From Crack Cocaine to Bodybuilder

Introducing our guest who grew up in Pensacola, Florida. He is a graduate of Woodham High School, class of ’80. He played football at Hampton University in Virginia. He served four years in the US Air Force. Despite every obstacle that came his way, he continued to be a true son, brother, father, and friend. He’s been married for 17 years to his lovely wife, Melissa. They have five beautiful children, four girls, one boy. He’s described as being a great human being and a breath of fresh air. Our guest enjoys bodybuilding, and also, he is associated with the Supernatural Bodybuilding, which is a Christian-based organization. And he has participated in several competitions with OCB Professional Bodybuilding Organizations. Please, welcome Carlton Andy Shoemoe.

What Did The Path of Destruction Look Like, and How Did it Make You Feel?

I’ll tell you what, when you are on that path, you see nothing, but it’s dark. You see no light. I mean, sometimes you see a glimmer, but you’re like, either I’m going to beat this or I’m going to die. Then, it was an option. You’re gone. You can go or take yourself out, but it was ugly. You had to face it; you’re full of shame. That was the ugliest time. It was very dark. That’s the best way I could describe it. One thing I could say about crack cocaine, it takes you to a bottom real quick. It doesn’t take years and years. It’ll take you there in months. It took me to the bottom quickly.

The Effects of His Drug Addiction, On His Marriage and His Relationship With Your Daughter?

It put a strain on my marriage, but now and then, my wife would try to use it with me, and we would neglect our daughter. We would leave her to stay with your grandmamma and, we’d get loaded. I’m just going to be straight with you. Eva, my child, sometimes, she went with me to pick up drugs. Fortunately, she’s a forgiving child too. It caused us to separate three or four times. I would be moving to get high without her, and I didn’t have any responsibility.

She was born into my drug addiction. Oh. I went intense with it went deep with it when she was about two. that went on for the next

]our years. She remembers it too. She does not remember watching me get loaded, but she can remember daddy acting funny. She would always ask me. “What’s wrong, daddy?”. This shows that even though we think our children may be too young to comprehend what we’re doing, they may not comprehend, but they know that something is going on.

Working During Addition

I was a functional junkie. I mean, I had my days where I took off or tried to blame it on something else. I worked, and people knew something was going on, and they would tell me, this is not you, man. What’s going on? And even at the time, my dad was still working out there too, at the meet. He’d get funny looks, like something going on with your son, you know?

I still have this job today. I would say I was one of the blessed people who could continue with their current employer and still be employed throughout my drug use and addiction. Because that is one thing a lot of people do is they really, they mess up at work and end up getting fired because they do exactly what you just described. They call in for work. They’re missing work a lot. It ends up for many people being the end of the road for them at their place of employment. They were accepting of people coming forward and say, look, I got a drug problem or look, I got an alcohol problem. And they bent as much as they could to help me out. They put me through rehab twice. Not once, but twice because I went to them and said, Hey, I got a problem. The second time’s the charm.

Was The Drug Addition Because of Your Environment or Just Your Own Doing?

My parents did not do drugs. They were the type, maybe have a glass of wine here and there or a beer, you know? And that’s all that was accepted. That’s as far as you were going to go to their house. At first, I tried to blame them, where you didn’t come to my graduation. So no, that didn’t work. You can blame them for everything, but we grew up in a middle-class neighborhood, as you said. The majority of people that were raising kids there were military retirees. Did you remember that? And so those are the men that came to make a living for their families, hardworking men. So I can never blame my upbringing at all. To this day, they still are beautiful people. Very wonderful.

Relationship With Parents During Drug Addiction

You know how they always say, you think they don’t know, but they knew. My dad broke me down one day. He said, promise me one thing. I said, what? He said stop getting loaded. I knew me, and I was struggling. He took me to rehab the first time. He said I’m going to take you. It was heartbreaking, watching him walk away. But he had his days, because of people saying, your son, I think he out here getting high. But they stuck with me. They prayed, even when I got clean, I went, I would stay with them sometime. I wake up in the morning and get ready to go to work. I see my daddy down on his knees. I knew I was in their prayers. I knew I was probably the head of the prayer. But through prayer and patience, and he tells me today, yeah, I’m very proud of you, son. They have been very instrumental in my recovery.

I encourage family members to not give up on your loved one who is addicted to drugs. Continue to pray for them; continue to support them because they need that support. I think that makes a lot of difference in your recovery. That instead of talking about you or throwing you to the side and just saying or giving up hope that you would ever overcome this, they must continue to pray for you and support the person who is struggling with drug abuse and addiction.

How The Addition Started

I was 13 and wanted to be accepted in a crowd. I was hanging around people with light skin. It’s just crazy. I’m just going to be straight with you. We were considered unacceptable looking, so I thought, okay, well, if I can’t hang with you, good looking folks. I can hang with the guys that’s smoking pot, and I was accepted in that crowd. So, that’s the crowd I stuck around.

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