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My Story of Survival

Created by Raymond C

My Story of Survival

Hey everyone my name is Ray and I'm a junkie -- at least that's how society labels me.

I come from a very dysfunctional family and I've been suffering from abuse since I was about 4 or 5 years of age. When my mother first had me my father didn't believe I was his child (of course I was) and that gave him an excuse to cheat and abuse my mom. It drove her absolutely insane and led her to drugs and to abuse me (won't go into to much detail). My older brother was the golden child and he could do nothing wrong, but I never held resentment toward him because he was my biggest cheerleader. But not even he could save me from what I was about to become -- people would always tell me that I looked and acted like my mother, "like mother like son", and boy did I learn how much that saying really was true.

As a young teenager I suffered from untreated mental illnesses and severe depression. Nothing I did could snap me back to reality and memories of my childhood kept haunting me. Then I met the person who would save my life and introduce me to my first drug. My brother's friend would pop any pill he could get his hands on like it was going out of style. He told me it will help bring me happiness and that all my problems would go away. He started me off with lower tabs but from there it progressed to any prescription pill I could get my hands on and the high I would get was amazing -- the loneliness that consumed my whole body was gone and for one, I was just like everyone else.

My father shortly found out and tried putting me in rehabs and getting me help, but all that did was make me do it more! I would never stay and being in my early teens, I was already stubborn and would tell him: "My life, I live it my way. What's the big deal, it's just pills?" But just like any drug, you build a tolerance up to it, which means you either start experimenting with worse drugs or you take more of the drug your already on. The drug I decided to experiment with is cocaine.

I can't even explain how good that drug made me feel! It became my drug of choice. It became something I needed more than water and more than food. I started sniffing it nonstop. I thought it made my dreams better while my reality just kept getting worse. Plus by this time I was with my daughter's mother. Our relationship was just as dysfunctional as my parents and all we did is argue, mainly because I was always high. Us being young didn't help us either. She became pregnant with my daughter and wanted to abort her -- she was fed up and didn't want anything to do with me or our baby. After begging and pleading with her, she decided to keep it if I promise I'd take the baby and disappear -- which I did.

I made a promise to myself that my daughter will never see me high -- that if I need my drugs, I will make sure to use out of her presence. But pain just kept coming my way: I ended up losing my brother to suicide and the depression and pain I felt was so deep. I felt like I lost the only person who believed in me.

It still hurts me that my brother had never seen me clean.

I tried sobriety for a little while after his death and I ended up meeting a woman who changed my life. After a string of relationships that didn't work out, she was the only one who accepted me for who I was. She knew I had severe problems and it didn't scare her away. She did everything she could to make me believe that I'm better then my past and I couldn't help but fall in love with her, but of course my past would come back to haunt me. I couldn't stop acting like a child instead of a man. I trained my mind to purposely make good things in my life end because I thought they would eventually end anyway. I thought she wouldn't wanna settle for a "junkie" and finally she just gave up and walked away. I never got to thank her for what she has done for me and that's what hurts more -- one of those "I met the right person at the wrong time" type of deals.

I just couldn't handle heartbreak like a normal man. I had to self-destruct and I did. If I wasn't high, I was drunk. I wasn't eating, bathing nothing. I would sleep in alleyways from being so blasted that I couldn't find my way home. I'd even steal just to supply myself with my drug. When I started using heroin, my life really went downhill. I finally did it. I finally became my mother.

I was addicted to pills, heroin, and coke. I was officially a nobody. I had lost so much weight that you probably could pick me up and throw me around like a hackey-sack. Finally the last straw was when I woke up in a hospital room and my cousin told me that I overdosed and my daughter witnessed it. Out of all the promises I broke, after all the people I hurt, I didn't want my daughter to be one of them. Little did I realize that every time I used, I hurt her. I lost custody of my daughter for awhile after that.

But boy did I have a fire in me! This time I was going to get clean and stay clean. As of now I'm 23 years of age and I'm happy to report that I'm 3 years clean!!! My anniversary date is Aug 10. Which means I just celebrated my third year. My daughter is now 5 going on 6 in September and I regained custody over her. I'm in college and I will graduate with my associates in the spring of 2015. My dream is to be an addiction counselor and I won't stop until I get my masters degree.

My daughter and I get along great now but it didn't happen overnight. I tried to repair every broken friendship I could, unfortunately I couldn't. But that's okay, it was my fault and I pushed people away. Oh and I also got help for my depression and another mental illness I suffer from that I'm not yet ready to announce. But the point of me telling my story is: if I can do it anyone can! If you feel that no one has your back, I do! Life is too short to live it with addiction. Get high off life, not drugs! Just because you're an addict, it doesn't mean you can't succeed!

You can do it!

But remember it takes baby steps. In my journey I relapsed many many many times! But in the end I never gave up! Now I can say: "Hi my name is Ray and I'm not a junkie, I'm a survivor!"


This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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Comments

1. Julie
Congrats to you, Ray, on your recovery -- and for being a survivor!
2. Sofia
Thank you for sharing your story, and congratulations on your anniversary!