Ted Brown, is a New Zealand-born singer, songwriter and guitar player. Brown was fronting his own band when he became an addict. This put his promising career on hold for 7 years. Sober for 10 years Ted is now telling his story in music.
This is Ted’s story:
Life Turned Around – Ted Brown
I haven’t had to use drugs or alcohol since July 2000, so my clean date is easy to remember. But it wasn’t so easy getting one day, a week or 30 days clean and I had started trying in 1997. I had been using for a long time and it had gotten hard imagining my life without drugs and the lifestyle that went with it. But the consequences had become increasingly serious and it was getting harder to support the walls of denial that I had created to support my addiction.
I have been a musician, singer and songwriter my whole life but by the second week of June 2000, I was checking myself into detox again and my career in music seemed like a distant memory. The pain had gotten unbearable again and my life was completely unmanageable, but I still didn’t know whether I could stop and I had no concept of a future outside of the margins of addiction.
I’ve had the opportunity over the years to ask many recovering people about their “rock bottom” and the moment of clarity that opened the door of recovery for them. Although the feelings are often remarkably similar, no one can really say why they’ve stayed when others have been unable to. For me, when the fear of staying the same became greater than the fear of change and I realized that my attempts to stop on my own had all failed, I became ready to try something different.
Detoxing was my greatest fear yet ironically, getting “dope sick” was a regular part of my life throughout my using, so I knew deep down there was more to it than that. And if I was to be totally honest I had used so called “non addictive” drugs habitually as a teenager and even then panicked when my supply got low. So I already had an inkling that it wasn’t the type of drugs I was using, it was about my inability to stop- no matter what the substance.
The turning point came when I first heard from addicts like me who had gotten clean, lost the obsession to use and had found a new way of life. Until I heard my own story from other addicts in recovery I simply didn’t have any point of reference- I wasn’t even aware that drug addicts got clean!
One of my using partners had gotten clean before me and running into him on the street probably got me into detox the first time. I had even gone to treatment for a minute but I hadn’t been ready then. But this time, three years on, sicker, older and a little more exhausted I heard what I needed to hear from a 12 step panel that came to detox.
I had my last dose of methadone on July 1st and on July 2nd I entered an 18 week treatment program. My first few weeks in rehab were fairly miserable but again it was other addicts who assured me that I would be OK, that if I could just make it through today, tomorrow would be better. Gradually my health improved and I began to feel more hopeful. I still couldn’t really imagine a future for myself, but I was beginning to see that it was possible to live without drugs.
I walked out of treatment in the second week of November scared but excited. I still had very little idea how to live, but the world seemed filled with possibility. I went to meetings every day, made friends, starting building a support network and within a few months I was playing music professionally again. From day one I learned to always put my recovery first. My life changed so much in my first few years that sometimes it seemed like more than I could handle! But the constant has always been meetings, contact with the recovery community (all over the world) and finding ways to be of service to other addicts.
I’ve just released my second solo album and I’ve been fortunate enough to play and create music ever since my first year clean. I feel blessed to have been given another chance at life and I try not to take any clean day for granted. Recovery isn’t always easy but by sticking to the path, one day at a time I have a life I could never have dreamed of.
You can listen to his beautiful music in this video.