What part of NC are you from? I lived in Fayetteville for a few years, but have fished from Cape Lookout to Spruce Pine. Lots of fishing out there! If you are close to the coast, forget about trout and get yourself an 8wt and a kayak and hit the intercostal.
Like yellowlab, I too have lived in and did a lot of fishing in NC. It looks likely have a solid start already. I wish I had picked it up when I was your age.
South Mountains state park has some good water; both wild and stocked.
Don't overlook your own backyard. A load of good options for warm water fly fishing. Do some research and scouting you will find those special spots for when it is too hot for trout or a 3-4 hour drive to the mountains or coast isn't in the cards. If that special spot has smallies, you're in for a real treat.
Really nice intro kid, it was a pleasure to read. Since you're literate and can communicate clearly and concisely you probably would have had a great financial future, but now that you have lost your innocence to the evils of western flyfishing you will probably just end up as a dissipated and bleary-eyed hackle junkie wandering along streambanks in damp and moldy jeans looking for your next fix - the surging hookup to a big fish.
Not to worry though. It could be worse. You could have ended up as a successful businessman chained to a desk.