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October 19, 2023 29 mins

Join us on an incredible journey this episode, as we introduce you to Frank, a beacon of hope and a testament to the transformative power of recovery. He shares his grueling odyssey through addiction that started in his teenage years, a path that led him to an eight-year prison sentence, yet ultimately, to a life of sobriety and service. With unflinching honesty, Frank reveals his struggle with methamphetamine, the darkest periods of his addiction, and his moment of realization in prison that propelled him toward recovery.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to Unpolished Recovery.
My name is Trey.
Most stories of recovery startwith how bad addiction was, how
they entered recovery and howgreat life is now.
That's a polished story, myname is Chris.

Speaker 2 (00:11):
I'm your co-host of Unpolished Recovery.
Our guest today's name is Frank, who of course, is in recovery.
He's a good friend of mine.
I've been had the privilege ofwatching his recovery process
and become the man he is today.
One of the other things he isis he is a staff member here at

our recovery support program.
He's been working here a littleover a year, Frank, Full-time a
little over a year.
But you've been affiliated withthe program for how long now?
Almost four years now.
How long have you been cleaningsober?

Speaker 3 (00:48):
Four and a half years .

Speaker 2 (00:49):

Speaker 1 (00:52):
Before we get too far in.
I think people need tounderstand that he's a good
person because he's a Braves andBulldogs fan.

Speaker 3 (00:58):
Thanks for throwing that inthere, Chuck You're welcome.

Speaker 2 (01:02):
It just depends on who it is.
You're also a graduate of thisprogram, right?
Yes, you came in about four anda half years ago.
You graduated on time, right,six months after you got here,
the standard time in the programyeah, about six months and two

weeks, I remember really well.
So, like I mentioned, you'reopen with anyone, that you're in
recovery, that you have ahistory of substance abuse.
How old were you the first timeyou're introduced to drugs or
It's the very first time youever experienced that change in

the mind from taking a substance.

Speaker 3 (01:47):
Well, I mean, I was about 15, you know typical high
school kid, you know gettingwith my friends and you know we
drank smoke weed.
You know it started out realfun.

Speaker 2 (02:01):
Nobody told us the monster it was gonna turn into.
So how long until you realize,hey, it's not fun anymore.
Like at what point do youremember that time when you're
like I got a problem, I needhelp?

Speaker 3 (02:22):
Yeah, I'd have to say I was probably.
It didn't take long, just a fewyears and you know, early 20s I
realized I had a problem.
But you know, I was in, I wenton, I was in my 30s before I
actually started to care that Ihad a problem.
That makes any sense.

Speaker 2 (02:41):
And what is your drug of choice?

Speaker 3 (02:43):

Speaker 2 (02:46):
How old were you, if you remember the first time you
used meth?
Yeah, I was 19 years old, 19years old.
And then you said how long didyou spend in active addiction?

Speaker 3 (02:58):
Let's see, I guess I was 40,probably 41 years old the last
time I used meth, so that's yourlife, right.

Speaker 2 (03:10):
Yeah, it's a long time Now.
Were you strictly like once youwent into addiction?
Was it only meth or did youstart using other drugs like
heroin or cocaine?

Speaker 3 (03:22):
Yeah, it didn't matter what it was.
I went through bouts witheverything.
It just seemed like the methwas the one thing that stayed
I went through phases with youknow, I took plenty of pills,
benzos, opiates.
I had a little bout with heroinfor a while towards the end,
but yeah, meth was always there.

That was the one thing I always, you know, I stayed true to, so
to speak.

Speaker 2 (03:52):
And I tell people I'm an addict in every sense of the
You know you want my drug ofchoice.
What you got, but the truth isis opiates.
The first time I ever tookopiates, it was like a key fit
and a lock.
You know I was like this is it,you know?
But I'd done other drugs.
You know cocaine and, like Isaid, of course they had the
desired effect.
But you know opiates.

Was that that aha moment that Ithought I'd found something
I've been looking for my wholelife?
So I understand about that whatyou know.
You said half a lifetime.
You know 22 years.

Speaker 3 (04:28):
Did your addiction ever lead any kind of legal
issues or yeah, addiction wasthe base of pretty much all my
legal issues.
I ended up, you know, for manyyears I'd stayed catching simple
possession charges,paraphernalia charges, you know
what, not just managed to dodgethe big felony, you know, until

I was until you know, 37, 2015,.
I caught my first big drugfelony with meth and ended up
signing an eight year deal toserve in prison, in prison, yeah
, did you end up serving at all?
or why no?

