My name is Ian; I am from California originally but now live in Israel my uncle and his family. I'm twenty-four years old and have been using drugs since my early teen years, I'd like people to read my story just too see how far these drugs can take you and how much pain they can cause not only to you but everyone who cares about you. I'd also like to convey that there is definitely hope in this addiction battle we are all fighting in one way or another.
I always considered myself an average suburban white male. I grew up in a very decent, educated family, with separated/divorced parents (they are back together now). I played baseball in little league and had above average grades. I began drinking in middle school, which very quickly turned into some marijuana, LSD, PCP, ecstasy and daily crack cocaine use and obviously I never felt there was a problem than, I mean all my friends did it too, why shouldn't I. I justified this by telling myself, "I'm only experimenting, I'm still young - I have all the time in the world, Im too smart for addiction, I know better." Whenever someone one puts themselves in an environment where there is alcohol, marijuana or 'softer drugs', there is usually a very high chance that some "hard drugs" will be close by (and a lot closer than you think), which is exactly what happened to me, over a decade ago.
I was at my best friend's house smoking pot and doing ecstasy and a guy I knew from school showed up with some heroin. With my mentality that I was only experimenting and nothing could hurt me, I thought I would give it a try. It's not like addiction will ever happen to me right? I was way too smart to get hooked, too in-control. I snorted heroin that night (I wouldn't touch needles back than) for the first time and totally fell in love. Over the next six months or so on the weekends, I would usually get a bag or two of some white or black heroin to smoke and be in heaven for the next 48 hours. After about a year of snorting and smoking heroin I wasn't getting the same effect off it anymore and all my friends still were, however, there was a big catch, they were shooting up. So with my "brilliant" reasoning powers of a fifteen year old, I thought I would try this and of course it shouldn't have any effect on my school work, family relationships, or life as a whole. Boy, I was so wrong. After that first shot, all I could think of was, "Oh my god, where have you been my whole life?, this is the answer, this is where it's all at". It gave me an euphoric feeling I had never felt before, not even from ecstasy and crack which I was smoking heavily by than; it became my girlfriend, my love, my mother and father, my idol and of course my lifelong career.
For the next couple of years, I shot heroin every single day and was financially capable doing so, after all both my parents were very well of and had a nasty divorce so money was coming in both ways. I knew I had a trust fund when I turn 21 so I had nothing to worry about. Eventually, I had to drop out of high-school because my habit consumed 100% of my time and thought. Before my parents found out I estimated I spend close to 45,000$ on heroin alone. Not because it was my money or because I wanted to, because my habit was so extensive. I was so convinced I had to. This needle had such a tight grip on me that I needed to stick a rig in my arm numerous times throughout the day. Just to function. Now in retrospect it seems like such a sick and twisted thing to do to myself.
My parents began getting suspicious about the money, (they never paid too much attention to me, and if they would of known years before by observing my behavior.) My dad searched my room and found the kit with the needles. He kicked me out of the house immediately and I spent the next few years between my mother's house, friend's couches and eventually making a home on the street in vacated buildings all in the name of heroin. Well, the money ran out, my parents turned off the faucet and I lost my trust fund for good, so I had to find other ways to support this habit, I had to I couldn't survive without it. I began by driving friends around to company storages and the back of supermarkets to steal, and eventually I joined them. This very quickly led to breaking into innocent people's homes to steal whatever I could find - cash, jewelry, electronics and guns. All for my next fix. Believe it or not during this time I tried numerous times to quit. I went to 2-3 day detox's in hospitals (which back than were still funded by my parents). I tried everything from homeopathic acupuncture to having a naltrexone opiate blocker implanted in me. Sometimes I would get close 30 days clean and eventually always relapse.
This was the cycle for 3-4 years until my younger brother died in a drunk driving accident and when I met my ex fiance who was a user as well. All hell broke loose for me; I was so ready to die. I planned on using until the day, the hour and the second I stopped breathing and didn't give it a second thought. Being a junkie is all I knew how to do and all I ever wanted to be back then. I had been dead on six different occasions and been rushed to the ER because I over-dosed on heroin or morphine (four of them were intentional, if it wasn't for Narcan I wouldn't of been writing this now, of-course back than I never appreciated the Narcan shots because they send you crying from a warm heroin overdose into instant painful withdrawals. I used to get so mad I would fight the paramedics trying to save my life). I have spent time in jail for four felony charges of burglary as a minor and a few felony possessions of heroin, speed, cocaine and paraphernalia as an adult. Most of this time living on the streets without the ability or motivation to hold down a job I couldn't stop, my spirit and soul were dead and beat. I thought there was no hope for me, lost cause. I honestly wanted to get clean but I learned to accept the faith I choose for myself.
