The Substance For You Saga Pt. 21–The End!!
For Part 20 go here- http://substanceforyou.com/substance-for-you-saga-pt-20/
The Creation of my True Recovery
Service Work + Giving Back
In early 2014 I published my very first book titled Illicit: Life in the Eyes of an Addict.I wasn’t
quite sure what to do with it, but I knew the premise of these types of stories: “Share it!” So about a month after the book was published I got together with a close friend of mine, well two of them. One of my friends was great at this stuff already, spreading awareness on mental health issues with his company We Are Not Voiceless.
He had a great way to guide me with Voiceless CPR and lead me in all of the right directions on how to capture the vision.
The other friend happened to be his brother, who turned out to be a mentor and editor for my book(s). We decided I needed a platform and not just space for an author. We needed an idea to be backed and my story was great for this purpose: “Addiction, Hope, Recovery.”
In the next month developed YourInnerAddict.com as a place to spread awareness for addiction and recoveries, as I had battled through it at that point for nearly half of, or more than that of my life. I put a blog on the website and share my stories on there, of which are mostly my inner demons needed a place to be set free. Some of these stories are my PTSD night terrors, some are situations that weren’t discussed in the book Illicit, and others are other people’s recovery.
I also put a spot on there for the book, although it wasn’t the prime directive, the directive was to share the message that recovery from all these things I had done in my addiction was possible. It just so turned out that my book was the pivotal spot for the platform Your Inner Addict, as it became so much more.
During my first year open with Your Inner Addict, I sold 1700+ books of Illicit and now currently have above 35,000 followers for the cause. In the second year, I am still spreading the awareness of the message within the book, but now I do donate some of my books.
All in all, I have given a way to help others or sold upwards of 2,200 copies of my feature book Illicit: Life in the Eyes of an Addict. I felt this could be an open place to share what it’s really like looking through life in the eyes of an addict, as it’s shared from my point of view as I went through it. I felt like I was still stuck in that part of my life so it wasn’t hard to make the tales really pop out at you or I. It was healing for others, but most therapeutic for myself, too. Life got so much better as I started to learn alternative methods on staying healthy and helped myself to a moderate life. I don’t think I could have gotten in as far as I have with recovery if I didn’t have the support I had to accomplish what Your Inner Addict and the books I wrote for it have done for others and I.
Within that very same Summer of 2014, I published another book titled “The Tell Tales of Addiction.” This book encompassed alternative endings to the books Illicit—things that could have happened. It also introduces parts I didn’t tell in the book Illicit, and also has PTSD induced night terrors I was having in the books. Funny thing was after I wrote this book the stress in my life became lessened. The night terrors went away and I spread more awareness of hope to others. It was soon after this book came out that even more writing was flowing. I wrote the sequel to Illicit that very same winter, titled “Insanity” which was my journey through the rehabilitation and mental illnesses that surrounding me with getting clean. This book also tackled the stigmas that I felt were being portrayed onto me through the substance abuse and mental health issues. Although, I have kept this book on a rather small scale compared to
Illicit. Those that follow along know where to get it!
Life started to get better and better and I started to get my grades up at the University. I became known in the social sciences department for getting As in all of the hardest abstract classes there were to take. Who would have thought? The guy who struggled with abstract became a guide in the field for it.
My health started to get better too. I started doing what I called Wogging and lost weight from my fairly bulkier status. I started trimming some fat off while eating healthy and leaving my muscle intact. I was able to breath again, as the blood clots started to dissipate and deteriorate.
While getting my stress under control by writing and having healthy outlets I have now gotten my Tourette’s syndrome under control as well. I’m still on blood thinners, as I may be for the rest of my life, but the pain from the blood clots has gone away completely and I’ve been medically cleared for just maintenance check-ups. The blood clots themselves have completely gone away from my healthy eating habits and working
out on a regular basis. I learned that I need to stretch regularly, drink plenty of water, and do what I’ve been taught in recovery… stay active but stay moderate it too! So I’ve combined healthy habits to combat the destructive ones and am living healthy, sober and clean now while still completing my degree in Sociology and Substance Abuse. If one lesson can be learned from all of the mayhem my addiction brought and the struggles recovery has shown me is that honestly, it really can get better, but you have to work at it!
