My story of battling drug addiction is not that different from others you may have heard. I’ve always felt slightly different from other people, ever since I was a child really. My first experiment was with some school friends. I was 14 years old and the drugs were available at a party I went to. The drugs made me feel really good. I actually felt like I “belonged”. Does that make sense? I mean that I felt confident and accepted. My body felt good, I felt good. The idea that this could one day lead to drug addiction never occurred to me.
Of course I knew that doing drugs was dangerous, but it felt so good that I didn’t really care. I also expected that whilst some people may become addicted, I certainly wouldn’t fall into that trap! I was too smart and strong to become addicted, other people’s children became addicted – certainly NOT ME! Like many other addicts before me my drug use started slowly and gradually got worse. In the beginning I was using socially, with friends, and only on the weekends at parties. I would use more than other people, but not so much that I would say I had a problem with drug addiction. I was getting drugs from my friends but after a while I got the address of the dealer so that I could get drugs without my friends knowing. I didn’t really want them to know how much I was using, and also I didn’t want to have to share my stash with them. This selfish behaviour is very much a feature of drug addiction and cost me several friends along the way.
I was keeping my drugs in my room at home and a smaller amount in my locker at school. This meant that I was never far from a stash. I don’t know why I didn’t think that the school wouldn’t search my locker. Of course they did, I think somebody ratted me out. So although I wasn’t yet in full blown drug addiction the first time I got into trouble for using drugs when I was 15. I was required to attend a series of drug classes that formed part of a drug addiction awareness campaign. I also had to submit to regular testing, which I was able to cheat by buying urine from one of my classmates and sneaking it into the test jar when the nurse wasn’t watching. Needless to say my using quickly escalated back to its original level.
My school marks started to drop. I didn’t really care. I wasn’t studying or putting any effort into my schoolwork because I was using marijuana during the week and party drugs on the weekends. My parents had resigned themselves to my drug use, thinking that it was “just a phase”. They knew I was using drugs and told me that as long as I didn’t deal them and managed to keep my using “safe” they would not try to stop me. Not everybody who experiments with drugs develops drug addiction, so I guess they were just hoping I was one of the lucky ones who don’t.
When I was 17 I began to realize that I was using drugs just to avoid the withdrawal symptoms that would start if I stopped. I didn’t realize that these were one of the characteristics of drug addiction. I had of course noticed that I was using more – I used to boast to my friends how much I used. Only now do I know that tolerance, or needing to use more drugs to get the same level of high, is just another of the drug addiction symptoms.
One night as I was in the grip of drug withdrawals and had finally reached the point where I had had enough. Through the grace of God I got through the night clean – the agony of withdrawals was almost too much to bear, but I got up clean the next morning. I picked up the phone and instead of calling my dealer I called my dad at work. That was the first step in my drug recovery from active addiction.
If you’re ready to take a step into recovery from drug addiction please contact the intake coordinators at We Do Recover. They will help you find the rehab centre that will best meet your individual needs.
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