I started smoking pot when I was 14. I didn’t think it was a big deal at all. All of my closest friends were smoking with me, so I didn’t see any concern. It was ‘fun’ to escape the pressures of reality, teen angst, and growing up gay in a strict Catholic household. It was actually easier to score some pot where I grew up, than to find someone over 21 buy you alcohol.
When I came out to my family at 16, my world changed. I felt shunned in my own house by my own family. I started running away from home, skipping school, and withdrawing from society. I felt pain. Looking back, I realize that this is when smoking pot went from recreational, to abusive.
After about a year of smoking pot to “numb the pain” it just wasn’t working anymore. I started hanging out with club kids and getting into the wrong group of friends, with an almost complete merger of new friends by 18. My new friends were into all kinds of drugs that I was very hesitant to try. Soon, though, I figured out that all these drugs were around me, and eventually gave into the temptation. I think my reasoning at the time was that all my friends were going off to college and I was destined to be a stay-at-home-loser.
I lost count of how many different drugs that I tried from age 18 to 19. To be honest, I have a lot of memories that I think I may have blocked out. Not only was I caught up every day abusing drugs (mainly cocaine), but also abusing pharmaceuticals. I never had a "problem" with any of the other drugs, but cocaine was my downfall. I started doing it all day -- everyday. I was stealing money from my parents, staying up for days on end, losing weight, and even stealing from my job -- which I was eventually fired from once I got caught.
My cocaine addiction started out small, just like every addiction does. But soon I discovered a practically endless supply of quality cocaine from someone who only lived 5 minutes away. And that's when things got bad. By this time I was 19, making a lot of money as a server and had no idea what to do with it...
Then one day I overdosed. It was at my so-called "best friend's" house and instead of calling 911, he dragged my body to the road, threw me in a snowbank and shoved a plethora of drugs in my pockets before someone found me. That someone just happened to be my Uncle and to this day I still claim he saved my life. He had a past with drug addiction and was the only family member that sat me down and told me he could relate. He also gave me advice, to start new while I was young (still 19) and get out of town. I never even thought to ask for help.
To this day, I still don’t remember how, a lot of it is STILL blurry; even now, ten years later. Somehow I managed to save a little bit of money and made the move to Florida, where I currently live. I went through about 3-4 months of withdrawl, fever, sweats, puking, and I even lost two teeth. I had the urge to nearly slip up and started looking for drugs again. But I knew no one who could help me get any. This was a blessing in disguise.
Here I am ten years later, still in Florida, and I haven’t touched cocaine ONCE. I haven’t had the urge and it makes me nauseous -- the idea of putting anything up my nose. I can't help but feel that I was one of the lucky ones. A family member reached out to me, I managed to take his advice and maintain it! Probably because he never dealt with me from an authoritive standpoint, but from a caring, understanding standpoint.
I do plan on blogging more about this subject as time goes on, but for now even the idea of you reading this makes me super nervous. Just know that I am totally in the know and fine now -- and have been for a whole decade. I do smoke pot occasionally, but it’s completely recreational. I am at a different place in my life where all of my friends know my past and know to speak up if they even catch a GLIMPSE of concern. And trust me, there are times they have.
I want to leave you with this for now: listen to what people say about the dangers of drugs because you are not invincible. I do believe marijuana and PRESCRIBED drugs can occasionally be a good thing in moderation, but there's a fine line between moderation and abuse. Sometimes it can be impossible to tell the difference between the two. Learn from my lesson, watch for warning signs. No drug is worth your life.
You will eventually reach a point where the drugs don't work anymore and they just make everything worse.