I flick my lighter three times and pull the half-smoked Newport out from behind my ear. In between nodding off, I bring the flame to the tip of my cigarette, and if only for an instant, everything seemed right in my world. When I would use, my addiction would tell me all sorts of lies like this. Heroin was that peaceful silence in the dead of night after a massive snow storm. Heroin was that calming smell of a summertime rainstorm. Heroin was that picturesque view of a shoreline sunrise that appears frozen in time. Heroin was that feeling of pure joy that one can only experience as a child on Christmas morning. None of it was real. It was all just smoke and mirrors fed to me by my disease. My addiction was the tense sound of a New York City construction site on a busy day. I had beeping horns and jackhammers in my head all day long. My addiction was the anxious smell of a stale room on the tough side of town. My addiction was the dim lit alley way that only drums up negative feelings and emotions. My addiction was the feeling of pure despair that one can only experience after losing everything and everyone in their life. Addiction is great at using slight of hand to convince us we are in control. It can manipulate and connive us in ways that turn us against ourselves and everyone around us. Let someone help you see things for what they truly are until you can see it for yourself.
Transformation Tuesday! Three years ago, I left my parents’ house to go to a treatment center two days before Christmas. I was in such a bad place mentally, spiritually and emotionally that I couldn’t even hold on for 48 hours and spend the holidays with my family. The next year, I spent Thanksgiving in a treatment center and was released two weeks before Christmas. I spent the holiday living in halfway house 1,500 miles away from my family. Last year I had over a year of sobriety for the first time in my life, and because I was in the right frame of mind, I was able to spend Christmas with my family and my best friend. It was the first time I was with my family physically and emotionally in a long time. My point is – if your struggling – please get help the help you need whenever you need It. Don’t put it off until after the holidays, because a lot can happen in just a few weeks. I know how hard this time of year can be for addicts and their families, so please reach out if you need some help or support. I’m always just a message or a phone call away. Prayers for all the families affected by addiction this year.
My first year of sobriety was unlike anything I had experienced before because it was NOT just about putting down the drugs and alcohol. This year was also about growing and developing how I treated myself. If anyone out there is reading this and still struggling with the concept of sobriety, I will try to shed a little light on what it actually means to me. (more…)
Around the three month mark of my sobriety things started to change. The days were more manageable, and the nights were no longer cold, dark and lonely. The tough times I came face to face with in the beginning turned out to be the foundation on which I built my recovery. They say that success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out, and I couldn’t agree more. The problem was, I forgot what it meant to put in effort everyday to accomplish a long term goal. Drug addiction is all about instant gratification. My days spent in agonizing withdrawal were washed away once the drug dealer showed up at my house. The pain of the previous hours were an afterthought because I knew I would be okay, if only for a few hours. Thoughts of hard work were non existent and I lived my life for the next high. Years of my life had passed me by while I was just a lingering onlooker. This time I was actively participating, and this time things were progressing differently. (more…)
There I was, a recent high school graduate caught in the midst of a terrible heroin and crack cocaine addiction.
Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, and after taking a long look at this time in my life I am fully aware that the drugs and alcohol were never the problem. In fact, I believe whole heartedly that the drugs and alcohol were my misguided and selfish solution to the problem. I say selfish because I never once thought about how my choices were going to affect those around me who loved me unconditionally. It felt as if I was the center of my own universe; and if I was not getting what I believed was owed to me, I became resentful. But it wasn’t always that easy for me to distinguish between the rational and the irrational. At this point I was dealing with a drug addiction and an undiagnosed mental health issue that would be uncovered in the near future. (more…)