For a long time, I viewed recovery as a state of being that was reserved for those few who knew the magical secret to making it everlasting. Convinced that I didn’t have what it took to reach this enchanted place and that those who did had something I lacked. This thought trapped me; I’d be an addict forever, consumed by fear of anything and everything, and hope for me lost.
I didn’t believe in the miracles that recovering addicts spoke about, yet I still held onto dreams of what I would become if I ever mustered up enough courage to commit. I was so afraid of changing my life, and I had become so comfortable in the sad reality I lived every day. I was comfortable with the idea that I’d die a junkie because at least I wouldn’t have to fight the scary uphill battle of recovery. I wanted everything recovering addicts had, but the fear to go and get it for myself was crippling. It still boggles my mind that those who don’t understand the true dark nature of active addiction can look an addict in the eye and say, “why don’t you just get help? Your life would be so much better.” Of course, it would! But committing to the decision to put down the only thing I’ve known for so long was the scariest (and most amazing) decision I’ve ever had to make.
I somehow managed to hold down a part-time job, graduate college in May 2014, and land a great job in my field, all while juggling a full-blown heroin addiction. As long as I could put just a few things before using, I was good. The things I was capable of convincing myself still blow my mind today. It quickly got to the point where not one thing came before heroin; not family, not work, not friends, not my health, nothing. I was rail thin, 88 lbs, I stunk, and I looked like death was creeping up on me fast. I knew I’d fallen far in my addiction, but I was too afraid to turn my back on what I knew all too well. I hated myself for what I’d become, the things I’d done for my drug, the low places I’d made my norm. I’d dragged so many of my loved ones through the mud during my active use. My family members were nervous wrecks and did everything in their power to keep tabs on me just to make sure I was still alive. My mother cried and begged constantly, and all I gave her in return were empty promises that I’d get help. Only a few of my real friends stuck by me through my spiral, and I still hold them dear to this day. I know I put the people who truly love me through absolute hell. Today, all I can do is thank them for always believing in me and thank God for second, third, and fourth chances.
I was a beat down hopeless shell of a human being, and emotionally bankrupt. I hated what I saw in the mirror and the destroyed vessel of a body I existed in. On March 14th, 2015, I’d finally become so sick and exhausted by my life that the only thing I could do was completely surrender and accept the help given to me.
I entered a long-term drug treatment program and let myself live in the comfort of knowing that at least for the next few months I wouldn’t be forced to scheme, lie, beg, or steal to get high. I owe my life to the advice I received and the lessons I learned while in treatment.
If I could go back in time and tell my old self about the road ahead when I picked up my first opiate, I’d tell her that the lessons she’s going to learn are precious and powerful, but the price she’ll pay to learn them will nearly cost her life. Not everything about recovery is easy, but the rewards are worth every bit of effort.
I feel my life began once I made the decision to stop giving my addiction power. I went from a life controlled by fear to living my life fearlessly. I’ve learned that I am a powerful person who can love myself fully, and I no longer have to fear being alone because I have found more beauty within than I ever imagined. I can finally see what unconditional love truly is because for so long I was blind to the love that always surrounded me. I have an overpowering appreciation for the people in my life that never doubted my capability to overcome. Today, I look at what my life has blossomed into since I embarked on this journey of recovery with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.