The realities of addition; the truth about living under, above and beyond the influence of drugs and alcohol.
The Needle and the Spoon
7:27pm November 14th. Approximately four and a half hours before I turned 18. I was at my own party at my parents' house and looking for a way out. Everyone was telling me how proud they were of me and what a wise young man I had become. It put a sickening feeling in me but it was almost funny. I was a junky. My family knew a bit about my previous use of drugs but thought it was a phase in the past.
The "A" Word
It started as soon as I was bored. Every human being is most likely addicted to something during some point of their lives. Whether it be a person, a type of food, a tv show, or of course a substance, addictions occur in numerous varieties.
That Bitch Is Crazy
That bitch is crazy. The need for Mental Health resources in Canada. In recent months or maybe even years, I have become somewhat of an advocate for ending stigma toward mental health. The spark started with taking Mental Health First Aid. A two-day course geared toward ending stigma and educating health professionals and general public on things such as psychosis, addiction, suicide prevention, and depression. Anyone who knows me personally knows the past few years I have struggled with divorce of an emotionally abusive person, struggled with my own personal addictions in the past, had a serious illness that affected both my cognitive functions and personal well being, and watched several family members struggle with their mental health and addictive personalities. Somehow, despite having serious odds stacked against me have come out on top to a point where I am finally at peace with it and with myself. This did not come without help. I have spent endless hours skimming internet articles, reading books about mental health, consulting councillors and medical professionals, and literally drove my inner circle crazy with my anxiety and need for emotional support. It took me years to finally accept advice from my doctor and try a medication and it wasn’t until I had literally researched the living shit out of what it was to be “crazy.”
The Right Drugs
When life goes wrong and you can’t seem to do anything right, where do you turn? When you lose a loved one, where do you turn? When you think you are worthless, where do you turn? When that fails, where do you turn? Lots of people come to me to vent about how life kicked them in the teeth. My family, my friends, even random strangers have found themselves telling me about anything and everything. I am proud to say I will always try to be there for them. I do recognize that telling someone about it and dealing with the emotion and physical backlash of a rough situation are two entirely separate things. This insight into people’s minds has made reading Station Eleven all the more enjoyable. The author does a phenomenal job of showing people who are simply dealing with their lives. They are getting tattoos and drinking to deal. They are traveling around, performing, drawing, and leading cults to confront the backlash of stress.
Becoming a Drug Addict Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me
So at seventeen years old, I had been accepted to college, along with an academic scholarship to go along with it. I went to a private high school and I was held to a high standard. If you were to take a look at me on a piece of paper, one would believe me to be a well-mannered, privileged white boy who was going somewhere in life. What people did not know was that I had a raging heroin addiction at seventeen years old.
Addiction and Harm Reduction
As someone who has worked in the addiction and mental health field for over ten years, I have made a few key observations that I feel worthy of sharing with as wide an audience as possible.
Growing up with Addiction
Within our current culture, people often do not realize how alcohol can ruin lives, families, and careers. It is socially acceptable to binge drink to the point of blackout each weekend with friends, have a drink after work every day, and then to post all about it on social media. Am I saying that if you do these things then you're an alcoholic? Absolutely not. What I'm saying is within our current social climate, people often do not give alcohol and the risks associated with its consumption the respect it deserves. I, and many other families plagued by addiction, grew up knowing the extent to which alcohol can ruin a person and their loved one, and as a result, I am always careful when consuming it. Personally, I haven't made the choice to refrain from alcohol consumption all together, but many people have out of fear that it will ruin their lives like it did to their loved ones. Unfortunately there is a persisting culture of shame surrounding this issue, and in an attempt to break some of the barriers down, let's have an honest conversation about alcohol.
My Brother Died of An Overdose...His Name Was Matty
My brother died of a heroin overdose. His name was Matty. He was beautiful, he was funny, he was courageous and compassionate, he was talented, he was athletic, he was charming-and he was stolen. My baby brother was stolen by a substance, and nothing was done about it. The nurses, the doctors, the therapists-they all said how handsome he was, and how sorry they felt for me. They said they see this all the time, such young lives taken too soon. Some are taken instantly, and some are taken gradually. In my brother’s case, it was gradual. I never got a call saying “he’s overdosed, he’s gone,” something I had always assumed in my gut would happen. I received a call saying he was on a ventilator, but was breathing on his own. No one prepares you for seeing your loved one in that predicament. My brother was alone. He was unconscious. He was brain dead.
The Devil's Playground
Let me start by saying that I enjoy going to a casino about once a month to play the slot machines. They can be alot of fun. The flashing lights, the spinning images, and awesome graphics can leave you entertained for an hour maybe more. I occasionally accompany my mom when she wants to play bingo. However, there are many dangers associated with gambling if you are not careful. Gambling can become addictive and wreak havoc on so many levels. Similar to drugs and alcohol, gambling can destroy lives. It can develop into a disease of the brain. When we gamble, this triggers an automatic response to the "pleasure centre" in the brain, thus generating more dopamine resulting in an increase of adrenaline and euphoria. I chose to write this article to educate those who start and to encourage problem gamblers to seek help.
My Unseen Recovery
Sometimes we wake up one morning and struggle with comprehending how we got to where we are right now. This is something that happens to me nearly every morning during my morning coffee as I sit at my kitchen table and reminisce about the "good ole days." The days when I knew exactly who I was as a person. Today I can honestly say that I do not recognize the person that I see staring back at me when I look in the mirror anymore.
Find Your High
About one in six young adults in America are battling an addiction to a substance. I recently realized that I’d been building my life around several micro-addictions, and that these addictions were keeping me from experiencing life at its highest frequency. I began to notice that I wasn't alone in this experience, that a lot of the people in my life were exchanging amazing opportunities in life for a convenient six-pack at the end of each day. After continuing to notice this trend in many of my close friends and family, I knew that there was a larger issue to tackle in the US.
My Story of Violence
(Disclaimer: Sorry for the length, much was cut before the final version, i hope you see it through.) This is not a world history lesson or even a political narrative, this is a story about something I struggle with, an addiction which there is no rehab for, least not in the way I could have once used it. This is the story about my relationship and domination of violence.