Joseph is crushing it with over 8 years of sobriety

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I was born in SLC, Utah. I could hear until I was one year old, then I became deaf because of an ear infection. I am the only deaf person in family. We moved to Clearfield, UT when I was around one year old then Moved in Layton, Utah around 2 years old. I learned the first sign language of ABC's at that age at home. I learned from someone who taught me with cookies lol… I still remember.

Everything had been good with family until I was 5 years old, then I was physically abused, emotion abused, sexually abused, raped and molested by family. When I was 8 years old, I fell asleep in our bus after deaf school, people never woke me up. I remember I woke up around 6pm in the bus and noticed there was no one around. I was so scared so I opened the window and yelled for 15 minutes until the bus driver finally heard me and found me then brought me to his office. I thought my parents were coming to pick me up, but I was wrong. A man came to get me and he brought me home. When I got home my family didn’t say anything. They looked like they never knew what happened to me. They did not give me a hug as if they were worried about me. The next day, I did not want go school. I really became afraid that falling asleep on a bus will happen again to me so I hid in my closet. My parents looked for me everywhere and did not find me. When I came out and my parents did find me, they were so upset and my step dad slapped my face so hard.

I was so sick of being hurt. I was afraid of my parents who forced me to go school. At 10 years old, I tried to kill myself because I was so tired of the pain. I tried, but my sister caught me and stopped me. At 12 years old, I found my new best friend…meth. When I was high, I did not feel any pain. From 12 to 17 years old, I learned about different drugs and I was drinking with teenagers and always got high to numb my real feelings of pain.

I graduated Layton High School in 1999 and I got a scholarship for welding program in Kaysville at a school called DATC "Davis Applied Technology Center". When I was 19, my old teacher became an asshole after his mom died and everyone quit, so I followed them and did not graduated DATC. I moved to Flagstaff, AZ when I was 20 years old. This was the first time I lived in the real world without parents. I was living with my brother until he moved back to Utah for his kid. I decided to still stay in AZ because I did not want to go back to Utah with all the drama.

My ex girlfriend came to visit me from Utah for her vacation and we had fun for a week. A few months later I found out she got pregnant so I had to drop everything in AZ to moved back to Utah (not wanting to). I had to be there for my first son. I was 23 years old and after my first son entered into my life, it was such an amazing experience. Becoming a dad was the best high ever. From 23 years old to 29 years old, after my first son came into my life, it changed everything. I had been trying to stop using drugs and I told my family to stop, even my ex-girlfriend, but they did not care to at all. I battled with my ex-girlfriend for 9 years! I tried to be a family guy for my child, but I couldn’t control the people around me. I was already afraid of my parents, my brother and sister and my ex-girlfriend too, but I had to be strong for my kid so I moved into her place. I did not go anywhere so I could make sure my child was always safe. We ended up having two more boys.

The mother of my children never changed, I was in the worst relationship. She always chose drugs over me and our kids. I was so angry! I did not want my kids to live like I did during my childhood so I tried 4 times with DCFS to get kids safe, but it never happened. Why? The mother of my children’s mother worked for DCFS and covered her and blamed me for everything. So that’s how I failed to keep my kids safe.

I was homeless for 6 years and forced myself to stay at the mother of my children’s house to made sure kids were always safe. Her friends were bad news and that made me even more angry and stressed. I had suffered enough emotional abuse from her controlling me. I finally kneeled and asked God for help. The first thing I heard was a voice in my mind that said to call 911 and turn myself in for doing drugs. I said to myself, "Really? Ok” and I did. The cops came and I gave my drugs to them. I wanted to get cuffed but I was so surprised because I didn’t. I had to go somewhere so I went to my sister’s and then she took me to her old neighbor who is in recovery. That is what led me to my first time in treatment for drugs. I ended up staying there for a month.

After leaving, I ended up relapsing with my ex-girlfriend and everything got worse but I still went to 12-steps meetings. In Oct 2010, I told my first son to his teacher about our situation and finally DCFS opened the case for few months until Jan 2011. I started to roommate with a person in recovery, but I still used drugs because my ex-girlfriend didn’t let me see my kids. In March 2011, I got a text from DCFS and they had my children. Their mother left them one night and then my youngest son woke up and couldn’t find his mother. A neighbor found him outside in his diaper in freezing cold weather and reported to DCFS.

I had mixed emotions. I was mad, sad, and happy. I was mad because she left my kids like that. I was sad because I knew things were going to change for my kids and I did not have a home for them. I was happy because my kids finallllllllllly were in a safe zone! This is when I finally stopped using drugs for good! I told my story to the DCFS. I was 29 years old and had to do service for the DCFS including parenting classes, domestic violence therapy, UA test every day, and show more skills when visiting with my kids. This lasted a year. In 2012, I passed all of it and my ex-girlfriend was out of my life. She can't get our kids back which made me happy. I got a new apartment and used welfare and food stamp to get stuff for my kids. I showed DCFS how stabile we were.

Unfortunately, my youngest son got cancer. It broke my heart when I found out and we went through tough times at the hospital. My brother visited us but he still smoked bud around his kids so I did not feel safe. My sister had enough drama so that was not good for my kids. My parents had nothing positive to share, so I did not feel good about anything.

My ex-girlfriend tried to come back into my life, but I still refused and I made hardest decision ever… to sign adoption for my kids to have wonderful life with a new family. My kids were reason why I changed as a dad. They gave me a good gift and I wanted to do the same for them. That was right thing to do. I still send Birthday and Christmas cards to them every year. My kids love me for that. I wanted parents who can take care of two boys while my youngest son is at hospital battling cancer. Lots people admired me for that.

That happened when I was 31 years old. That was the time my new life began as a person in recovery. I have so many new brothers and sisters in my recovery program. I am doing service in deaf recovery meetings to help others who still suffer. If I didn’t have my kids, I might be in jail or prison, homeless for good, or dead. From 5 years old to 29 years old, I lived in hell. Now, I do not live in hell anymore. I forgave everyone who been harmed me so I can focus on myself. I survived and it’s a miracle.

Hopefully you have an understanding of who I am and where I come from. I am a good person, open minded, a good listener, I love helping people with whatever they need help with that does not include drugs. I am very proud to be in recovery and I love who I am.

Who knows what the future holds for me. Only God knows my plan. I know everything is possible for me and I will stay clean and sober no matters what. I become stronger when I deal with my real feelings of pain. Thank you for letting me share my story and let me allow you all to tell you who I am. I am living a happy new life and have never felt like this before that before. If I never followed God's path, my kids would not be safe and living with good people and I would most likely be around wrong people and end up either dead or in prison.