Addiction, it comes in many forms and yet everyone thinks it’ll never happen to them. Truth is…it has, many times over.
Just as your addicted to cigarettes, coffee, gum, or sex… I was addicted to heroin. And as with any addiction, quitting was a priority for my health, however unlike coffee, or cigarettes, if I quit…I could die.
First lets go back to the beginning, that’s always a great place to start. I was 16yrs old and experimenting with everything. I was dating an older man (20 yrs old) so I was meeting older friends as well. I became really close to a girl we will call “Taylor” (for privacy reasons) and Taylor was a few years older than me but was one of the coolest and most loyal friends I had ever met, but then again I was 16 so what the hell did I know.
So a year later I’m 17, I have a kid, my boyfriend is abusive as hell and has introduced me to Xanax, opiates, and everything he takes for fun. I particularly liked opiates. They made the bruises hurt less, and the emotional pain feel less all consuming than before. I was numb and it was a world better than feeling what I was feeling sober.
So after leaving him and getting my own place, Taylor introduces me to heroin. She said it’s stronger when you shoot it up but I can snort it if I want to. I elected to snort it, I felt like the needle was what made it so bad but snorting it was just like a pill. Boy was I wrong.
Heroin became the only thing that mattered to me. Without it I was not only sick with fevers, chills, vomiting, and in physical pain, but I could actually feel the world around me and at that time, that was not a good feeling.
Eventually snorting wasn’t giving me the high I was used to, and I began contemplating the needle. That’s when Taylor told me how easy it was to do and how easy they were to get. I was in a career program for nursing through my high school, and boom, phlebotomy happened.
Phlebotomy is the study of taking bodily fluids for medical purposes such as urine analysis, or drawing blood. Next thing you know, I have a 10pk of unused needles in my possession and I’m starting to feel sick. Taylor was in nursing school so she agreed to shoot me up my first time and show me how to do it myself.
This is where the story goes dark. Reader discretion from here on is advised.
That first rush from the needle put me in a whirlwind of peace, tranquility, relaxation, and pure unfiltered freedom.
I felt like nothing could ever hurt me again. I fell in love with it. She was my mistress and I was her slave. Heroin. From there on, I did what I had to do to make sure I had her at least 3x a day. everything from selling my belongings, to making and dealing other drugs, to offering myself in exchange for a good amount of her to keep me “straight”.
After a few years, I went from having my own three-bedroom condo, raising my kids, having a job, and being normal, to living in a studio apartment with my ex-boyfriend next door to a crackhead, I lost custody of my kids, lost my job, was now a stripper to pay for my addiction.
I had tried to quit more times than I can count but the withdrawal was so terrible I couldn’t make it more than 3 days.
First the chills, then fevers, then body aches, nausea, restless leg syndrome in my entire body, loss of appetite, seizures, and so much more. I had to make it stop. Then one day after hearing a doctor tell me my body was in such bad shape not only may I never have kids again, But that I had an immune deficiency because I had cancer cells my body could no longer fight I decided I had to stop.
I called a detox center at 2:30am and was told to call back in the morning to see if they had an available bed. I did as I was told. I left at 2pm the next day, mid withdrawal in day 2 of being sick. i was puking in the lobby, shivering, begging for help.
They let me sit and wait. I could’ve left I could’ve gotten high and made it stop, But I didn’t want to die. not again.
I had already overdosed a total of 9 times, and been clinically dead twice. I didn’t want to risk it again. I didn’t want to be nodding out and accidentally setting my bed on fire with a cigarette, I didn’t wanna be dancing on a pole at 1am trying to make another $20 for a bag. I wanted to stop.
After 3 days in detox curled up around the drain in the bathroom vomiting non stop I was able to actually meet the other patients. I heard stories just like mine. I knew I wasn’t alone anymore and other people hurt too. I made it through detox for 10 days. Then it was time to go home.
I threw away every needle, broke my phone in half, and packed my things and moved home to my mom’s house.
The first two years were the hardest. Every time I felt anything sad, painful, or remotely unpleasant, heroin was on my mind. Every night I couldn’t sleep, heroin filled my thoughts. Every walk to the store, heroin surrounded me. It was in the people walking down the road, it was in every memory I had, it was in the brick foundation of the very town I lived in and I could not escape her call.
A couple years later, I was four years clean. I decided in order to stay clean during this rapid rise of heroin addiction in my town, I needed to get away. Every day someone I knew overdosed. everyday some random person offered it to me or asked if I could get it. I couldn’t stay strong much longer.
So, I packed up once again and with help from family I moved 1000 miles away from home.
Here i am today, going on five years sober. my track marks are gone, the thoughts barely cross my mind, I don’t feel like feeling is killing me anymore. I’m happy. I’m working two jobs, soon to be working three. I have a solid relationship with my mom and my kids. I met a guy who understands my pain and supports me being in recovery.
We are actually due to get married next year. I look good and feel good and no longer feel haunted by my past.
The moral of this story is, addiction isn’t the same for everyone. in order to help someone get clean you shouldn’t ridicule them for the addiction, you need to find out why they started it in the first place and what’s holding them back from wanting to stop.
For most its pain, sadness, or regret. For some its fear of withdrawal, dependency on someone else, or they just plain haven’t had that realization that they will eventually die from this. An addict WILL NEVER STOP because you tell them to. They have to be ready, willing, and able to get help to stop. They have to be ready to completely start over.
Remove friends from their life, delete numbers, leave places behind, and go through the withdrawal.
These people are not bad people. They may do bad things, hurt others, and ruin relationships, but that is the addiction, not them. Addiction is what drives them. They will do anything for it, at the cost or expense of anything and anyone around. Its that strong of a hold on them.
But when they come asking for help, Don’t send them away, don’t put them down or place blame. HELP THEM. Because you could very well save a life if you do. If you don’t choose to help, you could also be the reason they pick the needle back up bc they don’t wanna feel that blame anymore.
Don’t judge an addict bc their addiction is different than yours. Truth is we all have an addiction to something. Some easier to quit, some might require a little more to get away from.
But the moral of the story is…
Addiction doesn’t care who you are, who your family is, what you do, or want, she will climb inside and destroy all of that and become the only thing you have. And the only way to escape her hold, is to be ready to give up the only thing you have left in you in order to gain your life back. you have to let her go to save yourself.
And be ready to fight like hell for the rest of your life to keep her away. Doing it alone is hard. But with help and support it seems to be a little easier. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. just because your judged doesn’t mean they are right. you are just like everyone else in the world, your addiction is just a little harder to kick.
Ask for help.
Till next time my readers. xoxo