Matt’s Recovery Story
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Matt’s Recovery Story

This story was originally published by the Richland Source. Please read below a preview of the story and a link at the end to read the full story.

When Matt McClester woke up one day feeling groggy and confused, unsure of where he was or how he got there, it was then that he realized he needed to get clean.

“I just had this feeling that I had to quit,” he said.

So on that day–Jan. 10, 2004–he set out to live a drug-free, alcohol-free life, putting an end to bad habits that first began when he was in middle school.

McClester, an Ashland native and current resident of Berlin Heights, Ohio, began drinking alcohol in middle school. “That’s when I first started experimenting,” he said.

When he entered high school, he started smoking marijuana.

During a school dance, he and his friends got high in the school parking lot. “And I just remember at that point, I made a more or less conscious decision that that’s what I wanted to do: I just wanted to get high,” he said.

His grades went from As and Bs to Cs and Ds as he progressed through high school. “It wasn’t that I couldn’t do the work. It was just that I didn’t want to anymore,” he said.

While friends of his could use drugs off and on without being affected, McClester was hooked. “I just always remember that feeling from every time I used any substance–I always wanted more. It was never enough,” he said. “Some of my friends would do it once and they didn’t want anything else to do with it, but that wasn’t me.”

It got to the point where he was getting high seven days a week.

When he was a senior, he got into legal trouble and was sentenced to serve 60 days in the juvenile detention center.

“That was the first time in awhile that I got the drugs out of my system and cleaned up. I remember thinking I’m done doing that,” he said.

A self-described “model prisoner,” McClester had his sentence shortened to 40 days.

As part of his sentence, he was required to attend three 12-step recovery meetings. “I got a hold of a guy I knew who was going to 12-step meetings and he told me about a campout that was coming up, and my thinking was I’ll go to that because I like camping out and that’ll take care of my three meetings,” he said.

However, while sitting around a campfire, laughing and hanging out with friends, McClester noticed he could have fun without getting high. “And that was when the first seeds of recovery were planted in me,” he said.

To continue to read the conclusion of Matt’s story, please click here.