It's Never Over
My name is Michael and I am a drug addict. The only reason I am telling you this is because I'm hoping I can help at least one person in the world. All the embarrassment in the world would be worth it if one person ends up happy and alive because of me.
I got in too deep with drugs and I could not get out without help. I think if my recovery had depended on some sort of tough love rapid detox thing, I would still be a drug addict. I personally don't think that is how you help drug addicts. That tough love stuff doesn't tell the person one thing they don't already know. There is nothing useful about it. It's unfortunate so many people respond with it.
What saved me were people who loved me even as a drug addict and a highly engineered pharmaceutical called suboxone. I am still slightly dependent on suboxone. I'm OK with that. People are dependent on all sorts of things, from Prozac to coffee to riding their bike. Dependency isn't a problem so long as the trajectory is in a positive direction. In fact, it's probably a good thing. I'm finding myself more and more dependent on my family and my friends and my work and that is what makes a life a life.
Drug addiction is not as simple as it seems. It's not a mistake that you correct. It's a severe change of direction in the entire vector of your life. It utterly changes you and fucks with you in a very deep way. I went from a person with very few personal doubts to someone who has depression-level anxiety at times. I gave myself depression by completely screwing up my natural responses. I had a switch I could turn on whenever I needed to. Anything could be pleasurable. I never needed to worry about being on because I had my hand on the switch. What a wonderful power! It actually seems quite natural once you are used to it. Why do I have to hope I'm having a good day when I can guarantee it! Why doesn't everyone do this stuff? They should hand it out at the post office.
What you don't see is the diabolical fiddler in the background, adding an almost endless list of charges to your bill. You are racking up debts at an unbelievable rate and you don't even know it. You are spending your future happiness on the blur of an over-stimulated stupor. You are killing yourself in a way you don't realize: you are using up your will to live.
I could go on but I need to get to the important part. You can get out. You can survive the transition back to a normal life. You need help. You need people who care about you and a doctor who is more concerned about your well-being than about any specific clinical ideology. You need to take the long view. You need to never do those drugs ever again. And you need to choose to live. That is harder than you think. But if you choose to live, you will. Don't lose hope. This is your only chance. This is it. You can't just choose to get out. You know you can't. It scares the hell out of you, choosing to not live, and that is for a very good reason. It's the wrong path. The real you inside wants to come back. The real you wants to live. The real you doesn't want to teeter on the edge of oblivion anymore. You want to come home. You can come home. You are the only one who can do it.
Call your mom. Call a stranger. Talk to us. Find your strength. Choose to live. Please. We need you here.
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.