A Different Kind of Medicine
Hi I’m Bryan. At the Boston Rescue Mission, I can see how serious alcohol and drug addiction are, in a way that I’ve never seen before. Now I’m getting a different kind of medicine, after years of self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. Too many years of alcohol and drugs.
My childhood was good for awhile, but I had a big problem sitting still and paying attention in school. Like many others at the time, doctors thought I had Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and got me on the stimulants Ritalin and Adderall at six years old. Though I didn’t know it then, it was like being on cocaine all day long, all through my childhood.
In high school, I discovered booze and marijuana. That changed my personality quite a bit, from a quiet and shy but irritable kid to a funny, mellower person that attracted other people. After graduation, my parents quickly noticed in me other problem drinking patterns they saw in my older brother, a full-blown alcoholic. At parties, I would wait until others had passed out, then finish their bottles on my own. And I began drinking in the morning.
Life started to fall apart then. My relationship broke down; I couldn’t keep a job. For about four years I worked a slew of retail jobs, with the same pattern in each. About three months into the job, my drinking would interfere, and I would be fired. At 22, I found harder drugs—opiates, pills, cocaine—and my mind was turning into mush from all the substance abuse. At one point I was resolved to drink myself to death. My parents found me, and both cried lots of tears that night.
Two events brought me to a turning point. First, my daughter was born. Second, I came to the Boston Rescue Mission. While at the Mission, I saw my baby daughter for the first time. When I looked into her eyes, I began to sob. I felt scared, ashamed, embarrassed—a complete mess. If I didn’t have a reason to turn it around before, the reason was looking at me now.
At the Mission, there are a lot of great and a lot of challenging moments. Some of the most encouraging people I’ve ever met are here. My relationship with my daughter is getting stronger. And her mother has been an inspiration to me. Now I’m able to love those I care about, and extend a hand to another person. I’m definitely growing up, and carrying myself in a new way. The Mission is doing more than transforming my life—I actually have a life now.