From Rock Bottom to Recovery – with Jared Klickstein

 

My guest today is an extraordinary young man. His parents were both heroin addicts and he became an addict himself.  His rock bottom included jail time, homelessness and self-mutilation.

In This Episode

  • Both Jared’s parents were drug addicts but although life was chaotic they did manage to parent Jared until they got arrested when he was 12 years old
  • Then he went to live with his aunt who “rescued” him, as he put it
  • Sadly his mother died of her heroin addiction when he was 14 years old which led to him using alcohol to cope with the pain of losing her
  • Jared describes himself as a “functioning alcoholic” from the age of 15 years old
  • At the age of 18, he started using Oxycontin as he was very against heroin due to his parents’ experience
  • He didn’t know what Oxycontin was, but it was a pill made by a pharmaceutical company so he assumed it was safe
  • He quickly became addicted and discovered that it was very similar to heroin and in fact he switched to heroin
  • Alcohol had helped him feel more confident and enabled him to socialise but heroin completely numbed his feelings
  • As he says, cocaine or acid can amplify emotions, whereas with heroin he felt he was purchasing 12 hours of oblivion
  • Jared continued to use heroin, but as he puts it, “ the effects diminished as the consequences increased”
  • These consequences included selling his possessions to get heroin and by the age of 22 he was homeless and living on skid row
  • Heroin was still effective in completely numbing him from reality – the reality that he was homeless, penniless and without a family member to turn to…
  • However, by the age of 25, reality was getting through so he began taking multiple drugs to block it out
  • The consequences got more serious and he ended up spending time in jail and suffering serious health problems
  • He would black out and wake up with injuries – once he lost a toe, and another time he woke up with a serious facial injury
  • That was when he finally decided to consider the idea of getting clean
  • He managed to get sober via a state-funded rehab where he lived for four months
  • There are only four state-funded rehabs in California and many more for-profit rehabs
  • On the subject of rehabs, Jared gave us some shocking information about corruption in the rehab industry
  • Quote from one of Jared’s articles: “the rehab industry has become nothing more than a glorified insurance scam with a terrible success rate… ..despite making billions upon billions of dollars. Can you imagine paying $30,000 for something that doesn’t work 90% of the time? Yet new rehabs are popping up almost daily with no sign of slowing”
  • When Jared got clean, he longed for tangible things, he wanted a job and somewhere to live… he had no idea of the intangible benefits that would come his way. A sense of self-worth, the ability to love himself and the joy that comes from helping others
  • Apart from helping others to get clean, Jared is influencing policy decisions and feels there is currently a political will to change the current situation
  • People and companies are leaving California which is reducing tax income, forcing politicians to come up with solutions
  • That’s why he feels that politicians are open to dialogue with someone like him … someone who understands addiction and homelessness from the inside
  • Jared has plenty of ideas to bring about social change which he writes about in his book The Crooked Smile which will be published in 2024
  • His articles can be read via Substack, he is on TW @jaredklickstein and his email is…jklickst@nullgmail.com

More Info

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