My Recovery Guest Today – Meet Aaron Emerson…”Hope From DOPE”

My Recovery Guest Today – Meet Aaron Emerson…”Hope From DOPE”

Most all know just how difficult maintaining recovery can be. Especially when we come out of rehab or treatment and in early recovery. No one knows this better than my dear friend and advocate, Aaron Emerson. I have been a supporter and friends with Aaron for a couple years now. I can tell you this guy “Never Gives Up.” 

Yes, we all may have relapsed before, but Aaron is very adamant in sharing what he learns if and when we all at times have a slip. The most important fact is, Aaron is Honest, Real, and Transparent about the ups and downs of maintaining recovery.

So, that is what is my point is with this post and having Aaron share some of his story with all of us today, courtesy of his latest newsletter … “Hope From Dope” is a newsletter written by Aaron Emerson, a recovering addict, and alcoholic. It contains his writings from his Hope From Dope blog, updates on his recovery and more. 

“HE IS A FIGHTER” and he never gives up with “God In His Corner!”



Treatment Works; My Story ~ By Aaron Emerson.



“I have been to rehab 7 times” …

Yes, seven times I have checked myself into rehab. Many of those times I did it to simply get my family off my back and a couple more times because I was homeless and didn’t have anywhere else to go. 

But this last time, well, I entered rehab totally broken, ashamed, hopeless and humiliated. At the same time, though, I was finally ready to do everything they asked me to do and willing to give recovery a try again.

It was a rehab in Memphis, Michigan called Sacred Heart. Based on the 12 Steps, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and family support, it is a treatment center that mainly serves low-income individuals from Michigan. It is a terrific place that employs therapists and workers who are recovering addicts themselves. And, well, it saved my life.

The day I checked myself into Sacred Heart, I had two warrants out for my arrest for stealing a credit card. I was a broken person, my relationships were all shattered and nobody trusted me.

Years prior, I had been living a life of recovery after several years of heroin addiction and it was the happiest I’d ever been. However, after I let up on how many meetings I went to and distancing myself from my recovery program, I drank some beers at a wedding, triggering a downward spiral of a couple more years of on and off drinking and drug use.

So, walking into Sacred Heart on December 8, I was humiliated that after building a life of recovery, I was now back in active addiction, facing some criminal charges. I had shared my story at area high schools and been featured in news stories about recovery. But here I was, strung out and hopeless once again.

About the only thing I had going for me that day was that for the last week, I hadn’t used drugs or drank. After the cops were called on me for acting violently after a night of drinking, an Ingham County Sheriff’s Sergeant helped convince me to check into treatment and get my life together for my daughter.

I actually listened to him. The way he treated me like someone who needed help and not as a crazy criminal really gave me hope. I was used to cops doing everything they could to stick me with charges and lock me away, so when an officer who was high up on the chain in law enforcement showed me compassion and seemed to really care about me and my daughter, it triggered me to try to get sober and go back to rehab.

And since that night when Sgt. Harrison helped me instead of locking me up, I haven’t used drugs. Rehab went very well and Sacred Heart helped me get some stability in my life. When I left a few weeks later, I was sober and motivated to get to a meeting as soon as I got out.

I did and two days later I turned myself in to handle the warrants. I got a personal bond and a month later was sentenced to Drug Court in East Lansing, which provides treatment and therapy instead of jail or prison. Drug Court has introduced me to a very good support system and given me a strict, balanced life to build around.


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I now have a job working 30 hours a week, go to meetings and therapy each day and am trying to be the best father I can be to my seven-year-old daughter. My life is extremely busy with work and all the meetings and therapy, but it is helping me. I feel like I have a very sustainable foundation in my recovery. I have a sponsor and a recovery coach that I call every day and another recovery coach that helps me and my family piece back together our relationships.

Out of all the sponsors, recovery coaches, therapists and probation officers I have in my life, I genuinely feel like each one of them cares deeply for me and plays very important but different pieces of the puzzle. All of this wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Sgt. Harrison motivating me to go to Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart truly helped me develop a foundation to get my life back together and I will forever be grateful for that.

It doesn’t matter how many times you have fallen, it is never impossible to stand back up and fight! It doesn’t matter if you have never been to rehab or if you’ve been to treatment ten times, never give up! While in active addiction, it seems impossible to ever get sober and be happy without drugs and alcohol. That is a lie the disease of addiction tells you. The memories and hope I am experiencing today is something to cherish.

