The Love Central - Chris Carberg's Addiction Recovery Story
Addiction recovery story

Chris Carberg’s Addiction Triumph: Journey to Transformation and Resilience

Addiction definitely makes it hard to have genuine relationships because you’re keeping so many secrets.
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Addiction is one of the major triggers for mental health challenges and recovering from it is no easy feat. According to the UNODC World Drug Report, nearly 40 million people globally struggled with a substance use disorder in 2023.

This interview explores the recovery journey of Chris Carberg, founder of AddictionHelp.com and a grateful recovering addict of over 19 years.

The Love Central - Chris Carberg Addiction recovery story
An interview with Chris Carberg as he recounts his battle with addiction

Chris’ Early Life and Introduction to Addiction

Growing up in Coral Springs, South Florida, Chris was the perfect definition of a normal kid. He was the least likely to get into trouble, active in sports and stage performance in high school, and passionate about helping people.

Chris recalled that his passion for helping people began in elementary school, where he put on puppet shows for kids in the special needs class. 

After moving to college, Chris got hooked on prescription drugs after being prescribed them for migraine headaches.

I never imagined I would have to deal with addiction because I didn’t do illegal drugs and considered myself pretty risk-averse. But there I was, in the heat of the opioid crisis, finding myself addicted to painkillers and sleep medication.

Chris Carberg
The Love Central - An interview with Chris Carberg as he recounts his battle with Addiction.
Image credit The Love Central

The Turning Point: Chris’ Healing Journey

Chris’s healing journey started after one serious semi-overdose event, which led to hospitalization. Waking up to see the faces of his parents, Chris let go of the burden in his heart and poured out the truth to them. 

My folks gave me the opportunity to go to a detox center, and I have been sober ever since (February 2005). Addiction definitely makes it hard to have genuine relationships because you’re keeping so many secrets.

Chris Carberg

Chris explains that one thing that changed when he got sober was that no matter the situation, he was going to tell the truth, even if it meant being vulnerable.

Support System: Family’s Role in Chris’ Recovery

Recalling the supportive role of his parents during his recovery, Chris noted that he wouldn’t have gotten sober without his mom or dad. “Thank God, they saw the brokenness in my eyes and believed I could recover,” he said.

Chris explains that his mom never knew anything about the addiction life but she dove in head first to participate in his recovery.

He recalled that the best thing his dad always told him as a little boy was that there’s nothing we can’t handle TOGETHER. “When the lies finally stopped and I could tell him the truth, he believed in me, and he did so when nobody else could,”  Chris said.

Though the process didn’t happen overnight, Chris had to consciously rebuild relationships he had harmed due to his lies and deceit.

When the lies finally stopped, I could tell him the truth.

– Chris Carberg

The Love Central - Addiction story of Chris Carberg

Understanding Mental Health Issues in Addiction

Chris expressed concern that “each year, the line between mental health issues and addiction gets thinner and thinner, so much so that sometimes it appears like there is no line at all.”

He noted that the latency period of recovery and learning about oneself often reveals ongoing mental health issues you didn’t even know about at the time. Chris’ case was believed to be specifically tied to borderline personality disorder. But at the time, it seemed just like a dependence issue that spiraled into addiction.

Chris explains that, 19 years later, he can see the clear issues he didn’t realize. The good news, according to him, is that the more we learn about mental health and its impact on chemical and behavioral addiction, the more tools are created to face it. 

“I am a major advocate for dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), for instance, which I had no clue existed previously!” He said.

Self-Love and Sobriety: Rediscovering Identity

According to Chris, it’s hard to stay sober when you can’t stand yourself. 

The first year of my recovery was a rediscovery of who I am, who God made me to be, and a time when I learned to enjoy my own company.

Chris carberg

He explains that previously, being alone was when he used drugs or drank. But now, just being with himself and learning to appreciate his uniqueness has helped him build a foundation on which to stay sober long-term.

The Love Central - An interview quote from Chris Carberg as he recounts his battle with Addiction.
Image credit The Love Central

Lessons Learned in Addiction Recovery

Reflecting on his journey, Chris said, “It’s been over 19 years now, and I feel like I always keep learning new things.” 

He noted that the most important habits he learned in recovery are to:

  • Keep Moving: This is because when he feels uncomfortable being still, getting up and doing something (anything!) can keep him from making unhealthy decisions. 

  • Keep Working: Chris explains that when he got sober, he thought that was the end of that chapter, but in reality, it was the start of all sorts of new chapters of working on himself, digging deeper to find the dark corners within him that had yet to be explored.

  • Keep Serving: I am usually at my happiest and healthiest when thinking of someone else and showing compassion for them,” he explains. However, that’s not to say you should give it all away and leave nothing for yourself. Chris noted that you can’t pour from an empty vessel, but serving others puts you in the right posture to make good decisions yourself.

  • Keep God First: I have had a great deal of success in the past 5-7 years as an entrepreneur, but no matter what I experience or achieve, it is fleeting and short-lived. When I am focused on my spiritual relationship with God, though, it feels much deeper.” Said Chris.

Overcoming the Shame and Stigma of Addiction

Explaining how he overcame the shame and guilt of addiction, Chris noted that he had to first accept the reasonable shame surrounding addiction. “I was a liar, a thief, and almost a murderer (of myself with my actions).” He says. 

He emphasized that those behaviors and the awful things he did were reasonable things to feel some level of shame about, but he didn’t stay there.

The biggest way I countered the shame and stigma was by not allowing my addiction to be a sideline secret. I told anyone and everyone about it because THAT is the best way to humanize the battle.

chris carberg

Firmly standing on his father’s words that a problem shared is a problem cut in half, Chris believes that sharing your journey not only inspires others but also reduces the burden off of you.

The Love Central -
Image credit The Love Central

Chris Carberg’s Reflection on Personal Growth

Chris shared some of his biggest lessons about himself, relationships, and overall wellness.

I’ve learned that I’m a life worth saving, and all addicts are as well! I learned that I needed a wife who was strong where I was weak. I learned that I am more likely to make poor decisions in some scenarios.

chris carberg

While he doesn’t drink, smoke, or do any drugs, Chris admits that he has battled binge eating behaviors. He noted that there’s always work to be done, so one has to keep searching, digging, and hunting.

He emphasized that just like our homes need spring cleaning and regular tidying so as not to get out of order, applying regular work to our lives through spiritual (prayer, meditation), psychological (what we think and where we place our attention), and physical (what we eat, getting sleep, taking medications) will help us declutter our lives.

Conclusion: A Message of Hope and Support

Chris’s story is one of hope and resilience. He overcame addiction and built a fulfilling life by leveraging his support system, prioritizing mental health, and practicing self-compassion. His message to you and anyone struggling with addiction is that you are not alone. There is hope for recovery, and the first step is reaching out to addictionhelp.com for free resources and services.

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