since this is a blog about addiction and recovery, i guess i’ll qualify:
i grew up in a nuclear family in a nice neighborhood in the suburbs. my parents didn’t separate until i was 15, but that comes later. my childhood was happy and we didn’t want for anything, so i can’t blame my drug use on any horrible situation that happened to me as a kid. it seemed like there was always a party going on; my parents, my aunts & uncles, and all of their friends got together all the time and were always drinking, laughing, and having fun. the music was always classic rock: beatles, doors, zepplin, pink floyd… and it was always loud. they had so much fun, and so did us kids. i quickly discovered more about the “glamorous” drug lifestyle of the 60’s and 70’s, and i knew from an early age that i wanted to do drugs and i thought that all adults partied like my family did.
i got my chance at the age of 15 when i did LSD for the first time. i started smoking pot and drinking too, and long story short things just escalated from there.
my friends and i used from that point on for a very long time, but later a strange thing happened… in our mid to late 20’s, my friends started getting in these “relationships”, started getting these big boy and big girl jobs, and started getting married and having kids…. and they stopped doing drugs and they stopped drinking as often or as much. they started copping all these “responsibilities”, but me? i didn’t care about any of that stuff; all i wanted to do was have fun, party, and get as fucked up as possible. a few years later these same friends started suggesting that maybe i had a drinking and drugging problem – to which i obviously replied: “i don’t have a drinking problem, YOU have a not-partying problem!” i started looking forward to days like new years eve, st patty’s day, and cinco de mayo – not because it was an excuse to drink (my excuse was that it was a day of the week that ended in a ‘y’), but because these were the days when all my friends drank the same way that i did EVERY day, and i could go out to the bar and enjoy drinking with them again.
i was a high-functioning addict and alcoholic for many, many years. i got lucky and some of my buddies with those big boy jobs helped me land a really great job as a project manager for a contracting company and i didn’t really have to worry about money for a while. i moved into a nice apartment, bought some motorcycles, and started skydiving every other weekend. i was lonely tho, and soon went out and got some new friends to replace those boring ones who wouldn’t party anymore. life went on in this way for a very long time.
i had dated back then, but i never had the sort of relationships that my friends did. the only person that i cared deeply about was myself, and myself only wanted one thing from the women i saw. fortunately for them, they realized this soon enough and went out of my life as quickly as they’d come in.
after several years of living on my own things really started to change. using and drinking weren’t fun anymore, they were becoming necessary. i didn’t look forward to it for the same reasons that i used to… i woke up and started vomiting in the shower. my hands would shake as i got myself dressed. my stomach would get upset after lunch. by 4:00 i would have sweat dripping down my face and anxiety would be creeping in. at quitting time i would run out of the office like it was on fire and drive like a maniac to the liquor store. i started to show up late and then to miss days of work. i stopped showing up at important family or friends’ functions. i started drinking in the morning to ward off the negative effects and began getting pulled over by the police.
my first trip to rehab happened at 32, three years ago. after treatment i decided to relocate to a different state where friends of mine lived on the beach. this was a wonderful time in my life – i was clean and sober, living near the ocean which i had always wanted to do. it wasn’t long, however, before i stopped doing the things that i’d learned in my first treatment and stopped going to AA and NA meetings. this is how my guard came to be down the first time i was introduced to heroin. this was a drug that all my rock icons had done – and i wanted to do it too. i thought i was smarter than a substance, that i could control my use – but i was a sucker for a feeling. i had a love affair with heroin not unlike a real relationship….. at first the courtship was exciting and new; exhilarating and promising. with time things became natural and comfortable. after a while i became co-dependant on my new lover, and soon enough the relationship was on the skids.
this disease has brought me to my knees praying to a god that i’ve never believed in to kill me or cure me….. but i’m not dead and i’ve got some hope today now that i’ve put myself back thru rehab again. today i am sober – i’m not sick, i’m not going thru withdrawl. i can laugh and be happy again. i know that there is a program that can take away my obsession to use and make me into the best person that i’ve ever been.