I ended up serving about threeyears of it before I got out on
parole, and then I just got offparole.
When was it last year?
No, it was the beginning ofthis year.

Speaker 1 (05:27):
What was the felony charge?

Speaker 3 (05:29):
Possession of methamphetamine.

Speaker 2 (05:34):
So when you went into prison, were you already ready
to quit?
Did you hit a point ofdesperation Like, can you tell
us a little bit about thatprocess?

Speaker 3 (05:42):
So when you went into prison and then got to the
point where you wanted to go toa recovery program and do
something different, Well, youknow, the first two years I was,
you know, when I got to prison,I didn't realize that drugs
were gonna be available likethey were.

And no, I had no desire to quit, no desire to change or
As a matter of fact, I used itas an excuse to continue using
on the inside.
I you know, for the first twoyears I was in, I used meth,

suboxone, smoked weed,everything that was available.
And I got mandated for thisdrug program.
I spent a few months in it,using, and ended up.
They ended up coming in on meand myself one day with a cup

and I failed a drug test andjust all you know, all reality
come crashing down.
I ended up failing the drugtest, of course.
And Did they remove you fromthe program for that?
No, because in prison, if youfail the initial test, they have
to send it off to a lab.
Okay, so they sent it off tothe lab, I guess they, in.

A week went by, another weekwent by and you know I'd
confessed to my counselor, youknow, and she, you know she said
, just hang on and let's seewhat happens.
You know, let's see what theysay when it comes back.
Well, after about two weeks shecalled the lab and they said
that there was no test therewith my name on it.
You know, and Not your bullet,yeah, yeah, and you know.

Then that's when it, you know,that's when everything clicked
for me, pretty much, becauseover that of course of that two
weeks, all I could think aboutwas man, I'm fixing to lose my
chance of getting out of prison,this place that I claim I hate
so much, over a piece ofsuboxone.
At that point, you know, andyou know, I struggled with

spirituality and throughout thattime and there was no doubt in
my mind when that test came,that test, I mean, virtually
That that was a God thing.
You know, that was my chance.
It's now.
If I don't do it right now,it's never gonna happen.

At least that's the way Ilooked at it, you know, and I
haven't touched anything sincethat day.

Speaker 2 (08:30):
So you think, just based on what you're telling me,
do you think at that momentwhen that happened, when you
failed the drug test and youwere actually contemplate the
consequences is, do you thinkthat's one of the first times
you ever made that connection?
Like ma'am, I condition my lifeis because of the decisions
that I'm making.
Is that kind of the processthat went on there?

Speaker 3 (08:55):
Yeah, yeah, you know I had worked, I had
You know I had convinced myselffor a long time that I was, no,
nothing more than a junkie.
That was, and I was going to bethat way for the rest of my
life, and I had allowed myselfto reach a point that I was okay

with that.
I can't say that prison for mewas miserable the entire three
years I was there.
And you know, I think theydesigned it that way.

Speaker 2 (09:34):
Yeah, well, they did a good job.

Speaker 3 (09:39):
But I, you know, it was just.
It was crazy how everythingjust kind of clicked at once.
You know Just the sheer terrorof you know ending up not being
able to get, you know, gettingdenied for parole because of a

failed drug test and it like Idon't know, it's hard to explain
, it's just everything madesense, you know, and I realized
that if I can't eliminate thedrugs from my life, then this is
where I'm going to be for therest of my life.

you know, and it was just like amoment of clarity, like you
know, like they call it yeah, ifyou will, yeah, so it sounds
like, yeah, a pimp, and I'm a.

Speaker 2 (10:34):
You know me personally, you know, one of my
favorite phrases is it takeswhat it takes, you know,
especially when your life's atstake.
So you said that, yeah, thatwas it, so I take it.
You ended up completing theprogram.
You got your parole, Did you?
You said you got mandated to arecovery program or halfway

house, or did you?
Was that what you were lookingto do anyway?

Speaker 3 (11:02):
yeah, at that point, you know, that's when I started
writing halfway houses because Iknew, you know, I knew that the
only places that I had a chanceto go were I didn't know
anybody that wasn't using it.
At that point, you know, Ididn't know one and my uncle was
my only family member I was incontact with and, after

everything I put him through, Iwasn't, I wasn't coming back to
his house, you know, but I am.
Yeah, I wasn't mandated for aprogram, but I knew that I had
to find, figure out somethingand I needed to.
I needed help, you know, and soI started writing places.

