Scott French's Journey
Please tell us your story.
I’m Scott, I am an alcoholic and addict. I grew up with a great childhood and loving family. Grew up playing sports, vacationing at the beach and in the mountains. I did ok in school, and had a lot of great times with friends and family. I was like the typical kid in high school, partying with friends on the weekends, sneaking off to drink and smoke weed. I remember just thinking it was the greatest of times. I loved the buzz, the rush, and how fun life was. By the time I was 18, I considered myself to be an alcoholic. I always felt like I needed a drink. Around then I started getting into trouble with the law and with my parents.
What were your drugs of choice and how did they impact your life?
Cocaine, MDMA, LSD, mushrooms, and crystal meth soon became part of my regimen. Cocaine and alcohol quickly became a daily habit from the age of 18 to about 28. I had been a heroin user as well later in my 20’s. I worked in the restaurant business for those years and loved every second of it. The people I met and worked with, seemed to gravitate around the lifestyle of drinking and drugging. I started collecting DUI’s and suspended driving charges like they were parking tickets. I would always refuse to blow for the breathalyzer, which seemed like a loop hole defense. I would constantly be sent to out-patient rehabs and told not to drink and drive.
I had been in long term relationships and breakups through those times, and everything would go smoothly until it was known that my drinking and drugging was a problem. I had tried to stop drinking plenty of times, and my only successful tries were to 5 or 6 days before relapsing. I was tending bar for years at Blue Iguana. I had become very comfortable there. Plenty of nights working drunk behind the bar without any real damaging consequences. The owners and managers would drink and do cocaine or meth with me. I’d say from about 25-28 years old, I was blacked out more often. Just about every night I could not remember how I got home. I had a BMW and a Tacoma, it was the hardest thing keeping track of those. Two vehicles and I would always have to call a co-worker or friend to find out where I had left my truck or car.
What was the breaking point for you to get clean?
My family lived close by, but I would rarely see them except for holidays. I was too embarrassed to visit them. I had lost so much weight. I smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, did at least 3.5 grams of cocaine a day, and generally would have close to a bottle of Jagermeister. I went from weighing around 145 pounds down to 108. I woke up shaking every morning. I would drink every morning before starting my car, so I could get the key in the ignition. My shakes were unbelievable. Every morning I felt so sick, and looked even worse. I threw up daily, sometimes just bile. I wasn’t going to survive this life any longer. Friends began to reach out and point out I had a problem. They were right, and I had no clue what to do, or where to start. I was deteriorating! I couldn’t even remember what had happened hours before in the day. Life was getting in the way of my addiction.
Finally, one night I was leaving a bar, it was close to my house. I should’ve walked, but I drove. I didn’t drive straight home, I turned down the parkway and floored it! I was in my BMW M3, I was going above 120 mph when an officer saw me. He attempted to pull me over, but I kept fleeing. Eventually I turned down into a dead end and I was captured, arrested, devastated, and relieved.
I remember just smiling at some of the police. One asked “the fuck you laughing at?” I replied, “I’m going to get sober from this.”
That was my wake up call. How in the hell did this happen? What am I doing? Where did I go wrong? How am I not dead yet? I found myself so grateful to be alive. I felt like I had been given a second chance at life. Now, all I had to do is figure out how to survive the consequences.
I was going to jail, and some prison time as well. My lawyer said, “keep your head down, and you’ll be out in no time.”
By the end of it, I had racked up 5 DUI’s, possession of cocaine, meth, and oxy’s. I bonded out before my court date to get things settled in my life as best I could before doing my time. I told my parents that I was going in for “operation rehabilitation” I looked at this as my only option for living clean and sober. Rehabs have never worked. I was thankful that this was a blessing in disguise.
What were your first steps to recovery?
I started by going to AA and NA meetings in jail. I shared my stories, my visions, and prayers for staying clean. I was putting on weight and working out. I was writing and reading. My situation was disturbing, but I soon learned sayings that I still use to this day.
“Everything happens for a reason” “This too shall pass” and “One day at a time.” I knew the road ahead of me was long. I took this experience as the most important lesson of my life. I got sober July 20, 2006. Later in August 2007 I was released back into the world.
Clean and sober and terrified. I was a free man, I cerebrated a year clean and sober with a bunch of inmates. They all knew that I was focused on not using or drinking after I was released. That meant a lot to me. I was stating to everyone I was done with all the bullshit I had caused myself. I didn’t feel like I had any role models in sobriety, except for my best friend’s dad. I had grown up with him, and he was in long term recovery. We had talked a couple times. I knew I had to get to meetings. I would go to 3 meetings a week, and starting working out and running. I felt better, I felt alive again. I would still be nervous in social settings, but I was feeling more comfortable in my own sober skin. I was working in a neighborhood restaurant, and slowly feeling better.
The thoughts of relapsing were crippling to me. I knew I still had many years over my head, if I had gotten busted again. I had come so far in my recovery, I knew I would end up dead if I relapse. It was not worth it. I would “think through the drink” any time I felt an urge.
I went snowboarding in Jackson Hole later that year with one of my close sober friends. We got so much snow dumped on us, it was a trip of a lifetime. I went up the Tram on a deep powder day by myself. It was the deepest snow of my life an the most radical conditions. I cried. I couldn't see through my goggles. I was balling. This is what I needed to focus on to keep me sober. I felt like Scott again!! Later the next spring, I went to go surf and visit my other sober buddy in St. Thomas. I surfed some of the best waves of my life that trip. A swell came across the Caribbean, and it was magical. Once again, everything happens for a reason. My soul was alive, I was reborn. I was out of prison, and found that I could actually live clean and sober! No way! I never thought it was possible. I was so stoked!
I eventually got back in the pool, as I grew up swimming competitively. I kept running and started biking. I did a triathlon, placed 2nd. I signed up for more, and then more. Then I did half Ironmans, then I did full Ironmans. I just fell in love with being active and outside.
I moved to Vail, Colorado from Fairfax, Va about 4 years ago. I came out for a winter season. I got 157 days my first season, and stayed for the summer. I’ve consistently gotten over 150 days a winter the past 4 winters.
What is your life motto?
My life’s motto is “Living the Dream!” We’re here for purpose, for living, and for adventure. This life is incredible. Fighting addiction is the craziest and hardest thing I’ve had to do. It’s possible though. If you’re suffering and struggling, just know that a clean and sober life is available. When we are living in active addiction we have this pre conceived notion that life in sobriety will be boring. We think we can’t go to BBQ’s, weddings, and birthday parties. That is our addicted brain scared of trying. We can recover. One day at a time, we don’t need a commitment, we keep it simple. Just for this hour, we fight the urge, then the next hour. We make it to one day, we do it again. Life is good. Life is wonderful. We should all live blessed, and we should all be living the dream.
I am coming up on 11 years clean and sober July 20, 2017. I am currently the owner of Mountain Gopher, LLC in Vail, Colorado. A grocery delivery service that just started up. My dream is to be able to hire alcoholics and addicts in recovery with tainted background checks and give them good paying jobs.
I also am the Co Founder of Sober and Stoked. We are preparing to shoot a documentary about addiction and recovery. Showing that recovery isn't just about getting sober, but staying sober. We find athletes in recovery who have discovered or rediscovered “extreme sports” that they use in their recovery. We soon hope to have sober festivals, surf and snowboard camps, and half way houses. Thanks for letting me share. Please remember, One day at a time.
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