Full-Time Junkie

It started with drinks before a night out, and it ended in a very small bathroom with a needle in my arm. Along the way many good friends said goodbye because they offered help and I refused it. I fell out of the usual circle of family birthdays and holidays. I promised attendance and didn’t show.  I lost my job and became a full-time junkie. I traded sex for money in order to get a fix. My life became very small and very scary, and I just let it happen. Homeless and out of money, one day I was offered help and I said yes. The moment I accepted help my world changed. There were challenges. I had to get honest. I had to be careful about falling into familiar patterns. But the truth is the challenges in recovery are easier than anything I had to do when I was out...

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I Stopped Running

I reached a bottom, an awareness that this was not working enough to numb the pain and other difficult emotions I was being tormented with inside of my head and heart. One day, I awoke for the first time with a feeling I needed to make a change in my life around this pattern of drinking and drugging. So I went to a meeting. I met a young person who then introduced me to another person in my age group and I saw that this was working for them. I wanted what they had. I developed a support network of friends that helped me embrace a program of recovery, which has managed to keep me sober.  - Juan, 17

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Sweet Seventeen

I was 15 the first time I went through treatment. I had no idea what was going on and wasn’t ready to listen. I knew it all, and no one could tell me different. Drugs and alcohol were the only things that I thought made me happy. I was having fun. When I was 17, I came back to treatment beat up and ready to listen. I wasn’t having fun anymore. I was young and not sure if I was going to be able to stop drinking and drugging. I struggled, trying to decide if recovery is really what I wanted or if I wanted to continue to use. I was in treatment during the holidays and came up with an analogy that worked for me. I thought back to when I was a little girl and couldn’t wait to open up my Christmas presents to see what kind of toys I...

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No Shoes

On June 15, 1998,  I entered a rehab facility. I was 18 years old, confused and abusing drugs.  Alcohol was my drug of choice but I smoked pot, popped pills, used acid, crack, cocaine--whatever I could get my hands on. It wasn’t about a particular drug. I just wanted to escape, get away from being me, so to speak. I started drinking when I was 14. I agreed to 30 days of treatment, ended up staying for 16 months. Today, I remain employed at this same place. Back then, I had heard crazy things about this rehab and what they made you do. I was scared, desperate and broke. I needed something to turn my life around. Treatment was the only option I had left before I killed myself from using drugs. I used drugs from the time I got up in the morning until I fell asleep, whatever time that was. Just before I...

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Adderall -- A Personal Story

It was the toughest semester of my life. I was taking six classes, my grandmother had passed away just days before finals, and I was too emotionally and mentally shot to focus on anything. Hours slid by and nothing was getting done. My worst fear was coming true—I was going to fail my exams. After venting to my friend about my troubles, he responded by handing me a little blue tablet marked AD 10. Having never taken any prescription pill, I was a bit hesitant, but considering my desperate circumstances, I decided to down it. Subtle stimulation is one thing, such as a caffeine rush, but encephalic overdrive characterized by robotic like tunnel vision that allows you to scan hundreds of pages of bland text with no desire to stop, is literally a mind blowing sensation. An electric wave of euphoria pulsated through my body giving me a sense of intellectual...

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