One of the first lessons we are all taught as children is the importance of kindness to your peers. We are constantly reminded of sayings like “sharing is caring,” and “treat people as you wished to be treated.” The biggest blessings in life come from positive acts of kindness, but as we grow older, sometimes we lose our sense of the simplicity and importance behind being kind. Taking care of our fellow brothers and sisters makes our world a better place, but sometimes, people lose touch with reality, and are pushed toward the opposite direction.
I grew up in a loving, caring family that emphasized the value of kindness. However, I was rebellious. It was more enjoyable for me to poke fun at people and misbehave. Of course, I got in trouble for my actions, but I didn’t care. Getting attention, as a typical middle child does, was often my number one priority.
In high school, I discovered drugs and alcohol, and all kind acts I might have performed previously were forgotten. I did anything to get high, including stealing from family and friends, manipulating my friends—I even resulted to violence. People around me started noticing signs of Adderall addiction in me and there was not a single nice thing about me. As I fell harder and harder into addiction. I finally realized enough was enough: I asked for help.
My options were simple and pretty intriguing. Do I go to a non-12 step rehab in California or a 12 step rehab in Florida? Both places sounded better than where I was, but what type of treatment did I really need?
I had a friend who was forced into a rehab in California, who ended up getting high again shortly after, so I chose the Florida route. It was there I met a lady who changed my life: her name was Dawn. I had tried therapy before, but it usually ended with me cussing out the therapist and him/her requesting to never see me again. However, this lady was different. She understood me. She listened to me and gave me hope: something that I had very little of at the time. Even though I made progress with her in private one-on-one sessions, I rebelled in group therapy sessions—it was just the only way I knew how to handle the difficult process of recovery.
There were countless times when the rehab tried to kick me out. They told my parents to buy me a plane ticket home, that I was patronizing their organization, and being disruptive and fraternizing with other clients. Even though I wanted to be there, I didn’t know how to act in that kind of difficult situation—the hardest of my life. It was a vicious cycle.
But Dawn fought for me to stay, even when she didn't have to do so. She told everyone that I was progressing even though it seemed like I was regressing.
It was only a 30-day program, but by the 15th day, nobody wanted anything to do with me. This lady who I had only known for two weeks put her job on the line and begged the rehab to let me stay. I felt comfortable talking with her, and finally started making positive changes. This lady inadvertently saved my life.
I had doctors tell me that if I didn't quit drinking and using drugs, I would die. My parents, siblings, and other family members had no hope for me. I was living a very sad existence, but for some reason, this lady who I had just met put all of her faith into me. And for what reason? She would have been paid the same either way, she would probably never see me again after those 30 days, and the success rates for addicts staying sober are often slim. So, why did this lady put everything on the line for me? I will never know the answer to that question, but I do know she is one of the main reasons I am sober today.
On April 21st of 2010, I took my last drink. I wish I could say that I have had the ability to thank this woman for everything she did for me, but I haven’t had the opportunity. I have tried everything to contact her, but haven’t been successful. So, what do I do to pay her back? I help out any person—especially addicts who are struggling. I do my best to provide hope to the hopelessness, strength to the weak, and food for the hungry. I share my story as often as I can. And what is the moral of the story? Just one small act of kindness might end up saving someone's life.