Hi all. I talked to Nick about wanting to share some thoughts about heroin addiction. So, here it goes…
What a wonderful tool of information this website provides. What I wanted to do was give his readers a 1st hand account of addiction and try to erase some of the stigma associated with addiction.
My name is **** and I’m a recovering addict.
I’m going to try to make this short and simple. “Try” is the key word. Like so many of us, I have attention seeking behaviors that might make things difficult. However, I was taught in recovery that when expressing one’s opinion you have to ask yourself a few questions first.
1. Is it warranted?
2. Does it need to be told?
3. Does it need to be said now.
4. Does it need to be said by ME?
5. Will it hold any merit given facts?
I believe that I can answer YES to these questions, and would like to offer up the following thoughts:
If you’re a parent, the biggest thing you can do is be supportive without ANY negative connotations as far as your child’s illness is involved. This is going to be hard to hear, but you have no right. This is their fight and no matter how hard you try, it will be their decision to keep fighting, or not.
At the age of 38, my mother asked me point blank, ”Can’t you just stop?” The answer was NO, and it was the first truth I had told anyone in a very long time.
Ask yourself this question… What does an addict look like in your mind?
Did you picture a weak minded and out of control junkie?
Did you picture someone who is breaking into homes and running to the pawn shop for a few bucks, and then running to his dealers home to score?
Did you picture someone sitting in a house where so many others sit and scratch and wait for their fix?
Did you picture someone offering themselves to any man willing to pay the price, just to temporarily not feel “sick” anymore?
I want you to be honest, and picture an addict, flaws and all, in your mind. Now put your child’s face on that person.
Those are just a few of the judgmental images that are evoked when the public, or what we affectionately call you guys, “normies”, pictures an addict in their mind.
You are blessed, but not as much as we are and I’ll tell you why. An addict is a survivor and can adapt to ANY situation they come across. How many of you would go to one if the most dangerous cities in America, just to get “medication”, knowing you have a 50/50 chance of dying before, during, or after your purchases? Would you risk your life and go to a place where they sold your favorite sports team’s jersey for $10, even after you watched a man die minutes after he bought that jersey because they had a severe allergic reaction to the material?
No sane person would do this, but we do, regularly. We watch others in pain. We watch others die. We watch others do unspeakable things for a fix and say, ” I’m not there yet I’m OK”. Only to end up having to do that exact same thing to get that fix the next day.
That’s addiction. Addicts get this thought in their minds. It’s universal, but worded differently for everyone… ” If I take this thing outside of myself and put it in my body, I will feel OK about being me.”
I am a member of Narcotics Anonymous. I have been since 4/10/2004. Admittedly, I have not been clean the entire time. I relapsed in 2011. I got this thought in my head that I could “just have one beer or one joint” and still be “normal”. I was wrong. We have a saying in NA, “One is too many and a thousand is never enough.” This ended up being very true in my case.
I relapsed. I went to two separate mental hospitals in NJ. I moved back to AZ and went to a halfway house. After 30 days of being clean, I used again. That time I OD’d and was told by healthcare professionals that I died, three times! My story doesn’t end there, because someone, or something, that has more energy than I do, thought that maybe I was still salvageable and maybe I could help one more person like me before I leave this Earth.
I’m slowly getting back on my feet. I may not be where I want to be but I’m grateful I’m not where I was. It was tough, and a hard fought battle. It still is, actually, every single day. I had to buckle down and work on me. See, that’s the real truth. I had to want it. I had to need it. Nobody could guilt me into doing it, scare me into doing it, or threaten me into doing it. It had to be my choice.
There is a foolproof plan, which I can almost promise you will work… If you are vigilant and dedicated.
1. Your substance is NOT your issue. You are.
2. Change your thinking and your actions will change as well.
3. Go to 90 meetings in 90 days.
4. One day at a time.
5. Don’t pick up, no matter what.
6. Stay away from old playmates, play places, and playthings.
7. Alcohol is a drug, period! Don’t be that asshole.
8. Get a sponsor and call them every single day. Not your girl or boyfriend, priest, or rabbi, an actual sponsor. Nobody will be able to understand the trauma you have inflicted on yourself like another recovering addict. The therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel.
9. Get as many phone numbers as you can and call 5 a day. Stick with peers of the same gender until you’re told otherwise. Now is not the time for romance.
10. Do your step work. It’s the only thing that’s gonna save your ass in the long run.
11. Go get treatment and detox. Don’t do that shit at home! It’s painful and dangerous.
12. Help others after you learn how to help yourself.
I’m no expert. Check your facts and always keep learning. In fact, the more I thought I knew, the more I found out I was taught a bunch of bullshit by others who were just guessing. Organizations like NA are important and proven to be effective. People in NA will love you until you can learn to love yourself. You can download literature and find meetings at NA.org. Information is available in almost every state, and in 600 language’s all around the world.
If you’re an addict and reading this, I say to you now, with all of my heart and soul, that I LOVE YOU. I do not know you, or your name, but I LOVE YOU. If you need me, day or night, I’m always available. Leave a comment here, send an email, or ask Nick to get in touch with me.
Give yourself a break and allow yourself to re-learn how to live a “normal” life.
Thank you Nick, and everyone who might read this.