I don’t usually speak much about this on social media, or anywhere really. I think I’ve always been too afraid to due to the judgement I feel people will pass about this. But tomorrow is another incredible milestone for me. It will mark eight months since I found the strength and courage to walk away from my addiction to crystal meth. A few friends, who I love dearly, have struggled with this addiction or are currently struggling so I’m writing a little something to open up about it and speak about it.
Throughout my life I’ve constantly battled depression and anxiety. Prescription medicine never seemed to help, and therapy was just another one of the things I’d have to force myself to get out of bed to go to. For about a year and a half I would occasionally use pills to get high. It seemed innocent to me at the time. As these situations happen though I quickly became dependent on being in some state of high just to get by. During this time I was in an extremely toxic and painful relationship that I had no idea how to get out of, and was blinded by the love and attachment I had for this person. When the relationship finally ended, I was devastated, had absolutely no one, and nothing. All I knew and all I could feel was pain. I tried to block out the pain anyway I could, thinking that being numb was a hell of a lot better than what I was going through. I didn’t care about myself anymore. I didn’t care about my life anymore. I felt like everyone who was supposed to love me had turned their back on me, so I began my descent into my crystal meth addiction and turned my back on them.
This was not at all how things actually were, it was just how I chose to look at them. My family always loved me, and my friends did too, but for some reason I had convinced myself otherwise. Meth was the first consistent thing in my life that I knew would be there to lift me up. Literally. I was able to get it whenever I wanted, and anytime I was low I knew I could just get high. I overlooked the damage it was doing to my body, my mind, my soul just because it was the only way I had ever taught myself to survive. But that’s all that I was doing, surviving. Getting high for days just to lay in my own bed at the end of my binges, trembling from lack of food and sleep, my head pounding and tears in my eyes knowing that I fucked up again. Suicidal thoughts would run through my mind because I had fried my brain and it was hardly functioning enough to know what was going on around me. The only friends that I felt comfortable enough to be around were the ones I used with. I was completely stripped of my confidence. Meth made me feel so high when I was on it that the thought of facing the world sober was impossible. Every time I used I wished I didn’t. Every time the high wore off I was consumed with shame, regret, and severe depression. I knew I hadn’t made any progress with anything, and I was in the exact same position I was in before I used. I never wanted to use meth again. But somehow, I always found myself breaking down after two or three or four days and using. Whenever I faced something painful, meth was my best friend.
I had a friend who was very very deep into addiction at the time. In October of 2015, we got in an argument and he told me to look at myself, what I was doing. That I was a drug addict just like he was, and he was completely right. This was a wake up call for me. For the next month I would continue using, continuing to break my mind and body down but also fully aware of what I was doing to myself. I held onto that conversation for a long time because it sparked something in me. Around this time that friend was continuing to get more unstable, using more frequently and one day he just kind of lost it. He said he was going to commit suicide, smashed his phone and left. I had no idea where he’d gone to, and didn’t hear from him for about two weeks. I didn’t know if he was dead or alive, or where he was if he was alive. After those few weeks I got a message from him letting me know he’d checked himself into treatment. Starting on Thanksgiving night of 2015 I binged for a solid nine days and at the end of it I was so sick of meth, so defeated and disgusted with the drug and what it does to people, what it did to me, what it did to all of my friends - that I decided I was done. Even then I ended up using one more time on Dec. 14th, 2015. It was after a period of about 11 days of sobriety and on that last day I used I knew that I just couldn’t do it anymore, I was tired of being trapped. And I think the one thing that truly gave me the courage to commit to being sober was that friend that had gone to treatment. For anyone I knew at the time to do something like that was truly amazing. This was a person I had watched struggle so much and then for him to just pull himself out of it at rock bottom was incredible. His courage gave me courage and I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for this friendship.
Sobriety was extremely hard at first. I didn’t know what I was expecting. It had been more than two years since I hadn’t relied on substances to deal with my own mind, and before that all I could recall was being severely depressed. I was so afraid, but meth was destroying me, my addiction was eating me alive and I knew getting clean was my only choice. I looked at my future and saw if things didn’t change, the only way it could end up was me being in prison or dead.
Every day that goes past is a new day for me to learn about myself. Who I am, where do I want to be, who do I love, who loves me, what makes my life beautiful. How can I change to be better? How can I show love to everyone I connect with - how can I take the hell I put myself through and use what I learned to be something good in this world? And I guess that’s why I wrote this. Because I want to bring awareness to this. People who are addicted to meth, heroin, anything really - they are not a lost cause. The addicts I’ve met have been easily some of the most intelligent, compassionate people I’ve come across in life. But with these qualities they face some of the most intense pain, and drugs for some reason or another have become the only way they know how to cope.
Reach out to the addicts in your life. You may feel like they have done nothing but do you wrong, but please remember - no one aspires to be a meth addict. No one starts their day wanting to be addicted to heroin. Something happened along the way and they lost themselves in an addiction to deal with their pain. I’ve been the addict, and I’ve been the sober family member of an addict. All you can do is love them, and remind them that they are loved. And if they truly want it for themselves, and I’m sure most addicts do, then with support, love, and hope, guidance, they will be able to get out of it. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to reach out to show them that it’s possible.
To all the addicts struggling - you are strong. Everything you need to get through this is already within you. I know that drugs can have you feeling like there’s no hope and no reason to free yourself, but that’s the addiction talking. Real happiness will surface when you decide to create it for yourself, and it all starts with a decision. You can do this.
“We can do anything.”