Heroin Addiction Signs Symptoms
Adam’s Addiction Began Early
Addiction was a problem long before Adam ever picked up his first drug. While not a substance, Adam’s addiction was a behavioral addiction: video games. Throughout his childhood, he would play games all day, obsess about them during school, and dream about them at night. While his friends would play for a few hours and then get bored and do something else, he would play for 8 hours or more and still want to play. It consumed his every waking moment.
In Junior High, Adam began smoking what he called “a little harmless weed.” What he didn’t realize at the time, of course, was that this opening the door to further behavior and an entire lifestyle; one that would possess and control him for years to come. As one might expect, it wasn’t long before Adam began drinking with friends, smoking weed before school, partying at night, and experimenting with drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, and mushrooms. His junior year in high school, Adam got caught with five pipes and a bottle of vodka in his car, leading to his expulsion from that school.
Adam then went to an alternative school for a semester where he met more kids like him: kids who drank, smoked weed, and partied a lot. When the semester was over and Adam went back to his own school, he didn’t change at all. Instead, he just learned not to keep his drugs in his car. He still drank, he still smoked, and he just kept right on doing what he always had done. After all, it didn’t effect his grades, seeing as he graduated with a 3.8, so he felt that it wasn’t a big deal.
Looking back, it was kind of crazy. 16-17, snorting cocaine, drinking absurd amounts of alcohol, and always wanting more. That was the thing, I always wanted more.
During the second semester of his senior year in high school, Adam’s girlfriend got pregnant, which threw a curveball into his life plans. She knew who he was and what he did and wanted him to get clean or “grow up.” At 18 years old, Adam was nowhere near ready for that, so he would say he would quit, but would sneak around, drinking and smoking. The day his baby was born, the first thing Adam did when they brought the baby home was call a friend over and they got high on his balcony.
Realizing he couldn’t support a family working as a cook at a little Asian restaurant, Adam decided to go back to school to become a pharmacy technician. Moving back in with family, while initially seemed like a good idea to lessen bills, proved taxing and caused his girlfriend to move out, living back with her grandparents. Adam did not follow, thinking it would blow over, but it didn’t.
Rather than be saddened over losing his family, however, Adam felt a sense of freedom. With no girlfriend to tie him down, no baby to take care of, Adam could do whatever he wanted, feed his addiction, and there was nobody to tell him not to. He was working full time, going to school full time, and partying full time.
Professional Problems Lead to a Problematic Profession
Once he got his certification, Adam worked at a pharmacy, but had several problems there. Between drunken yelling at a Christmas party, hours of anger management, and a DUI, Adam still didn’t think there was anything wrong with what he was doing. He lost his job at that hospital but found another a few months later where he first discovered Oxycontins. From the first time he tried them, he was hooked. Perhaps not from a physical standpoint, but psychologically, they gave him exactly the feeling he was looking for.
Working in a pharmacy at a hospital, Adam began stealing in order to get his fix. He’d pocket any kind of opiate he could get his hands on, even stealing money when the opportunity would arise, even though he wasn’t having financial troubles. The hospital suspected Adam of stealing, and even though they never caught him with anything, they wanted him to take a drug test. Wanting to sneak out to his car where he had fake urine, leaving the office automatically failed him and Adam lost his job at the hospital.
After that, Adam got fired from another pharmacy job for being missing most of the time, disappearing for hours on end. Shortly after, he attempted to forge a prescription to get pills which resulted in him being arrested by two Mesa police officers. He bailed out, went to his court date, picked up his car, and went straight to his dealer’s house to pick up and use again.
Unable to keep a job due to his drug addiction, Adam started hustling. Knowing people who had pills and people who wanted pills, he did this for a long time, selling drugs to make his way until a day came that he couldn’t get his hands on any. Adam called up an old friend who told him he couldn’t get any pills but he could get him some heroin. At first Adam refused, having told himself he would never cross that line, never do heroin. Barely a few hours later as he’s getting more and more sick, he called his friend back and asked for the heroin.
After spending $150 a day on pills, Adam smoked $20 worth of heroin and was able to get the high he was chasing. From this point forward, things went from bad to worse. Adam found another job as a cook and his first paycheck went straight to heroin. He stole from his mother, he stole from his little sister, he pawned his things, he pawned their things, whatever he had to do.
At this point it didn’t matter. I had to have it. I didn’t want to have it I had to have it. It ceased to be a luxury, now it was a necessity. I had to have it to function. I couldn’t do anything without it and I would do whatever I had to do to get it.
Eventually Adam reached a point where he knew he needed help and checked himself into a detox facility. His mistake, however, was in believing that the opiates were his problem and that if he could get off the opiates, he could still smoke weed and drink. Adam successfully got off the opiates for a while, selling drugs without using them until one of his clients offered him some. Without even thinking about it, Adam accepted and was right back where he started.
At The Darkest Hour, Adam Found the Light
As things continued to spiral downward, Adam found himself kicked out of his home and decided to leave Arizona behind, going to Texas to stay with his grandparents. Unfortunately, his behavior didn’t change with the scenery as he hoped it would and he was still smoking, drinking, and stealing. Kicked out of his grandparents’ place, he had no place to go but back home to Phoenix.
On the road, just an hour outside of Albuquerque, his car broke down. The tow truck was supposedly just down the road, claimed to be there in thirty minutes. Adam was left waiting in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, for three hours. During this time, he did a lot of soul searching.
The last thing my grandfather said before I left his house was “I hope I see you get better before I die.” Those words really stuck out to me.
On the bus back to Phoenix, Adam got a call from his older brother and they spoke about what happened. His brother told Adam he could stay at his place that night if he checked into a treatment facility the next morning. He struggled for a while, trying to find an inpatient facility that had room for him that his insurance company would cover.
Eventually, Adam found A Better Today and worked through a 12-step program. Working there for about a year, Adam found he wasn’t thinking about getting high anymore, he had peace of mind, and his life was healthy and whole. Just because he was clean, doesn’t mean things got easy for him. Adam still struggled with day-to-day issues, but he was able to handle them in a healthy way, without drugs, without addiction controlling his life, and building his life around his recovery instead of trying to build his recovery around his life.
You don’t have to have drugs to be okay. I know it feels that way, I know there’s heartache and trouble and all kinds of disappointment that you feel within yourself but there is a new way to live. You can be happier than you could ever imagine, you can have fun, you can do what you want to do without the use of drugs. You can enjoy life the way life’s intended to be enjoyed.