If somebody were to ask me today, I wouldn’t be able to really offer an explanation for why I started doing meth. I suppose if I had to hazard a guess, I would say it was because I was bored with life, depressed and lacked respect for myself and my future. After six years of sobriety, it’s still hard to look back at what I was when I was getting high. But I need these memories in order to keep me going in my recovery. I can’t ever forget the mess my life was before getting clean—this is both a blessing and a curse, but it’s kept me sharp and sober.
Nobody ever sees it coming-the heartache, the conflict, the sleepless nights, the estrangement from family-but addiction ultimately takes away everything you care about until you have no choice but to fight or die. I was 17 years old the first time I tried meth; 18 when I started cooking it. Before long, everything in my life started to fall apart. I left home before graduating high school and spent four months bouncing back and forth friends’ parents’ couches. When they weren’t looking, I was robbing them blind. By the time they found out their money, valuables and Sudafed was missing, I was already onto the next adventure.
Eventually even the people who believed in me most started shutting me out until all I had left was my addiction and about $320 in savings—guess what I spent it on. When I was 19, I got arrested for trying to rob Sudafed from a local pharmacy. I was sentenced to an outpatient program that I left two days later. I was homeless and out of options. Eventually I called my parents, asking if I could move back in for a while, I had every intention of using when I was living with them and, in fact, still had a healthy supply of meth in the trunk of my car.
My parents told me that the only way I could come back and live with them is if I entered a drug rehab center in Florida that they picked out for me. I reluctantly agreed and to enter treatment, not believing it would do much. The detox process was a revelation. I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to be drug-free and after about a week I could feel myself starting to feel better. My doctor and I worked together to help me recognize the issues that led to my addiction, and I’m still in touch with him whenever I fell the slightest bit vulnerable.
I was on the verge of death, not knowing where my next meal or dollar was coming from, but I came back because as I spent time in rehab, I began to realize that I had a choice and that the only one who could determine my destiny was me. Once you realize it’s all up to you, it’s amazing what you manage to accomplish out of sheer survival.