I can’t say life has been easy, but it’s been totally worth it. I learned how to live a healthy life through recovery and am still learning with many more life lessons to go! Recovery is a struggle to begin with but eventually through the ashes and smoke it does it better. I’ve accomplished many things after bashing my head into a wall for so long! Pretty soon that starts to hurt. The funny thing is if you go to a doctor and say, “Hey doc, this hurts… BANG BANG BANG.” Then he’s most likely going to say, “Son, stop doing that!” Once I stopped doing “that,” things had gotten a lot better.
During that year of writing and creating Your Inner Addict, I also accomplished many other things. I got selected as an International Honorary Student not only for my major but also for 5 different groups at the University. I now am sitting at a 3.75 GPA and make my parents, friends, and loved ones proud of each grade I bring home. This isn’t to say that I just wrote some books and called it quits though. Every single dime I had made from Your Inner Addict and my books, or even spent out of my own pocket went to creating something greater.
At the beginning of this year (2015) I created a free self-help organization known as Substance For You. The articles in this website are all free and they go to raising awareness for addiction while telling personal recovery stories as well. I find it best to bring on other writers for blogging as well so it’s not just me. This is a we battle, and we will win the war in this together.
With Substance For You the message is really strong. It’s about Addiction, Hope, and Recovery, as our slogan goes. The essence of Substance For You is to share your story and the things that helped you or me get from all those horrible experiences I described, to getting where I or we are now with this beautiful thing we all call recovery and serenity.
Where I am Now
Recovery couldn’t be any better Today
I’m now 25 years old, and five years clean from heroin, alcohol, and pills (well, all drugs, but those were my substances of choice).
I am currently engaged to a woman I’ve visited twice and lives halfway around the world in the Philippines. She is the most beautiful and gorgeous person on the inside and out I’ve ever met. She doesn’t drink or do drugs and has read all of my books and many others to understand what I’m going through. The best part about it is, she is the only one to ever truly get through to me. I’ve always been hard headed and want what I want now (as most addicts do), but this 22-year old angel has taught me peace, serenity, and guidance with my mind, heart, soul, and higher power I never thought were possible before. It’s never codependent as we can always do things without each other, but why should we if this is one of the most beneficial persons and things to my recovery? Her culture, way of life, upbringing is different than mine, American, and I have been forever humbled by the experience she gives me and experiences she continues to give me. If anyone is saying “He’s doing 90-day bride!” Get that out of your head now, because even though we are from different cultures and so far away, I’ve never felt so at home and at peace with myself and with anyone else until the very, single first moment we spoke. It was love at first sight… well, email.
We met on an international dating website, and we are now planning to be married early December. We have been dating for nearly 13 months and have been engaged for more than half of those. I’ve taken two trips completely half way around the world, on a 28-hour stop to stop flight(s), with a 12 hour time difference to meet, confess, and propose to the woman of my dreams. If there’s anything I’m ever so grateful for it is the fact that I had to fight for my love in the hardest of ways, with our higher power on our side teaching us lessons we would never get any other way, giving us reason to never get divorced, and giving us purpose of raising our children with a proper peace of mind.
I spent my entire summer living in with her in our own condo in the Philippines this most recent summer; in fact I just got back! You might know her as the girl wearing a Detroit Pistons cap, face down, with a stay drug-free shirt on in all of Substance For You’s profile photos. Or you may know her on twitter as @SFYNicole. Beautiful isn’t she? You’ve all probably met her at some point as she is one of the partners I keep talking about in my business, too! We are in the last stage of processing our visa for marriage and will be wed within a week of her getting here! Although I don’t need a government to call her my wife! (I LOVE YOU HONEY!)
Substance For You wasn’t created by me and sure as heck isn’t run by me, that’s all done by you, all of you who read this. This may be my story, but it couldn’t have been possible without all of you, that’s for damn sure!
