I figured I would let everyone out there know exactly where I’m coming from by sharing my own story. It’s therapeutic for myself and also it will help others identify and see they are not alone. Just keep in mind that while my story probably differs from yours, you will see that there are some similar tones. Progression, Isolation and hopelessness.
My Downward Spiral
When I was nine years old I tried my first beer and my first cigarette. Both were disgusting to me but my older cousins were doing it so I was going to also. I can’t remember ever feeling a buzz at that age. This occasional drinking continued as I got older.
When I was about 14 I discovered marijuana. Since I really didn’t like alcohol due to it making me feel sick, this was my drug of choice. I smoked all the time…all the time. There were 3 of us that hung out after school and would get baked. We had a blast.
Then we started getting high during school. This wasn’t always as fun because most of the time I got paranoid that one of my teachers would know what I was doing, but I still did it all the time. My grades definitely suffered because of it. I was the type of kid that could skip homework and still get a good grade on tests. I often think now what I really could have amounted to if I actually did my schoolwork.
Around this time I also started experimenting with drugs from the medicine cabinet at home. I used to take more than the recommended dose of cold medicine to see what it would do. I can remember a couple of times feeling really crappy, but that didn’t stop me. I also found some prescription pain medication which I started to take. None of these experimentations were shared with my friends. I had already begun to isolate.
I managed to graduate from high school and I went away to a two year college. It was then that I had started to use other street drugs. I surrounded myself with people that were exactly like myself so none of this seemed out of the ordinary. I ended up dropping out of school after the first year.
I moved into an apartment that I shared with a bunch of guys. One of the guys that we let stay there was a drug dealer so instead of paying us cash for rent we could get drugs from him anytime we wanted for free. Since I didn’t have a job or any spending money, this was a good set up for me. Some of the drugs that I have used while I lived there was LSD, Exstacy, Christal Meth, Ketamine, pure MDMA, Crack and Cocaine.
I got pretty heavy into Cocaine and I decided that this wasn’t right. I am not living the way that I should be and I decided that the only option for me was to move back home with my parents. So that’s what I did. Without telling them the reason, I just moved home to start over fresh.
Because of the fact that I hadn’t kept in touch with anyone at home when I moved away and also because I had just left all of my “friends” that I met in college, I had no one. I sunk into a depression. It was around this time that I discovered my mother had been prescribed kalonopin (benzo). I took huge amounts of this drug. HUGE amounts. I remember a time that I had took so many that I was starting to get nervous. I was kind of nodding out and I remember having difficulty swallowing but I honestly didn’t care if I didn’t wake up. So I just went to sleep. I was only 19.
Well I did wake up and somehow I got myself out of my depression funk that I was in. I got a job, made some new friends and I met my husband. Life was good again and I was feeling like a normal person… for now.
I started to use exstacy again pretty heavily before I had gotten pregnant with my son. This went on for a while because it made me feel good about myself and it was easy to get at the time.
Once I got pregnant with my son I cut out all of the alcohol and drugs. I lived clean and enjoyed life again. Once I had my kid I was right back to taking ecstacy and drinking every weekend. But once again something got me out of these habits and I went back to living like a normal person.
Then came my anxiety attacks. I was starting to have them and getting into a depression. I had been taking some sort of sleep aid every night. I was abusing Tylenol PM and Nyquil. I was taking them earlier and earlier every night and it was really start to cause problems in my marriage. I went to the doctor and was prescribed an anti depressant and…kolonopin. The same exact drug that I had abused and nearly killed myself with previously.
Of course I didn’t take the kalonopin as prescribed. I was supposed to be taking it 3 times a day but I wouldn’t take it during the day because it made me too tired. I would save up all of the pills and take them when I got home from work. When those stopped working I would then add another sleep aid to it. Anything to make me just pass out and not have time to think about anything.
