Looking back, what I find especially scary is that I was always one of those kids who pledged to never do any drugs. Ever. I wouldn’t smoke, and certainly not pop pills. As a kid, I watched it destroy and kill my entire mom’s side of the family, and there was no way I was joining them. It’s scary because I had my guard held tight, and still, somehow, manged to let this insidious poison seep into me. Also, because I think all of us make that pledge when we’re young, small, and larger than life–yet today, an addiction epidemic is sweeping across the U.S.
The “battle” isn’t a battle. It’s a war; one that never truly ends–not in my experience, anyway. Even when you think it does, you can always see the smoke in the distance, just over the walls you’ve built. For me, the war has continued for roughly seven years now. My walls have been broken and rebuilt repeatedly, and the smoke outside them has filled the sky and clouded out the sun.
Like any other story, everybody’s tale of addiction has a beginning, and it has an end. The end isn’t always great, and is often far from it. For me, it began when I was 13, when my friend stole one of his dad’s cigarettes and suggested I smoke it with him. It wasn’t even about the buzz for me. I honestly hated that part. For me, I immediately became obsessed with the sneaking around and the idea of putting something into my body to change the way I feel and act–like I was temporarily changing who I was, and becoming someone else.
By 15, cigarettes had led to weed. Around this time, I’d also discovered alcohol. In high school, I was that shy, weird kid that always kept to himself (still am), and for awhile, I was going to school with a water bottle full of Vodka, sipping it in class so I could get myself to socialize a little more. You know, changing who I was, becoming someone else.
We all knew a Jeffrey Dahmer in school, an outcast, didn’t really fit in anywhere. Dahmer was 14 the first time his drinking in lesson was noted by someone other that fellow students. He smuggled alcohol of all kinds into school in the lining of his army style jacket. On one occasion, a classmate noticed Dahmer drinking a cup of gin in class to which Dahmer casually remarked, “it’s my medicine.”
And that was me.
Around this time, I got prescribed Xanax for my anxiety. I’m sure a few of you reading are putting your face into your hands at this point, shaking your heads and saying “Oh dear.” Do I even need to say what happens next? No, but I will anyways. Yes, I immediately began abusing the drugs, and thus, the doorway to my pill addiction opened and welcomed me with open arms.
From what I’ve heard, the way most people get into painkillers is after a surgery. Not me though. No, I’m a special kind of fucked up. When I was 16, I saw my father’s Hydrocodone prescription in the medicine cabinet, took it to school with me, and started popping them in my theater class.
This sounds bad, but it doesn’t quite shed light on the mess I was. So many daytime blackouts, waking up in random places… I was in constant trouble with either family, teachers, or law enforcement. I was a wreck, and it wasn’t till I turned 18, moved out, and lost everything that I finally began putting my broken pieces back together. Sorta.
Right now, I’m on one of my little “off” periods. This is where I swear I’m going to stop and never take another pill even if my life depends on it. I hate to think that at some point, it actually will. These phases, they come and go, lasting anywhere between a few days to a few months. So far, this one has lasted a solid month. I want to say it’ll last, but I’ve said those words too many times before. All I can do is take it one day at a time.
Staying “clean” isn’t like what most people think it is. It’s not like you cross some metaphorical finish line and you’re suddenly in the clear. It’s a day by day marathon. It’s exhausting, and from where I’m standing, there’s no finish line in sight.
“Addiction needs a pacifier.”
-3 Doors Down, Loser
Nowadays, I won’t touch a cigarette or take a sip of alcohol. Haven’t for years. I won’t even take a hit of weed, and I’m in California, you know, where it’s legal. It’s funny, because now my dad and brother occasionally smoke and they keep trying to get me to, but I now I won’t. All I have left to pry myself from are these fucking pills. Like I said, it’s been 30 days. Hopefully , that finish line is around the corner. Somewhere.
Coz I’m tired.
Thanks for reading!