The Akin boys probably don’t know it, but they have always been very special to me. I watched them grow up, watched them play ball. I know their parents, taught their mom and her sisters, and I know their grandparents and other extended family members. None of that, however, is why I feel them so special. No, Chance, Aaron, and Eric just have that special “something” about them, and that’s the best I can do.
The family, Comanche natives, moved back to Comanche when middle son, Aaron, was three. The boys all attended Comanche ISD, and they were all fun, polite kids. And then, Aaron went into the ninth grade at Comanche High School.
“My brother, Chance, was a senior when I was a freshman. I knew all of his friends and that is who I began to hang out with,” Aaron told me. “Chance had a girlfriend who he was always with so he wasn’t a part of the group…just his friends.”
Of course, that was the first red flag, and yet it’s so easy for younger children to be comfortable with the older kids who have just always “been around.”
One night after a party Aaron was tired and ready to go home. He suggested to an older friend that they head home. Instead, the friend told him he had something that would cure tiredness and gave him an Adderall, a prescription drug used to treat narcolepsy and ADHD.
And sure enough, Aaron says that only one pill made him feel on top of the world, happy, excited to be alive. Bottom line…he liked it.
“I continued to hang with that older friend, and we just kept partying, drinking, and he liked to smoke weed. I did smoke it a couple of times but I didn’t like that downer feeling.
“He was a senior when I was a sophomore, and we continued to hang out. Adderall and pot led to hydrocodone. If I snorted it, it was an upper. If I popped it, it was a downer.”
Those were the drugs Aaron used his sophomore year, and then the friend graduated…and Aaron kept on doing drugs.
“My junior year I began using coke and bath salts, an artificial cocaine. [Being artificial in drugs is just like foods…it’s even worse for you.] After a while, you just get to where you don’t care. I quit sports so that I could work enough to pay for my drugs, which became the most important thing in my life.
“When I first started snorting, I was scared, but by my junior year, I wasn’t scared at all. You snorted these things just like Adderall, and I was used to that.
“I didn’t use meth because I knew enough to be scared of that. Besides I didn’t want my teeth to rot out!”
Aaron’s senior year was a repeat of the others. Then, about graduation, Aaron quit the coke and the bath salts, an amazing feat in itself. He was still drinking and doing some hydrocodone, but not really anything else until he went to college, and it started all over again, mostly bath salts because that was all he could afford.
Throughout his year in Tulsa at the Tulsa Oklahoma Welding School, the drugs and alcohol continued.
“When I graduated and came back to Comanche, I rented a house, got a job, and continued partying without doing drugs because the man I worked for [Jackie Middleton] was REALLY strict, and I didn’t dare use. I looked up to him because he had always been really nice to me when I was younger.”
Then…and there is always a then, isn’t there….?
“By this time, I was working for someone else when a man asked me and a couple of friends to work on his truck. We were working and drinking beer about 9:30 at night and the man told me to get in his back seat. I did, and there was my college friend in the vehicle. He and the man were smoking meth out of a pipe. He told me to hit the pipe, but I didn’t want to do that.
“My college friend already knew I wouldn’t smoke it and he pulled out some that was ready to snort, and I agreed. That meth kept me up for over 18 hours before I crashed. When I woke up, I went to a party, and my college friend was there, and he wanted me to do meth again. I explained that I didn’t want to spend the money. But…when he gave me some, I used it.
“It sounds stupid, but I was afraid I would get addicted so I wouldn’t buy any. But when he gave me some, I used it, thinking if I didn’t buy it, I wouldn’t get hooked! STUPID!
“This started me using the meth, not always every day, but I got to where if I didn’t use it, I could feel myself getting angry, having outbursts, etc. and I decided that I had to start buying the stuff. That was in May of 2012, and I used through the night of August 23. On that night I ran into an old friend who could tell that I was drunk and high, and he told me just how disappointed he was in me, and I knew I had to stop.
“I sobered up on August 24, and I sent a text to all my buddies, telling them I was through. I didn’t want them texting me because I was through with alcohol and meth. I quit both at the same time, which was stupid, but I didn’t know it at the time.
“I didn’t use either. The first two days I was sick and didn’t eat or drink. On the third day, I was better, but I was craving the meth. The beer and the partying I was through with, but I was craving the meth although I stayed off of it for two weeks.
“Then, I started again, no drinking, no partying, but using by myself since I didn’t have any friends because my buddies that I had partied with didn’t want to be around me if I wasn’t partying.
“Just doing meth and working was my life. Then Macey Hardin [a friend from high school] found out that I had quit partying and that no one was hanging out with me. She invited me to her church, where her dad was a minister. I was still doing meth, but not drinking. Like that’s good or something!” he laughed.
So Aaron agreed to go to the youth fellowship with Macey one Saturday night, and her dad invited him to Sunday’s service.
“I was high that night, and I would have agreed to anything. Besides, I didn’t have any friends, and I didn’t have anything else to do so I agreed.”
“I didn’t use anything Sunday morning before church, but after church, I did. I liked the service Sunday morning, and I went again on Wednesday. Every time the doors were open I went, but I was still using. Then, I sat down and told Brother Hardin that I needed help, and he prayed for me and I lost my cravings for the meth. I told him that I wanted to be baptized, and he told me that I couldn’t be baptized until I repented of my sins.
So he prayed, and I repented. We had a Bible study the next day, and he asked what I knew about the Bible.
“What do you know about Jesus?”
“What do you know about God?”
“And then Brother Hardin cheered. I asked him why and he said because we were going to start from scratch, and we did. He got a dry board, and we began studying, starting from the first. Finally, I got it, and I was baptized on November 11, 2012. I’ve been clean ever since.”
And if you think I can type these words without tears rolling, you are sadly mistaken. Aaron Akin today works in Brownwood for Kohler. He has bought a home in Comanche and will close on it this month. Other than that, he simply does not worry about what is ahead.
“I’ll just let God lead me,” he smiled serenely.
And if I knew what to do to save our young people from the drugs that seem to plague their lives, I’d be the first to do whatever it would take. Unfortunately, like you, I don’t have that answer…but God does, of that I am very, very sure.
Aren’t you thankful for Second Chances?