I recall as a teenager, I was always against authority. I always found a way to manipulate my parents into getting things my way. I never took life too seriously. Perhaps that is why my life went in the direction the way it did. Looking back, I always had the behavioral traits and mindset of an addict.

The Beginning

I began experimenting with opioid painkillers early in high school. I never thought about the long-term impact or consequences it could have later down the road. As addicts, we hardly ever worry about those things. I fed my addiction by swindling my parents into giving me money for one reason or another. My parents were enabling the addict in me without thinking twice about it. I would end up graduating high school with average grades. My addiction really did not take control of me until the stress of navigating life after high school began to bear down on me.

I started working a part-time job and attending college full-time. I was beginning to feel the pressure of the adult world. I did not know how to cope or manage the stress. I always had a tendency to give up on myself too easily. I had difficulty staying focused and motivated. I did not believe in myself. I felt my mental health deteriorating due to all the expectations placed on me. I quit my job so I could focus solely on school but even that did not work out. All of the above played a part in my addiction. I found myself at the mercy of a drug I swore I would never do- heroin.

The Cost of Addiction

My addiction would soon cost me my academic success, among other things. I withdrew from all my classes. I became the first member of my family to drop out and not obtain a college degree. I was always the kind of person that measured and compared myself to others. I beat myself up over my failures. Guilt and shame were definitely driving factors of my addiction.

I would struggle holding down various jobs. Most of my paychecks were being invested in my addiction. I was going through an existential crisis. I felt as though life had no meaning or purpose. I had a toxic way of thinking. During this time, I had cut myself off from family and friends. I did not want them to see me in my condition. I did not want them to know just how bad I was suffering. Depression and suicidal thoughts were constantly present. The heroin withdrawals only made things worse. One day, I ended up having a severe panic attack and finally reached out to my family. I decided it was best for me to go home in a last-ditch effort to break my addiction.

Last-Ditch Effort

I would end up in a place I never thought I would be- a drug detox and treatment center. I was naturally fearful of going back to the real world once I left. Going into treatment gave me a whole new perspective on life. I was given the guidance and tools that I never had before. My spirit and confidence had been restored. After treatment, I decided it was best for me to go into a sober living home. I began a whole new life I never dreamed possible in recovery. I highly recommend entering treatment in the early stages of addiction…but it is better late than never.