The following is an excerpt from the book 10 Years Sober by HIA co-founder Lance Lang.
April 6th, 2011, I had a moment of my radical transformation. I was living all by myself, having pushed everyone away. My girlfriend Ally had finally moved on. Friends had given up on me. And I was guzzling upwards of 50 pills a day. I was so hooked on opiates, I would roll over in the middle of the night and take a handful of pills so I could go back to sleep. My body was not my own; it was simply a vessel that kept itself functioning solely so it could seek out its next fix.
I didn’t get here overnight; this level of addiction takes time. Ten years’ time, actually, the last couple of which were just absolutely brutal. I had a morning routine to get myself to a place where I could even get to work. Once there, it was Red Bull and vodka at 9:30 am, maybe three or four lines of Oxy off my desk, and a handful of Lortabs, and that got me where I could work for a couple of hours. Then that would start wearing off around 11:30 and my mind would start racing about when I was going to do my next round. I had to start working on getting another batch, setting up pickups with my dealer, and sometimes leaving in the middle of the work day, to drive all the way across Oklahoma to meet my dealer. Or it was more Oxy off the desk, another handful of Lortabs to make it to the rest of the day. Then come home, do all that a couple more times, and nod off through a Netflix documentary or two. And that was my cycle. On a good day.
On a bad day, my addiction led me to break into co-workers’ homes, steal money from everyone I knew, pawn jewelry, rob my grandparents, and countless other despicable and embarrassing acts. All just to stay medicated,
I was completely enslaved. I was pathetic and sad and lonely and physically a wreck. And that kind of led up to April 6th, 2011, when my uncle knocked on my office door, dragged me into his office, and finally told me who I had become. And I don’t know that I had recognized from the outside looking in, who I really was to the world.
“You are a liar,” he said. “You’re a cheater. Everyone here hates you. I know you’re doing illegal things, your family is worried sick. You’re a wreck, and if you don’t get a plan, if you don’t tell me what’s going on, then this is over.”
I’d been confronted before, whether it was from my parents, or Ally and her family. And I’d been caught before stealing, lying, and in all kinds of other ways. But what I’d never done until that moment was truly confessed.
That was the day I finally stopped running. April 6th, 2011.
I was scared. Scared of withdrawals. Scared of what my body would do if I stopped. I had no concept of sobriety, had hardly even heard the word and certainly had no idea what it meant. I had resigned myself to believing and thinking that I was going to take pills every day for the rest of my life. And somewhere in my twisted mind, I thought I actually could!
I was lonely. I was depressed. But more than anything, I was deceived.
Thankfully on that day, I could finally see it.
I was so sick and tired of running, and with my back up against the wall, I was able to finally utter the first few words of confession and admit what I was doing.
“I’m hooked and I don’t know what to do,” I said. “I’m scared.”
I started crying. My uncle didn’t know what to do with me, but Jesus did. Because in that moment, something clicked, and I began to change. I do believe that confession began to loosen the chains of bondage I was in. Something happened inside me in that moment, and I had my first inkling of surrender—something I would learn steadily over the next ten years. All the walls I’d built up, all the excuses I’d yelled to drown out the truth about myself—it all started to crumble. For years I was the king of half-truths, but that day I laid it all out for the very first time.
I felt naked, honestly. And that kind of vulnerability was terrifying.
Someone knew the depths of my despair.
And they helped me do something about it.
My uncle got me help, and I went into detox just days later.
I’ll never forget being in detox Easter Day in 2011. My parents are pastors, so Easter is obviously the biggest day of the year for them. A big celebration. “Up from the grave He arose.” And after leading church services all day that Sunday, they had to go see their son in a pretty rough environment, in a state-funded detox facility in Oklahoma City, decked out in medical scrubs and full of medication.
Over ten days I was slowly weaned off the drugs and alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and just trying to try to stay alive. But my mind was racing in its old cycles. I tried to convince the people around me, the doctors and staff that I was okay, that I’d be fine after the detox and didn’t need to go anywhere else.
I got out a day early and convinced my parents I was okay to go back to my house for one more night before going to a treatment center. As I sat in the passenger seat of my dad’s car, I talked to my dad about how good I felt and how I could stay by myself for one more night, all while holding my phone in my right hand out of sight and frantically texting my dealer, who wasn’t getting back to me.
I also had nothing. No cash. Nothing in my bank account. All my cards maxed out. No gas in my car. I was planning on rifling through my car for loose change and rummaging through every pocket on every piece of clothing I owned to see if there was any money or, better yet, pills lying anywhere.
I spent the night pacing around, withdrawing from the detox drugs they’d given me, chain-smoking cigarettes just to give my very confused body something to do. I also texted and called my dealer over and over.
It was one of the longest nights of my life.
But it ended in surrender. The next morning, I took the step. I went to treatment.
And that began Day One.