When I was using drugs, I thought it was completely crazy that there are people out there who live a sober life without the use of mood or mind altering substances. I was the kind of drug addict that was hopeless. I didn’t have dreams for the future, I didn’t even want to live. I was not able to picture myself as an aunt who my nieces choose to call, or a daughter who called my mother every day just to tell her how much I love her. My journey wasn’t easy, but I have all of those things today and so much more.
I started drinking and using drugs when I was 13 years old. Getting high gave me an adrenaline rush that I fell in love with. It felt like fun rebelling against my family and getting outside of myself. I had always been a really self-conscious girl with low self esteem, but drugs and alcohol allowed me to not care what others thought of me.
Some say that eventually they crossed the line from drugs being fun and exhilarating to drugs being a necessity. I believe that drugs became a necessity for me from the very beginning.
My addiction progressed rapidly, but I was able to keep it a secret for a while. I managed to uphold good grades in school and get a full ride scholarship to a university. I had started to recognize that I might have a dependence on drugs around this time, so I thought that going to college would be my opportunity to change my life. I was going to be successful. I was going to graduate in four years and begin my masters degree in chemistry. I was going to be wealthy and happy.
The drive for a successful life wasn’t enough to keep me sober, and neither were consequences. By the end of my sophomore year, I could no longer get up in the morning and make it to my 8:00 AM class, and I would be too high by 4:00 PM to go to my evening class. I was kicked out of school as a result of my drug use.
Drugs like oxycodone and xanax turned into heroin and fentanyl. A dollar bill and a straw turned into a needle and spoon. A girl with dreams and aspirations became a junkie who wished for her own death.
I spent the next two years in a daze, jumping from couch to couch because I couldn’t afford to pay rent somewhere. I would steal a single granola bar from the same store each morning because buying drugs was more important than buying food. I overdosed several times, and each time I was disappointed to wake up. I couldn’t manage to kill myself and I was so sick of living how I was living, so I went to my first and only detox facility.
I try to never forget how I felt in detox. My body temperature couldn’t regulate itself, I was sweating and freezing at the same time. I felt like my body was being crushed because every bone and muscle in my body felt like it was being weighed down by thousands of pounds. I had done so much damage to my body by using needles that the nurse couldn’t find a vein in my arms to put my IV, so she had to put it in my wrist. I couldn’t use my right hand to do anything. The thoughts in my head wouldn’t stop racing. All I could think about was getting high and I didn’t sleep for four days.
After I was stable enough to leave detox, I went to treatment. I spent three months in an inpatient treatment facility where I did intense individual and group therapy. I had to talk about my addiction and my experiences in order to begin the healing process. Therapy taught me how to deal with past traumas and how to cope with emotions without the use of drugs. I began to build friendships with people who had been through similar things and had the same goal of long term sobriety that I did. I started to get glimpses of how beautiful life can be without constantly obsessing over how to get my next fix.
When I was discharged from treatment, I went to a sober living house for women. I continued to make relationships with others in sobriety and tried to learn from people who had been sober longer than I had. I applied the coping methods to real life, and started to accumulate more and more time sober.
Many people had suggested to me that I find God. In the past, I always turned away the idea of God. However, if I wanted to stay sober, it was essential to start praying, meditating, and living a life based on spiritual principles. I realized that I didn’t have to find God, I had to seek Him. God had always been there. He wasn’t lost, I was just never open minded enough to see him. God was there when I totaled all 3 of my cars, because I walked away without a scratch. God was there every time I overdosed, because I always woke up. Now, God was here for me in sobriety because He gave me a second chance at life.
Today, I am the house mom at my halfway house. I get to welcome newcomers and treat them with love and compassion because I understand how they feel. I have the privilege of sharing my experience, strength, and hope with others to show them that recovery from drugs and alcohol is possible. I walk hand in hand with God in this journey so that I can live a life of honesty, compassion, love, and understanding.
I have a relationship with my family that I never had before. My parents get to experience peace of mind because they no longer have to stay awake at night wondering when they will get that phone call explaining how their daughter has overdosed and didn’t wake up this time. My nieces call me today and tell me how they want to come visit me by the beach because I get to be an aunt who is there to talk to and play with them.
I wake up each morning to a beautiful sunrise that I am grateful for. I go for walks on the beach to watch the waves roll in and hear children laugh. I am not bound to the chains of addiction and I don’t live to get high anymore. Today, I live to experience life and help others.
Photo by actuallybatman on reddit
Guest Author Bio
Cassidy Webb is a 24 year old avid writer from South Florida. She works for a digital marketing company that advocates spreading awareness on the disease of addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope.