A Bad Habit: There is a problem that everyone seem to avoid talking about: drugs. As a youngin’, I came up with all sorts of excuses to take drugs. Drug was my choice of outlet for everything. When I’m happy, I take drugs; when I’m sad, I take drugs; when I’m angry, I take drugs. I didn’t know better because everyone around me seemed to be doing it too. Almost every year, there would be one or two friends die from overdose. But none of us cared, we grieved and we used drugs to mask the sadness and fear.
The Bad Times: My impulsive and reckless decisions have put me in some pretty bad places. One night, I overdosed and woke up in the ICU, strapped down with a tube down my throat. I will always remember the disdain on the nurse’s face as she told me that my heart literally stopped and no mother should ever have to hear such news about their child. Her unsympathetic approach only made me angry and less than a week later, I was back to my old self. One drug that I had particular problems with was Xanax. The unfortunate thing about Xanax is that when you’re a long term regular user who stops taking the drug suddenly, you could have seizures or even die. On the several accounts of me not taking pills for a week or two, I had seizures at a gas station, in front of my roommates, at a friend’s house, etc… I went to the ER because I gave myself a second-degree burn while I was fucked up on the pills. For awhile, my life consisted of ambulance rides and ER visits.
No Good Sympathy: Some of my friends would act sympathetic toward the situations I was in. “Life is stressful,” “your friends were the bad influences that made you do it,” “your boyfriend is causing you all the stress, that’s why you need drugs.” the more sympathetic they were toward my situation, the more I found excuses to justify and continue my drug use.
The Change: I felt like I was losing my mind and control on my life. I got sick of the drug use but wasn’t sure how to stop. I began to see a therapist and he suggested that I attend a meeting that is similar to NA meetings. The first thing I noticed at the meeting is that there are all sorts of people in this group. There is a young mother, men and women in their 50s, young people of my age… One thing that everyone had in common was an addiction problem. We went around in a circle and admitted our addictions. Then we would discuss what kind of underlying emotions were causing these dependencies. These emotions include fear, anxiety, peer pressure, loneliness, etc… It was very uncomfortable but it forced me to hear other people’s stories and tell them about myself. I was surprised to learn that on some level, all these people are the same as me. We were all fighting the same battle, and most importantly, we’d made the decision to change and better our lives. All the people from the group expressed empathy when I told them about my story. Their empathy felt genuine because I knew they understood what I was going through and how I felt. Their empathy gave me the courage to change myself.