My road to recovery hasn’t really started yet. I will take my last dose of Methadone on the 19th of August 2014, and that will be nearly 16 years to the day since I first started taking drugs. Now, I will not go into how bad my life was growing up, because I’m sure plenty of people had it a lot worse than I did.
However, my dad committed suicide when I was 15 and my mom was already an active addict. What my dad did hurt me more than anything. I was supposed to be with him the night he died and I hold myself responsible to this day, because I could have saved him or at least tried.
So I lived with my grandma because it seemed like my best option at the time, but she worked and was gone Monday-Friday. I never felt so alone, and pretty much gave up on life and began a downward spiral. I never could have guessed how far down it would be or how much more lonely it would be at the bottom.
That summer I started smoking pot and cigarettes, tried LSD, and started drinking. I dropped out of school and devoted more time to wallowing in self pity.
The next year I moved back to my mom’s where I met new friends and new drugs, namely cocaine ecstasy opium and pretty much anything put in front of me. I was in this holding pattern until I turned nineteen and my mom booted me out.
Reality set in pretty quickly I had no job, no education and no skills. It was time to stand up and be a man, get my stuff together and turn my life around. Well that’s what a rational person would be thinking. My thoughts, however were far from that. I was more concerned with blaming my misfortune on everyone else, pointing the finger at everything except the mirror.
My girlfriend at the time and her parents were decent enough to let me stay with them, but that didn’t last. I had talked my way out of the only place I had to go, now I was literally homeless. I slept on a park bench for a few nights. That was one of the most miserable experiences of my life. In late October in Illinois, outside at night is the last place you want to be, especially when all you have is the clothes on your back.
Then I caught a break and an uncle took pity on me and let me stay with him and his family and he got me a job where he worked. For the first time I had my feet on the ground. I had a job, a car, a girlfriend, saved up and got an apartment, and I had been sober for some time.
Then my birthday rolled around and all those demons I thought were gone came back to the surface. I entered a new and dangerous phase of addiction, I started going on binges.
I continued this cycle for years until I had an accident in ’03 and was prescribed Vicodin. This great and terrible drug was like nothing I had felt before it made me feel great. It filled me with energy and inspiration and dulled the pain and anguish of the past. At the time I didn’t know anything about prescription opioids, I didn’t know how addictive they were.
I was highly functioning even as I was becoming more dependent on a combination of Vicodin, Percocet Morphine and OxyContin washed down with alcohol. I knew I was addicted but couldn’t admit it to myself. My whole personality changed I started lying, cheating and stealing from people I cared about to support my habit all the while telling myself I was right. It got to where I had to eat four 10mg Vicodin just to get out of bed in the morning to go look for something stronger to avoid being sick for another day.
I had rebuilt my life on false pretenses. I had a new girlfriend, a daughter and a son. I was truly blessed and took it for granted. My girlfriend knew what I was doing and confronted me about it but at the same time it hurt her to see me sick and withdrawing every day. It was getting harder to find drugs and I would go for a day or two without and I tried to quit on my own a couple times never making it very long.
Then I was faced with a decision when someone offered me heroin. I knew she would not tolerate me doing heroin. As much of a saint as she had been for putting up with my b.s. for the previous three years, that would have been the last straw. So with every ounce of will power I had left, I turned it down and sought help at a nearby Methadone clinic.
I entered treatment February 23, 2012 and have been clean ever since. It hasn’t been easy and it’s just beginning. The real challenge starts next Tuesday when I wake up without the crutch, but I know I’ll be ready to walk because I’ve got a wonderful family behind me and blue sky ahead. I know now I can’t change anything in the past and I try not to dwell on it but I can change my future.
It is my sincerest hope that I can change someone else’s future as well. If I can change just one person’s life, stop someone from going down the same dark path I did. then it will all have been worth it.
To any one reads this, if you are an addict, please know that you are not alone, someone cares. And if you know someone who is an addict do whatever you can to help them get help. There is hope.