From Sports and Gangs… To Drugs and Recovery

14 Years Later…a follow up to Walking the Walk
July 11, 2019

From Sports and Gangs… To Drugs and Recovery

My name is Eddie – I am a recovering addict and this is my story.

Well let me start off by saying I was born to Eddie and Yvonne Flores on January 12,1984 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. My brother Russell was born July 22, 1987 – so he was about 3 1/2 almost 4 years younger then me. My mother couldn’t have no more kids after my brother was born. My pops was disappointed – he wanted to have more children. My moms and pops did everything for me and my brother: Put food on the table, clothes on our back and a roof over our head. They taught us right from wrong and to respect others, including our elders. I was brought up Catholic, so I got baptized and I made my first holy Communion went through catechism and made my confirmation. As far back as I can remember my mom went back to work when she could, so me and my brother were left with my grandparents on my mom’s side. There we played on swing sets and in swimming pools. My grandma would take us to the White Sands in Alamogordo, New Mexico. It was a beautiful time: Me and my brother playing together with race cars, Nintendo, Sega, Genesis and then it was Play Station and X-Box as we got older. I was really never a gamer though. When me and my brother were growing up we saw my moms and pops have domestic disputes a lot, and alcohol was involved, which made the argument so much more tense. I remember me and my brother crying every time my parents would fight. This was my first introduction to alcohol. I remember when I was a young kid I must have been 10 or 11 I saw my pops passed out on the couch he was drunk with a beer can in his hand so I decided to try it so I took the beer off the coffee table and I drank it.I thought it was the grossest thing ever. I said to myself, “that tasted nasty”, I laughed.

As life went on me and my brother got into sports my parents were always putting us in soccer baseball basketball and football it was fun.I liked playing sports a lot and I was good at it but then me and the other kids would see our parents drinking and having a good time after the baseball games soccer games basketball games they were always drinking. Not to know my family comes from a long line of relatives that were alcoholics.I think it was about fifth grade when I started acting out I started to hang around some bad kids and not listening to teachers also my parents getting into fights and just being a troublemaker. I was the oldest and I was not setting a good example for my younger brother. I played sports all the way up until the 8th grade but by the 6th or 7th grade I made a huge mistake in my life I joined a gang. I remember getting jumped in and just blocking all them punches but since my mom’s and pop’s were fighting all the time at the house it just felt like I didnt want to be there anymore.I started hanging around the neighborhood kids older kids that were smoking weed and drinking it wasn’t till high school that shit got even deeper with me being in a gang hanging around the homies is what I call it.I was getting more and more distance from my family and I remember my grandfather telling me do you want to be a part of this family and he said I walked out crying  because he said that my friends were more important. He was right but I didn’t know that back then. My brother was getting more distant for me more and more the first time I got into trouble with the law I was skipping school I was breaking into cars and houses. At the age of 16 me and a group of kids got caught breaking into a house. The police took us down to the police station and our parents had to get us out. My mom was so upset with me she was like, “Just wait till I tell your dad”. I didn’t want my mom to tell my dad nothing because my dad was a mean son of a gun. He found out and I got a whipping – a bad one.

While other kids were concentrating on their education, wanting to go to the army or airforce Marines or planning to go to college, I was out skipping out – getting drunk and doing drugs – not to mention fighting other gangs. You see back then, being part of a gang was backing up your neighborhood homies and also the people that were in the gang that you went to school with. It’s funny, because I eventually graduated high school, even though I didn’t think I was, but I did – so my parents gave me credit for that. After graduation I think I stayed drunk for about 2 days. I ended up on drug court probation for that breaking and entering by that time. I was a full-blown alcoholic by the age of 15, drinking every day. My parents were talking to me until they were blue in the face, but I would not listen – I was so stubborn back then. Not to mention they had enabled me by them buying alcohol. I  was doing this while I’m on drug court probation for my burglary. I was very selfish and self-centered.I remember getting my first DWI I was 19 years old and I had got that DWI on the holiday I think the day before Christmas Eve. Then I got my second DWI when I was 21 or 22, but I kept on drinking and drugging,bugging and thugging. I don’t think I got my third until maybe 3 or 4 years later, but I had kept on drinking and driving. I didn’t play by the rules at all.

I remember my parents took me to rehab the first time for alcohol, in my mid-twenties. By then I also was expiermenting with shooting up cocaine, meth, and smoking crack. My parents did not know anything about those kind of of drugs. Alcohol and marijuana was my medicine. The rehab was in Taos New Mexico and was 6 hours away from my hometown. I stayed in that rehab for 30 days and as soon as I got out I told my mom’s and pop’s to take me to the liquor store. I think that’s when my mom and dad realized that they couldn’t change me – not to mention all the jail bird days for being drunk in public, fighting with the police and all of them DWIs – I can go on and on. It was in 2002 and my great grandma had passed away. You know how they say death comes in three’s –  well death came in five’s. This started with my great grandma on my mom’s side, then my brother, my uncle on my dad’s side passed away, then both my grandparents on my dad’s side passed away – so over the years I’d lost five people and I was in my active addiction so I thought I could drink the sorrows the pain away. When my brother passed away in 2007 it was sad because my brother was 19 and he was not gang affiliated. He had passed from a dirt bike accident. He was cool with everybody, but we had started getting close, because for a long time we were distant because his friends didn’t get along with my friends. But before that, remember I was telling you all I was in a gang, so I was faced with attempted murder back in 2007 for stabbing a guy who tried to beat me down with a baseball bat. It was getting deeper and deeper – my friends we’re getting shot at or getting shot and dying. Also a lot of them were taking trips to prison. I thank God every day that I did not take that man’s life.

