"I justified myself by saying I wasn’t injecting so I wasn’t that bad. Then, I found myself going through withdrawal without it, that’s when I knew I had a serious problem."

When I was 19, I found myself strung out on heroin, a drug I never dreamt of doing. All throughout junior high, I managed to get good grades, and smoke pot, but since I had good grades, no one saw it as a problem. Eventually, I tried other drugs like cocaine, acid, and pain medication. It started when my friends got their wisdom teeth out when I got the taste of opiates. I knew I liked them, but I never really went searching for them. When I was 17, after I graduated high school, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona to attend ASU.

I managed to make it through three years of school while partying. Eventually, I found myself on opiates, which ultimately led to heroin, a cheaper, better high. I justified myself by saying I wasn’t injecting, so I wasn’t that bad. Then, I found myself going through withdrawal without it, that’s when I knew I had a serious problem.

After that, I spent the next few years in and out of treatment centers. When they speak of addiction as a disease, it is entirely true in my experience. As time went on, my addiction got worse. I found myself in places I should’ve never been with people I had no business being around. However, I had to do what I had to do in order to be high. I ended up homeless, totaled my crappy car, lost numerous jobs, and lost everyone around me. When I finally decided to go to treatment again, my mother told me she did not believe I was serious. How could she? I had gotten her hopes up many times before.

Something was different about that time, I was beaten, broken, and willing to do whatever it took. I didn’t want to get high anymore, but I didn’t know how to stop. I headed to a treatment center in Florida, and stayed two months. I listened to what they told me, I took suggestions given to me, and I took a good hard look at myself.

This is why I am sharing my story. I moved back to Pittsburgh and began attending meetings. I have been an active member of the fellowship ever since. It has changed my life. I am accountable today, I know how to be a real friend, not someone who steals your stuff and helps you look for it. I work and make an honest living, I have a car and my own place.

I just started school again too, to finish the degree I wanted so bad before drugs took over my life.

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