My name is Don Hebert and I am a man that’s been blessed with over 25 years of long term recovery. I come from a loving fami
My journey into addiction began with alcohol at the age 0f 13. I got wasted, blacked out, and very sick. So I instantly fell in love with the high and started chasing it for the next 12 years. I quickly started smoking pot, hash. It was the late 1970s and it was normal. I played varsity soccer in high school, had a part-time job, played saxophone in the school band, and hosted a radio show on the high school radio station. So I didn’t fall into any clear stigma categories. In fact there were plenty of people I could point my finger at and say, those people have a problem, but not me. Look at all the stuff I’m doing.
I was a good manipulator. I played head games with my teachers, guidance counselors, and my parents. Being diagnosed with a learning disability, I learned early how to excel in easy classes that did not challenge me academically. I used the learning disability as my wild card.
I graduated high school and attended a community college. That’s where I was introduced to speed and cocaine. I loved the high and sold drugs while in college to pay for books, drinks, pot and whatever else I wanted to indulge in. It wasn’t long before I had a daily habit.
My drug use progressed to include opiates and hallucinogens. I started to get into trouble at work, school and in most of the relationships in my life. Slowly each of these areas of my life began to take a back seat to my drinking and drug use.
One day I found myself alone, unemployable, and physically and emotionally bankrupt. My body and mind was giving out. I was a full blown alcoholic and drug addict at the age of 24. I had a high school friend pay me a visit. He was the one guy that I could point my finger at and say if I ever get as bad as that him, I’ll think about getting help. Well, my friend looked great. I asked him if he was working out or on a new diet. He said no, I don’t use anymore and I go to 12 step meetings. Then he asked me if I wanted to go to a meeting and I said no, because I wasn’t ready yet.
Several months later I hit my bottom. I called my friend and that’s when my journey into recovery began. That was 10/10/89 and I haven’t looked back since. I still go to 12 step meetings, I have a sponsor that I call regularly and I also sponsor men in recovery.
Last October I was presented with a great career opportunity to work for NJ Connect for Recovery. It’s a call line developed to help individuals, family members and loved ones cope with the complexities surrounding opiate and heroin use. It’s a fantastic service where one can call and instantly connect with someone who has a shared experience, someone that’s walked in their shoes. This enables an instant connection where a foundation of trust, empathy, and respect may be built on. There really is no place exactly like it that I’ve seen in over 25 years.