For You, For Me, For Us

I started partying and had my first kid at 16. I come from a real dysfunctional home, both my parents are alcoholics. I was 21-22 the first time I tried cocaine. At the beginning it was just on the weekends. It started getting out of hand, so I stopped. Later, when I was working multiple jobs at clubs and restaurants, I started doing meth. To help me work those long shifts. I was in an awful marriage and we were both addicts. For a while I thought I was a good mom because I provided materially for my kids.  But this wasn’t the truth. My addiction became so bad that I lost my kids.

I started using meth 20 years ago. I started off as I guess what you would call a functioning addict, if there is such a thing. Kept a house, job, nice cars. Coached little league, everything. Maintained my life, but I did speed. This went on for a fourteen years. Then I started shooting meth. Everything went downhill. I lost everything. Lost the job. It got to the point, where both my wife and I were shooting it.  We ended up moving from friend to friend, just really horrible. Wasn’t living right. Sometimes stealing to pay for the drugs and other bad things.

Our relationship started with us doing dope together- which isn’t a really good thing at all. We would get on our feet, then we would lose everything.  I put my kids through hell. My oldest who’s 30 just went to Afghanistan and he still doesn’t talk to me. To this day, I work to rebuild my relationships with my kids.  One night Michael and I decided to shoot meth. I lost my business because I didn’t go to work.  Domestic violence, we fought with each other all the time. It got so bad in 2014-2015 we were living in a hotel, we split up. Then we got back together and moved down to Stockbridge and it got even worse.  We got burglary charges. I was sentenced to Prison.

And I landed in prison. Both my wife and I got 14 months. During that time, I knew I didn’t want to do drugs anymore. My wife got out a month before I did and she got into the Women’s Extension.  She wrote to me and told me what was going on with her. She gave me an ultimatum. If I wanted to stay together, we both had to get Recovery. My answer initially was “I’m fine, I haven’t had drugs in 14 months.”

Me going to prison for 14 months by myself was the best thing to ever happen to me. I knew I couldn’t go back to living the life I used to. I got out November 1st and by the 15th I was at The Extension. They asked me about Michael. I said he was in Prison. I gave him an ultimatum. I knew I wanted a life, a life I hadn’t had in several years. It was great. There were times when it was hard. I was a House Sister. We weren’t supposed to be talking. But I emailed him. I got honest about it.

When I got out, I went to my parent’s house. This was a day by day thing, I didn’t have anywhere else to go.  Heather asked me “do you want to go to the Men’s Extension?” I didn’t want to stay a year, I just got out prison.  Then, I looked around at my surroundings and realized I didn’t have anything. I also knew that while I hadn’t used in 14 months, nothing had changed. I decided to go into the Men’s Extension. I had an interview w/ Bruce and David. After the interview, Bruce said “You got all that clean time and sounds like you have a place to stay with your parents” So they turned me down. It was a Friday.  I was confused so I called back on Monday and spoke to David “I really need help. I need guidance, I need to figure out what to do”. David told me to come up there and they interviewed me again and accepted me that day.

 …There were times when it was hard. I was a House Sister. We weren’t supposed to be talking. But I emailed him. I got honest about it.

At first, I was there only because my wife wanted me to be here. And my family wanted me to be there. I wasn’t there for myself at first. We weren’t allowed to communicate for the first 4 months and that was kind of tough. I end up buying her a ring during that 4 months. We had sold her previous one for drugs. I asked David if it was ok if his wife gave it to her.  I just wanted her to have it.  It was something we lost in the drug use. I got a citation for that.

We got in trouble right before the 4 months was over. She emailed me. She knew she shouldn’t have but she couldn’t wait any longer.

We ended up having marriage counseling. And we got passes together.

After that, Ms. Wynema brought us in and chaperoned our first meeting. After that, they gave us permission to start talking to each other. A few weeks after that, they gave us a pass. 24 hours.  We went out to a Cabin in Cave Springs, Georgia.  It was real nice.

We still do the marriage counseling now. 

The program. I started it for my wife and my family and everybody but as I buckled down and started following the rules, I wasn’t doing it for my wife. I needed it. Not just for them, but for myself.  I started going by the principals. If you go by the principals if you’re a recovering addict or not, you’ll have a pretty good life.

I was raised with these principals but put them on the back burner. Being in the Extension re-instilled these morals and principals back in my life. It’s changed my outlook on life totally. On everyday stuff.

My dad and mom have put trust back in me. After I graduated the extension my dad has gave me another chance to work for the family business being a tow truck driver. Which is really going great. He has also furnished me a house to renovate so me and my wife can live in it. All in all my life is great now. Me and Heather both are working hard to restore our relationships with our family

I transitioned the program. In March I plan to go to the CARES workshop and get my CARES certification.

It’s hard work, learning how to be together sober. But it’s great to be sober.  I’m working on rebuilding my relationships with my kids. The damage I did, it was awful. 

Heather Freeman and Michael Freeman transitioned together on October 5, 2019.