Almost Gone

I couldn’t have been more misguided if I would have tried. A few stupid decisions almost landed me in a casket. At the age of 17, I could have been talked into anything unfortunately “anything” just happened to be heroin. When I first encountered heroin, I had been drinking and taking pills for about a year. When the opportunity to snort heroin presented itself, I took it and ran. I guess the main reason why I started doing drugs at all because I was bored out of my mind with my life and wanted to test my tolerance and mortality. This turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life.

My parents were always determined to see the best in me and, as a result turned a blind eye to what I was doing. I kept my pill abuse a secret from them out of what, I guess was a matter of courtesy, but they knew all about the drinking and just told me to do it at the house, where they could keep an eye on me. As time went on, I cared less and less about sparing their feelings and started coming home from parties high and collapsing on the floor—several times they thought I was dead. To their credit, they just never knew how to handle anything like this and were devastated when they found I started doing heroin.

The first time my father found a needle in my room, he lost it. It was a week before my 18th birthday and he gave me the old “give-up-or-get-out” ultimatum. So when I opted for the latter, I became homeless for about eight months. I stayed on friends’ couches worked part-time whenever I could and stole money whenever I couldn’t. Phone calls from my mother went unanswered and it wasn’t until my intervention that I even saw my parents again. Although my intervention was a complete disaster, I reached out to my parents about three weeks later when I almost died from an overdose, finally realizing that I needed to get help.

I was completely broke, but they said if I was serious, they would get me the help I needed. In an effort to save my life, I entered heroin drug rehab about three days later. People often paint rehab programs as junkie farms where cold and unfeeling doctors and nurses herd you through the process until you’re just clean enough to know where to score again; this was not my experience at all. My doctors and nurses were some of the most supportive people I’d ever met; and although was the most uncomfortable thing I had ever experienced, they helped me get through it.

After treatment, I stuck around Florida for school so I could keep in touch with my therapist. I’ve been clean for eight years, and have my parents to thank for saving my life. I’ve spent every day of my recovery trying to make them proud of me. I can only hope that it’s working. 


Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime toll-free at (800) 784-6776 or through our online form, and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.