From Drug Addict to Entrepreneur
Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction was one of the toughest things I have ever gone through. You are constantly reminded of your mental scars, your struggles, and the temptations of substance dependence. Every day is a battle, but things do get easier over time. My name is Andy Macia and I want to share my story in hopes that it will inspire you and make a lasting impact on your journey towards sobriety.
I was born in Bogota, Colombia in the early eighties. Colombia is a gorgeous country full of friendly people and intriguing culture. However, during the 80’s, Bogota was definitely not the safest place to grow up in. Violence and civil unrest were commonplace at this time. My parents chose to leave Colombia in 1985 to provide a safer life for me and my younger brother. They decided to settle us in sunny Southern California.
I really enjoyed growing up in California. My parents had chosen a place to live where my siblings and I could grow up in peace, without having to constantly worry about the threat of violence and crime. Childhood was going great for me, until my first introduction to substance abuse one night at a family gathering. Colombians absolutely love to celebrate life and have a good time. We try to have social gatherings with friends and loved ones any chance we get. Music, dancing, great food, and good conversation are all elements that made these gatherings something to really look forward to. Alcohol was also always involved, and unfortunately for me it was at one of these gatherings in which I took my first step towards addiction.
I always saw the adults enjoying the famous anise flavored Colombian alcohol, Aguardiente. It seemed like they were always a bit happier after having a few sips of this sweet smelling beverage. The curious 9 year-old Andy decided it would be quite the experience to act like one of the adults for a night. I covertly found a way to sneak a few sips of the liquor when the adults weren’t looking.
If you have ever tried Aguardiente or “Fire Water” before, you know how strong its effects can be. I didn’t much like the taste, but I was definitely enjoying the intoxicated feeling I got from the drink. Most importantly, it made me feel like one of the adults. I kept sneaking sips throughout the night and before long, I was completely drunk. One of my cousins eventually noticed my intoxicated state. He gave me some food and water, took me back to where the other kids were playing, and explained to me that Aguardiente is not a drink for children. I knew what I had done was wrong, but that didn’t matter. The inebriated feeling had been permanently ingrained in my 9-year old consciousness. I liked how laid back and relaxed I had felt. I wanted to experience it again.
My fixation on that feeling led me to continue abusing alcohol throughout my youth. I moved on to Marijuana at the age of 14, and soon become infatuated with seeking out these altered states. Before long, I had progressed to harder drugs like cocaine, ketamine, and ecstasy. By the age of 18 I was a full blown addict. Meth and alcohol were my drugs of choice. My life revolved around chasing my next high.
The downward spiral continued when I decided to start selling drugs to support my habits. My vices were controlling my every thought and action. Selling the substances that I was abusing seemed like the perfect solution at the time. I learned quickly I was mistaken, as I was arrested on drug charges at the age of 22. I received prison time, primarily for selling meth, and ended up spending two birthdays in jail. Going to prison for me was a turning point in my life. Receiving that sentence might have been the best thing that ever happened to me.
I was introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous during my time in jail. My path to recovery officially began after my first meetings. The opportunity to speak freely with people who were going through the same struggles as I was was really liberating. The foundation for my recovery had been set. However, this foundation was not flawless.
After I had served my prison time, I started working full time selling perfume and jewelry. I discovered I had a knack for sales and quickly became a workaholic. Being busy was addictive. I had replaced drugs and alcohol with a productive and socially acceptable addiction - work. Things were going great for a while, but eventually I worked myself into a relapse. It hit me hard. I began hating myself for my problems, my lies, and my habits that had led me to this dark place. It’s so frustrating knowing that you have to a problem and not having the willpower and dedication to pursue a solution.
The relapse and dark thoughts became too large of a burden for me to bare. I decided that the only way out was to take my own life. At the time of the relapse, I was living with my parents. I knew they had a supply of prescription drugs locked away in their room. I waited until they were leaving the house and got into their room. Luckily for me, my mom had sensed something was wrong just as they were leaving. As I was taking the pills, she appeared out of nowhere, screaming… my saving grace. She immediately slapped the pills out of my hand. The emotion began pouring out of me. I cried while she hugged and consoled me, desperate to help and understand my suffering. It was a moment I won’t ever forget.
After the incident, I entered a rehab facility in Idaho. I was one hundred percent focused on my recovery, on making the necessary changes. I was tired of the lying, the depression, and the suffering. I didn’t want to hurt my parents and family members anymore. Rehab helped me form the healthy habits that have kept me sober to this day.
My mindset changes and positive thinking led me to join local NA and AA groups. I was making real progress at these meetings. I gained a lifelong friend and sponsor at this time who encouraged me to further my education. Actually, he gave me an ultimatum, either pass a college course or find a new sponsor. I am eternally grateful for his ultimatum, because I took an HTML coding class and discovered a new passion. Digital marketing and web design became my focus in life. I eventually started my own company, Red Door Studios, which I currently devote most of my time to.
Replacing old habits with productive and healthy new habits is essential to recovery. Today, I am proud of my business, my sobriety, and the man that I have become. I enjoy eating healthy, working out, playing basketball, and dating. I moved back to Colombia to regain perspective on my culture and focus on my passions. The temptations of my past addictions are still present, but thanks to supportive friends & family and my newfound passions I am still sober. Most importantly, I am happy! I hope my story can inspire you to make your first footsteps towards recovery. How has addiction affected your life? Let us know in the comment section below.
Bio: Hi, my name is Andy and I'm a drug addict/alcoholic. I was born in Bogota, Colombia, but raised in Southern California. I spend my time helping others with their recovery and growing my business.