Recently, I got the chance to interview Connor Miller, the entrepreneur who went from being a drug addict to achieving happiness.
In this article, Connor Miller talks about his drug addiction and his journey into sobriety.
1. Tell me about your journey into drug addiction
I didn’t grow up thinking I would turn into a drug addict. I mean, does anyone? Back in high school, I was a baseball player. I had been offered scholarships to play ball at some of the top Division I schools in the country.
I was a good son, a good big brother. I got along with my mom and dad. I loved my family.
When I started smoking pot, I did it because everyone was doing it, even my dad. It seemed harmless. But soon enough I found myself skipping school just to get high. I got drunk for the first time at 16, while at a party with my girlfriend. After continually puking and not remembering how I got home, it scared me enough not to drink for a while.
A few months after my drunk episode, I injured my shoulder and I had to get surgery. After that, I was out for the entire high school season and I felt like my life was over. All I ever wanted to do was play baseball professionally, and after this injury, I felt totally lost. However, I did like that the pain killers I was given made the thoughts go away. Soon after I started to try other drugs besides pot.
I couldn’t play baseball and I felt like an outcast so I started hanging out with a bad crowd. So, late one night after everyone had gone home or passed out at a party, a friend of mine offered me a shot of heroin. I didn’t hesitate, I shot up right there on the spot. My whole life pretty much changed after that.
I pretty much spent the next 4 years of my life chasing that first high. I wanted desperately to feel that complete again. As I chased and chased, it was like everything else faded away. All my ambitions, dreams, relationships, and hopes ー they all fell away as I shot more and more heroin in my veins.
2. What did life feel like when you were suffering from addiction?
I felt like my life was totally meaningless. I felt like I was floating down a river going in no particular direction. I felt like a complete piece of garbage. Everyone always told me I had so much potential, but I just couldn’t see it. There was this sense of hopelessness like my heart would just be empty for the rest of eternity.
3. Did you ever think you’d get sober?
Most of the time no. Most of the time I had these visions where I would just die from an overdose and I felt the world would be much better off without me.
4. Tell me about your journey into sobriety
It was a long journey of countless treatment centers, relapses, and arrests. I’ll never forget the last time I used drugs intravenously. It was around 3 am and I had been up for like a week shooting heroin, cocaine and crystal meth. After trying to hit a vein and failing I decided to go into the bathroom of the gas station that I was in. After getting the shot off, my body began to convulse. In the process, I hit my head on the toilet hard and when I looked up, there was a pamphlet sitting there and I reached up to grab it. I opened it up as my body was still convulsing and it said “your ticket to heaven”. Right as I finished reading that sentence my body stopped convulsing. That was the last time I used drugs intravenously. I 100 percent believe that God delivered me from intravenous drug use that night. Then he left it up to me to meet him halfway on delivering myself from the rest. The rest was a long journey of justification, escapism, and denial. I still used drugs after that but I justified it by not using intravenously
I then got arrested again after crashing my car into a tree while huffing computer dusters. I woke up to a flashlight being shined into my eyes with a police officer asking me if I had been drinking. I was eventually taken in for DUI (Driving Under Influence). Also being on probation at the time my probation was violated due to a new arrest. Which was an absolute godsend, because about 2 weeks later I was in jail. In jail, I couldn’t kill myself from a drug overdose. This was one of the lowest points of my life. At this point, I felt as if I would never amount to anything. I spent 13 months behind bars before I was released. If you thought this was the part where the guy gets sober and everything is great, you’re wrong. I actually still partied and drank heavily, also used cocaine and painkillers a few times.
My moment of clarity came one night when driving home from a party. I had just bought my first car since getting out of jail and I was driving home intoxicated out of my mind. I was also on probation and had only been out of jail for about 3 months at that point. As I was driving a police officer pulled me over. He asked me if I had been drinking and I had already accepted the fact that I had screwed up and was going to be headed back to jail. So I answered “yes”. He asked to see my driver’s license and registration and went back to the car to run the info. Those next 3 minutes must have been the longest minutes of my life. He came back and looked at me with this expression that I had only seen a few times in my life, and he asked, “Can you get someone to come pick you up?”
Later I would come to find out that expression was empathy. I woke up the next morning, deleted all my contacts out of my phone, looked at myself in the mirror and made a conscious decision to change my entire life. The game-changer in my life was when I understood these 3 concepts: Gratitude, Optimism, and Empathy.
When you become completely self-aware and understand your intention behind what you are doing, it really helps you understand how much green means go. When you live your life every day with the perspective that you won the lottery by becoming a human being, and that you are going to die, it helps you to realize even more how much green means go.
5. Did having people who cared about you help on your journey to getting sober?
Yes and no. When I look back I am so grateful to have had parents who did everything they could to try and help me get sober. But at the end of the day, I had so much shame and felt so much guilt towards everything I had put them through that every time they tried to help me all those feelings of guilt and shame would come up and I would just feel like using again. It wasn’t until I was truly ready to get sober for myself that I got sober.
6. What message would you like to pass across to everyone out there suffering from addiction?
The goal isn’t to be clean from drugs. The goal is to love yourself so much that you don’t need drugs. This is your daily reminder that your best days are ahead of you. The movie starts when the guy gets sober and puts his life back together; it doesn’t end there. You are worthy of a happy life!!
7. What are your social media handles?