The Beginning of a Tragedy
At the age of 5 years old Michael developed a taste for alcohol. Not that he enjoyed it or was driven toward the feeling that he got when he consumed it, but how it made him feel like an adult. How he felt manly like his father as he gripped the bottle of beer and stomached the bitter flavor.
It wasn’t long until Michael craved something more and his sights were set on cigarettes and marijuana. In grammar school he was introduced to smoking pot and by high school it was no longer the adult mature lifestyle he pined for, but the constant high of marijuana that clouded is future and robbed him of his dream of college and a high paying career.
By the age of 15, Michael was getting high regularly, skipping school, and causing trouble in his community. Finding friends in his neighborhood who could get him the hook up he needed to feed the high he craved became his number one concern. Despite this parents efforts, it was only a matter of time before he discovered the drugs that would change his world into a life of lies, denial, and start his course of self-destruction.
The Downward Spiral of the Drugs that Enslaved Him
Michael was introduced to heroin when he visited his cousin is rehab. Sparking an addiction that would cost him his health and eventually his marriage. He began snorting heroin on a regular basis. Obtaining a job with the state only fueled his addiction and helped fabricate the lies he told his friends, family, and his wife.
The control he had over his addiction soon took a turn for the worst once he began to inject the deadly toxin straight into his veins.
“… that graduated to injecting it, once I injected it, I no longer had the choice of whether I was going to do it or not do it, I had to do it every day,” Michael said as he reminisced the turning point of his addiction.
Once he began to inject heroin, Michael started to live a double life of deceit and denial. Stealing from his wife, blowing his paycheck, leaving work to purchase more heroin, and hiding his euphoric state of numbness behind a bottle of booze; Michael found himself hiding from the world and his family while mixing cocaine and heroin on a spoon, heating it, and pumping his veins full of venom.
Years of abuse and lies led to his breaking point, he finally confessed to the mother of his children that he was a heroin addict and needed help.
His life fell apart when Michael went to the doctor to get tested for HIV, only to find that the drug that enslaved him, ruined him, destroyed his marriage had also taken his health away from him.
Michael took the positive test results as a ‘free pass’ to die a heroin addict, sealing his fate forever. But Michael didn’t die.
Moment of Clarity
“Something inside of me, a spirit that was never crushed, a spirit inside that said you are better than this, you have something inside of you and this is not it.”
Michael realized that he was worth more than the putrid cocktail waiting for him in the syringe. He was better than the dirty needle that robbed him of his dreams, his marriage, and his family.
When he walked through the door of the 12-step NA meeting he expected judgment, criticism, and a slew of questions that he would have to face. To his surprise they welcomed him with open arms, friendship, and acceptance.
Michael felt like he was in the place he needed to be at the right time. He felt like he was not alone and by developing relationships within his treatment program he realized then that he could have a life after addiction.
Michael found the strength to get clean and go back to college. He became involved in his children’s life and held his grandchild with a new found appreciation for the chance he was given.
He said the best part of his recovery was when he was at his father’s death bed. In the moments of his last breath, his father told him he was proud of him. He was proud of the courage Michael had and proud of what he had overcome.
Michael held his father’s hand as the life faded from his eye, clean and sober.
If you are an addict who is struggling with your demons, you are no different from Michael. You are worth more than the junk you put in your veins or the powder you snort every day. I want you to watch Michael’s true story of addiction because your life is worth it.
“There is help, you know, whatever you do and if you tried to get clean and you failed, don’t give up.”