Michael was raised by loving parents and enjoyed a great childhood with his two brothers. At the age of three, growths requiring surgery were discovered on Michael’s vocal cords. Over a seven-year period, he had multiple operations that affected his ability to speak. He was ridiculed by his peers, and he began to feel like an outsider. Michael desperately wanted to fit in, and he found a new set of friends with whom he smoked pot on a daily basis.
At the age of 18, Michael experimented with cocaine, which gave him all the confidence he needed. His father passed away and this led him to a life of isolation and drug use. He built impenetrable walls and became an unmotivated, fearful individual. After a friend told him there was hope for people like him, Michael called the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission for 55 consecutive days until a bed was available.
Michael said the first thing he was told when he entered the program was that only one thing needed to change, and that was “everything.” He committed himself to the demands of the recovery program and faced his fears. Michael was also able to work with a grief counselor and come to terms with the death of his father. Michael concluded, “I have been able to take direction when I felt I didn’t need to and come to the understanding that my way isn’t always the right way.”