Creating My Odyssey

Quirky artist / writer / explorer / wild west, steampunk & ghost nut /renaissance soul / mental health & lifestyle blogger

Saturday, 1 December 2018



A Never-Ending Battle 

I was drinking coffee with a few of my colleagues a few days ago, and while the evening started as relaxing and fun, it became completely uncomfortable for me in the end. We were having a light conversation until somebody brought up the topic of drug addiction.
Apparently, one of my co-workers was suspicious that her next-door-neighbor was doing drugs. She listed all the tell-tale signs that led her to this conclusion: His neighbor was always out, hanging out with the wrong crowd, his behavior has completely changed for the worst, and he looked dishevelled whenever she saw him. 
While everybody had something to say, I kept quiet. I was fuming inside because they were all blabbering about the stereotypes of addiction. None of them truly understood what it means to suffer from substance abuse disorder, and yet, they had plenty of awful words to say about a “potential drug addict”.

I went home that night with a heavy but thankful heart. I was disappointed that none of my colleagues appeared to have any real idea what addiction is. They all thought that drug addicts are “losers”. What they didn’t know is that there is such a thing as a high-functioning addict – someone who appears unperturbed and productive on the outside, but in reality enslaved to the captivating effects of drugs. I should know because I used to be one.

My Dark Past 
About 10 years ago, when I was still living in California, I met the man of my dreams -- Brent. He was charming and gave me a lot of attention. I’m a middle child so the devotion he showed me was captivating. He was the one who taught me how to use drugs, particularly opioids.
I couldn’t believe he was abusing drugs then. Just like my colleagues, I thought drug-addicted people were jobless, homeless, and basically insane. But Brent had a promising career and was well-liked. Perhaps I was curious, I didn’t really know the reason why I gave in and took Percocet, a painkiller that Brent used when he suffered a sports injury in college, but I did, and I liked it. Before long, the twenty-two year-old me was completely hooked. Brent and I tried to control our intake so that we could still go to work, talk to friends, and generally appear normal to others.
My mom, during her occasional visits, knew that something was wrong, but she was probably in denial that her precious daughter was doing drugs. I was raised in a Christian family and before I met Brent, I haven’t done anything that would displease my parents. I convinced myself then that I wasn’t addicted because I was still able to do the things I needed to do, at least I thought I did.
There were times when I would challenge myself and not use for a day, probably to prove to myself that I had no problem and could quit whenever I liked. But when I did so, I felt sick. I couldn’t fully describe the feeling, but I wanted to avoid it so much that I kept my “daily dose”.
Brent and I eventually broke up and I needed a new supplier. I tried various ways to get drugs even though a part of me was screaming “Stop!”.  Like any high-functioning addict, I finally lost any control. I left my job and went back to my parent’s house. I lied countless times, stole money from family members, and completely broke the hearts of my parents.
My Recovery Journey
My dad had a heart attack after we had a serious argument. I was yelling at him and spewing the most disgusting words I could ever think of and my dad fainted before my eyes. Thankfully, the paramedics were able to bring him to the hospital in time.
That day brought me to my senses. I knew I was turning into a completely different person and I had no way of controlling it. For the first time, I admitted to myself and to my mom that I needed help.
While there were many types of drug-addiction facilities in California, my mom thought that I needed a Christian or faith-based addiction treatment. I agreed with her. With the help of Sunshine Behavioral Health, we were able to find a Christian addiction facility near us. I went through the works  –  drug detox, counseling, and therapy. Even my family actively participated in the family therapy sessions. 

After my 28-day inpatient program, I came home with a renewed sense of purpose. It was difficult the first few weeks, but I kept writing in my journal, praying, and attending addiction meetings. Only a few of my friends knew what went on in my life. After two years of being sober, one of my closest friends invited me to join her in Illinois and start anew.
I moved in 2012, and worked as a receptionist in an accounting firm for a few years before I dived into freelance blogging. I haven’t used any drugs since then, but I know that there is no such thing as “cured” in addiction because of its chronic nature.
My battle against addiction will never end. Now, more than ever, I understand that I will always be vulnerable, which is why I commit to fight and win … every day.

Remember - if you've had experiences similar to Autumn's, don't forget, you're not alone. And seek help. Help is out there and most people are only to willing and able to do so.--- Jo


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