Content warning: this post discusses addiction and suicide, and will be disturbing for many readers. If you are struggling with substance abuse, visit the Australian Drug Information Network website to find a support service near you.
I have the disease of more.
This obsession led me to my first love when I was 18 years old. It gave me a feeling that I never thought was possible. It gave me the ability to feel peace while creating chaos. It made me feel whole when the world was shattering around me.
Heroin was the solution to my problems and the culprit of my ultimate downfall.
The best way I can describe how heroin made me feel is through the analogy of a car entering a dark tunnel that runs through a mountain while on a busy highway. The cars are racing by and you can hear the rubber tires creating friction on the ground as the wind howls by from other cars racing past you.
The sun is shining bright and the music on the radio is turned up high. When you enter this tunnel, it is lit by dim, orange fluorescent lights and you no longer hear the wind or other vehicles passing by. The radio cuts out and your ears begin to pop. Everything is calm. Everything is quiet. Everything is still.
The peace that heroin provided eventually wore out. It became an incessant chore that was encompassed by violent storms of chaos and deceit. I was so physically dependent on heroin that I struggled to get out of bed if I didn’t have it running through my veins. I wanted to get sober with every ounce of my being, but the withdrawals were so unbearable that I never made it more than a few hours before I picked up once again.
Addiction had turned me into a person whom I never thought I would become. My days consisted of waking up in the morning, getting high, obsessing over who I would lie to or steal from to get money for my next fix, and repeating that cycle until I fell asleep at night. My family was terrified that I would overdose and die as they desperately begged me to get help. I became a person who lied about everything and stole whenever I was able to. My friends had rightfully abandoned me, I couldn’t hold a job, and I was deeply unhappy.
The pain I was feeling became too strong to bare. Seeing no way out, I made a conscious attempt to overdose and kill myself. By some miracle, I woke up. I wasn’t angry that I had failed. I was simply defeated. I reached a turning point as I picked up the phone and called my mother to tell her that I was finally ready to get help.
I went to a faith-based treatment program where I learned about how substance abuse behaviour changes were more likely to occur in people who began to practice a faith-based lifestyle. This idea was something I strongly fought against because I had a deep resentment towards organised religion. Thankfully, I met a woman who encouraged me to develop faith in a personal God of my own understanding. She told me to develop my own conception of who my God was and search for times in my life where something more powerful than me had been in control.