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Never Forget, But Keep Moving Forward

stories addiction recovery

All Zach Carlisle ever wanted was to fit in and have friends. He primarily spent his childhood in Flower Mound, Texas, where he grew up in a loving, supportive, and religious home. Zach yearned to really belong with a group of his peers even though he was a shy and reserved child. He connected with some older friends eventually, but for a young teen like him who just wanted to fit in, they weren’t the greatest friends.

Heavily influenced by his peers, Zach started off drinking and smoking weed at 15. By the age of 18, he was also abusing Adderall and Ritalin. He discovered cocaine and methamphetamine shortly after.

As Zach spent more time with his bad friends his life quickly spiraled out of control. Their direct involvement in illegal activities like drug dealing, making counterfeit money, and stealing credit cards and identities affected his life. He began doing all these things too, fueled by the adrenaline rush and his need for social connection.

Losing Control

Zach’s addictions took over his life by the time he was 21. He didn’t have any friends left. Zach had developed a violent reputation, especially if he was coming down off of a high. He dealt drugs heavily and relied on meth to stay awake for days, which also resulted in him losing a whopping 135 pounds in just a year and a half.

Zach C pictureIn April of 2017, police arrested Zach charged him with several misdemeanors. He was in jail for 10 days before he was bailed out. Completely unchanged by his run-in with the law, he quickly returned to the same behavior and lifestyle.

“I thought I was invincible,” he says. “I was out of control. Everyone in town knew me and knew what I did, so I thought I was never going to get caught. Every time I would get into trouble, my mom would come to bail me out.”

Mere months later in September, Zach ended up right back in jail after a high-speed police chase with state troopers. His charges were three felonies and a misdemeanor. His parents refused to bail him out this time.

Three months in county jail gave Zach plenty of time to think about his life and his decisions. He liked living the fast life but he was unhappy. Nothing worked right for Zach and he tried to committing suicide multiple times. Zach knew he needed God and some help to get sober.

Getting Help for Recovery

Immediately after his parents bailed him out of jail in December of 2017, Zach went to rehab in Fredericksburg, Texas where he completed four months of residential addiction treatment. Once he finished his program, he relocated to Austin for Eudaimonia Recovery Homes’ sober living program. With an aunt and uncle in Westlake, he was close to family and was ready to start a whole new life for himself.

“For the first five months here in Austin, I didn’t know if I was going to get arrested or go to state prison,” he says. “Now, I believe at the end of the day, if you’re working the program, if you’re connecting to your higher power, and if you’re doing everything in your power to stay sober, then it’s all going to be okay. If you’re always worried about the future, you’re never staying here in the present.”

Zach says he believes having a sponsor and working the steps isn’t hard. It just requires time, effort, open-mindedness, and a willingness to accept other people’s advice and suggestions. 

Complete Transformation

Three years ago, Zach couldn’t have possibly known what was in store for his life. Now that he’s sober, he is happy for the first time and he has strong, genuine relationships with friends. He’s been sober for more than two years now and is proud to help other men in recovery as a Eudaimonia House Manager in Austin.

“I don’t look at the past as something I’m never going to get away from,” he says. “I don’t want to forget who I was. Being open-minded to experiencing a new way of life is hard at first, but after you do it over and over it gets easier.”

If you’re struggling with addiction like Zach was, there’s hope for you too. Call (512) 605-2955 today to speak with a Nova Recovery Center representative about your treatment options.

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