I’ve never been much of a blogger, so when I realized I had to opportunity to write a blog post, I obviously reacted with nothing but excitement. Excitement, that is, until I realized that these blog posts seem to have one thing in common: an element of writing about ourselves. But then I reminded myself that I write almost exclusively creative nonfiction. Writing about myself is what I do. And upon that realization, the pressure only increased.

I am not a traditional creative writing MFA student if there is such a thing. I didn’t write as a child. I didn’t write as a teenager. I didn’t start writing until I was 23 (I’m now 28). And there are moments—as those who have been in class with me can attest to—that it shows.

I do, however, like to believe that what I lack in experience, I make up for in passion. That isn’t, of course, to say that I work harder or do more than anyone else in the program, or that I care about writing more, but rather that I’ve found writing to be my lifeline. Without it—brace for corniness and cliché—I very well may be dead.

I got into drugs at a young age and found myself addicted to heroin before graduating high school. This addiction lasted about eight years and would likely have killed me if it weren’t for my sister, who lived in Fort Collins and attended CSU herself, and who also offered me the chance at a fresh start.

Now, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a fresh start per se. I’d love to say addiction doesn’t define me, but here we are—in a blog post that does not have to touch on it at all—talking about it. Clearly, it does define me in ways, but what writing, and the CSU MFA program (shameless plug) has allowed me to do is to gain something from these dark years of my life, to grow from them.

The people I’ve met through this program, faculty and students alike, have helped me to see myself as more than just a former addict, as more than a late bloomer to the world of writing. The opportunity provided to me by professors and peers has allowed me the confidence to move past my history and given me the chance to create a new future for myself. The welcoming nature of every person in this program is something I’ve never before experienced, never knew was out there. This new world that I’ve become a part of is both more than I deserve and exactly what I needed, and I couldn’t be more grateful and excited to spend the next few years of my life with my new family at CSU.

Mike Moening is a first year creative non fiction candidate at CSU | mmoening@rams.colostate.edu