Philanthropy is My New Drug

Young boy lying in hospital bed.

I’ve heard it said that idle hands are the devil’s playground, and after my battle with ecstasy, I believe it. God blessed me with the good fortune of being able to retire when I was 33, but he also put temptations in front of me that I indulged in for a long time before getting the help I needed. I always thought that I’d be happy to just sit around and do nothing, but I soon learned the value of being of use to those around me, and the consequences of doing literally anything I wanted without anyone ever denying me.

After I retired, I went through a huge party phase where I would buy everybody drinks, have all-night bashes at my apartment and get together a different girl each night of the week. It was like the discipline that I had when I was working completely vanished after I got to the level of comfort I always aspired to. When someone suggested that I try ecstasy, I didn’t think twice. To me, it was just another weeknight with something new and exciting to try. I’d seen people do it and live to tell the tale, so what was the harm?

Ecstasy, or “E”, became an integral part of each night thereafter. I’d arrive at a club of my choice with about three pills, and before the night was over, I’d either take them all myself or offer one to whatever girl I was with. The night would go by in just a few minutes, and the next thing I knew, it was morning and I was home in my bed. This was great for a while until I started paying the price. It started with simple vomiting and a fast heartbeat. After about three months, I started having nightmarish hallucinations and became extremely paranoid all the time.

One night at a club, I completely lost it because I thought the bartender was giving me a dirty look. With no warning or provocation, I ran over, hopped over the bar and started pounding him in the face. I heard someone on the phone with the cops, so I ran away and passed out in an alley about five blocks away– nobody ever found me.

I woke up three hours later and noticed my knuckles were all bloody. I was able to piece together what I had done, and felt awful. This wasn’t me and I had to kill whoever this was before I hurt someone else, so I started researching addiction care options and decided I would try one of the executive rehab centers in Florida. This place was more like a vacation resort than a rehab center. I was able to detox with minimum discomfort, and my doctors provided life-saving insight into why I started doing E in the first place.

I left treatment completely transformed. When I thought about how blessed I was to still have my health and money, I became deeply spiritual and used some of my savings to build a new youth center for my church and to help children with cancer. It’s kept me busy-which I discovered in treatment is exactly what I needed-and off of drugs and alcohol for these past two years and counting. I know that there are not many people in life who had been given the opportunities that I’ve been blessed with. I am eternally grateful to the incredible staff at the luxury treatment program who got me clean and sober. I now spend every day helping others who are less fortunate than I am at my church’s new youth center.


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