My husband and I separated, I moved back home with my parents. We were sharing custody of my son. This was very difficult for me. I was used to spending all of my free time with him and now I didn’t have him with me. This is when I tried oxycontin. I would spend $20.00 and would get something in return that made me not worry, not care, not even really be aware of anyone but myself. I would take it and then just go to my end of the house and lay down in front of the TV and just veg out. This may not seem fun to others but to me it seemed perfect.
Slowly I had to increase the amount that I would take at one time so the $20.00 that I was spending turned into $40.00 and then $80.00. The once a week turned into every other day, then everyday and then sometimes twice a day. I was caught. I couldn’t get out of this.
Within this time my husband moved into my parents house with me. Even though I promised that we would be completely honest with each other I kept this horrible secret from him. My family knew that something was wrong with me but they didn’t know what it was. I couldn’t get the words out to let them know. I was so afraid that my husband would leave me and take my child away from me. I was paralyzed with fear. I couldn’t leave my house, I couldn’t talk to anyone about anything because I was afraid they would see that I was messed up. This went on for months.
Finally, I decided that I was going to stop once and for all… on my own. I quickly realized that this was more serious than I thought. My body was going through withdrawals. I was really panicking now. On the second day of me not using my husband came home from work to find that I hadn’t gotten off the couch all day. I was still in the clothes I went to bed in and I was really down. He asked me about 15 times, “what’s wrong?”. My response 14 times was nothing, I’m just having a bad day. Then finally I blurted it out “I’ve been using drugs for about a year, I’m addicted”.
Once those words were out of my mouth I felt a release that I honestly can’t explain in words. I’m not going to tell you that once I told someone I felt better and everything was great, it wasn’t. I was scared of the repercussions. As the night went on and things got more and more serious I did have a few times that I wished I hadn’t said anything.
My husband was very clear with me, either I go into a facility to help with the detoxification or he would leave me. I wanted to do it on an outpatient basis because I was so afraid of the unknown. He wouldn’t have it. He insisted that I check into someplace that could help me. I agreed that I would call my primary care physician the next morning and if he thought that I needed to go into a place then I would do that. Honestly I am so grateful for my husband. Without him I probably would have detoxed at home but I would have picked up again. I know I would have.
The Climb Back Up
I went into my doctors office the next morning. My husband went with me even though he was so mad at me and pretty disgusted with me. I couldn’t stop crying. I felt like everyone could tell what I was there for. I just felt like a piece of garbage.
My doctor agreed with my husband that I needed to check into a facility that could help me through the withdrawals and also set me up with aftercare. He called the hospital that he was affiliated with and told them I was coming. He then told me to go to the emergency room, they knew I was coming and they would take it from there.
My husband and I left my doctors office and he wanted to bring me home to get some clothes together. I told him that there was a good chance that if I went home first I would talk myself out of going and I asked him to just drive straight to the hospital.
So I stayed in the lock-down psyche word of this hospital for 5 days. I went through withdrawal symptoms that made me feel like I was literally going to die. I was so ashamed of myself I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror until about the fourth day there.
Throughout my whole stay I was forced to speak out loud infront of people I didn’t know and tell them my inner feelings and fears. At first it was very humiliating. They really know what they are doing though. I got so much stuff off of my chest that I had been holding in for so long. What was really great was that all of the people in there were going through the same stuff. I realized that I’m not alone in the way that I feel. I’m not a weirdo, I’m just an addict.
Once I was released from the in-patient treatment I continued with out-patient treatment for 10 days. I had to take drug tests a couple times per week and was pretty much in group therapy for drug addicts. I honestly looked forward to going everyday. The people that I sat around the table with and discussed feelings and problems with were having the same feelings and problems. It made me feel accepted. It made me feel that someone understood the problem of addiction as well as I did. I ended up graduating that treatment plan.
I started seeing a therapist that specializes in addiction and I started attending narcotics anonymous and alcoholics anonymous meetings. I have been going to meetings ever since. I’m still working on my steps and working to restore my family’s trust in me. This is a struggle, no doubt. But anything worth having is worth working for and that is exactly what I intend to do.