A former heroin addict who lost a decade of his life to ‘a syringe’ while sleeping on the streets has now started an online network for recovering addicts.
Long Island, New York native Kevin Alter, 31, first dabbled in cocaine with friends when he was just 17 and quickly became hooked.
But it wasn’t until he tried heroin during college that things spiraled out of control, and he spent the next 12 years in a world of homelessness, crippling addiction and 29 rehab stints.
‘I started pretty much straight with heroin, and so from there heroin would take over my life for the next 11 years,’ Kevin told Fox News.
‘I lost my entire 20s to a syringe and a bag of heroin,’ he added.
Kevin, now three years sober, was inspired to start a blog helping others to open up about their addiction, amassing more than 570,000 followers on Facebook.
He now speaks in schools across the US to help with drug prevention — but there was a time when his family was forced to cut ties with him due to his habit.
Kevin says he missed years of family birthdays and special occasions while he slept in a train station in Queens while trying to make money to get his next hit.
And it wasn’t until he was living in a stairwell in the Bronx with a friend he had met in detox that it hit him that he needed help.
‘Every bridge had been burned, but someone presented me with an opportunity to go to treatment and they offered to come [and]get me,’ he said.
Kevin said that he ‘thought he was going to be a heroin addict forever,’ but when he was asked to write down his life story in rehab, he was shocked when he could only think of five milestones.
His therapist later asked him the reason he got high, and it dawned on him that he had never thought about it before.
Once Kevin understood that it was low self-esteem that had pushed him towards drugs, he began to learn how to love himself while sober.
Kevin has since started The Addicts Diary, and now he helps addicts as well as friends and family who want to help their loved ones.
‘The most common call I get is a mom [who]wants their kid to get help and has the means and can afford to get help but can’t get the kid to accept help, and they’re just getting run over by their kids,’ he said.
Hundreds of people have posted stories about their recovery, which has inspired others to get help.
Kevin says the page has lead to his career as an inspirational speaker, and he’s told his story to more than 50,000 students to date.