‘The Addict’s Diary’ Showcases Before & After Transformations Of People Who Quit Drugs (30 Stories)
Kevin Alter fell into drugs when he was only 16. His journey downhill began during his high school years on Long Island when he and his friends got some cocaine. He couldn’t stop the first time he tried it and spent the majority of the next 12 years homeless and in and out of addiction. Now 31, Alter has been sober for 3 years and is running "The Addict's Diary," a blog where others are sharing their own substance abuse and recovery success stories.
"I started The Addict’s Diary to show people the truth about drug addiction and also to let them know there is help out there," Kevin told Bored Panda. "I saw too many people losing hope."
After his parents caught on, the young man was sent to the first of 29 inpatient rehab facilities. After completing the program, he finished his senior year and graduated. Things turned for the worse when Alter rejoined his old friends. "All [of them] were doing drugs, and I got back into it and began the game of hiding it from my family the best I could," he recalled the first relapse. "You get better with that as you grow in your addiction."
On August 18th, 2017 — liquor completely shut my pancreas down. I was alone in the hospital room and I begged the nurse, “Please don’t leave me, I think I am dying.” I was dying. Today, at 18 months sober, I start my first day of patient care for my extern. I just graduated from medical assistant school last Thursday. Share my story to show others that they can get back up too!
She met her childhood friend who went mad after being addicted to drugs. Instead of running away, she bought him breakfast, spoke to him, then decided to have him admitted to the hospital. Now he's in treatment and on the road to recovery. Now that’s a true friend.
According to Alter, he never fully understood the 12-step program and narcotics anonymous meetings that he was introduced to as a teen. "I wasn’t willing to let go of people that I needed to, that’s a difficult thing to do when you’re a kid." He still got a college scholarship. However, when he returned home after his first year, Alter's old pals showed him a new drug - heroin.
"I’m not your typical heroin addict that got a prescription and started abusing pills. I started pretty much straight with heroin, and so from there — heroin would take over my life for the next 11 years." It was an endless cycle of family heartbreak, homelessness, friends dying, and addiction recovery. "It sucked."
Millions saw me overdose after a photo taken of me by a police officer went viral. None of those people have seemed to have time to reach out and check on me, so here is an update: Today I celebrated three years clean and my son gets to have his mommy back. How about you make THAT go viral!
"Every bridge had been burned, but someone presented me with an opportunity to go to rehabilitation treatment and they offered to come [and] get me," Alter said. "I didn’t even want to get clean — you have to put yourself in the frame of mind of going in and out of treatment for 12 years, coming from this good family of law enforcement and firefighters, and you’re just this lost person out there, I really didn’t think I could get clean. I just assumed I was going to be a heroin addict forever."
Everything changed when Alter went to his 29th treatment facility. He was tasked with writing his life story and was shocked when someone else who was of a similar age could only write down five bullet points. The next day, Alter read 46 pages of his own story to his group. His therapist highlighted that he failed to state the actual reasons he got high. Which got Alter thinking since he had never thought about it before. "She said, 'You get high because you hate yourself.'"
He realized he had to love himself while sober, and has spent the last 3 years really focusing on it. "The Addict's Diary" now has over 540K fans, and Alter is not only talking about his personal struggles but supporting them in sharing their stories about their own journeys and happy endings as well.
My name is Elizabeth Quiroz and I am a Human Trafficking Victim Advocate/Drug and Alcohol Counselor. I am also a human trafficking survivor, a former Foster youth and a formerly incarcerated student. The picture on the left is a broken woman. The picture on the right is who I am today. Growing up, I endured so much physical abuse that I landed in foster care. I come from a family of gang members, child molesters, drug addicts and alcoholics. I ran away from everything at 15 years old and right into the arms of my trafficker. My trafficker got me hooked on meth and my family supplied him with the drugs. For 12 years I was addicted and sold on the streets of San Francisco. I endured physical abuse and sexual assaults beginning at the age of 4 and rapes from the age of 14 to 26. Throughout the years I went to Valley State Prison and in and out of numerous correctional facilities. At the age of 26, I lost my son and was arrested for the final time. I was numb from all of the horrific abuse. That day brought me back to life though. I did 18 months prison term in the county and completed 2 programs. I decided to change my life around.
