Through the Eyes of an Addict
My name is Courtney B, and I am a greatful recovering addict. My drug of choice is heroin, but I have been using drugs of all sorts starting around the age of fourteen. Growing up, I had an interesting child hood, but never the less, it was a good one. Growing up, I was the youngest of two daughters. My sister Kara is sixteen months older than me, and has down syndrome. Growing up, I was always a pretty happy child for the most part. At times throughout my older child hood, I gained a strong jealousy towards my sister, which also might sound a little selfish, but as a child, even being the baby, I lacked 'equal attention' from my parents. At a young age, I used to say that my parents loved my sister more than they love me. Now, of course, I know that isn't true, but it still always stuck in the back of my mind. But considering my sisters disability, and our different mentality levels, we were always very close, though I can honestly say my sister is far more advanced than anyone else I know with down sydrome.
Anyway, when I was in the eighth grade, a bunch of students from my middle school had been doing bomb threats and being expelled. So while I had felt like I was being put on the back burner all these years, I wanted to do something that would really catch my parents attention. So a friend of mine wrote the word 'bomb' on the bathroom wall, and I went to the principles office and turned myself in. Of course, I was expelled. I think at that point, my mom knew I only did it FOR the attention, which I did.
From that point on, I continued to have sort of a rebellious side to me. Freshman year, I did everything I could to stand out. I wore weird clothes, listened to weird music, and did just about anything I could to stand out. But at my high school, people didn't treat people like me right. I was picked on for most of my life, even from the age of seven. I've always been a bit of a bigger girl, all the girls I knew were skinny. And i wanted to fit in. I didn't have a lot of friends, but with having such low self-esteem, being an outcast was not an option for me. I remember coming back from Christmas break that year. I had my mom buy me clothes from Hot Topic, Pacsun, I guess that's the image I wanted to achieve then. And then it happened. I was sitting in my American Government class. There was this new kid in our class, he was an upperclassman but had to repeat the course. He was seated next to me. We got to talking and he started asking me questions like, 'What do you do for fun?" "Do you smoke bud?" And at first, I didn't know what he meant by 'bud', then he told me it was weed. Because I wanted to fit in, I agreed to hang out with him and a few of his buddies after school and we were going to smoke a blunt. I remember being so excited that was the only thing I could think about the rest of the school day. And then the final bell rings, and next thing I know i'm sitting in a car with a bunch of upperclassman smoking pot. And man did I feel cool. I also felt this feeling that I had never felt before. Of course, I was just high. But I was calm, relaxed, carefree. And it had been the first time I felt okay.
I continued smoking marijuana throughout high school. I still never ended up fitting in with the popular kids in school, but I aquired my own friends throughout my four years of high school, but they weren't really the best people to hang out with. I continued to have very low self esteem throughout high school, and eventually I had enough of the bullying and my senior year of high school, I dropped out. My parents weren't very proud of the decision I had made, but I think they were getting tired of me coming home crying about being picked on in school. There were times I really did make my parents proud, though. I may not have been good at fitting in with people in school, but I had a talent for the performing arts. I am a musician, and have been from a very young age. I used to play in numerous orchestras, i've won trophies. I don't play anymore, though.
After dropping out of high school, I continued hanging out with the wrong crowd. Of course, I didn't think they were. We'd hang out, smoke pot all day and just relax. I was at a party one night and a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to split a percoset with him. I'd taken them before, but orally. He had a different idea of how to take it, but I was all for it. A little nervous, but I thought nothing of it. My first opiate I ever snorted was a perc 30. That high was completely different than a weed high, and I loved it!! Months would pass, and I would steadily get heavier and heavier into my pill addiction. Then at nineteen, I decided I was going to work for the carnival and spend my summer traveling. Little did I know, most 'carnies' as they're called are either felons, alcoholics, or drug addicts.
