“I was walking to the store wearing my mom’s hoodie when the police surrounded me. I turned around with my hands up, but it wasn’t me they wanted.They arrested her then, and I finally quit drugs that day.”
His name is Seth, he’s 24 now and he’s successfully recovered. The drug problem has probably plagued society for ever, but as we advance in technology and medicine, we also find ways to make drugs stronger and more addictive. We could debate till we get old if drug use is a disease or a choice, or if it is the result of Nature or nurture, but that won’t solve the problem at all.
What does a druggy look like?
Thinking of drug addicts as emaciated toothless strangers might make us feel safer, but the reality is different. Your amiable neighbor’s liver might look like Swiss cheese from all the vodka he drinks, the devoted mother and wife you see walking her dogs may be a pill popper. Your daughter’s college dorm roommate might spend her nights partying and taking molly. Your trusted banker might sneak to the bathroom to enjoy something from Colombia, and no, I don’t mean coffee. The hard working farmer you see at the market might have started using pain pills because of his back problems, but now is injecting heroine and struggling to find a vein he hasn’t already ruined. It sounds a lot scarier now, doesn’t it? Sadly though, drug use is an epidemic we can’t escape. We hear often of the terrible Opioid crisis, but unless we love an addict or ex addict we rarely think about it.
Growing up in a dysfunctional family without a true role model is the root of many behaviors and issues we drag like luggage into adulthood. From alcohol and cigarettes when he was a preteen, to marijuana and pills, and finally into meth and crack. He had put more chemical compounds in his system in a few years than a chemist’s lab sees in a lifetime. Of course drug use is not cheap, so selling drugs became the obvious way of life. He joined a gang to feel he belonged to an actual family, and hustling became natural.
“The money came fast and easy. I probably saw hundreds of thousands of dollars fall threw my fingers.” He admits. Living on the fast lane seemed fun then. Constant parties, expensive jewelry, fast cars, women, and a bunch of friends. Nothing could stop him then, not getting stabbed, not looking down the barrel of a gun, not the fear of getting caught.
The first sign that things were going too far came in the form of an explosion. He was cooking Meth using the remainder of already used bottles when he spit in the mixture hoping to start the chemical reaction. He knew water was the worst thing he could use to get the process started, but the need to get high won the fight against common sense. The bottle exploded in his hands and he’s lucky to be alive and well. After seeing friends going to prison and finally seeing his mom getting arrested he decided to make the change.
“I lived in a metal shed alone for a while and sobered up.” He says. Sobriety is an every single day choice. Is not like getting over an illness and never thinking about it again. Drugs are everywhere and incredibly easy to get. The drug problem affects individuals, but is rooted way deeper in the very core of our society. Changes need to happen high up in the system and then trickle down to the single users. If there is a lesson to be learned from all the death and suffering drugs cause, is that we need to change as a society. Portugal is a very great example of positive Change.
He might not be a rich businessman or a doctor, but he is successful because he is sober and happy without needing a chemical high to love life. He’s successful because he chose to straighten up his path while he was still young. So in his case success looks like a bright eyed clear minded man with plenty of goals and dreams. Success is building meaningful relationships and surrounding himself with likeminded people who won’t stab him in the back for drugs or money. For him success is a choice and a battle.
What about you?
Drug use affects millions of people from all walks of life, all races, genders, financial means, and backgrounds so if you or someone close to you is involved in drugs you shouldn’t be ashamed. Seek Help and learn how to get clean, or how to properly and compassionately take care of a loved one who’s going through this.
Many of you out there can relate to Seth’s success story and I would love to hear from you. Feedback is appreciated and I cant wait to hear your stories.