Today, I have 8 years clean and I graduated last May with 3 AA degrees with the highest honors. I am currently at Sonoma State University obtaining my bachelor's and Master's degree. I will be the first person in my family to obtain a degree! I am breaking generational curses! God, the programs, and the arresting officers gave me a new life. I am also on the Sonoma Counties Human Trafficking Task Force and I have been featured in multiple articles and newspapers. I was granted a full and unconditional Governors Pardon from Governor Jerry Brown on Christmas Eve. My long term goal is to become a probation officer and start non-profit housing for Human trafficking victims here in Sonoma County. If I can turn it around to help others then there is hope for the broken!
My name is Madison and when I was just 15 years old I started using crack and heroin. By 20 I was on the streets homeless. In my active addiction I went through a lot. I overdosed nineteen times, and escaped situations on the street that I still don’t have words for. Drug court saved my life, and helped me get to where I am today. My family was the first thing to go to my bad habits. Today, they’re back in my life and support me. There’s a lot of people out there who don’t support us. There’s a lot of posts out there knocking us. Let them see this. Let them see my before and after pictures. I’ll stand up for us. We are the forgotten ones. The ones nobody thought would make it. Look at us now. Never count out an addict.
My name is Hlynur. I'm 30 years old and I'm from Iceland. I have been battling addiction since I started steroids when I was 19 years old. I was in prison for 14 months in the state of Ceara in Brazil. I was raised by a fantastic family and there were no signs of this upcoming battle while growing up. I developed an addiction while competing in bodybuilding. Steriods, amphetamine, and cocaine. Last year I was smoking crack on a daily basis. I was the arrogant know it all type and I was quite angry, for what reason, I still don't know. But, the emptiness inside was always there until I went to rehab on 5/27/19.
Today, I am 78 days sober. I'm humble because I set my pride aside and asked for help. It saved my life. I'm a living example that even though I went to hell and back, there is still hope!
My drug use caused me to go septic and the infection in my heart left me with endocarditis. The doctors told me I had 12 months to live if I kept using. They said my heart wouldn’t hold up after that. Here’s a picture of me at my college yesterday. I have 11 months clean today!
Hey guys this is Alicia. She sent me this photo a few minutes ago. She said, “I am proud of this photo. I had no where else to post it or anyone to talk about it with. Sorry for any inconvenience.” I decided to post it because I know all of your care. Let’s show her some love. She has 11 months clean today.
It started with pills, mainly percocet when I was 21. I was really sick one day and a friend gave me heroin. I started shooting it at 24. I tried meth for the first time at 25. I was shooting them both in no time. Over the next 3 years I overdosed 8 times. If I wasn't homeless, I was living at a trap house with no electricity or running water with a 61 year old man who was on disability & sold meth. In and out of jail constantly for possession, identity theft etc. I used needles I found in the bottom of a shopping cart full of trash. I didn't care. I was 100 lbs. I hated myself and I truly wanted to die. I went to prison. I did 15 1/2 months on 18. I got clean. I'm 30 years old now, I've been clean for 2 years & 8 months & I have a 6 and a half month old baby girl, and a great fiance. Finally, as I lay here breastfeeding my beautiful baby I can say I love myself and I enjoy life now without heroin or meth. Anything is possible, don't give up. Do anything. Just don't ever give up.
My name is Matt and I’m an addict. A sports injury at 14 led me to a doctor’s office. That’s where my life changed forever. The doctor transformed me from a regular kid to a drug addict with nothing more than a pen and a prescription pad. The next 6 years were a nightmare. It very quickly went from painkillers to heroin. I lost everything—family, possessions, and was even evicted. A bad car accident led me into recovery on April 21, 2012. I got clean at 20 years old. Today, at 28 I am a father of two, a man who has found God, and a business owner.