Today I'm almost a year clean. The last time I kicked I was strung out on high doses of heroin, meth and valium, I kicked at home by myself with no medical assistance and if my faith was to die during withdrawals I was willing to accept that. I don't believe we are powerless over our addiction and I strongly do believe it is up to us to change and when we do it is worth every second of it. I'm so grateful to be here today. I don't know what made me decide to quit or what gave me the strength to. I don't know why/if I even deserve to be alive today. The cost of my addiction and not just heroin but speed and cocaine as well are very considerable, I have a lot of health problems including hepatitis C, my body is defaced from injections, and my parents still don't speak with me or want anything to do with me. Most of my family is ashamed of me and don't even mention me much anymore and I have to live with the guilt for the rest of my life. Sometimes people ask me if I would have done it all over again and knowing me I think I would of. I had to learn the hard way. Using and getting clean were two of the hardest things I did in my life and really all I ever wanted is to move on and live life as a normal person. I wasn't born an addict and I'm certainly not going to die as one.
The whole point of this story is to scream out to every addict reading this that there is always hope. Even when you find your life is heading into a dark, twisted, ugly, crippling tunnel and you think there is no way out. I have personally been through it and feel that I have come out the other end of it a much happier, healthier, satisfied, wiser stable person than I could have ever even imagined, even before my addiction days. So please, even if you are only a month into meth or heroin or if you've been shooting for years and you feel you have the slightest, smallest, tiniest hint of a notion of willingness to get clean, to get healthy, to be happy and satisfied in life, and there is a way out. I'm not at all different than anyone reading this, I don't have super powers and I certainly don't consider myself to be a strong willed person but there is a way! Keep trying, don't give up!!!
I wanted to write something about the way the addiction first hit me. Over a ten years ago. I wrote this about heroin because it was the first and last drug I ever did and what I can relate to most but you can really relate it to any drug. It was just my personal choice although I had a fair share of cross addictions. I'm sure some of you can relate to your own current or past habits but mostly this is for those who are 'curious' or just started using.
At first you are just curious. Maybe your friends do it, maybe you seen it on TV, maybe you read about it. Maybe you've done other drugs before so you agree to give junk a try and you absolutely love it. Because if you don't, all the following is meaningless to you.
Sure it might make you sick for the first few dozen times you try it, you might even throw up and swear never to touch it again, no drug is worth getting sick over right?
During the years I used drug I came across a certain' type' of addicts that I was even almost jealous of. Those people that seemed to have completely given up on themselves or accepted their fate as a drug addict. I'm sure if you think about people you used with you can come up with some example of your own. Those 'special' people who no matter how bad it got, how much they loosed or where they were in life still seemed to have a prime directive in life geared toward simply getting a hold of and using more and more dope as time goes on. Anything that interrupted their flow of drugs was viewed by them simply as an annoyance, a brief inconvenience, but never any kind of blessing. I think for any 'normal' drug addict there is some sense of relief too when you stop using, even though withdrawal. That how it was for me at least.
Anyway, in a way I was sure they had it a lot more together than I ever did. I used to tell myself, "I wish I was like that too. I wish I could completely give up this ridicules idea that I could ever be happy without drugs." But that was never me. Of-course now, I can tell that the entire internal struggle was really a big blessing for me. In fact, the struggle was the key for me. If not for those conflicting feeling inside me, I don't think I would have been able to get myself where I am today. Actually now that I think it through, most of those people who have completely given themselves to drugs are no longer alive today. I am not trying to make excuses or saying I was any better than them while I used. Just that I was different and I think most of you who have gotten clean or are here at this site looking for help are the same way as well.
Let's assume that everyone that came here for help, everyone that has some willingness to make their life better than it is on drugs have that same struggle inside them. Let's assume they were all seduced by one addiction or another and trying to find a way out, at all cost. What does it really take to do it? What does it take to break the pattern and maybe even more importantly, to eventually be happy and maybe even enjoy being clean? I don't have the answer; I am struggling with this myself although now I think I have a better sense of what works for me.
First of all - I think some sense of maturity has a lot to do with it. Here's what I mean - for me, this meant dealing with being alive and all that comes with it without having to resort to burying all those annoyances, pains and hurts with some drug or another. Seems that with a lot of people these days, a quick button pain relief is acceptable. Like everything else, this has a place, but when you do it over and over and over again, especially with hard drugs like meth or heroin, you somehow kill your ability to deal with life. I think that is a lack of maturity, no?
I know everyone is different but for me, If you can deal with all of life's crap. Like the fear of challenges, shyness, rejection, pain, the feeling of not being good enough, anger, jealousness, long term suffering, death and even that sometimes life just seems too meaningless to live (these are just my problems, fill in your own). If I can deal with that <b> without drugs </b> not only it makes me stronger but I am able to enjoy what makes me happy and satisfied in life even more. That's what I mean by maturity.
