From the dawn of his existence, Aaron was baptized into addiction. He partially contributes his genetics to predisposing him to lifelong struggles with substance abuse. His father, also an addict, came from a long line of alcoholics. His father abandoned Aaron and his family, leaving them alone and struggling to comprehend what they could have done differently to make him stay. Aaron recalled, “[His leaving] made me feel hollow to a certain degree, even though my mother was a solid and loving provider.” He added, “[My mother] was always wonderful and never struggled with addiction.” But being a single parent left his mother longing for companionship and support, and she ended up remarrying. The outcome of this union affected Aaron deeply because his step-father was a very mentally and physically abusive man. This caused Aaron to seek comfort and acceptance outside the home, where he was introduced to various substances that became his crutch. Aaron recalled, “I was belittled and tormented so much by my step-father that I became a statistic, another victim of substances that helped me feel numb and forget my pain.”

Over the next sixteen years, Aaron would battle addiction, experience multiple brushes with the law and have many setbacks. While combating addiction and all those added obstacles, Aaron remained highly functional, achieving success several times—only to see it slip away or never reach its full potential. From his early teens, Aaron used psychedelics to experience euphoria and escape reality; later he turned to binge drinking to deal with his self-image. Aaron came close to losing everything that mattered to him, and that’s when Aaron realized that he wanted to change. Enough was enough, not so much for his sake but for his family’s sake. He wanted his wife and children’s lives to be better, to be normal.

Committed to that significant realization, Aaron came to ATS, where he entered the thirty-day treatment program at Dakoske Hall. Once there, Aaron was able to identify lifelong triggers and overcome emotional feelings regarding himself and his upbringing. He was finally able to expel all the guilt and shame of his actions and accept the fact that no one was to blame for his actions but himself. Aaron commented, “The professionalism of the staff and their unconditional support for each and every client, including myself, was truly magnificent. They were guides through the darkness, allowing me to freely open up and heal from years of emotional and physical abuse.” Aaron stated unequivocally, “My spiritual connection with God returned because of my time spent at Dakoske, giving me peace and security that I hadn’t experienced in years.”

Aaron continues to walk the path of sobriety one day at a time, utilizing all the tools that his experience at Dakoske armed him with. Because of his experience, Aaron realized that he wants to help others, to give back to those who are struggling as he did. He is currently in the process of becoming an addiction counselor, and his happy and proud family supports his goals. He proudly stated, “One day at a time is all that I need, and with that humble action, everything is healing in my life. My family looks at me with bright and hopeful eyes, and I owe that all to Addiction Treatment Services.”