I often ask myself why all of this began. The first time I got high, I thought it was my greatest escape. That high was all I wanted. I thought it was that feeling of contentment that I had been searching for. I was able to sit and express my thoughts and emotions while I was high.
I’m not sure when it happened, but everything fell apart in my family. I started partying at age 14. I skipped school and worked a lot instead. I had to support myself for everything and anything I wanted, including food.
My parents and brothers were all alcoholics and recreational drug users. That was their only priority. As far as I can remember, partying and fighting all night was more important than food on the table or staying quiet because the kids had school in the morning.
As I grew up, I, too, fell into that life. I became focused on friends and partying. That’s when I thought I was happiest– just because I wasn’t home. I moved out when I was 16. Things began to look up for me. I attended school more than ever before during my senior year of high school. I worked my butt off and graduated. I found myself and my life began to look up. I travelled all over, I had a good job, got a car, had great friends, and I met my love.
By then, I was 20 years old. July came along and I lost my job due to business closure. Around that time, I had just got into occasionally doing oxycodone with a friend. At that point I was also living back at home. I failed to find work. I started spending too much time at home, feeding off the negative energies. I watched my parents struggle every day as they worked so hard to afford a mortgage at age 52. I saw them wake up every day to repeat the same routine. Work, come home, and drink until you fall asleep right where you’re sitting. What would they have to look back on? What would they look forward to?
My brothers followed the steps right behind my parents. They all seemed so unhappy. I listened though, because I’ve always been available to listen. I was already hearing, “You’re so lucky, I wish I had your life, you’ve got it so good.” They were constantly comparing how they all had it so much worse. I saw all the hard times while everyone’s minds were clouded and everyone woke up and forgot. I remember and I’ve never forgotten.
My parents still thought that I had drank only a handful of times, and that I hadn’t had sex until I introduced them to my boyfriend.
One day, everything caught up. I had kept everything in all the time and I always worried about helping other people that could not be fixed. I forgot to watch out for myself. So during times of distress, I felt alone and defeated. I forgot how to pick myself back up. But I remembered one thing and that was oxycodone.
But what happens when you can’t sneak oxy from your friend’s mom anymore? Well, you find another way. So that is exactly what my friend and I did. At the time, I was not familiar with opiates– I especially didn’t recognize physical dependency. I figured that it was just like other recreational drugs I had tried. I decided that because I never got addicted to other drugs, I would never over-abuse oxy because I just didn’t have an “addictive personality”. I knew one thing for sure– I would never touch any other street drug like meth, heroin, crack and all of the others that I was always taught and warned about as a child.
I won’t forget the night a “friend” brought us the “oxy 80’s”. I remember my chest felt like sinking– I didn’t have a good feeling. But more importantly, I knew I wanted to be high. I won’t forget her reassuring me that night, saying, “You know I wouldn’t ever make you do anything if I didn’t know what it was.”
Unfortunately for me, I became sick after that. I was confused and I reached out to my friend—she explained the symptoms I was feeling. Fortunately, we found a dealer. I was so scared, but nothing felt scarier than the moment I found out that we had actually taken Fentanyl (beans)– a street drug that 100 times more potent than heroin. At that time, it was a drug imported from China that was sweeping out heroin in the streets of Canada and claiming thousands of lives in all walks of life. Just one year prior, I had already lost four friends and a cousin from fentanyl overdose. They were all kids around my age.
What was I thinking? I should have known better. Why did that happen? I still can’t wrap my head around it. Yet, just like I have always done, I kept my problems to myself. I tried to seek help on my own. Unfortunately wait lists take months. I didn’t want to switch from one drug to another and take methadone or suboxone. I feared a normal life. I didn’t want this to be real; it never felt real. I was only 20. I had been doing so well. I was too weak to do it on my own.
Months passed by and my life had fallen apart. I lost jobs; I fell asleep at dinner. I was no longer getting that same high. I put my car in the ditch over three times, racked up thousands of dollars in outstanding tickets, and worst of all, I lost a friendship from that addiction. I was feuding with my family and boyfriend and stealing from people I loved, all while lying and denying everything. Eventually, people started to catch on after I overdosed in January. I got into a physical altercation with my father that resulted in involvement with the police.
I left home and showed up high at another friend’s house. Immediately, she suspected I was high and videotaped me as I nodded off on her bed. I eventually just drifted off and took a nap and she let me sleep without a word. I woke up and when I did, I could feel the frustration coming off her– I knew something was eating her away. We made small talk and I went back to my parents’ house to pick up more of my things.
Once I stepped in my parents’ house I could sense the hurt and pain. I couldn’t face it. I sat upstairs in my room, packed my bags and cried. I did the only thing that I knew to do– I left and my parents pleaded for me to stay. But I just needed to be high first.
After some time, I came back and sat next to my parents without a word and cried. I fell asleep, and when I awoke, my friend and my parents were all around me. My heart sunk and I knew it was time. I won’t forget the moment that my friend said in front of us all, “I know you were high last night.” I broke and knew there was no more denying it. I had avoided her because she always seemed to know best. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. I always made up a million excuses; I broke so much trust.
I become the opposite of the person I wanted to be: my very own worst enemy. Finally, everyone’s question of “what’s wrong with Sarah” had been answered, and it was much worse than people had thought, but I felt relief that we had a chance to fix it. I thought everyone I’ve ever cared for was about to discard me and look down on me. But as long as I was willing to get better, everyone stuck by me.
Everyday my parents, sister in law, and friend took care of me while I was sick. They had me on lock down and took away my means of communication until I was better. It was the worst and best thing that had ever happened to me. It’s been over two months.
I’ve finally just recently have started feeling normal again. My focus and energy has improved through yoga and meditation. Finally, I’m able to express and feel the emotions I had suppressed for so long.
I hope my story speaks to some people. Be heard; don’t be afraid. Ask for help. Addiction doesn’t make you less of a person, anyone can be an addict. Remind yourself, would you rather suffer temporarily or have a life time of suffering?
Life is precious. When you aren’t focused, life will pass you by faster than you could imagine with little to no accomplishments. Do everything with good intentions, be positive with everything in life, and don’t complicate it.
I have more clarity now than ever. I appreciate the little things in life. I’m more observant of my surroundings. I treat people with more respect and understanding and am no longer so quick to judge.