If you're taking the time to read this, thank you. It may be long but I hope you stick with it till the end and I hope I can make a difference for someone. Growing up I always thought a drug addict was that long haired guy sitting in an alley in some bad part of town. I lived in a rural area west of Philadelphia. I didn't there were any drug addicts way out here. I came from a pretty normal family. I was the oldest of 3 boys. My parents got divorced when I was 2. My dad remarried and had my 2 brothers with my stepmom. I always got good grades without trying. I had lots of friends and I was happy with my life. Drinking was a big thing where I am from. It seemed like everyone drank so I didn't think it was a big deal. I drank for the first time at a young age but I didn't get drunk til I was 12. I remember liking the feeling and having fun with my friends. Any time someone wanted to get drunk, I wanted to be right there with them. I started smoking marijuana around that time too. I didn't really love the feeling, I liked getting drunk more than smoking, but I thought we always have a good time when we smoke. So I smoked whenever I could. I thought I was so cool. I liked being part of the stoner group. I stopped doing homework and my grades started to suffer. I didn't care because I was having a good time. I was smoking everyday a few times a day and drinking every weekend. I would smoke and drink with smaller groups of people and sometimes by myself. It stayed like that for about 2 years. When I got into 9th grade, things really started to change for me. I moved in with my dad because that’s where all my good friends were. When I started going to this new school, I already had a reputation. I had a lot of friends from that school district so stories about me spread quickly. Kids started buying weed and alcohol from me so I became known as a dealer. I started hearing about different kinds of prescription drugs from the kids I was meeting. I heard people talk about oxycodone and I knew my dad had a prescription for it. I didn't really know what it did but I knew it got you high, so I tried it. I fell in love the first time I tried it. I would take as many as I could from my dad without him noticing and I started buying it or trading for weed. It became my drug of choice. I loved it. It was my number 1 priority. I was using it pretty much everyday at least once a day. I had no idea that this was the biggest turning point for me and my drug problem. I got my first real girlfriend around this time. I was young and stupid but I really did like and care about her a lot. She didn't use drugs or drink. She was one of the few popular girls who didn't. We had been going out for a few months when she told me she thought that I might have a drug problem. I just laughed it off. I was young, I had lots of friends, and I felt on top of the world. I honestly didn't think I could have a drug problem. About halfway through my 9th grade year I started getting into trouble. This was the first time that drugs had got me in trouble. My dad started noticing I was taking his pills. He yelled at me, hid them somewhere else, and then it was like it never happened. Shortly after that, my girlfriend’s friend told the school guidance counselor that I might have a drug problem. They called me into the office and searched me. They found a few pills on me and I got suspended. That didn't even slow me down. Then, a few months later I was caught with oxy and selling weed in school. They sent me to an alternative school. I had only been at that school for 3 marking periods and I was already expelled. My girlfriend left me right after all that. I started using more so I didn't have to deal with all that bullshit. I met new people at my new school and I made new connections. I was making more money from selling and I found new people who sold oxy to me cheaper. By the end of the year I was doing about 5 30mg oxycodone everyday. Over the summer it didn't take long for my parents to notice that I had a drug problem. So that July, they sent me to rehab for the first time. I still didn't think I had a problem so I lied to the counselors about the drugs I was doing. I told them that I only smoked weed sometimes, so they didn't send me to a detox. This was the first time I went through withdrawal from opiates. It was awful but it was nothing compared to how bad it would eventually be. It was 5 days of diarrhea, pain all over my body, restlessness, and barely any sleep. But even after all that, I couldn't wait to get out and snort an oxy. So that's what I did. I was in the same place I was before rehab by the time 10th grade started. This time it only took 2 months before I was sent to another rehab. When this happened, I started thinking that I might have a problem but I still didn't want to stop. So I got out and kept getting high. I was going to a out patient drug program. I was able to beat the drug tests this time so everyone thought I wasn't using anymore. I stopped going to regular school and I was taking classes at the county college for high school credits. I would show up late or ditch my classes to get high. That went on for a few months, then I discovered my new drug of choice. I wasn't selling as much as before and pills were expensive. I hadn't tried heroin before but I knew it was similar to oxy, only better. It was about one third the street price of oxy too. So when I found someone to sell me heroin, I jumped at the chance. Because it was cheaper than the pills, I was able to afford more. That just made my problem worse. After a few months of snorting dope, I started shooting up. I thought it was the best feeling in the world and I wanted to feel that way 24/7. So after a few more months, I finally got caught using again and I was sent to my 3rd rehab in the summer before my 11th grade school year. That was the first time they sent me to detox. The withdrawal was awful, but they gave me meds to help. After 7 days of detox I was sent down to the rehab. Even after that I still felt like ass for another week and a half. This time, I really did want to stop using drugs. I stayed there for 90 days this time. Even though I really did want to stop, I didn't do what they told me to and I was using again 2 weeks after I got out. It went on like that for about a year. I was using more than ever before. My parents knew but they couldn't afford to send me to rehab again. I had stopped going to school completely. So the summer before what would have been my senior year of high school, I left home to live with friends. I was using more than ever and I was selling heroin, meth, crack, or anything else to make money. By October, I was way worse than I thought I could ever get. I was using 10-15 bags of dope and 10-14mgs of Klonapin every day. I was sick and tired of all the bullshit. I wanted to stop. So I went home and we made some calls and got my insurance to pay for another rehab. I went through the worst withdrawal I ever had at detox and when I got to the rehab, I was ready to do whatever to change my life. So I got out and did everything I was told. I went to IOP and NA meetings. I was happy with my life. I was sober for 6 months, which was longer than I've ever gone before. Then I relapsed. But I convinced my self that it was okay. I've always had ADHD, but when I was in rehab the most recent time they put me on medication for the first time. I was able to take it as prescribed for months until one day I decided to take 2. It was all down hill after that. Heroin was my drug of choice, but I had tried pretty much everything else. I never really liked amphetamines but now that I was prescribed and abusing them, I started to like them a lot. Eventually I was using everyday, but I was running out of my pills within a week of getting them. So I started buying meth when I ran out. I got away with it because it would come up as the same as my prescription on the drug tests. I started injecting the speed and I would stay awake for days on the stuff. It went on for a few months until i decided that I couldn't keep going like that. I told my counselor and parents and I stopped getting high. I also got rid of my prescription meds. I started going back to NA meetings and I was actually trying again. Now, after 7 years of drug use, abuse, and addiction, I am finally sober. I don't want to go back to using again. My life is to good to mess up. I'm 19 years old and 8 months sober. I can finally be happy without chemicals. I feel free for the first time. I really hope that someone took the time to read this and that it helped them in some way. Because helping other people is what makes me feel good and it is what helps keep me sober. So if you did read this, thank you. If you are an addict, please take the time to think about your life. It only gets worse and worse, and the longer you wait to get sober, the harder it's going to be to stop. If you're a family member or friend of someone who has a drug problem, please remember this, you can't force anyone to do anything. You just need to really tell that person how you feel and what you want for them. Don't take their choices personally, because it's not personal. Well, thanks for reading and I hope I somehow made a difference for someone!