woke up in the ambulance, coming in and out, again feeling so embarrassed. I recovered again. By now the court system was now involved because I had wound up stealing from my boss’s mother and went to jail. I got my first dose of court ordered treatment at the Talbert house. I went into this really trying my hardest, or so I thought. I completed the program with flying colors and while I was in there I competed in a contest on 101.1 and recieved the most votes for a recovery song I wrote called ALL I KNOW. I was doing great, my music was pumping, I was doing shows and anti heroin rallies. Then, I met a girl. She partied. It started with pot and before ya know it we shooting heroin together. I overdosed while driving and woke up in UC hospital again with the same doctor who had saved me before standing over me. He was saying, “usually by this time I’m zipping a bag over your head and taking you down to the basement.” At this point I did not care if I was dead or alive. I felt in my pocket that they didn’t remove my syringe or the rest of my dope. I ripped all my cords out of my arms, went to the bathroom shot up and left. I then ended up at a hotel. I lived there and to this day I don’t know how it happened but we paid for a week and stayed two months while it was 20° outside. They never came knocking. We waited everyday for it. One day me and the girl got in a fight, the cops came and I got arrested for some warrants. I went to jail and that was the last day I ever used heroin.”
     As I’m typing this, the hair on my arms is standing straight up knowing that this is the part of the story that created a legacy. Like most, Brandon went through faith based programs, 12 steps, strict religion & just say no approaches. While sitting in jail, he had plenty of time to sit and consider what worked for him specifically worked and what didn’t. He took a little bit of each program and created something that worked for him. It was unique. We always talk about doing the next right thing, paying it forward & doing things that need to be done. If you get the chance, catch up with Brandon to talk to him about how he found gratitude in cleaning toilets at 4:30 am while living in a transitional house. He began feeding birds outside in the morning because he found a way to pay it forward any way he possibly could. He taught himself the difference between guilt & shame. Guilt being a bad action, shame believing he’s a bad person. He created a fundraiser selling his bracelets for New Age Recovery. Brandon still battles from each demon that most of us face on a daily basis and he’s never backed away from this. His music has been the basis for being able to freely speak about his journey. Like I said, this story could go on forever. The reality is, action is what has helped Brandon create a name for himself.
     My best friend tells me that when writing a story on someone there must be a theme to it. It took me less than thirty seconds to arrive at one and I still hadn’t even talked to Momma Rose yet. Momma Rose is the woman responsible for the group Heroin Recovery 4 U. She lost her son a few years ago and has been at war ever since. I’ve been working with her to create a story to show the population not part of this disease how serious it is. Four minutes into my conversation with her today there was complete silence so I asked it, “What is so special about Brandon?” I waited to write down her response as I had already knew the answer. “He’s always been there.” Again, followed by complete silence, she continued, “look up the picture of our first event, Brandon has been there since that day. He made everything so much better. Brandon has always been there.”
      I have been at a loss for words the past three days watching this story unfold. The last piece of Brandon’s story is this, “I hope I explained it well. I’m better in person..but yeah I started a Facebook group called NEW AGE RECOVERY and I started posting videos of my journey and I’ve accumulated quiet a following. We have almost 4,000 members and some of my videos and posts have reached over 200,000 views. My specific goal is to offer my approach through a designed recovery and transition plan. We have hundreds of people that have committed to this movement and way of life (not program or club) and are still clean and creating the new statistic. I’ve also created a fund raiser selling wristbands and all of the proceeds from the wristband drive are going towards establishing New Age Recovery as a non profit organization. My overall vision and goal is to open a Detox/Treatment Center that offers a variety of recovery options with a speedy no waiting list admission while also combining exstensive transitional support and vocational training to allow for seamless re-entry back into society. Thank you for your time and interest. My name is Brandon, I was going to die because of heroin… now I’m not.”
     I was talking to someone close to Brandon today and she’s quickly becoming a part of my own journey as well. I told her that I really didn’t write this story. It wrote itself. Brandon & the people around him have dictated the words being typed. When I reached out to Norma, she was hesitant and quickly looked to Brandon for approval, again proving how much of an influence this kid is. When she responded, she typed more than I could’ve ever imagined. As I sign off this story, I urge you to take the time to share Brandon’s message and read what Norma left for me to read. Thank y’all for the support, hope to hear from y’all soon. 

Norma writes,

 “One day I was driving to work, having a hard day thinking about my mom, wishing I could just pick up the phone and call her like I use to be able to. I mean yes I could call just about any one of my friends and they would pick up but it is just not the same as being able to call your mom. See, when you call your mom she is always on your side even if you are being a complete asshole.

I arrived at work early sitting in the parking lot playing around on Facebook and I saw this song by some guy named “The Cincinnati Kid” I played it, and sat and just cried. As I listened to the words, tears rolled down my face. Frankly, I do not think I cried in years before that song, and I think I really needed to, I needed that release. After sitting there for a few minutes something came over me and I decided to tell this guy “hey, your song really touched me in a place no one has been able to reach since I found my mom dead of a overdose in my home.” You see, I felt dead inside for so many years, just walking through the stages of life never crying never feeling just doing. I kept it short and sweet – “I just wanted to say thank you in the hopes you will know you truly reached someone in need.” I sent the message and turned my car off.
Seriously a few minutes later this total stranger messaged me back? This guy who has this amazing music probably super busy…messaged me back? I didn’t know what to do so I stayed in my car and went with the flow. We talked some and I told him about my mom, he told me about his Mom…. Honestly I finally felt like for once in all these years there was someone who understood me, someone who could actually relate to me. Everything else from this point forward was history. He brought me into New Age Recovery, and at first I avoided it like the plague. I always avoided anything to do with addiction and death. Then, there was something I saw and could not ignore, his passion to truly want to help people his belief that people really do recover.
Brandon showed me that addicts do recover. Brandon showed me that my Mom did not die on purpose. My mom was sick, and no, it’s not embarrassing, yes, she did love me. All these years I thought and felt like I did not matter enough to her to stop using, I now know nothing I could have ever said or done would have ever MADE her sober. The only way she would have been sober and stayed sober is if something inside of her wanted it bad enough. This I can live with, with this thought I can let go of the guilt and shame I felt for so long. I guess you can say in a way that Brandon saved me from continuing to torment myself, he pulled me out of a depression and doesn’t even realize it. 
Now that I think about it, knowing him the way I do now, he probably does know it and just never said it. Brandon always seems to be in deep thought about one thing or another, which I get because I am the same. As long as he lets me I will be by his side, for I now know my passion is the same as his. I just needed someone to guide me, to show me that drugs are a thing, and a person is a person. They are NOT one in the same. 
At this point of time in my life, I wake up each day in solitude knowing that every person I help, every person I touch is in the name and spirit of my mom. I can feel her smiling down on me, sometimes I can picture both of our moms holding hands saying LOOK we created those two! Look at what they are doing! Two people in two different states came together over their biggest tragedy and are slowly turning it into triumph. I witness daily how hard he works in all that he does.
 You wanted me to tell you something that others may not truly know about Brandon? Well here it is: Brandon’s heart is made of pure gold, his intentions are incorruptible by others beliefs. He marches to the beat of his own drum. Brandon does what most can’t, he listens to people, he allows himself to feel other’s pain… He shows them they are never alone.
When we co-hosted a radio show last week and they asked me my story. I was in the middle of telling it and I looked over and Brandon was crying. How many people can you say you know that would allow themselves to feel your pain so intensely that it brings them to tears? I can say I only know one.”

Personal page: William Marotta

Blog page: Choose Freedom
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