I’m now in my last year of finishing up at the University as I try to devote enough time to running Your Inner Addict and Substance For You while keeping up with my studies. I get asked a lot: “Are you an expert?” Well, my answer is clearly always going to be: “I lived it didn’t I? I may not have a Ph.D. in this, but I will and already have one in life!” And in my defense, experts say: “An expert is someone who takes and devotes at least ten years of his life to perfecting his craft.” I think us (whoever you are) have earned that right to say “YES. In fact, I am an expert on this, an expert of my own body. I’ve earned that right by now.”
The message here is clear. Just keep staying clean, no matter how hard it gets, and the right things will always come your way. I could go back through this Saga with you all and tell you each and every time someone close to me has counted me down and out, or I myself have thought I would have ended up dead. But, through all of the fire, ashes and smoke a Phoenix has risen. The new era of sobriety and recovery is here! Let’s create the revolution because we are it to ending this war on drugs, we are it, my friends!
In the seven months that Substance For You has been open (Yes we are new…but not new…) I’ve gained through all combined social media 48,000 supporters of this cause (that doesn’t include Your Inner Addict). It is safe to say recovery will always be a strong suit for me as it’s something I was always born to do, as I can say “Yes, addiction had a purpose for me!” The saying is right, “It works if you work it,” but the key is that we are working this together! WE (Substance For You) have reached all possible continents we can (not including Antarctica) and have recognition from some notable names (who won’t be mentioned, just thanked!). I will say it again, YOU ARE THIS REVOLUTION! Step up, speak out, be your recovery!
So the road to recovery in sum is not an easy road that’s for sure. But like I said I was born for this like you all were. There’s one promise I can make and that is if I didn’t go through all of that hardship I described in this story, life wouldn’t be so beautiful right now. I’d probably still be banging my head on a wall just in some different way!
So, the struggle is real, but it’s really worth it!! That’s why AA has a saying like if you can deal with it you’ll be granted promises. And I promise you that one day it does get better. I’m living breathing, healthy, alive, and drug-free, recovering almost five years clean proof of that. If I didn’t go through all of that, there would be no Your Inner Addict; there would be no Substance For You. Who’s to say that
while you’re going through some of the same motions I went through right now that ten years from now we won’t have a great Senator? Or we won’t have a leading rights, activist? Or we won’t have someone to speak up for someone who can’t? WHO IS TO SAY THAT YOU WON’T BE THE NEXT SUBSTANCE FOR YOU OR YOUR INNER ADDICT?
Through creating Your Inner Addict I learned the process of self-discovery and truly found out what my calling in life is. My calling in life is to spread the message of Addiction, Hope, and Recovery. The writing I started—and never finished—has become therapeutic. I wasn’t satisfied with writing books, especially since not everyone can afford a book. So, I brought my writing into learning alternative methods of using it. I write about treatment and recovery. I write about alternative methods as well as some 12-step based methods of recovery. I write about the philosophies and psychologies of addiction. I write about the sciences and social worlds within addiction. I write to help! Through all of this I’m able to give back on Substance For You in a respectable, self-conscious, growing, and free manner with the blog I provide there.
I’m also gaining traction with promoting sober and recovery merchandise which is all sold for a very low cost to help spread the message better and faster to those who can and want to support it! Sometimes people need that friendly reminder, it does get better. I sure know I needed it. And that is why I write about these types of things and display them for free, because I am just doing my life duty to give people a sense of where I was and how to get to where I am, so we can all journey to where we want to be together!
So please, this is my story and I only share it to encourage others to share theirs and know that it does get better. You are loved my friends.
Please share your with us and the world at my email SubstanceForYou@gmail.com
I will respond and I will post your story because I’ve been there and can tell you it get’s better 100% if you’re 100% sober the best you can. Don’t let hard times get you down, because I will respond and we are all here for you!
I am Brian McCollom, I am Substance For You, I am Your Inner Addict, and I AM AN ADDICT. My clean and sober date is Christmas 2010.
Find all of our recovery merchandise, Illicit: Life in the Eyes of an Addict (paperback and Ebook) at our shop at www.SubstanceForYou.com/shop
Or My Personal Account
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