Knowing the science behind addiction, does not accurately describe the intense despair of those who are living it. Today we look at how people involved in substance abuse view their lives. The following article consists entirely of quotes from online videos and books relating the experiences of those in addiction; WARNING: May be too graphic for some readers.
“Before my brother’s death I was just a normal kid, playing video games and sports. Going through the grief of my brother’s death, his friends told me, just take this drug and you won’t have to feel anything anymore. When I took it I felt numb. Any problem I had went away. My addiction got worse, I stole more and hurt more people I had no one. I wasn’t even getting high at this point, I was just not being sick. It cost me around $300 a day. The mental addiction to this takes over your mind. I had no choice, I just needed to feel ok. And so that was the first time I tried heroin and there was no going back after that. I ended up overdosing, almost dying only a few feet from where my brother was found dead. It took four shots of Narcan to bring me back.” (The Dark Path by Andrew D., Brendan P., Joshua M. in McDonald PA: from the operationprevention.org)
“I saw myself as a pathetic creature, a fool, so completely obsessed with a stupid drug. I was in trouble because my sickness called for a cure that only made it worse: more ominous, more dangerous. I was in trouble because, though I didn’t quite get it yet, some part of me would erode further every time I came into contact with opiates in the future. My attraction would burgeon with alarming suddenness, my control would give way, and I would take risks that I couldn’t yet imagine. Opioids made me feel safe and warm, cared for, soothed and I would need them all the more to combat the shame and depression they themselves engendered.” Memoirs of an Addicted Brain
“Drugs took my mind over and made me do things that I’d been brought up not to do. It turned me into a monster.”
“Drugs became my full time job. The needle was my boss, a very demanding boss. My whole day revolved around it. It’s a never ending vicious cycle. The same thing over and over and over. You go to sleep doing it. You wake up and are dope sick, so you got to do it all over again. You got to at least do enough just to where you are not sick anymore.”
“I stole checks from my grandma. Anything that wasn’t nailed down I stole and pawned. I stole my mom’s debit card. Heroin cost me $300 a day. You don’t think about anything. You don’t think about the people you are hurting or the lies you tell. You don’t think about getting arrested. All you can think about is getting another fix. I didn’t care what it was going to do to me later on, I just wanted the feeling of it right then and there.”
“It’s not worth it. And it will get you. You are no different than anyone else. It will destroy your life. You will end up in jail or dead or in some institution for the rest of your life.” Quotes above are from Chasing the dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict: justthinktwice.gov
These testimonials give you a sense of the power of addiction and the difficulty of achieving recovery. But there is hope. Treatment works. Recovery is possible.
Lynn Saylor is the AmeriCorps member working with the United Against Opioid Abuse Initiative alongside the White County United Way. She is a major facilitator of the United Council on Opioids serving White County and a regular contributor to local media.