When I joined, I met a guy named Jeremy. I was completely smitten by him from day one. He was a manager, so he had a lot of seniority. I noticed he could get just about anything he wanted, including drug wise. Most would see disaster written all over that, I looked at it as a good time. So we started dating, and my drug addiction got even heavier. We eventually broke up, and my drug use continued. Spring of 2010 was when I decided that I had enough of snorting pills. And that was it. I don't remember the withdrawl, but it wasn't hard for me to just stop. I'm a firm believer of both good karma and bad. I believe that if you do good, then good things will come your way. That summer, I met the love of my life. A country boy from South Carolina named Brent. It was love at first sight. He smoked weed, but that was it. And I was able to still smoke weed and stay away from pills. Until my 20th birthday. My boyfriend and I had a long distance relationship up until this point, and he wasn't in town. But Jeremy was. And I recieved a call from him telling me he had a surprise for me. So we meet up and he has a square container, something out of a hospital. I asked what it was, and he said it was liquid dilaudid. Then.. I saw the needle, and I fell in love. It had been the most beautiful thing I had laid eyes on. I'm not exactly sure why, but I wasn't worried about that. It was my birthday, and it wasn't a pill going up my nose so I thought nothing of it. I just remember having a belt wrapped around my arm, feeling so anxious, and then Jeremy stuck the needle in my vein. As I watched the blood squirt up into the needle, the antisipation grew as he pushed down the plunger, and I became numb. This was the best feeling I had ever felt. We spent the rest of the night shooting this stuff up, and it had become the best night of my life. Well, Jeremy left town, and that was the end of that. My boyfriend had moved up to Maryland and it had been maybe five or six months, and I became pregnant. I remained completely drug free throughout my pregnancy. On December 29th, 2011 I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy I had ever laid eyes on.
Though childbirth is a beautiful experience, there's also a lot of down affects it does to a woman. I ended up getting post pardum depression. When I had told my boyfriend that I thought I had it, he did his own research and ended up telling me that it was all in my head, and that I was crazy. He thought I was just imagining all of this. But that wasn't the case at all. I began to become even more and more depressed. Men don't understand how a womans body works. Pregnancy and childbirth do a number to a woman's body and her hormones as well. I had never been so depressed in my life.
I met up with one of my weed dealers one nigh, and he had mentioned to me that he had something called raw if I was interested. I had no idea what it was at first. Then he told me, and asked if I wanted to try it. He had a brand new pack of needles and everything. So there went all my clean time.. and that very second was the night I decided to make the biggest mistake of my life. I had remembered back to when I was shooting dilaudid up with Jeremy, so I knew what to do, and he had told me how to prep it. And then, next thing I knew, I was undoing the belt from around my arm, and I was enjoying the most amazing rush, the best feeling, I had felt in my life. And suddenly, I could smile again. I knew I had found the 'solution' to my problems. For the first few months, I 'had my priorities' straight. I worked two full time jobs, took care of my son and our family, and on my free time when my son was either with his dad or a baby sitter, that would be my time of using. But it started becoming an every day thing. And next thing I knew, I was spending hundred of dollars a week just to 'get well'. But I had become a totally different person. I started dropping weight.. a lot of weight.. and fast. I was constantly thinking of excuses to leave so I could go get my fix.
Now, going back to my child hood where I always felt like I wasn't 'loved' the same as my sister. I grew a strong resentment towards my parents. Next thing I knew, I was taking their bank cards, and pretty much wiping them clean, spending all of the stolen money on drugs. I even stopped smoking pot because the high was undesireable compared to the high I got from heroin. I started lying a lot, stealing, and doing just about anything I could to get even more money than I already had just so I could get high. It got to the point where my habit reached me spending a hundred, if not more dollars a day. But this person I had become, I felt morbid. I wasn't the same person anymore. I wanted to be numb at all times. My relationships I had with my boyfriend, family and friends had all gone down hill. I couldn't really talk to my family or boyfriend about my drug use, because they didn't understand. I think they felt like it was something you could just give up overnight. It's not, any any addict can tell you that it's an every day battle. In five months, I had lost all of my baby weight, plus an additional 20 pounds. It was almost disgusting at how much weight I had lost in such a short amount of time. On July 27th, 2012 I experienced the most painful feeling ever.. withdrawl. It had been only twelve hours since my last use, and I started withdrawling. I felt like I was crawling out of my skin. I couldn't sit still, I would freak out randomly. It was just the most uncomfortable feeling I had ever felt. I needed to find a way to get my next fix. But I had no money, no ways of getting money, and basically there was nothing I could do. After feeling what withdrawl felt, I decided I never wanted to feel that way again. They say in recovery, don't say you're tired of doing drugs. When you're tired, you rest and then you go back to what you were doing. When you're done, you're done.
