The Promise I Had to Keep

Everybody has their own idea about what addiction is supposed to look like. Is it the stupid kid getting in over his head, the stressed out parent who drinks to escape their reality or the criminal that wants to push their addiction onto others? The answer is: all and none of those stereotypes. Drug rehab centers are filled with a diverse range of patients looking for relief and salvation from their addiction. The sooner we, as a culture, dispense with these antiquated notions of who “should” and “shouldn’t” be addicted to drugs or alcohol, the sooner we can get serious about treating those who need it.

I was as regular as they come and heroin destroyed three years of my life. I was in and out of five treatment centers and after a while, I really thought that I was a lost cause. I came from a good home, was an honor student in high school and would have been the first to tell anyone how big of a mistake they were making if I learned that they were doing drugs. When I got to college, I started experimenting with basically every drug I could find: coke, pills, molly and yes, eventually heroin. These drugs were everywhere in my fraternity and taking them just seemed like part of life. It wasn’t a matter of peer pressure; it was a matter of taking my cues from the general culture.

This went on for two years. Our frat house got raided more times than I can remember, but we always managed to score more drugs. My parents never knew a thing until I wanted them to. When I started doing heroin exclusively, it didn’t even cross my mind that I might be addicted. I had never seen any of my friends overdose and I guess I just thought we were all invincible. Well it turns out the first one of us to overdose was me. After that I spent some time in various outpatient rehab centers, all of whom claimed to hold the key to my recovery, but never helped in the long-term.

The day I made the decision to get clean for good, I just told myself that if I kept up this lifestyle, I wouldn’t live to see my 25th birthday. I had relapsed so often and I was so tired, but I had to start fighting back and being honest with myself about what I needed to do to recover.  it wouldn’t have done any good to give myself a do-or-die ultimatum, so I just promised myself that I would try as hard as I could to stay off heroin. After 30 days in an amazing inpatient rehab center, I’ve been able to keep my promise and remain sober.

There are two things that I urge addicts and their families to realize: addiction knows no stereotype and it’s ultimately up to the addict to get help. These two lessons have not only helped me stay on track in my recovery, but also allowed me to help others that need it.


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.