At one point my life seemed to consist of sickness, overdoses, hospitals and despair.
Before I was an addict I never thought that I would become one, and after I became an addict I never thought I would be able to get clean.
I grew up in a nice area, have a great family, and a great child hood. I didn’t get in trouble as a kid (no more than normal anyway), I got good grades, graduated high school, went to college and graduated with a degree. While in school I didn’t do much partying, drinking every once in a while and smoking pot every once in a while; after I graduated and got a job is when my problems with drugs and alcohol started.
I started off just drinking on the weekends with friends, and gradually it turned into regularly getting really drunk on weekends with friends. After a while I was drinking every night, which inevitably turned into getting drunk every night. Eventually I was drinking vodka during my lunch breaks to keep my hands from shaking, and then taking a few shots first thing in the morning for the same reason.
A co-worker, who I had confided in, said he used to have a drinking problem and he just took some pain killers for a while to get away from drinking. I was naive to addiction in general, but especially pain killers and asked him to find me some. He introduced my to the person he bought pills from and I started buying and taking Vicodin throughout the day instead of drinking. This worked until the first time I mixed vodka and Vicodin. I thought I had found the greatest thing ever.
I didn’t realize that I would build up a tolerence to the pills so quickly, but I did and switched to Percocet and vodka instead. The Percocet turned to Methadone tablets, Methadone to Morphine, Morphine to Oxycotin. Around this time I realized the first time I went a couple of days without the pills that I was in a bad way. I went through, what I thought at the time, were bad withdrawals and realized I needed help. I figured if I just got to the root of my problems I would be magically cured so I booked an appointment with a doctor. The doctor, unbeknownst to me at that time, was a “Dr. Feelgood”. He sat there and listened to my talk about my problems and decided I was too stressed out. To help me with that he wrote me a prescription for a years worth of Xanax.
I spent everyday, from morning to whenever I passed out, crushing up Xanax and Oxy, snorting them, and washing that down with a shot or two of vodka throughout the day. One day my dealer told me that they couldn’t find anymore pills for the time being, but they had some heroin. They said it was cheaper and stronger and available immediately. I was on the edge of getting sick so I bought some with the intention of sticking with pills except for that one time. That never happened. I smoked the heroin and thought I had found the key to feeling good.
I got to the point where I was using at least a gram of heroin, at least 5 mg of Xanax, and drinking about a liter of vodka a day. I had pretty much stopped going to work, stopped talking to friends, and just spent my time drinking, using, and trying to get money.
I knew I had a huge problem that was going to kill me sooner rather than later and I tried many times to stop, though not with help. At one point I stopped everything cold turkey and on the third day had a seizure so bad that I had no pulse and wasn’t breathing.
Luckily my sister was there and performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. I never knew about detox and withdrawals so I had no idea what was going on or what to expect. A few days later I had another minor seizure and was again taken to the hospital. It was never explained to me that quitting alcohol and Xanax cold turkey could cause seizures for a week or two after actually stopping and that they would go away.
After that hospital trip I thought there was no hope so I went back to drinking and using just as bad, if not worse than before. I OD’d three times, was being taken to the hospital every couple of weeks, got arrested, and went to bed every night wondering if I was going to wake up. I had lost 40lbs., my liver, pancreas, and kidneys were becoming damaged and the straight vodka was doing a number on my stomach. I would often wake up with blood covering my face and pillow.
After each incident I thought I had reached rock bottom, however one night in particular I experienced what rock bottom really was.
That same night I entered a medical detox/rehab facility. I have been clean and sober for coming up on three and a half years. Although my life is great now, it is still a struggle. It does get easier, but the mind of an addict always has a way of bringing up destructive thoughts. Some of my takeaways from my experience are that preemptive substance abuse education can go a long way to avoid this type of situation.
If you are currently an addict, ask for help; it seems like the scariest thing in the world, but can have the best results in the world.
Last that I’ll list is that if you know someone in recovery, remember that they are fighting everyday whether they are one day sober or thirty years sober; never stop supporting them.