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THE READING NOOK Life and Recovery of an American Junkie by Kevin G. Oney Editor’s note: This is the very stark and rough true-life story of a man who became a drug addict and how he found his road to recovery, told in his own words. It may be a story that is difficult for some to read, but it needs telling because it is a story of our times. This is the second and final installment. To read the first installment, please go to https://bit.ly/2SesBnL

Chapter 3: Chasing Death Two short years after I divorced, I met wife number two, who was the complete opposite of wife one.

She was younger, more outgoing, and loved to party. This woman would give me another son and would have a little girl with another man that I still consider to be my daughter. She was a different type of woman, but she was an excuse for me to do one thing: party!

In my second wife, I met a woman who not only kept up with my drinking but also smoked weed and did the same pills I loved.

Then, one fine day, she introduced me to the love of my life: heroin. We snorted, shot, and smoked it. We did favors for drug dealers, and our lives turned into all out chaos.

Before I go too much into this, she also is clean today.

The details of our marriage are mostly a blur, so I’m not going to go into many details because, honestly, I don’t remember a lot of them.

What I do remember about this time, though, are the multiple arrests and the time I spent in jail, in a community-based correctional facility and in prison.

My life was a mess, I did whatever it took to get my next fix, including criminal and degrading things. I stole from everyone and ruined relationships with everyone in my life. Some of those relationships, to this day, are still in shambles.

Heroin was my life; it was all that mattered. My life had become be high or die.

Death was a thing I had faced many times having been clinically dead multiple times. I did not consider that if I died it would leave my children without a father and possibly cause my mother to have a mental breakdown. I didn’t consider how important my life was.

I even survived multiple suicide attempts. Have you ever put a loaded pistol in your mouth and pulled the trigger? I have, a revolver, and I pulled the trigger multiple times, but I was so high I forgot to load the gun. That was my life. I didn’t want to live because I hated what I had become but couldn’t die and didn’t know why. I asked myself this question for a long time, I needed a reason to live and a family to cling to. My actual family and my kids weren’t enough. Heroin was the love of my life, and, for this, I threw away wife number two.

Then I found them, a family and a reason. The “family” wore leather, rode metal monsters and called me brother.

My “brothers” were the family I had always wanted; they were strong, confident and loyal. They loved to party as much as I did.

Only problem was, I couldn’t do the one thing I loved the most. They wanted me to give up heroin. How? Easily enough. Although they didn’t allow me to do heroin anymore, they replaced it with crystal meth.

That made breaking the first habit much easier, but it wasn’t long until I was hooked on another substance.

Crystal meth was used to turn me into a mean, violent, fearless machine. Someone I never want

to see again. I was a monster.

I became a collector for them and would walk into a gunfight carrying multiple weapons. I felt untouchable. I always had what I wanted, and if I didn’t, I just took it.

I didn’t steal anymore. To me, stealing was taking something from someone without their knowledge or consent. I took what I wanted, in front of people, making sure they saw it, and there was nothing they could do about it.

My life was one of respect through fear. It was a life that ended up with me being tied to a chair and beaten for more than 13 hours. A life that could have ended it all, but still it wasn’t over. I don’t know why, but I made it through alive, however I was no longer fearless.

Shortly after escaping that situation, I ran. I stole a vehicle from a local car dealership and fled, first stop Cleveland then, who knows?

Chapter 4: A New Start

February 5, 2018. That is the date Kevin Gale Oney from little old Shiloh, Ohio, began his life at the age of 33.

I had been arrested in Medina, and after a short jail sentence, I was blessed with Drug Court through the Medina County court system. I moved into a sober living house in Medina where I learned that being clean and sober was a great way of life and met the people who, to this day, still impact my life.

Every day, I attended a 12-step meeting, worked my steps, made real friends, and learned what a man truly is.

I still make mistakes, I have hurt people since being sober, but today I know when I’m wrong, apologize, and do whatever is necessary to make things right. Drug Court and the sober house have taught me so many great things, but the two most important things I’ve learned are that helping others is a way of life and that I don’t have to do this alone.

Today, I have an amazing job with a lot of amazing people at The Recovery Center of Medina County, where I’m enrolled in a culinary arts program and learning everything in fine dining, including hospitality and the culinary arts. I’m working on earning my peer support specialist certificate so I can help others in recovery in multiple ways. I work closely with a friend and mentor who helps run the Recovery Center. He is my inspiration for continuing my peer support, and I love this man like a brother. My two bosses are like family, and they really care for me and all of the students. They are always there for us any time we may need them, and they have taught me what open mindedness and love truly are.

I have a caseworker whom I am in regular contact with. I know she would do anything in her power to help me succeed.

My family life today is amazing, I’m a son to my parents, a brother to my sisters, and most importantly, a father to my three amazing children.

Today, I love my life. If you are out there, scared, addicted and not knowing how to make it through, we are here to help, there is hope. You can make it through.

Addiction is an everyday battle, but you don’t have to go through it alone, reach out and ask for help, we are here.

Alone, we lose the battle, but together, we can win the war. So please, keep your chin up, soldier, move forward, and live, you deserve it. My name is Kevin Oney, and I am an addict.

Kevin G. Oney wrote his true-life story and is sharing it in the hope that others will be helped. See his profile at https://bit.ly/2Qy88t6 Medina County Drug Court is a court-supervised program for addicts. For more information, go to https://bit.ly/2SsYkjL For the story about The Recovery Center of Medina County, go to https://bit.ly/2ScCGRO If you would like to become the next The Reading Nook author and you are an unpublished author, please send your fiction or nonfiction story to Joy@BlakeHousePublishing.com for consideration.