Another thing that really worked for me over these past 11 months is trying to 'expand myself'. I guess the only way I can really describe this is having the willingness to do what you normally would not. To act differently than you feel. It really doesn't matter what, just as long as you are willing and do it. Let's say you're afraid of a job with responsibility, get one. If you feel that you don't have enough education, go through the necessary steps to educate yourself. Maybe you're afraid of talking to the opposite sex, just give it a try. Maybe you've always been a very emotional person. Go out and do something physical. You get the picture. These are just things that I work on but I'm sure you can think of some examples of your own. The main thing is to push the envelope you have to one degree or another. What this did for me was actually broaden my capacity and sense enjoyment and happiness, even in the little things in life. You find out that you can do things you swore up and down you could never do. Maybe if you're really lucky, you even get a 'high' out of it. This was just a whole new concept to me that blew my mind. Getting high without a syringe? When did this happen?
For me, all these things plus a lot of time away from my old lifestyle and friends makes me feel confident and ensures me that I will be 'cured'. I know that the general feeling from meetings and rehabs is that no one really gets 'cured' from drug addiction. But what is the definition of being healed? How many years of clean time and how many meetings do you need to attend to have a little chip with a 'cured' on it?
Look at the facts. If your using and you have that internal struggle going on inside you and your not really sure what to do with it. Maybe you'll find a way. Everyone I met here on this website or in my life that have broken away from addiction successfully in one way or another, have made some kind of conscious active effort to add new dimensions to their life and are generally really happy about it. I know for sure I am.
The more stuff you can find pleasure and satisfaction in outside of the instant fix of the needle or a pipe or whatever else you do, the less you'll be interested in it. That's just how it goes. Especially since we have all done enough drugs to last us ten lifetimes, enough to let us know that addiction is not fun.
I really didn't intend this to be this long and I hope it makes sense to some of you.The more stuff you can find pleasure and satisfaction in outside of the instant fix of the needle or a pipe or whatever else you do, the less you'll be interested in it. That's just how it goes. Especially since we have all done enough drugs to last us ten lifetimes, enough to let us know that addiction is not fun. "
October 28th, 2011
It's really interesting to read your story. My story is sort of like yours. My addiction started when I was young. I think I was 9 or 10 years old when I first started drinking alcohol from the little refrigerator that my dad kept his beer in and the liquor cabinet. About a year later I started using my dad's pain pills that the doctors gave him for his back. Then I started stealing pain pills and any other pills I could find from friends and family when I was over their houses. Soon enough that method didn't yield enough drugs, so I started using street drugs. I'd take anything that was available. I'd happily get high on cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, crystal meth and heroin. Eventually I found that I liked meth more than the other drugs and it became my drug of choice, but I'd take whatever was available.
I went to great lengths to fund my habit. Like you, I did jail time as both a kid and an adult. My rap sheet is pretty long and is full of all sorts of felonies and misdeeamonors. It was the last time I was in jail that I realized I needed to stop using drugs and get my life together, or else I'd end up a statistic spending my whole life in and out of jail like a revolving door. I've been clean for almost a year now with the help of 12-step meetings and my amazing sponsor.
October 28th, 2011
It's great to see that you have such a positive outlook on your addiction and your recovery. I strive every day to be positive, too. My addiction led me down a scary road. I took lots of risks that I would have never taken if it wasn't in the name of drugs. I routinely shot up with dirty needles and had sex with men I didn't know to fund my addiction. As a result I contracted HIV. Never in a million years did I think that I'd be HIV positive, but that's my new reality.
When I first found out I had HIV I threw myself even further into my drug addiction. I figured that if I had a death sentence anyway I might as well enjoy whatever life I have left with drugs. I don't know what changed, but one day I realized that drugs didn't make me happy. I went to 12-step meetings and got a sponsor. I've been going to a meeting every day. I hope that one day I won't need to go to a meeting every day to stay clean, but the cravings are still so strong that I know I need whatever help I can get to stay sober. My biggest challenge has been not getting down about having HIV. I'm still working on it, but I'm definitely happier now that I'm living my life clean and sober than I was before when I thought I was happy but high all the time. Life after drugs is amazing!
October 28th, 2011
I'm so sorry to hear that you had such a struggle with drugs, but I'm also sort of comforted by reading your story because I know that I'm not alone. I started using whatever drugs my friends would give me in middle school. A lot of times I didn't even know what I was taking. The older high school kids said I'd be alright and I trusted them. By the time I was in high school I learned that my favorite drug in the whole world was crystal meth. It made me feel amazing. It was better and more important to me than anything else in the universe.
I'm not happy of the things I did to get high. I turned into a liar and a thief. I lied to get what I wanted, and if lying didn't yield my desired results, I wouldn't hesitate to steal. Now that I'm clean and sober I cringe when I think about who I was. On some level, though, I guess that I appreciate my experiences because they allow me to fully appreciate the person I have become and just how far I've gone.
I was sort of successful quitting drugs on my own, but after a couple of weeks I started itching to use again, so I decided to start seeing a drug counselor. My drug counselor has been amazing and has helped me get to where I am now. Now I've been clean and sober for almost a year and I can't wait to make it two years.
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