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Chapter 1: Rock bottom hits hard

Dillon McClernon

Authored by Dillon McClernon

Dylan Z. was a patient at Recovery Centers of America in Danvers in June 2017. This is his story. 

When most 13-year-old kids are playing video games, sports, or watching YouTube, I was drinking.

What led up to this isn’t what you’d expect. It wasn’t my family. My mom did all the right things. As a single mom of 4, she pushed me to do well in school, play sports, make good friends. But it didn’t stop what happened.

  • It wasn’t a traumatic event.
  • It wasn’t a sports injury.
  • It wasn’t curiosity about what was in my mom’s medicine cabinet.
  • It was my neighborhood and the so-called friends I surrounded myself with.

I was a product of my neighborhood. I hung out with the wrong crowd and before I knew it, I was headed down the wrong path.

From ages 13 to 24, I tried everything. And like most people, it ended with heroin.

I wish I could tell you more about those 11 years, but they’re lost to me. The next thing I knew, I’m 24 years old and I want to die. I turned into someone I didn’t even recognize anymore. I did things I never thought I was capable of doing. I burned bridges, I hurt the people I love the most. I was in so deep.

Every day, my first thoughts were: Who do I have to hurt today to get that next one? What bridge do I have to burn to make that happen?

My thoughts slowly but surely started to transform and turn against me.

  • My family would be better off without me.
  • I’m hopeless.
  • I’m miserable.
  • I’d be better off dead.
  • I should be dead.

I was consumed by them. I thought my only escape was ending it all.

I overdosed twice, hoping to die. But I didn’t. I woke up and the first thing  I could think of was getting high again. I was lying in the hospital bed and searching my pants pocket to make sure my stash was still there.

The second I walked out of those hospital doors, I got high again.

No matter how much pain I caused, no matter how much pain I endured, I still wasn’t ready to admit I needed help. Not even after I got my mom and three siblings kicked out of their house. I made them become homeless; I kept using.

Does someone have to hit rock bottom before they ask for help? My opinion is no, they don’t. Rock bottom isn’t the only way for someone to get sober.

But that’s what it took for me to finally admit I needed help.  And I’ll tell you this: Rock bottom hits hard.

To be continued. 

Authored by

Dillon McClernon

Dillon McClernon

Dillon currently serves as the Senior Director of Sales and Marketing at RCA. After his tenure as Chief Communications Officer and senior advisor to RCA, he opted for a full-time position at RCA where he could build a new team linking sales and marketing to directly impact RCA’s mission of saving 1 million lives.


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