And then that's when arestoration house, you know,
responded and I ended up gettingin there, you know.

Speaker 2 (11:59):
Now you had mentioned that that was when you were
describing your prisonexperience somehow.
The drug test you said it's thelast time you've ever used.
Yeah, it was that was that'show you have it.

Speaker 3 (12:11):
Yeah, when that, you know, after the whole situation
with the failed drug test, andthen I found out that it was
crazy, my whole mind, you know,my whole mindset changed.
You know, there's a person inme that would have took that and

been like, oh I got away withone, but I just didn't see it
that way.
That time it just, you know,that was my one and only shot.
You know, I think God spoke tome that day.

Speaker 1 (12:45):
And I'm sure there are other times where you
probably had that moment whereyou thought you got away with it
, but this time was different.

Speaker 3 (12:51):
Yeah, absolutely, yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 2 (12:55):
Well, when you got to restoration house, you know you
know we've talked about in someof the other episodes, you know
recovery support program,recovery 101 meetings, step work
, sponsor, and had you evertried anything like that in the
22 years that you were in activeaddiction?
Have you ever made any?

Speaker 3 (13:13):
Did you ever make any attempts to quit or no, I more
or less had made a couple ofsmall attempts to please my
You know I went to treatmentbut I came.
You know I came straight out oftreatment and, you know, went
right back to using.

Speaker 2 (13:33):
You know let me ask you this.
You said you started when youwas 19,.
You know went on for 22 yearsup until that time.
You said it was the last timeyou ever used it.
What was the longest amount ofclean time that you'd ever had
free from all chemicals?

Speaker 3 (13:48):
Uh, none, I never had free from all chemicals.
None, I had a couple of periodswhere I was able to do like 10
months without doing meth, butthat's because I was drinking
and smoking weed and poppingXanax the whole time, you know
what about the inpatienttreatment?

Speaker 2 (14:06):
Was you able to stay clean air?
Was it like MATs or what?

Speaker 3 (14:09):
The only times I went to treatment I was really young
, I was in my early 20s, and youknow they didn't.
I don't know if they even didMATs back then.
I don't know, it was forced, itwasn't like that.

Speaker 2 (14:27):
But so when you come into restoration house, we're
introduced to the 12 steps.
You know what was your thoughtsLike.
What was that?
Like you know it's verystructured program I've shared
with a lot of people for, likeyour, your in your incarcerated,
jail, prison, whatever, and allyou can think about is being
And then you get out and youget to the program and you're
not so free and that's anadjustment.

Like you know, those first,that first month you was there,
were you still committed tostaying on this path of recovery
or Um, yeah, I, there was acouple of times I asked myself
what the hell have I got myselfinto, that's for sure.

Speaker 3 (15:06):
You know, when I sat down and, uh, you know, when I
first got there and we wentthrough the whole intake process
and they started reading therules and they just went on and
on and on and on and um, some ofthe rules that were read, I was
just like, what does this?
Got to do with anything, youknow?

Speaker 1 (15:25):
but um, do you care to share an example of one of
those rules?
I'm just curious.

Speaker 3 (15:30):
Uh well, I mean, it's everybody's, uh, everybody's
favorite one.
Uh, you know, right there atthe beginning, they do the whole
Uh, there's a there's arelational boundaries rule where
you can't be in a relationshipor talk to females for the first
for six months.
And I'm like you know, man, Ijust got out of prison.
You know, that's the only thingon my mind right now.

Speaker 2 (15:51):
But before we go any further, though, while we're
talking about, like your initialreaction, fast forward four and
a half years.

Speaker 3 (15:58):

Speaker 2 (15:59):
What do you think about those rules and guidelines
now that you enforce them withparticipants?

Speaker 3 (16:03):
Oh, uh.
It's funny because now, when Isit down and do an intake with a
, uh, with a participant, youknow, because I stuck, I stuck
to the rules.
I was, I was at a point where Iwas so desperate that, even if
I didn't understand it, and I, II had, you know, no, there was
no other, there was no, why nottry what these people are

suggesting to me?
And you know, I hadn't donenothing but screw it up my whole
You know, because I certainlydon't know how to live a life, a
healthy life, you know, and soyou know.
But back to your question.
I sit down with them now andit's funny because I'll tell
them I'll be like, you know, alot of people don't understand.

