My name is Brian Contreras, and I am A recovered Alcoholic and Drug Addict! I am currently a house manager at Scottsdale Recovery Center, a drug and alcohol treatment facility here in beautiful Scottsdale, AZ!! Scottsdale Recovery Center saved my life and continues to save the lives of countless drug addicts and alcoholics every year!! Truly an amazing place…anyways, The reason I use the word recovered is that I no longer suffer from a hopeless state of mind and body. Through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous I was set free from the horrors of addiction!
This is my Story. I hope God speaks thru me, and you hear something that you can relate too , or help you! I was Born the son of John and Wanda Contreras. My Father was am attorney and my mother was a home maker. grew up in an upper class neighborhood. I had a pretty normal child hood. We spent the Summers on Coronado Island, CA. Life was great. My demise started with that first joint! marijuana is a gateway drug regardless of what you may have heard! I am living proof of this.
Alcohol and weed continued to be a part of my life style all throughout High School. To be honest, in the beginning I was having the time of my life. The desert Keg party’s were a blast. I had no consequences. With my father being an Attorney every time I got into any trouble he was my right hand man. Case after case was dismissed. At 20 years old I was Arrested for aggravated Assault with a deadly weapon. That weapon being a hand gun! I was locked up and was looking at 7 years. 7 days later I was told to roll up and the gates opened up for me. Due to the Chief of police at the time Ruben Ortega being a close personal friend of my Father the charges were swept under the rug!
To this day I still wonder if those 7 years would have been the best thing for me! Probably would have been. About this time I was introduced to my new love Cocaine. I remember the first time she and I met. I said to myself, this is what I have been looking for! I had Arrived. I was on fire! Cocaine led me to the most evil substance on the planet, Methamphetamine! I was running in a world full of Devils and Demons. Some time I was the Devil and the Demon. Meth took everything from me including my soul for a while! I manage to clean up for a while and Joined the Marine Corp! I thought this would fix me for Good. I did well for the most part in the Marine’s. I eventually started drinking like marine’s drink and. This got out of control to the point where I would have to take Alcohol on training exercises to keep from shaking and going into a seizure! I was a 0333 Saw Machine Gunner. I was in the field firing some of the most deadly weapons in the world under the influence of Alcohol. This I am not proud of!
At this point I went to my command and said I think I have a problem ! I was off to my first rehab in Portsmouth, VA. This is where I was introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous, the Big Book, and the 12 steps of A.A. I was sober for 6 months. I decided that I did not want to be a lifer in the marine’s and exited with an Honorable discharge! I left North Carolina with my wife and my one year old daughter Chloe. No less than a few hours of arriving back in AZ. I was off like a race horse. I found my self right back where I left off, but much worse! The disease was awakened. It took my Marriage from me and my Chloe! This was not enough to wake me up from my Nightmare! My disease was progressing into a giant. It ruled every action, every thought, all I cared about was that next fix and how I was going to get it! I was reduced to stealing from my own mother. checks after checks were cashed till there was no more money in the account! Pawn shop after pawn shop till I had nothing but the close on my back. This Continued for nearly a decade with multiple rehabs and periods of living on the unforgiving streets of South Phoenix.
The next thing I new I found myself living on the back streets of Vanburen! If you are not familiar with that area I will describe it for you. Hell on earth at night! Shooting after shooting every night. Prostitutes littering the street. abandon run down motels called shooting galleries, meaning a place to use your drugs out of sight from the Police that patrolled the area constantly. One night things came to a head for me. I was led into a abandoned building by a female it was a set up! I was being robbed at gunpoint! Two guys were waiting for me with 9mm handguns. they took my shoes 50 dollars and then as one of them pointed the gun to my head I knew this was the end! I closed my eyes and made what peace I could at that split moment with God.
One thought went through my head, I wondered how long my body was going to lay there before someone found me! Then they were Gone! I went into Psychosis at that point due to being up for days. I was found by Paramedics at 24th st. and Van Buren walking down the middle of the street! I was brought to Maricopa County Medical Center Where I was strapped to a Gurney and had to be sedated due to the Psychosis. I was petitioned not mentally sane by the State Of Arizona by a Judge. I was then sent to Desert Vista Psychiatric unit!