My downfall started with weed when I was 15. Then, the progression took me through multiple drugs before I found meth. I can remember living in a shed with a guy behind his parent’s house. We wouldn’t sleep for a week at a time. We would use the garden as a bathroom. This guy abused me. He raped me. He took advantage of me. And to deal with this, I self-medicated more.
After a restraining order and years of trying to overcome PTSD, I am officially now over a year in recovery. I am studying nursing and dealing with the autoimmune disease I contracted in active addiction by living a healthy lifestyle in the gym. I am so much happier than I ever thought that I deserved. There is NOTHING that I miss about my old life. Recovery is possible, my photos are proof.
I spent years in denial about my addiction. "I can stop any time", I would always tell myself.
Then one day, I overdosed. Even with a PICC line in my arm from a recent heart infection, caused by shooting up, I continued to use. And that was nearly my last time. My mother found me in my room, on my bed, clinging to life. EMS was able to arrive on scene and reverse the opiods in time to save my life. If my mom wouldn't have found me, I wouldn't be here today to tell my story.
Like nearly every addict, I relapsed a few weeks later. Instead of pills and fentanyl patches, I moved to heroin. I loved the rush I felt when shooting it up. It provided me such serenity and a mind-numbing experience. My family and partner at the time found out a few weeks later. I was so embarrassed of my addiction, I fled and hid for 4 days.
Upon returning home, law enforcement was called and I was committed to a local psychiatric facility for 5 days. There, they provided some medications to aide in my withdrawls. Still so, I had numerous days of body aches, cold sweats that would soak my bed sheets, and incessant, projectile vomiting. Upon my discharge, I went through months of grueling therapy, medications, and learning new ways to confront my emotions and fears, instead of numbing them.
I have been clean since October 6, 2015. 1,372 days of sobriety. 32,928 hours. 118,540,800 seconds of struggling and learning to cope with life without drugs.
In January of 2016, I acquired a new job where I am now a manager of a department. I have also taken up a passion for EMS, working as an EMT in a county with numerous heroin ODs since May 2016. I am now nearing the end of a 2 year paramedic program. As it has been since the day I got sober, my goal every day is to continue to find myself and help others in a similar position do the same.
I am, and always will be, an addict. Sobriety isn't easy. Life isn't easy. But my God, a life without drugs is surreal.
I have 60 days clean from IV heroin, crack, meth, Suboxone, and all other substances. On the left was September 12th, on the right is me with my daughter this past Halloween 2019
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was me and my three friends sitting in a car getting high on heroin. My buddy picked his head up from a nod and said in his raspy voice, "We won't be doing this forever. One day we'll grow out of this and have normal lives." Everyone in the car agreed. At 20 years old we really believed it was a phase. We were actually convicted that it was something we would grow out of. Everyone who was in the car that day is now dead except for me. They weren't bad kids. They just got caught up in something bad. Something that put their hooks in them. Something that doesn't let go so easily. Addiction isn't a phase. You're either going to deal with this, or this is going to deal with you.
Check out this miracle. A once incarcerated heroin addict is now a productive member of society again. I want to thank United Recovery Project for another job well done. Today, my friend Dylan has 18 months clean. He said, “I just want to be famous for a day Kev.” So, let’s make him famous and pass his story around the world.
My names is Michael. A lot of you have seen my previous post talking about my HIV and becoming clean and sober after being being left in an ally to overdose. That day, an amazing lady was my guardian angel and happened to be carrying Narcan on her. She saved me. I just wanted to give an update. I'm coming up on 2 years clean. I just wanted thank everyone for the overwhelming support and love!
