Life-gripping addictions knocked them down, but they’re back on their feet again

Published 11:12 am Thursday, September 5, 2019

He couldn’t keep from getting arrested in Oxford with multiple felonies on his record, including four public intoxication charges, burglaries, simple assault and also assault on a police officer. He was arrested seven times between 2015 and 2017. He missed 31 days of class in a semester.

His dependence on Xanax started when he was in high school.

“I had a really bad problem,” Peeler said. “I would text stuff. I would put stuff on social media. I would ruin relationships with people. I sent some of the meanest stuff out there to everybody and I’d wake up, and be like, ‘hmm.’

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“I’d take another Xanax bar to forget about it.”

An addicts’ system

Peeler said he hit bottom while going through the drug court program, being randomly drug tested as part of his probation. He Googled ways that he could drink a six-pack of beer and still pass his screenings. His research led to a complicated, intense regimen that worked for him, but only for a while.

If he drank a six-pack, he’d have to run 4 miles the same day, run 4 miles the next morning, spend an hour in a sauna or steam room, eat a certain amount of protein and down two pots of coffee within an hour of providing a sample. It was tricky because he never knew when he was going to be called in for a test.

This cycle continued for a few months until he had an epiphany.

“I went through all that Google process and the research and had to learn all of that just to try to drink a six-pack,” Peeler said. “That’s when it hit me that I was an addict.”

But learning you’re an addict isn’t always enough to get someone into recovery. Peeler kept going, even though the screenings gave him anxiety to the point he would throw up before giving his sample. He kept hoping he could keep this up.