After about three days during the observation period I started to regain my sanity. I met with a Dr. I will never forget what he said. He looked at me and said you’re not insane you’re a Drug addict and you need treatment! I looked back at him and said you are right! A few days later I was at Aurora Detox Facility. I spent seven days there and was released to Calvary Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center. Here is where God first came into my life. I was sitting outside waiting to be admitted and up walks my Cousin Lisa. I had not seen her for 17 years! She looked at me with a look of understanding and unconditional love. She gave me a big hug and said every thing was going to be all right. she had 14 yrs clean and Sober and was the Director of quality assurance risk management for Calvary.
I did well at Calvary I spent the next 30 days there and I went to a halfway house called the Sanctuary run by Joey L. I put three months together of continued sobriety. I thought I had this thing beat I started doing things my way again. I stopped going to meetings and stopped working the 12 steps of A.A. Shortly there after I found my self right back where I started but worse! I was hanging out at Cave Creek and Green way, A.K.A The Slope! I was only back out about 2 weeks. But in that two weeks I lost 20lbs. and was in and out of psychosis due to the Methamphetamine use. This is where My life changed forever! I was inside the trailer buying dope, the next thing I know D.E.A every where!
I planned to be in and out of there because it was my sons 5th Birthday. Needless to say I was arrested on an outstanding Felony warrant that I had picked up and did not know about at the time. Like it would have mattered if I did know about it right! I always heard stories in A.A. about people having that one moment where everything became so clear that things had to change. I heard about the burning bush experiences that changed the person forever. I never believed till it happened to me! I was in the matrix in a holding cell by myself! Then it happened, I dropped to my knees and thought of my 5 year old sons Birthday Party going on without Daddy! I looked to the ceiling and screamed I AM DONE! I began to cry like a baby! At that moment a warm feeling came over me not of this world! For the first time I was free of the pain that had haunted me for decades! I felt new, clean and free.
I was released O.R. later that night. I walked through the night from downtown back to my Mothers house 15 miles away. I called my Cousin Lisa at Calvary and said I need help, I am ready,, I have finally had enough pain! I was admitted back into Calvary and detoxed for 7 days. I then went into residential for 30 more days! From there I went to Prescott AZ. and admitted myself into the V.A. Domiciliary Alcohol and Drug Rehab for Veterans. I let all my pain out there. I dug deep and finally dealt with underlying issues that had haunted me for years. I held back nothing! I got a Sponsor, and started working the 12 steps of A.A. I got a service commitment, a home group. I can’t, was no longer in my vocabulary. Either was I am sorry. I said sorry one to many times to the people who loved and cared about me.
I now understood that actions speak louder than words. I was released from self, and learned that I am not my past. I can begin again. I graduated 5 months later as a mentor. I then came back down to U.S Vets in South Phoenix and started working with homeless Veterans as a Peer Support Specialist. In everything I do today God works through me. I alone can not stay free from the horrors of addiction without him! Faith is key, you have to find a power greater than your self. This has been proven over and over again to me.
Until I surrendered to higher power I could not stay Sober! If you fall down, get the hell back up! relapse was a part of my story. We as humans are not meant to be perfect. were not meant to get it all right the first time! As long as you never give in you will make it! This disease wants nothing more than to bury you 6 feet under! I have to stay vigilant each and every day, cause I know that if I get caught slipping I might not make back from that deep dark place I used to call home. Today I work as a house Manager for Scottsdale Recovery Center. I have 15 months clean and Sober.
I see the madness that is still out there on a daily basis. Sometimes a person cannot reach a higher plane of spirituality, without a great amount of suffering first! through this I now know why I had to suffer so much. God has revealed his plan for me. It is clear to me now, my sole mission in life is to save as many lives as I possibly can by carrying the message that was carried to me. All we have is each other, we have an unspoken understanding. It’s like our own language. I can go anywhere in the world and walk into a A.A. meeting and feel like I am home.
I spent to long on my own, I have found my home, I reached out and A.A. was there for me. So I will always be there for another addict who holds his hand out for help. I recently had to bury a close friend. Daniel Katz was only 24 years young, a Navy Veteran, he lost his life to Heroin. He was there one day and gone forever the next! I know Daniel will not be the last funeral I will attend. I know that working in the field I do now , there will be many more! But I will be damned if I won’t do my very best to reach my hand out to those drowning in their addiction and want come out of the darkness and back into the light!
I want to say Thank You to Chris Cohn and Alex Salcedo at Scottsdale Recovery Center for giving me the chance to prove my self as a Manager for Scottsdale Recovery Center. This is the beginning of a beautiful new life for me and my family. I want to say thank You to My Daughters Chloe and Sophia, my sons Cade and Rylan for believing in me! Daddy’s finally Home!
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