You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, I’ve got a little bit of a belly on me. I’m not sucked up. I’m polite. Generous. Loving. I work hard at surviving this life. But like a lot of other Americans these days I am fighting a disease. An epidemic. I am a heroin addict.
Go ahead and say what you will. How we all are scum. Less than human. How could I choose drugs over life, over my loved ones, my health. Well, I don’t, I don’t and I never have. Heroin addiction is a disease. I didn’t just wake up one morning and say,
"What a fine day to ruin my life and hurt those I love.”
No, it wasn’t such a subtle decision.
During the summer of 2009 I was working for an auto parts store. Delivering parts to auto shops and smog stations. On occasion I would pick up core parts to return to my store. This day I was doing just that. These parts however, were required two employees to gather up the posts to avoid injury. My manager had failed too inform me and I went to pick up the parts, in doing so I tore my right shoulder and broke my shoulder bone. A few months and two reconstructive surgeries later I was laid up in bed recovering. They put me on workers comp and one helluva prescription for pain meds. Norco, to be exact and I was able to get three-hundred and eighty of them a month. Even when I ran out early I was able to refill. Now this was before the DEA cracked down on prescription abuse. I quickly became addicted to opioids and started to abuse them.
Seven years I was on these pills. By then I was taking them to stave off sickness over pain management. I was up to fifteen to twenty pills a day. Five just to get out of bed. It quickly became normal, not only for me but for everyone around me. These pills wreaked havoc on my stomach and the sickness or withdrawals were horrible enough too make you never want to stop taking them. But I knew I had to. Several times I had asked my Dr I wanted to start tapering off so I could eventually be done. But each time my Dr had told me my injury was to severe to stop my pain management. So I continued. And when ran out after my tolerance any rocketed, I would take to the streets. And that became expensive. Way to expensive.
Roughly around a year ago some events took place in my life that turned my whole life and outlook on life around. With these events I became homeless and extremely depressed. I had no pain pills left, so I was introduced to heroin. A cheaper, more accessible way to “manage my pain.” That’s all it took. I started smoking it. Never to slam it. Even as an addict I had rules.
My brother, who had his bout with heroin addiction had told me something that stuck with me. And it still rings true today.
It doesn’t matter if you have done anything wrong or not, if they find out you’re an addict, you’re automatically blamed for everything that went wrong or came up missing. They will turn on you.
Of course I didn’t believe him. My mother and I had a great relationship. I soon thereafter found out the hard way. Not only did my mother turn her back on me, my sister’s, father and youngest brother did just the same. I had never done any of them wrong. Never. And how quickly I became a disease. An outcast. I sunk further into a depression. Self medicated more and more. Sleeping in my truck. During the worst winter California has had in decades. I was drenched. Broken and lost. My road to recovery has only just started. It has been the single most hardest part in my life to overcome. Especially with no support from family or loved ones. Only being told I’m a disease. I know who I am and what I’m not. There isn’t anyone out there that hates me more than me.
But I will overcome this and let my light shine through my darkness. It’s become quite urgent now. Because this disease head become an epidemic.
So if you have a loved one battling heroin addiction. Reach out to them and let them know you care. Trust me, it’s all we need to beat this.