You know some of these rules,but I tell you what, man, the
longer you stay, the more thisstuff starts to make sense, you
know, and even with therelational boundaries rule, I
tell them I'm like man, look,you know, I said believe it or
not, today, I think this is oneof the most important rules in
the program.
It is.

Speaker 2 (17:08):
It's an amazing turnaround.

Speaker 1 (17:09):

Speaker 2 (17:10):
Different perspective ?
Absolutely yeah.
Do you ever think you'd betelling people that?
You know that four and a halfyears later, you're a program
monitor at the program.
You're a big part of theday-to-day operation and giving
I mean hundreds of other peopleyou know throughout the years an
opportunity like you had youknow.

So, yeah, it's remarkable.

Speaker 1 (17:37):
Yeah, yeah.
So so tell us, now that we'vegotten through intake, what was
your sober living experiencelike?

Speaker 3 (17:46):
You know, for me personally, it was, of course,
you know, needless to say, itwas life changing.
You know, like I said, I wasdesperate, I had I knew.
All I knew when I, when I firststarted, was that I wanted to,
I wanted to stay clean and Inever wanted to go back to

prison and I was willing to dowhatever it took.
And so, for me, you know just,you know just just having faith
in the fact that you know thatthings are in the in place, you

know, for a reason, and thatreason is to help me.
You know, whether I understoodit or not, it was a I was able
You know I was able to, youknow, actually work the program
and and hell, today I'm in aplace where you know I would

have, if you would have told meseveral years ago that you, that
I was, that I wanted todedicate my life to helping
other people, especially inaddiction, I I told you to get
out of my face.
You know, and you know, it'sjust, it's crazy how much my
life has changed and how muchdifferent things are for me

You know.

Speaker 2 (19:16):
When you, when you were I've mentioned before
The basic program is is sixmonths, but we have the alumni
When you got here, did you planon staying long term or was
just wanting to complete theprogram and leave, or was there
a point that that changed, thatyou didn't believe you was ready
in six months, kind of likewhat was it that?

Speaker 3 (19:37):
process like yeah, well, when I first got there of
course you know my goal Ithought that I was going to be
able to.
You know, since it's a sixmonth program, then if I can
complete the program, hell, I'dbe cured in six months.
That sounds like a pretty gooddeal, you know, but you know the

more especially after servingthree years.
Yeah for sure.
But the more I you know, thelonger I stayed.
And you know, when I got to thepoint of graduating, you know
my I thought I was going to getmy certificate and be on my way,
and I realized, when I got tothat six months and I got that

certificate, that the last thingI was ready to do was go out on
my own.
At that point, because of youknow, everything that I had
accomplished up to that pointwas, you know, a direct result

of, you know, doing what wassuggested of me to do, following
the suggestions, and I didn't.
Yeah, the last thing when Ifinally got to that point, the
last thing I want to do is leave, you know, and you didn't stay

as alumni for a long period butjust to throw in there.

Speaker 2 (21:04):
You also did things to get back like we have a lead
position, we're peer ledprograms.
You, you occupied that positionwhich, just for people that
don't know, that's like thefirst contact for a new
They come in, they meet staff,they get their intake but actual
living in the program they'llhave a lead of their area and

you were that.
You were basically helpingpeople get adjusted to the
program, kind of give them somedirection.
You know what role did thatplay in your?
Is that what led you to start?
Are wanting to work in recoveryfull time?
Just carry in that message.
Was that the first experienceyou had with that?

Speaker 3 (21:49):
You know what?
Yeah, I, I it was.
The reason that I took the leadrole was because, you know,
early on, the whole given backthing wasn't, wasn't my favorite
part but, uh yeah, yeah, thisis, yeah, it was work, you know,

but, um, you know, I, I don'tknow, it's just.
you know, the longer I was hereand the more, uh, the more I
interacted with people,especially, you know, the longer
I'm here, and that you know thepeople that when they come in
they're so broken and they're so, um, you know, fragile, I guess

you could say.
You know, they don't know whichway to turn, and, and you know
that's exactly how I was when Icame in and um, I, um, to have,
you know, just it started withjust, you know, if I can get, if
I can help somebody, uh, torealize that that it, that it

works, then I feel like I, youknow, I've made a, I've made a,
I've made a difference in theworld.
You know, if it's just oneperson, you know, um, it's um,
you know there's no betterfeeling than that you know, to
know that, that you played, thatyou played a part and you know,
and you help somebody, you know, to change.