I went from being 89 pounds, addicted to heroin, and suicidal to finally feeling the miracle people in recovery were talking about. It took 9 rehabs and more detoxes than I can count, but one day I got it. With God, anything is possible. Don’t give up.
People always told us that two “addicts" can never make it, that we should just get a divorce and go our separate ways. Well, we just couldn't accept that solution. In 2010 after the sudden death of my younger brother & after 10 years of active addiction, we had both finally hit bottom...we each went into a Christ-centered recovery center. We spent almost a year apart from each other both determined for a better life. This year, he in May & I in July, we made 9 years clean and sober and free from addiction together! In August we celebrated 11 years of marriage. Through the power of GOD & a ton of forgiveness, we now live our lives as if our past never happened. Our journey has not always been easy but it has been worth every second. Recovery is possible
My name is Sarah and I am 29 years old. I started heavily drinking at the age of 15. I was in and out of treatment centers. By the age of 26, I was diagnosed with stage 1 liver disease and alcohol neuropathy. I weighed about 75 pounds. I became paralyzed and lost the ability to walk or use my body. I was told I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I ended up having to get sober in the hospital and I worked my butt off with physical and occupational therapy to learn how to walk again. At 27, I was able to get to treatment for my alcoholism and I have been sober since June 24, 2017 — and I am grateful everyday!
This is what 393 days clean looks like. This is a miracle!
My name is Jamee and I am a recovering heroin and meth addict. These pictures are 2 years apart. The better-looking version of me being just a few months ago when I got my GED! Recovery is possible!
8 months ago I overdosed and almost lost my life. The doctor said he didn’t know how I survived. I was in the ICU for 10 days and my face was partially paralyzed. I got out of the hospital and immediately started using again. Broken and beaten I eventually sought professional help, and after that I moved into a sober living. Today, I am 84 days sober. My face healed and my life has changed in so many ways. The journey hasn’t been perfect, but it definitely has been worth it. Show this picture to your family and friends. This is the end result of drugs. I am one of the lucky ones.
Three years ago, I had a life threatening heart infection. One that most addicts die from (endocarditis). It is such a bad condition that after they tell you, they ask if there is anyone that you would like them to call. For me, it was my mom.
“Your daughter was admitted to the hospital with a terrible infection due to her drug use. The infection has made it to her heart and we’re not sure if we caught it in time. You might want to come see her.”
I hadn’t spoken to my mom in years, but when I found out she was on her way, I waited in the hospital parking lot. She didn’t see me, but I saw her. She was crying alone in her car. It made my heart ache.
I’m sure she had so much going through her mind. She had already lost my brother at a young age due to a genetic illness. I was her only child. Even though she was working full time, she would come visit me after having a long day at work just to show she was there for me. She did this for the month that I stayed in the hospital.
I had to keep a portable IV machine on me for 3 months after that. I would have to go to pick up IV fluids once a week at the hospital. She came from out of town all those times, just to show she was there and that she cared.
I would always try to make her feel bad for not “helping me” through my addiction. (Although I know now she was ALWAYS only trying to help me me by not enabling me, as I would always ask her for money and make her feel terrible when she didn’t give it me). But it’s that morning I saw her in that parking lot, crying, not knowing I was watching her, that gave me that guy wrench. Seeing her woke something up inside of m. I was just so tired.
I was so beat. My body hated me. I asked god to help me over and over again. “Please help me stay sober. Please give me the strength.”
I’m officially three years clean of that lifestyle and all that comes with it. I was addicted to drugs for ten years, basically from 18-28. I have tried every drug. I went from taking pain killers my dentist prescribed me to oxys, to crack, back to pain killers, then meth, and finally heroin and finally fentanyl. I went from being in college with my life ahead of me to a homeless “junkie” using needles and putting myself in situations I could have never imagined being in — including having a criminal record.
Now I have such a wonderful life! I have my own home. I have a job. I have my loving family back that I missed SOO much. I’ve never been happier. My mom has never been happier or more proud of the woman I am becoming, and that alone makes this whole journey that much better.
