How 2021 saved my life from Death — My journey from Darkness to Recovery ❤

Artur Minacov
7 min readJul 23, 2022

I am officially 1 year sober today! I can not believe how much a life can change in such a short period of time after being lost in the darkness for over 6 years. I wake up every single day thankful and full of gratitude.

This is my journey:

I come from a modest Eastern European immigrant family. We moved to Canada in 2001 seeking better future and a better education system for my sister and I. To be very honest, I had the perfect childhood, full of love and amazing parents/friends that cared about me.

My parents sent me to private schools, but I quickly realized that gaming and hockey, is what I really cared about. I been playing Counter-Strike since I was 5 year old. Started my first company at the age of 14 running game servers and web hosting services for Counter-Strike communities.

I was 19 year old when I quit business school and decided to start my first tech startup in the fashion business. My first mistake was chasing the money, and not adding any real value to the community I was involved in. Long story short, I declared bankruptcy the next year and moved back to my parents house playing video games every single day.

One year into the bankruptcy, I was running a game hosting company, when I was introduced to John. It did not take long before we came up with OPSkins Marketplace, which as most of you are aware became an instant success. With over 8,000,000 users and a daily revenue ranging in the millions, I felt like the company I built did not excite me anymore, I was too pre-occupied by looking like a “King” and partying all the time. I sold all of my shares in 2017, which without my knowledge at that time, ended up breaking me even more.

As a kid, I always wanted to be loved, to be part of something bigger, to belong. When I went from a 19 year old bankrupt to a 21 year old millionaire, I instantly had fame, money, women & I started partying with celebrities. Drinking like a fish, doing drugs & being surrounded by beautiful women were now my daily habits.

Obviously, this is the moment in my life when things really started to went sideways. I was out partying every single day or two. Starting my night in one city, ending it in a whole other country. Traveling all the time for no reason, ignoring my duties as a Founder more and more. There was something that was pushing me towards all of this fake pleasure, fake happiness state, something really berried deep within.

At the age of 23, I went to my first rehab… well if you can call that a rehab. I was there for 3 day, and told myself I am better than “these” people. I am not an addict. The only reason I did it was because I had a new relationship, and wanted to please/secure her. Every addict that have had a big positive change in their lives can quit drinking, but it is a matter of time before the old habits are back …

Here I am, back where I started. But in a worst state than ever because I obviously lost the girl, lost most of money that I made, and I was living alone in a very big house. Things did not get better either. Everything about that house reminded me of my relationship. I was partying harder than ever, so I could not feel a thing. I wanted to feel completely NUMB. It was a scary moment of my life. I decided to sell the house, and move to a smaller condo near my parents. I needed a new focus, and this is the moment I started THESPIKE.GG

First year of running spike went well, but I quickly got back into my old habits. Forgetting my daily duties as a Founder, and as someone you can count on. Someone who was a dreamer, and showing the path to people. This period of my life was the peak of my darkness. I really reached my rock bottom. I was exposed in the press, got cancelled for my addict habits, was forced to sell the company and the best in all of this was my priceless response to the situation: Drink more, do more drugs than someone can survive from, and blame everyone else but me… Oh dear addicts! Don’t we love to blame everything and everyone else but us? Its because of this, and that.. blah blah blah! When the only one to blame was: Me!

Reaching my rock bottom really got me thinking. I was crying every single day, trying to hurt myself in anyways possible through my addiction. I knew I was lost, and I knew that I needed help. Without even knowing, I completed my first step of recovery: Admitting you have a problem, and that you need help.

I signed up for an intensive 21 day rehab at Les Maisons Péladeau. I can not tell you guys enough how much this decision saved my life from a certain death. I made peace with my past, made amends with the people I've hurt over the years, and I really got into the whole AA & NA movement. I even lost 20 pounds playing sports daily with the amazing group of brothers that I met there. I went as far as reading a ton of books about meditation, spirituality and my addiction! I was truly reborn!

Post rehab has been great for me. Life is beautiful. The universe is bigger and more rewarding than we think. Since I got clean & sober, I can feel that life is full of happy moments and I can feel that it is talking to me. Sending me hundreds of signs that everything is great, that I am on the path and that I should trust the timing, reminded me that all I really needed to do is to stay in the present moment. Do not think too much of your past, and do not focus too much ahead in the future. We are all chasing happiness, it is after all one of the main goals in life, but on my god that we all complicate it so much! Happiness is not about how much money you make, or how good looking partner you have. Happiness is in the smaller things, it is in the present moment, it is what you do RIGHT NOW, the experience you share with your close ones, or as simply as you spending an hour or two doing what you like, what passions you the most. Stop overthinking and just live, meditate, be aware of your surroundings, just be AWAKE.

When I came out of my therapy, I was already thinking of my next moves in the business World, when a good friend of mine from Los Angeles called and pitched me an idea for a new business he wanted to start with me. The rest is now history. Today, I am happy, healthy and building the future of gaming with NEWGEN LABS & THE FORGE ARENA.

I really hope that my journey will help other addicts like me to find their own path to recovery. Trust me, I felt like I was a lost cause, but if I can do it, you guys can do it as well! Do not be scared to ask for help, and if you feel like you need to speak to someone, but you have no one around that you can trust, please… please do yourself a huge favor and send me an email over artur.minacov@gmail.com and I would love to just listen & give you my advice based on my own path to recovery. The best gift you can do yourself is to get clean & sober and take a step back, listen to the Universe, and stay AWAKE! ❤

WE ARE ALL GOING TO MAKE IT (WAAGMI)

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Artur Minacov

Medium is my diary — Documenting my state of mind and my path as an Entrepreneur. I am a gamer, and I like to build cool products in niche markets.