I am a 21 year old guy who recently completed the program at Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches. I started smoking weed when I was 13, then moved to oxy and percs around age 15. Toward the end of my last year in high school, I began snorting heroin, then started injecting it that summer. Eighteen years old and I was a full-fledged heroin addict.

I lived with my mom and younger sister after my parents got divorced when I was in seventh grade. My dad moved in with his girlfriend and her kids to another town about an hour away. We'd go over there every other weekend for a while, but I didn't have much in common with her kids so I made up excuses to skip some weekends, and eventually stopped going over much at all. My dad didn't really seem to object, which really bothered me on some level. My mom worked 12 hour shifts as a nurse on Saturdays and Sundays, plus another job during the week, so I guess you could say I had absentee parents. Not that I am blaming them for my addiction, but it was just so easy to pull it off undetected for the longest time. That is, until one of my friend's father came across his stash and coerced him into telling him who he got it from - namely, me. His parents talked to mine, all hell broke loose and I ended up going to a detox and rehab center not far from my house in New Jersey. I went home, promptly started to use again, did another stint in the same rehab, and then moved to a recovery house out in a rural part of the state. I did pretty well there and was sober about 6 months. They made you work and attend meetings, do house chores and the like. I was working fulltime at a convenience store, making ok money by my previous standards, when one of the other guys in the house decided to get his own place and asked if I wanted to be his roommate. I was feeling pretty good about my life and wanted a little more freedom, so I took him up on the roommate offer. Within a month, it became obvious that he had relapsed.

One weekend he had some people over; they were using, and I told myself that I could handle it better now, that I'd just do it recreationally on this particular occasion. That was the kiss of death - within three weeks I lost my job due to missing time, and we got kicked out of the apartment for not paying the rent. This time, my mother researched the drug rehab programs and made sure they were all out of state. The one we both liked best was Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches. I think it has been the best decision I have made in many years.

From the first phone call to the final goodbyes, the staff there was awesome. I was enrolled in their young adult program, which right away made me feel more connected than at my last rehab. All the counselors really knew their stuff and gave me many practical "real world" assignments during the various groups and individual sessions that I attended. I also enjoyed the family sessions by phone throughout the time I was there. Eventually I progressed enough to move into the apartment program phase of my treatment. With each new phase of treatment, I felt myself getting stronger and happier. By the time I left, I was equipped with a solid plan to help me avoid the pitfalls that await everyone who is in the early stages of their recovery.

It's been three months since I successfully completed my Florida drug rehab at BHOPB. I wanted to write to let everyone there know that I am enrolled fulltime at my local community college, I now go to the gym almost daily - a brand new thing for me - and most importantly I'm finally clean and sober.

Sam D.