I spent all that weekend calling around looking for open beds at rehabs throughout the state, and I had found one that would take me that Monday. I was determined that I was going to get better and never have to go back to doing heroin ever again.
When I had arrived to rehab, I was a little nervous. I had never been before, but I was excited. When I walked through those doors, I was determined that I was going to get my shit straight. I got settled in, met some of the people that were there, and once I would start talking to more and more people, it felt like it was the first time throughout my entire addiction that someone actually understood. It felt like people actually cared. My boyfriend and I would fight on the phone throughout the day, so we split the second day I was there. That night, as the new people started rolling in, I laid eyes on this one guy inparticular. He had a really neat style, I was really digging him. The next morning everyone had been in line for their medications. They didn't have me on suboxone or anything because I had already been on day three of withdrawling, so there was no need for me to be on it. They gave us these vitamins, and there was one inparticular that did not sit well with me. As I'm getting ready to puke my guts up, I turn, and there he was. Holding his shirt out saying, 'Here.. go ahead and puke on me." As gross as it sounds, that was probably one of the sweetest things I had heard in a long time. Hah. Me and him instantly hit it off. We spent pretty much every second of the day together. My stay in rehab turned out being more of a vacation. I ended up becoming distracted and when I was finally out, I relapsed after a month. My boyfriend and I were still split, and I was hanging out with people I had met in rehab getting high.
I continued to get high until October 28th, 2012. I moved down to South Carolina to be with my boyfriend whom I had gotten back together with and our son. My boyfriend comes from a long line of drug addicts in his family. But for some reason, I always felt like even though we were all addicts alike, I was the worst one of all, and that I was different from his family because they were on different drugs. Well, one thing a newly recovering addict thinks to do is substitute. So hanging around his family, I experimented with cocaine. It really wasn't my cup of tea, I didn't like it at all actually. One night I had decided to do it, my boyfriend caught me. We got into a huge arguement and he hit me. I then moved back up to Maryland on my 22nd birthday. The first thing I thought to do when I got home was to get high, and I did.
But that night, I had come to the realization that I couldn't keep living this life. I had seen what it was doing to my loved ones all around me. I've spent too much time putting the blame on everyone else for my addiction, that I never really thought about it from another person's eyes, from the ones i'm hurting. On my 22nd birthday, that was the last time I touched heroin. I didn't go back to treatment, but I slowly started growing the will power to not take that drug. I started attending meetings, losing ties with the people I used to use with, and i'm slowly starting to turn my life around. I'm not really allowed to go out like I used to be able to. My boyfriend moved back up to Maryland with me, but he's still convinced i'm using. He's convinced he's going to catch me with another needle in my arm. But he won't, because i'm stronger than that. Recently we had gotten into a huge arguement where I tried taking my own life. I had a needle, and I had bleach. Right as I was able to take my life, my mom walks into the room, saw what I was doing, dropped to her knees and cried out, 'I hear your cry for help now.' We cried together, and after that, we became a lot closer. My boyfriend and I on the other hand, things are still on the rocks with us. I'm not really sure if things will get better with us or not. But that's not my priority right now. I'm determined to continue my sobriety, to prove everyone wrong, and maybe one day my son can hear my story and be proud of me because i'd like to have twenty years clean by then.
I may not have a lot of clean time under my belt just yet, but I finally have my focus in the right direction. I'm determined this time. For everyone who says they have doubts in me, i'm going to prove them wrong. But most importantly, i'm going to prove to myself that i'm a stronger person than I think I am. I'm determind, i'm focused. And if I continue to take things one day at a time, listen to my sponsor's advice, and stick to the program that has truly changed my prespective on a lot of things, I know I can do this.
For all of you suffering addicts crying out for help, just remember. Easy does it. Take things one day at a time, and have faith in yourself. Recovery is not going to be easy and it's not going to be pretty at first. But honestly, being clean now is the best feeling in the world. And I will never go back to drugs. That's not how this story ends.
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.