Speaker 2 (23:24):
Well, we talked about , kind of, how you got to
recovery, or you know what ledyou to get and help your your
process through there.
Uh, I do want to just realquick.
So what?
What that was?
It's been four and a half years, that's not.
You just said yourself you'dnever done that before, nothing
That's not.
It an insignificant fee, it's amiracle, it's remarkable.

So what are the things that you, now that you don't have parole
or probation, now that you'renot a participant in a program
like, what are the things thatyou're doing to continue to
maintain that sobriety, maintaingrowing as a man, an individual
What are some of the toolsyou're using today?

Speaker 3 (24:05):
Well, some of them are.
You know the basic tools thatyou know I started out, you know
just, you know I've got asponsor I go to.
You know I go to meetings andyou know I work in recovery, of
course, and you know for me.

You know, thank the Lord, I'vegot a.
I'm in a place today where I'mable to not have to focus so
much on staying clean and soberthat I'm able to actually, you
know, I'm able to work on myself, which is, you know, which.

You know, four and a half yearsinto it, and I'm a person
that's never worked on myself inmy life.
All I've worked on is trying tostick a needle in my arm you
know, and so you know, just it'sfor me, it's the basics, you
know, stay connected, stayinvolved.

You know, and it's led me to apoint where you know, I think
you know, I think I want to dothis for you know, for a career,
I think I want to, I'm gonna, Iwant to work in recovery for a

Speaker 2 (25:37):
Now, you just recently got a certification.
Not long ago I did, and whatwas?

Speaker 3 (25:43):
that it was a CPRS certification certified peer
recovery specialist.

Speaker 2 (25:49):
Awesome, awesome, big difference from a few years ago

Speaker 1 (25:53):
But it does work.

Speaker 2 (25:54):
Yeah, yeah, those things you talked about, just
you know the basics Now.
That's things that you learnedin the program.
Right, that was your first timeanybody ever showed you those
things in there.

Speaker 3 (26:04):
I mean for me.
All the tools that I'veacquired have come from the
program that I went through yeah, well, real quick, let's trace
got some stuff.

Speaker 2 (26:17):
Before we close out, I would like, if you don't mind,
to tell us what's your lifelike today.
Well, what's some of the thingsyou haven't your life that
weren't there before, because Iknow you personally, so I have
an advantage over people that'snever met you.
I know you're one of the mosthumble people that I know in my

life today.
I know that you are a caringperson, that you will go if you
can help someone.
You're usually willing to go toany links to help them.
You're compassionate.
You're always if help is needed, you're always the first one to
raise your hand.
So kind of tell me what's lifelike today.

Where do you get joy at?
Or do you have a joyful life,would you say?

Speaker 3 (27:06):
Yeah, I'd definitely say I'd have a joyful life,
especially if you want tocompare it to the life that I
For me today, just having anormal life is a miracle.
Coming from where I came from,I had lost everything, all the

way down to my freedom, mydriver's license.
I didn't have credit, I didn'thave money, I didn't have a home
You know, today I have allthose things.
I've got a driver's license.
I drive a car that'll get mefrom point A to point B.
I don't have to worry about thecop getting behind me and

pulling me over and whether Igot anything on me or not I'm
catching a charge because Idon't even have driver's license
I've got a very lovinggirlfriend who loves me and I
love very much.
I've got I work for atremendous, just absolutely

wonderful group of people andyou know, not one single person
that's in my life today was inmy life then and I think you
know for me that's been a hugepart of being able to make it.
But I gotta say you know, mylife is by no means perfect, but

compared to what it was, youknow, it's great.
It is, it's absolutely great.

Speaker 2 (28:52):
That's great.
Well, thanks for coming in,sharon.
Your experience ringing thehope with others, frank, it does
make a difference.
You know that Someone's storyis very powerful.

Speaker 1 (29:05):
Frank, thanks for joining us today.
We believe here that storiesmatter and every person's story
is important, and I hope thattoday someone hears your story
and it means something to themas much as you being here has
meant to us, To our listeners.
Thanks for joining us and welook forward to you listening
next time.
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