Almost Game Over

There are only a handful of events in my life, in which I can remember actually wanting to die; all of them occurred during my active abuse of heroin. Like many other users I started taking heroin after painkillers became too expensive. When you can no longer afford or access the drugs that you\'re addicted to, you either have to get in rehab or get creative; I chose to get creative. Heroin was cheap, it was available and it wasn’t all that different from Oxy. In other words, it was the perfect alternative.

Of course I was never, ever going to resort to the needle; that\'s what I addicts did, right? And snorting heroin wasn\'t all that bad, was it? For about a year, snorting was my preferred method of intake, until I needed to feel the effects more quickly, then I started smoking. Eventually the needle that I had once sworn off didn\'t look so bad anymore. I was shooting for the last six months that I was on heroin, right up until three days before I went into treatment. I knew I couldn\'t go on like this and would have definitely died had I kept going the way I was going.

While I was concerned with how I was going to be able to keep doing heroin, everything else in my life continued to crumble around me. I lost about 70 pounds, my teeth were rotting out of my head, I couldn\'t hold down a job and my family was just about ready to give up on me. I had been a relatively decent writer before I feel into drug addiction, but could no longer keep anything straight enough in my head to get down on paper–incidentally, anyone that ever said that drugs aid in the creative process should come and talk to me.  

I entered a Florida drug rehab program because I knew it was my best shot at a normal life. I went into my program in 2002, weighing 111 pounds, down from 184 just a year prior. When I completed my program, I was on my way to 140 and have since gained a healthy amount of that weight back. It was as if I had stepped through the doors of my facility and became a new person. The process was basically as ugly as it gets, but my doctors and therapists hung in there with me until I got back on my feet and adjusted naturally to a drug-free existence.

I\'ve been clean for twelve months, and am remembering more and more of the things that I pulled when I was abusing heroin; this is both a blessing and a curse because it shames the hell out of me, but it also provides with the incentive to stick to my recovery and never take anything for granted, no matter how over heroin I think I am. We\'re only as strong as we are on our worst days, and I\'m not foolish enough to think I\'m now impervious to relapse.

Drew M.
Greensboro, NC