Hello, my name is Tele Rabii, my pronouns are he/him, I’m 26 years old, and I’m an individual in recovery. For me, that means it’s been over 6 years since I have begun embarking upon my recovery journey and all of its wonder. I grew up in a very small town by the name of Long Eddy, in Sullivan County, NY. Sullivan County is a very small place, and it doesn’t have a lot of things for young people to do. So, most people end up just partying, getting high/drunk to have fun. My drug use began in the 8th grade, and it started off with just marijuana and alcohol. Initially, it was just at parties or on the weekends, then it changed to getting high every day before, after, and sometimes even during school.
I didn’t realize how fast my addiction was progressing because I was still going to school, getting good grades, I had friends and job, so I didn’t think it was that bad.Tele Rabii
My use quickly progressed to pills and hallucinogens. I didn’t realize how fast my addiction was progressing because I was still going to school, getting good grades, I had friends and a job, so I didn’t think it was that bad. In my senior year, that’s when began to use heroin. Heroin became the new love of my life, and it quickly took over everything. I treated it like it was a bill. Whenever I got paid the first thing, I would do is buy heroin and then maybe put gas in my car, maybe eat, etc. Nothing else mattered as long as I had heroin. I ended up graduating high school, I still had a job, so I didn’t think that anything was wrong with what I was doing. It got to the point that I wasn’t even using to get high, I was using so that I didn’t get sick and have to go through withdrawals. Eventually, my use caused me to lose my job. And when I lost my job, I decided to drop out of school (college). I needed to devote all of my time to get high. I started breaking into cars to steal money, but my main source of income was driving people around to pick up drugs or go anywhere that they needed and in return, they would either give me drugs or give me gas money which I used to buy drugs. This continued for some time until the day that I got arrested.
January 15th, 2015 was the day that changed my life forever. On this day, as I was picking up drugs with one of my friends, I crashed my car into a fence. Shortly after the police were called and the next thing, I knew I was handcuffed in the back of a cop car. And even as I was in the back, driving to the police station all I was thinking about was the fact that I didn’t get to get high that day. Being in jail made me realize all of the things that I took for granted in my life and I knew that if I was given the opportunity to get out that I had to try to change. Thankfully I was given Drug Court instead of jail time and I was off to the next part of my journey. In the beginning I was very nervous and reluctant to be a part of Drug Court because I didn’t know what to expect. As time went on and I began to understand how the program worked I was able to make it through. One of the things that inspired me was that the judge was in recovery himself and every court session we would say the serenity prayer. It gave me hope that I could complete this. It wasn’t easy, you have to be resilient, and you have to make sure that you are accountable for yourself and do whatever you have to do to complete the program. And those are skills that I learned being in Drug Court. I graduated in June 2016, and it was this feeling of relief mixed with nervousness. I was relieved to finally be out of treatment settings, but nervous because now it was all on me to make sure that I’m doing the right thing.
I had to be honest with myself and work on the issues that I was trying to run away from. In the beginning I thought that I used just because I was bored, but as I worked on my recovery it made me realize the fact that I was also using to suppress all of my emotions that I didn’t want to deal with.Tele Rabii
While I was getting ready to enroll in Drug Court, I went to treatment at a place by the name of Hope House, in Albany, NY. In the beginning, it was very hard for me to get used to being in this house with 19 other guys, with many different personalities, in a place so far from home. I was very reluctant to change in the beginning. One of the things that helped me was when we would go to meetings. (AA, NA). I saw these people who were in recovery and who were so happy, and it made me realize that I wanted to be like that more than anything in the world. After that I decided to put in all of the time and effort necessary to make a change in my life and to establish my recovery. Being in Hope House gave me the opportunity to really work on myself and focus on the things that I needed to work on. I had to be honest with myself and work on the issues that I was trying to run away from. In the beginning I thought that I used just because I was bored, but as I worked on my recovery it made me realize the fact that I was also using to suppress all of my emotions that I didn’t want to deal with.
I graduated from Hope House in on October 1st, 2016. After I left, I decided to move to Schenectady instead of going back home. I knew that if I went back home to Sullivan County that I would just end up using again and possibly overdosing and dying and I didn’t want that to happen. I had a new love for life, and I wanted to enjoy all of the things that life had to offer me.
Fortunately for me, I have been able to continue to make good choices and live this happy, beautiful life in recovery. Recovery isn’t easy, but I have the support of so many great people, including my family to help me push forward every day. And also, with the help of suboxone, in the beginning, I was able to stay focused and maintain my recovery. I’m graduated from college at SUNY Schenectady with my CASAC-T, I have my own apartment, I work as a clinician at an outpatient day-treatment program, and I’m on the board of another treatment program.
Being in recovery has given me the ability to be more present in my life and work on cultivating a whole-hearted life for myself. I would have never imagined accomplishing all of the things that I have in my recovery, and I look forward to all that I will continue to accomplish.
We warmly thank Tele for telling his story and letting us share it in light of National Recovery Month!
About National Recovery Month
National Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible. (Source: samhsa.gov).
The theme of this year’s National Recovery Month is: “Recovery is for everyone: Every person, Every Family, Every Community”.