Levittown man manages to break lifelong addiction to drugs

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Levittown man manages to break lifelong addiction to drugs

Michelle Tribe

Michelle Tribe

Michelle Tribe

Paracetamoi/ Acetaminophen pills, 500 mg

Diane Dixon-Davies, Centurion Staff

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George, 40, of Levittown, sits on a red recliner in his apartment above a deli in Bristol Township. He’s smoking a Marlboro cigarette and gazing out the window. The place is modest, but neat. As is he, in his blonde, crew cut and simple but neat sweatpants and white T-shirt. Lines have formed around his worn blue eyes and he looks older.

It has taken 22 years for George to reach this point, to find this place, to find a home. He’s taken a road longer and harder than most, but, for now at least, he’s made it. He’s broken a lifelong addiction to drugs. He’s found himself.

Less than a decade ago, George was living on the streets of working-class Lower Bucks County. He was homeless and strung out. His only aim in life was to score his next fix of whatever drug he was using at the moment; usually crack.

Becoming clean and sober is not easy and most often, it doesn’t happen on the first trip to rehab. It doesn’t always happen on the second, trip either. For George it took 22 years. He asked that his last name not be used because his children don’t know the depth of his addiction and he isn’t ready to tell them yet.

Experimenting with drugs at 12-years-old turned into half a lifetime of drug addiction for George. When most kids were playing ball, George was getting high. The drug use was experimental at first, lasting for about a year. He didn’t use every day, but whenever it was possible. By the time he turned 14, he was drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana daily.

“I couldn’t get enough” George said. “By the time I was 14 I made the conscious decision, that’s the life style I wanted all the time.”

He didn’t give in completely at first, George said, but the addiction proved to be too strong.

“I fought how much I liked it and I tried to control the burning urge and desire to use every day” he said.

When he stopped fighting, George moved into harder drugs.

Although it was mostly marijuana and alcohol, every once in a while he would take acid, do pills, or cocaine. At 15, cocaine became his new love. He skipped school with a kid that had it and was hooked immediately.

He said, he thought “Where has this been my whole life.”

It made him feel numb, happy, energized; like everything was OK. After 30 minutes his first line wore off and he had to have more.

“Cocaine is highly addictive and destructive. It makes you want it more than anything or anyone else” George said.

George once stole a limousine from a gas station while he was under the influence of drugs. He stole cars on more than one occasion.

At 18 he began smoking crack and by age 20, the only life he knew was the life of addiction.

He had no consideration for anything or anyone else. George fidgets when he talks about all that he has done and all the people he has hurt. He had even skipped out on roommates; leaving them high and dry with the rent to pay.

The friends he met along the way weren’t really friends, but more like partners in crime. There were plenty of trips to jail. During the months spent there, he would go through rehabilitation, only to be released and do it all over again. Many times he tried to stop using drugs but was always easily sucked back in.

He was in love and could never stay away.

Addiction affected his relationships with friends and family and employers. His two children were caught up in the middle of not only his addiction but their mother’s as well. “I worry about them because they are predisposed to addiction” George said. “They know I used drugs, but they don’t know how advanced of a user I was.”

On Jan 21, 2006, George nearly died from an overload of drugs in his system. He made his way to Lower Bucks Hospital and went through the detox process. It has been six years and he remains clean. It wasn’t always easy and there have been temptations along the way but he continually attends meetings and has a close relationship with his sponsor. For the most part he stays away from the bar scenes and the more tempting atmosphere’s.

He gained custody of his children and for the last few years he has played the role of both mother and father because their mother is still a user. The children are his main focus and he puts the extra effort in making sure that his children don’t go down the wrong path that he traveled. He knows all the signs to look for and keeps them involved in activities and off the streets. “I am thankful every day for my new life,” he said.

Though the cause of Whitney Houston’s death is unknown, it’s clear that drug addiction played a role in her downfall over the years.

“Life is very interesting . . . in the end, some of your greatest pains, become your greatest strengths.”- Drew Barrymore Quote for Overcoming Addiction

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