My name is Derrick Vaughn my sobriety date is 8/11/21. I have a home group, service position, and a sponsor. I’m from Nashville, TN. I grew up without my dad in my life. He was a very abusive alcoholic, and my mother left him when I was 2. My mother sacrificed a lot for me to have a great childhood in the suburbs. She attended 12 step meetings when I was a child. My brother and I were the kids running around at meetings, crawling under the tables, and enjoying cookouts. So, as an adult I knew I had arrived when I found AA. I was already familiar with it. In my younger days I grew up working in gardens with my grandad. He would have us pull onions, weeds and pick grapes from the vineyard. We would get 10 for a dollar candy from the general store in return. We would go home and watch Saved By The Bell, Baywatch, and Walker Texas Ranger We would pig out on our candy and play video games. We build forts out of sticks and rode bicycles until the streetlight came on. That’s when we knew it was time to come home. We also grew up in an amphitheater where my grandad worked. He was an usher. We would sit and watch all the Broadway plays; Phantom of The Opera, Nutcracker, Peter Pan, Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, Annie, Stomp, etc. I grew up in a small town called Fairview where there was one stop light. In my hometown we loved sports. It was all about football for me. I was a very good football player with a promising future. I had recruiters watching me at an early age but it would all come to end. I had my first drink of alcohol at the age of 14 in the locker room in middle school. I smoked Marijuana for the first time at age 11. I was a full blown alcoholic and cocaine addict by the age of 15. This is also when my father came back into my life. I moved to Nashville with him and that’s when my disease took off. I was now in the heart of the big city where all the drugs were. I found out I came from a poor family. We struggled to survive. Sometimes the lights would be cut off. We lived off food stamps. All I knew was to use drugs and sell drugs to survive. I chose to quit school for this lifestyle. I did end up moving back to my mother’s and graduated by the skin of my teeth. After school I ended up back at my fathers in the big city of Nashville where I was introduced to the sex trade. I would do sex shows for money in front of clients to support my drug habit. This was with a high school sweetheart who was an escort. This life became very miserable very quick. Luckily, I got out before it got too bad. She was later arrested, then she tried to get clean but lost her life to this disease. I also lost my father and grandfather to the disease of alcoholism. I would say my alcoholism is hereditary. In 2017 I found out one of my football teammates was an undrafted free agent for the Kansas City Chiefs. This crushed me because I had so much potential and was just as good if not better. Come to find out he did not make the cut. I felt bad for him and wanted to see him succeed even though my dreams were crushed due to my poor choices.

My alcoholism beat me to my knees. I was homeless suffering from psychosis and nowhere to turn. All I knew was I wanted to be with my mother for support through this miserable time. My best intentions brought me to Frederick, Maryland. All I could think is freedom from my disease. I love Frederick. I feel like I was working step 3 and didn’t realize it yet. I had made a decision to turn my life over to a God of my understanding. Though I would have one more run in me and a test from the devil and alcohol. Cunning, baffling, powerful and insidious. I checked in to Mountain Manor twice. The second time something finally worked. I became willing to work the program and 12 steps of AA. I spent 4 months in a treatment facility where I learned a lot about myself. I was diagnosed with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) in which I have dealt with all my life. I couldn’t have done this without my peer support group from Mountain Manor. I would like to personally thank my counselors Derek, Amanda, Kara, Brendan and Brittany. Also, I would like to thank Up & Out Sober Living. My life has changed for the better. This past year I have obtained my first drivers license and my second car thanks to Second Chance Garage. I have played in a sober softball league. I learned that you can have fun in sobriety and not be a glum lot. I couldn’t have done this without the Grace of God and my beautiful mother. Thank you all so much and thanks for letting me share