My mom had took me and my brother to Arizona to let the heat cool down. When I came back to my hometown I met with the detective and explained the situation. I got off with self-defense and I thank God that I didn’t go to prison, because I knew it would have got worse in there. So I’ve always been a worker and I’ve always worked for what I had. My Mom and pop’s taught me to work hard for what you want in life. My mother had always put me in a summer program when I was young – mowing yards, landscaping and other city jobs. I learned from that and I was a go-getter. So let me fast-forward a little bit: I got in trouble once again with the law. It was for another residential burglary but I was charged as an adult because I was already in my mid-20s. I was placed on probation for 3 years and I had a lot of probation violations for drinking. So I caught a break and got accepted into the Plumbers Pipefitters Union of New Mexico and they had called me out to Albuquerque New Mexico to work.I was going to school and working. Things were looking up for a little bit. Well, I finally ran out of luck -They did a probation visit and I had pulled up in the driveway drunk and they saw me, so I was charged for my 4th DWI. I spent some time in the can again. I was already on felony probation for my residential burglary and I had caught another felony, so I was in a bad spot. I lost it all: job…apartment… everything. I was facing 18 months in prison but I got a good lawyer and he got me off with one year drug court and six months community corrections program the ankle bracelet. While I was in the drug court program in Albuquerque New Mexico, I had remained abstinent from drugs and alcohol for 17 months. I went through the motions of an AA program, not to mention I didn’t get a sponsor and I didn’t work the steps so I had a void. I was always working as well, but you see I had a reservation.

I said, “the first day I’m off probation I’m going to get messed up”, and that’s what I did – So I picked up right where I left off in my active addiction. My disease took me out for another 5 years. Well, in those 5 years I met a girl in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was clean, but I was still drinking and doing drugs. Her doc was heroin and after she got off probation she went back to her doc. Well, I was romantically involved with her and I was curious, so I tried heroin and I got addicted as well. That was a very toxic relationship. All we had in common was the drugs. I was strung out for 3 years shooting dope. I didn’t have a choice because if I didn’t use I would be sick, so I did a lot of ripping and running. Me and her were lying, cheating and stealing. I tried methadone and Suboxone to get off the heroin but it did not work for me. I think I was more addicted to the ritual of shooting dope.

I finally reached out for help and went to a treatment center in Florida. I had got my job back with the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union in New Mexico. It took me about 6 years to get back in and now I was on the brink of losing it again. I detoxed and stayed about 45 days – just enough time to scratch the surface of recovery, but still, I was not willing open-minded or honest. I went through the motions again – sound familiar? I had wanted to quit and had all the reasons to quit doing dope, but my disease told me that I could do it just one more time. So about two weeks after I got out, I went to an Oxford House in Albuquerque, New Mexico – relapsed – got kicked out – and my disease took me out for another six or seven months. So I’ve already been to jails… I’ve been to institutions… the last thing on the list is death. I reached out for help once again and this time it was a treatment center in Webster, Texas called The Watershed. I knew I had family there in Houston and I’d always wanted to live in a big city. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I had to change people, places and things – so I changed everything. I wanted to start fresh by moving to Houston, Texas. I am not running from my addiction, nor my problems – because everywhere I go, there I am.

The first thing I had to do was surrender and let my higher power back in my life . I had to believe in something greater than myself. I was detoxing – flopping like a fish kicking once again from heroin and methadone. I really didn’t care about the alcohol anymore, but you see alcohol led me to other drugs. I was getting better one day at a time. I started focusing on me and became open-minded, willing and honest and I got my higher power back which I call Jesus Christ. Because you see God never left me – I left God. I started taking suggestions from my counselors. The treatment center would drive us in the druggie buggies, (which is what we called them), and they would take us to meetings. I joined the NA fellowship of the Clear Lake group of Narcotics Anonymous – Which is my home group now. My clean date is October 7, 2018. I am getting my dignity and my self-respect, morals and values back, because it felt like drugs and alcohol had took my soul. I live by  spiritual principles that the NA program has taught me. I live the 12 steps and I have a sponsor, and I thank God for making my recovery possible.

Life is beautiful today. I have a good career and am going to school with local Union 84 Ironworkers of Houston Texas. My goal is to become a welder – it’s always been my goal – so if I want to accomplish my goals and dreams in life, I have to stay clean no matter what. I have a beautiful girlfriend who is also in recovery. I get to have fun in recovery by fellowshipping. Life is too short and I’ve learned to appreciate life and not take it for granted – because our message is hope and the promise is freedom from active addiction. I first started with letting God back in my life; Then it was open-mindedness, willingness and honesty. I am an active Catholic again I got back into my religion. I chase my recovery, because when God and recovery are number one, the rest falls into place. It hasn’t been easy but just remember every journey starts with the little bit of faith.

Well that’s it – that’s my story — once again my name is Eddie and I am a recovering addict