So what I’m trying to say is, even if you feel like giving up, DON’T! Everyone has the strength to get to the other side. You just have to find it! Just keep believing you are worth it!! You deserve happiness. I’m happy. I’m sober. I’m alive. And as of July 1st, 2016, I am 3 years sober.
For most of my life, I struggled with addiction. Today, I am 2 years and 6 months sober off meth and pills. In recovery I got my drivers license back after 18 years. I am working full time, and next week I start college to become a drug counselor. Recovery is possible!
Meet Paige, a 19 year old recovering addict. Let’s show the world that recovery from heroin and crystal meth is possible and make this young woman go viral!
For the past 6 years of my life I have been living like a lost soul. Partying, lying, stealing, robbing, and shooting or smoking dope. I have 60 days sober today, and this is the most alive I have ever felt. I was in a 30 day program in South Carolina. When I left, I moved to California into a sober living. I knew that if I left I would get high and I didn’t want to do that so I knew I needed to get out of my comfort zone. That was the best decision I’ve ever made. I know I am still early on, but I have already learned so much about myself that I never knew. I’m learning what I struggle with, what makes me happy, what makes me sad, and this is the first time in years that I’m actually okay with feeling these feelings. Because for so long I’ve drowned all of those emotions with heroin, cocaine, crack, and meth. I had no idea it could be this great. I couldn’t imagine a life without drugs. I thought it would be lame and boring, but I quickly learned how wrong I was. This is only the beginning. I can not wait to see what sobriety holds for me, because I know it’s going to be so beautiful.
The mugshot was my lowest point; living on the streets using heroin and meth. May 3, 2018 I was arrested and pulled out of my addiction. Recovery not only feels good, but it looks good too.
I grew up in a good home, with loving parents who did everything right. I was a ballet dancer, a friend, a sister. I excelled at school & had big goals for myself. Until I didn’t.
What started out as young teenage fun turned in to a 15 year drug fuelled tornado of hell that I couldn’t seem to escape. Overdoses, losing my son, losing my family, detoxes, treatment centres, sleeping on the streets I truly didn’t think I had a bottom and was on a mission to end my life.
Here I am almost 3 years later and I have 2 children now. I work with youth who are struggling with mental health and addiction issues. My family is back in my life. Those are all amazing, but the feelings of self respect, confidence and self love top any of it. I look in the mirror and smile because my life is so full.
If this hopeless junkie can get clean - so can you!
I grew up in a normal house like most of you. My parents raised us to know right from wrong, I just always found trouble. I was 15 years old when I started drinking, and I instantly loved how it made me feel. From that point on I always wanted an escape. I started by drinking all my parents liquor, and pretty soon I was a regular at the liquor store. One night I got too drunk and took 35 pills. The doctors put in a medically induced coma in an attempt to save my life. When I awoke I had to relearn how to walk, talk, and function. The doctors told my family I was within ten minutes of being a lost cause. My brother was the one who found me. He saved my life and I am forever grateful. I went to treatment after I got out of that hospital. I moved to a new place and started a new life. I had a couple couple bumps in the road but I finally did it. My sobriety date is March 3, 2016 and I am coming up on 3 years sober.
My name is Samantha. The picture to the left is one of my booking photos. I have been through a lot of trauma. For a long time I lived as though my own body and mind were in a personal hellish prison. By the grace of God, I have overcome my demons. My daily life is now conducted in a manner that is far different from my sick and suffering days. The places I go, the things I do, and the people I am with are a reflection of my spiritual progress. My life is conducted with the knowledge that God is always at my side and that he guides me through the day. I am not automatically entitled to succeed in everything, or in anything. Through the steps and receiving love from my AA family, my perception of life has changed. Once my thoughts changed, so did my actions. That is when I finally got results. I have learned that it takes a steady hand to hold a full cup. There is hope. There is a lot of work ahead of me, but I will keep coming back.
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