Too Young to Give Up

I was 17 years old when I tried heroin for the first time and 23 when it almost killed me. You can’t possibly understand the nightmare of heroin until you actually go through it; this was never knowledge that I wanted to experience on my own, but we get what we ask for. For about a year I was able to keep heroin at arm’s length, which is a lot longer than most people. Eventually it got the better of me and made me little more than a servant to my cravings. It was like someone else was in control of my body and doing things that I would have to live with for the rest of my life.

I didn’t graduate to the needle until I was about 21. I can remember the first time I shot up and thinking that this was a pivotal point in my life—there was no going back. At that point, I was convinced I was going to die young, so a few less years didn’t bother me. The only thing that seemed to bother was not getting enough heroin. When I ran out, my body and mind let me know it. Withdrawal was pure agony; agony that I went through on a regular basis. When I was 23, I overdosed and nearly died; that’s when I made the decision to seek professional help.

I thought I knew all about heroin rehab; that it was just a place to get clean, talk about your feelings and move on down the road—if you make it, you make it and if you don’t, you don’t. I had also heard horror stories about people who had just gone completely insane from withdrawal and never quite managed to bounce back. It took me a week warm up to the idea of treatment, but I kept pushing myself and thinking of the life that I could have if I just got clean again. I started thinking more positively and that helped me a lot.

I could tell after a while that my heroin rehab facility was special; and that I was lucky enough to be among doctors and nurses that truly cared about me; when you’re addicted heroin, you need everything working in your favor during recovery, especially during the first year. When I left treatment, life was still an uphill battle, but after recently celebrating my first year of sobriety this fall, I can honestly say that I’m more committed than ever to my recovery.

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.