Luke began his addiction by stealing alcohol from his parents’ cupboard and pills from the medicine cabinet at 14. He then moved on to marijuana and eventually tried heroin and cocaine, supporting his habit with money he earned or stole.
“I liked getting high, it made me forget,” says Luke, now 19. “I figured I could stop whenever I wanted to, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t think I had a problem.”
Luke was asked to leave his high school, but did eventually get his degree through the AIM program. At first, when Luke entered the Horizon program, he thought it was stupid and he couldn’t understand why he had to be in rehab “against his better judgment” when “he really didn’t have a problem.” He completed the Horizon adolescent program with his parents as well as a short-term inpatient episode at another facility and was then back at Horizon for aftercare. He also began seeing another counselor for behavior issues (he was diagnosed with ADHD)…but Luke wasn’t well on his way to recovery just yet.
With his parents out of town and an aunt and uncle staying with him, Luke stole more drugs and his parents’ van. His family decided to press charges, and Luke ended up in the Amherst Drug Court. He was remanded to a long-term adolescent inpatient program followed by aftercare at Horizon, where he has been in individual and group counseling and subjected to random tox screens as part of the Drug Court mandate.
“Drug Court has forced Luke to address his addictions,” says Luke’s dad. “We’ve been very proud of the discipline and strength he’s shown during his recovery.”
“Luke is one of those kids you look at and realize how lucky he really is to have survived,” says his Horizon counselor, Marcia Valente. “He’s very smart and very clever, and he knew how to work the system. Luckily, he realized in time he needed to change.”
He did change. Rather than move back in with his parents, Luke went to live with a friend and his parents, relieving everyone of the pressure they were under when under the same roof. He stopped hanging around the friends who encouraged his drug habit. He got a job and he started dating.
“I think the structured, sheltered supportive program really helped Luke,” says Marcia. “He’s really working hard now and he has goals. He knows what he needs to do and he wants to move forward, not back.”
“I like who I am now,” says Luke. “I feel much better about myself. I’m headed in a good direction.”
Adds his dad, “we love our son, and we are thrilled to ‘have him back.’ It’s amazing to his mother and me what a difference one year has made. We’re very encouraged, and we’re proud of the good – and sometimes difficult – decisions he’s been able to make.”
Now sober for one full year, Luke is, with Horizon’s help, looking at trade schools and is interested in becoming a welder. He’s hoping to be in his own apartment very soon and he’s still close to his parents, whom he says “have been through as much as – or more than – me.”
Path To Recovery
The Path To Recovery includes true stories of consumers who overcame many obstacles with the help of Horizon Health Services to turn their lives around. Last names have been omitted for privacy.