Two months later, on July 14, 2001, I blacked out during a drug-induced haze and crashed my car into a tree. I was bleeding and missing my two front teeth, but I fled the accident scene. In the meantime, my parents received a late night phone call from the police. "We found your son's car totaled on the side of the road and there is blood inside," the officer said. "But we don't know where your son is."
Soon after, the police picked me up in the center of town and brought me to the scene of the accident where my parents and an ambulance were waiting. I begged my mother to sign me out of the ambulance for fear of going to the hospital and having everyone find out what was in my system. She looked at me, held her ground, and responded, "Greg, no. Not this time. You need help." Waking up in the emergency room and seeing my family in tears made me realize, for the first time, that I was not only hurting myself. My addiction was tearing my family apart.
I agreed to attend to a five-day inpatient program, but my goal wasn't to get sober. I felt I owed it to my family to at least go, and I feared legal charges from the accident. It was there, though, that my family, sister, and a social worker held a meeting with me that I will never forget. They wanted me to go to Caron Treatment Center in Pennsylvania and spend a month at an inpatient chemical dependency rehabilitation program. I didn't want to go. What changed my mind was when Natalie turned to me and said, "Greg, I'd rather you go to jail than come back home, because at least that way I'd know you were safe." That hit me hard.