Whenever I hear someone utter the words “Drugs are bad!” I’m immediately transported back to my childhood, with a flashback of one of those corny addiction advertisements on TV. I had the same reaction as most kids my age did during that time, not ever feeling too concerned with the ads because I was certain I would never end up that way. I was wrong.
So wrong in fact, that my addiction began following the years of my earliest memories. The first time I got drunk was at a family party at age 9. The influence of alcohol was very prominent in my life. However, it was when I escalated to harder drugs that my situation worsened. Age 14 was when I was introduced to marijuana, and soon after, the doors opened for the many other substances out there; cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, mushrooms, and ketamine. My consequent decisions led me to my eventual incarceration, and from then on, I began my recovery.
I’ve quickly summarized what has definitely been the most traumatizing, helpless, and frightening time of my life, all because of my addiction. When we ask ourselves what addiction is, we often jump straight to the moment when the individual is already chronically consuming substances instead of considering what led them to that point. Anxiety, a feeling of not fitting in, depression, and other forms of numbing pain are all important things to consider when understanding addiction. Others have a family history of addiction.
Now, I must stress the difference between abuse and addiction. Abuse is a significant intake of drugs or alcohol. Nevertheless, the person in question is usually able to change their ways after having experienced some symptoms of addiction. Once someone has a full-on addiction, such as I did, it’s a case of overdoses, getting more sick as time passes, and a physical necessity to continue using. At that point, it is no longer within their own control and it feeds on their body, mind, social and personal life until there is nothing left.
During my addiction, there were four major aspects of my life that were heavily impacted:
The effects on my body depended on the types of drugs I was taking. There are many comprehensive lists of the documented detrimental consequences of drug addiction. Most noted were changing sleeping patterns and appetite.
I lost lots of weight; too much weight to look healthy. I often had pains all over my body and lots of vomiting. Thankfully I never contracted HIV or hepatitis, two diseases that may result from drug addiction.
Drugs impact the brain a bit differently than the body. Endorphins are the main hormone that is released when getting high. They increase feelings of happiness, sensuality, pain relief and general euphoria.
When I was an addict, the amount I needed in order to feel “happy” was very minimal. However, when I started increasing the frequency of drug use, I needed more and more every time in order to relive those same initial highs. Of course, that was an illusion, as my brain eventually built up a tolerance to those drugs, and every time I wanted to return to the same level, I needed to take more; a vicious cycle. I had frequent memory loss, even blackouts on some occasions, where I was totally vulnerable.
My Social Life
This particular part of my addiction was most tragic because I never realized when my friends and family were fading away from me. At first, I protested their accusations, knowing surely that I had everything under control. They organized various interventions that I walked out on, and after repeated attempts, I simply lost contact with all of those who initially were in it for my best intentions.
The worst part of those series of events is that thinking back, it was all okay with me. My mind was dominated by one thing: the next hit. Nothing seemed as important as that, and when people tried to get in my way I reacted aggressively, due to my constant, sometimes violent mood swings. I had completely changed as a person and if I were to switch point of views, I’d understand how my case could have been seen as a lost cause.
My Life Consequences
Because my addiction started at such a young age, I’m aware of the various possible physical and psychological effects it may have had on my body and brain before they were fully developed. One concept I never fully considered, however, was how my choices at a point when I was too young to understand them would impact my life in the future.
As teenagers, we don’t really think too much about the consequences of our actions. Spending a few more moments thinking about where I was headed would have helped me change my path.
My jail time will forever appear on my record and thus impede my ability to get certain jobs. That’s a hard thing to live with. I will forever have the memories of myself in embarrassing and uncomfortable situations. The fact of the matter is, I had gotten to a point where I wasn’t capable of giving up drugs on my own, as they had become a part of me. After my release from prison, I got myself into a detox program and got the assistance that I needed.
Drugs are usually brought up in social situations as a way to relax and connect more with others, to have a better time, or to experience something new. The people who haven’t experienced addiction will never know how difficult it is to pull yourself out of that hole, especially if you become your worst enemy. I hated myself, but once I accepted my predicament, I pushed for my recovery.
Do you have any advice to add for preventing addiction? Please leave a Comment below!