Never give up. Don’t ever be ashamed or embarrassed to admit you have a problem and need help. It takes a lot of strength and courage to check yourself into treatment or ask for help, but it is the first step to building a happy life of sobriety.

Treatment works!


THANK YOU, Aaron, for being my Guest Today!

You can follow Aaron’s journey and share your support by visiting his website “Hope From DOPE”  and by connecting with him here on Facebook too!
Please check out his book as well now available and e-book now only $3.99 here on Amazon Kindle… 

To Hell And Back: Heroin And Recovery: My Life Of Addiction And Recovery Told Through Past Journals by [Emerson, Aaron]

I Have This Dream, Iyanla Vanzant…Can You Fix My Father? I’m Tired Of This Dream…

Hello and Welcome Recovery Friends, Seekers, And New Friends,



“So I keep having this “Dream” about the broken relationship I have with my Father.”

It’s seems to come as the backside of a once broken life. My life. When I finally started a serious recovery from gambling addiction and booze, my mom had been sick and in and out of the hospital. But as if God knew she would be gone soon, I was able to go spend a week with her and my family in So. Cal shortly after my crisis center stay from a very bad gambling slip and undiagnosed bipolar depression. It was also my first failed suicide attempt. That was Nov, 2002. So I had this overwhelming need to be close to my mom, so I went down in March, 2003. The week went great, as I even got to see my older brother and his son too! He was on vacation in Laguna Beach, CA, and invited me and my other two sisters to come and spend the day with him there.

That was the FIRST time all four of us kids had been together like that in years! It was also like a dream, so thank goodness I have photo’s to remind me of that wonderful day. It would be the last time we were all on good terms. As July 2003 came around and mom was back in the hospital and on Life Support. We almost lost her then. I was called to be told that she may not make it, so I needed to come down to be with her. She made it, but only lasted until mid August, 2003. While I was there in July, I could not believe how I was being treated. Now I had never hurt anyone in my family with my addiction, and I felt is was more about my “Mental illness” that was the problem. Like they couldn’t understand, or wonder what was so wrong with me. Don’t you just hate when people find out and they Treat You Differently?

Their attitudes were much different too, as if I’d go “Postal” on them at any moment is the only way I can describe it to you. See, I was still living in So. Oregon at this time, so it was a long way to So. California. It wasn’t like I lived in the same state or city, so we didn’t see each other very often. Now for those who haven’t read my current book, I should back up a bit.


I was sexually abused twice as a little girl by to adult men who were friends of my mom and dad. Then as I grew up, my parents, especially my Italian mom, was very heavy-handed when it came to punishment, and so was my father. He used a belt on us kids, buckle and all. With my mom? anything around her was a potential weapon to hit us with. I was also called names, called the blacksheep, a whore, just because my girlfriends smoked, Pill Popper and Druggie, just because my friends looked like ones. That went on all the way into my adulthood.

When I would go out, or to over to my neighbor’s house, my mom would say things like, “You always go, go. go,…you don’t like it here?, you don’t love your family because your always running somewhere else.” She would always say to that I was a liar, never told the truth. I wonder where I got that from? Parents, don’t hide things from your past that your kids can find out about when they grow up, trust me,…..”It Will Be Found Out”! And it can hurt your children when they do! So as I got older, they stilled carried these awful habits & behaviors. We all would be meeting at my parents house to all go out to dinner together, and several times I was a few minutes late, they LEFT WITHOUT ME…..Gosh, that one used to Piss me OFF! Like I’m not good enough to wait a few minutes for?

Was I perfect? NO!….Was I ultra sensitive? Wouldn’t you be if you endured things like this? Parents,  be the “Example” for your children. You will get their RESPECT in the end. Did I feel this way because of the sexual abuse I went through? Maybe. But I know what I FEEL. And those things were hurtful. Especially when you find out later in life that your own parents hid a huge hurtful secret that would blow our family apart. To keep it simple, my mom was married a few years with another man that was in the Navy, and out to sea a lot. She met my father and they were seeing each other before my mom got a divorce from her now ex- husband. She also got pregnant by my dad with my brother. But for years she made her first husband think my brother was HIS CHILD. All for the love of “Child Support Check”!!…
Was the money worth us kids being lucky to have a mom home everyday when we got home from school?  I don’t know….

So needless to say, her first husband believed my brother was his, while my parents knew the truth the whole time. Was the money really worth it? Back in the late 50’s it couldn’t have been much money per month. But they carried this LIE all those years until one day my brother gets a call from a lawyer out of the blue! The lawyer told him his father passed and he needed to come sign papers to release his body to his side of the family. WHAT??!!
Well, long story short it was a HUGE LIE they carried, and my brother was the one hurt to pieces in the end! I could not believe they did this. Then a light bulb went off, it seems most likely my mom used to call me a liar because of her “Guilty conscience”? WOW!

It wasn’t until I turned 25 and had moved from So. Cal to So. Oregon, did my eyes open and really see all the dysfunction in my family. All those wasted years of trying to “Prove Myself” to them that I was a good person. That I was not all those things they called me growing up until addicted gambling got a hold on me!  Yes, the sex abuse put a strain in my teen and early adulthood years with my father and brother, but all of us kids have been hurt and turned to different types of addictions to “Escape” all this pain, verbal & physical abuse done to us as young kids.
AN EXCUSE? Hell No! Not a victim either. It’s coming to realize the painful truth about a family that may look “Good” to others on the “outside,” but there is a whole lot of SHIT going on behind close doors! And no matter what anyone tells me, it did, and does affect your children.
All that aside, when my mom was sick before she passed, I called her 2 times a day while she was in the hospital. GOD gave me the GIFT, the miracle of her and I making peace with each other before she passed. I just wish we had more time to build on that. But, after she passed, we went back down to So. Cal and helped my dad with the funeral arrangements and attended. After, my brother had a wake & celebration of life for mom at his house, and after we and my dad got home that night, I guess all hell broke loose at my brothers between my brother, his wife, my two sisters and nephews. The cops were called too, and there went the HAPPY FAMILY!
Of course all the alcohol that was being consumed didn’t help matters. My family has a history of overindulgence with booze, except my mom. Now at this point your most likely wondering why I would AIR all my families Dirty Laundry?
It’s to show “INSIGHTS” on how many bad habits and behaviors hurt each one of us kids in different ways. And all this, and the past abuse added a lot of FUEL to my gambling addiction. I felt entitled to what I’d done within my  addiction because of the shit I went through and endured as a person. But sadly, I was only hurting myself and husband. But when we don’t know how to process all the Life Garbage when it returns later in our life, some turn or use addiction to cope or numb out.

So the long & short of it is, after we came home from my mom’s passing, we went back down to help my dad through the holidays, except for my brother. When we got home, I called my father a couple of times. My father just stopped talking to me! I called a few more times, and no calls back. This went on for a while until I finally wrote him a letter to ask why,….and still nothing. My two sisters were not talking to me either. Before one of my nephews stopped talking to me to, he said my father was upset that I sided with my brother over not getting any of the “Life Insurance policies” in his name by my dad, and he was not given any of my mom’s jewelry to remember her by either. So dad was upset that I felt that way.
WHAT?  You just don’t cut off your kids because your upset. So, it has been this way since 2004. It’s now 2014, and I have not heard or seen my father in all this time. So, now that I live in Arizona, only a 4 hour drive to my dads now, so do I go make amends in person? But For what? I don’t know what I did that was SO WRONG for a father to just cut out his daughter in his life. My mother used to do the same thing. What father does that to his children?

Is he upset because we know the “Truth about the LIE” he and my mom kept going for years? Then why does he still have relationships with both my sisters? Just because they live close to him? I have no idea why he treats me this way.
So I keep having this nightmare of a dream about my father. It is very disturbing to me. So it makes me wonder why all this is still bothering me? I thought I had processed all this in therapy. I forgave my father of this choice he made so I could move forward in my own “Life and Recovery.” That is on HIM, not ME as why things are this way. Does he feel Shame or Embarrassed? It really is hard to see our parents for their faults and misgivings when we get grow up. How they judged me just because of how they judged the friends I hung around with. Some of this is all hard to swallow.

So when I visited recently visited “Iyanla Vanzant’s website, and I read a blog post about Family, it got me thinking about all this. SO I Wonder,….
IYANLA VANZANT, can you help FIX MY LIFE, and the Broken Relationship with my Father? I’m really tired of having this dream! I want “No Regrets” before my 80-year-old father pass’s away…