While I grew up in a happy mid income family, I still considered it a suburban world of sh*t throughout my dissatisfied teen years. I experimented with drugs and alcohol just like everyone else throughout this time. All the basics: weed, shrooms, acid, MDMA, pills. College was different and a breath of fresh air at first; not having anyone tell you what to do, making friends with other partiers, strategically skipping classes, but I soon grew even less concerned with getting an education and found myself homesick much of the time; though I couldn't for the life of me tell you why.
When I came back to LA for winter break, I grew quickly tired of the scene and longed to get back the campus. And once back on campus, I grew depressed for home. This seesawing drove me nuts and depressed, making me feel like I was comfortable nowhere, leading me to feel that drugs were my only coping skill to escape. I shifted gears and began mainly abusing opiates like Roxies and Dilaudid, and benzodiazepines. I was spending money like a drunken sailor on these drugs, leading me to eventually sell off my textbooks and even barter with my school's cafeteria "Bear bucks." I consider my addiction's growth sneaky and my realizing of it distorted, since many other students were doing the same thing, just not nearly on the same scale. Next, I was stealing from other kids in my dorm and living being a scavenger of money and pills in every way.
By the time I returned home for summer break (having miraculously still not flunked out of school), it was obvious to my parents that I was a different person mentally and physically, and that drugs were to blame. Fast forward through their confrontation and drama, and I found myself in a Young Adult Alcohol & Drug Rehab program at Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches in Florida. While I was miserable without my dope and that my parents talked me into this, I have since considered this to be the single greatest turning point in my life yet, and what allowed me to change from a selfish and abusive teen to a secure young adult. Dual Diagnosis therapy and the insightful group sessions revealed so much to me about myself, such as the depression that formed from those rebellious yet joyless teen years and the corresponding drug I used to cover up the pain. In truth, I wasn't ready for college with so much emotional instability and selfish attitude. I feel that BHOPB and therapists like Kristina Scimeca and Mary Stanley both helped me a lot through my transition. I learned how to honestly come to terms with myself and make the necessary changes I needed to make for my life.
I'm not walking away from treatment feeling that it's behind me or that I have escaped addiction forever. I understand that it essentially never ends and temptations will always be out there lying in wait for me. But for the first time in my life, I feel secure about being in my own skin and I know that I have a large reservoir of talent, drive, and opportunity just waiting to be tapped.
The Long Road Ahead
With first-year relapse rates as high as 85%, aftercare has never been more important to the recovery process. The more we come to...