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. He was a shy and reserved child with a few friends but he yearned to really belong with a group of his peers. Eventually, he connected with some older friends, but they weren’t the greatest friends for a young teen like him who just wanted to fit in.
Zach’s life quickly spiraled out of control as he spent more and more time with the people he thought were his friends, despite their direct involvement in illegal activities like drug dealing, making counterfeit money, and stealing credit cards and identities. Soon, he was doing all these things too, fueled by the adrenaline rush and his need for social connection.
By the time he was 21, Zach’s life was completely ruled by his addictions. He didn’t have any friends left and 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.
In April of 2017, Zach was arrested and charged with several misdemeanors. He was incarcerated for ten 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 because, in the town I lived in, everyone 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 being involved in a high-speed police chase with state troopers. He was charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor, and this time, his parents refused to bail him out.
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. He had tried to take his own life multiple times and the way we had been doing things just wasn’t working. He realized he desperately needed God in his life again and he needed help to get sober.
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.
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.