Michael O. is a fourth year Ohio State University student majoring in biology. He loves the outdoors, to go hiking and camping whenever he can, and to snowboard in the winter. He is also a musician, who’s been playing violin for 17 years. His most memorable moment as a buckeye was when we won the national championship in football and his chemistry class was cancelled the next day.
Michael, a Columbus native began his journey with substance abuse at 14. “I’d steal beer from my parents’ garage and drink it when I got home from school. At the time I didn’t think it was a big deal, and it wasn’t until I was around 17 that things started to get bad for me. Whenever I’d go to parties with friends I would binge-drink until I got blackout drunk. It was the only way I knew how to have fun. In college I got into drugs, and went from an honors student to academic probation. I started isolating when I realized people knew I had a problem. I lost a lot of friends over the next few years, and was in really bad shape mentally and physically. I tried getting sober on my own several times, but I honestly didn’t know how to be okay without drugs or alcohol. I was introduced to a program of recovery that showed me change was actually possible, and that gave me a lot of hope. I learned that real recovery took real work, and that I had to take action every day in order to stay sober and be happy.”
In June of 2015 Michael was offered the chance to go to a 6 month treatment program in Arizona, and that’s where things started to turn around for him. People who understand what he’s dealing with and who can call me out when he starts to lose focus. To him, long term recovery means being able to decide for himself the kind of life he wants to live Michael’s words of advice towards anyone working towards recovery “action was my best friend, and to have faith in the process. It’s okay to have doubts and to ask questions, but what ultimately matters is what you do. It’ll be worth it.”