I Am Addicted 2

Real Drugs, False Friends

Posted on: August 21, 2011


 

I never believed something like this would happen to me, but it did — and it happened fast.

I grew up just outside of Salt Lake City with my parents and younger sister in a typical, middle-class suburb. I had friends, but by high school they were few. I didn’t play sports, I wasn’t a cheerleader or a dancer or even a thug. I was just me – and often that left me feeling very alone. I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere.

  Everything changed during the summer when I was 17. The people I knew started going to raves. I distanced myself from that scene because I thought it was weird. Slowly, though, my perception changed. The more people I knew who went to raves, the more I believed it couldn’t be that bad. That October, I decided to go to a party where I knew people would be doing drugs. Everyone seemed to know each other. I have to admit, I was jealous. I felt like an outsider.

Halfway through the night I met a really awesome guy. After talking for a while he offered me Ecstasy. I decided to try it. As I swallowed the pill I thought, there’s no way this could be bad.

 

A half an hour went by and I began to question its power. But then it hit me like a tidal wave. It was incredible: My senses magnified, the lights became more vivid, the music sounded more beautiful, and my new acquaintances felt like best friends. I didn’t even know half of their names and yet I felt I loved them. I loved everything that night. So, it was no wonder why I wanted to feel that way again soon.

Before long I started popping Ecstasy every other Saturday night. It was fun going to parties and meeting new people. Soon I was using every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I wasn’t alone either – even the cheerleaders and football players were using the “love drug.” And they were buying the drugs from the basketball players and band members who were selling pills right out of their lockers.

All this partying took its toll on me. My body ached from the hours of dancing. My eyes were bloodshot with big, dark circles around them. I was always sick and depressed. I began to hate everything — I hated school, I hated my job and I fought constantly with my family. I thought that I had the worst life.

 

 

The only time I felt happy anymore was when I was on Ecstasy. Only the drug was never as good as the time before. Now it seemed that even Ecstasy couldn’t numb the pain. So, I began to move on to other drugs — cocaine, ketamine and mushrooms. Despite this, I didn’t think I had a problem because I was still working and going to school.

But within three months my recklessness caught up with me. I was at a small house party and started drinking from a container of Red Bull — which turned out to be full of GHB (roughly 10 times the amount usually used recreationally). Although I don’t remember what happened, the events of the evening were explained to me:

I became unconscious. My body forced itself to throw up several times. My “friends” weren’t too alarmed. They just thought I “G’ed-out” (e.g. passed out from taking too much GHB) and that I would sleep it off. Rather than help me, they just stuck me in the bathroom. I was unconscious for hours and nobody checked on me.

Finally, the owner of the house came home and found me passed out on the bathroom floor. He ran out frantically screaming for answers. When he came back to check on me, I wasn’t breathing.

As he and another guy carried me to the car, they had to set me down every 10 feet to give me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Luckily, the hospital was only four blocks away. They dropped me off without telling anyone who I was.

  Fortunately, the doctors recognized my symptoms and immediately went to work. They used paddles to revive me. Each time they had me breathing, I would stop. I flat lined twice. I was in a coma for three hours. Waking up was one of the most horrible experiences of my life. I awoke in a strange, white room, my ears ringing so loud it was unbearable. Then I began to choke. I tried to reach up and pull out whatever was in my throat, but I couldn’t. My arms and legs we’re tied down and I panicked — I thought I was going choke to death. The nurses had to calm me down, coercing me to believe that the tube in my mouth was for my benefit — it was allowing me to breathe.

They asked me if I knew where I was, who I was, or what had happened. I shook my head. I knew nothing.

 

“You overdosed on GHB,” a nurse said. I couldn’t believe it.

My mom and dad arrived as soon as they could. They found my room in the intensive care unit; the board outside read: “Jane Doe.”

This whole experience was a huge wake up call. While I was using drugs, I thought I’d made some incredible friends. On the night I needed them most, however, my “friends” were not there for me. They just dumped me in the bathroom, not wanting me to disrupt their good time. Only two people came to see me in the hospital. Of course, these people were not true friends. They were there for me as long as it didn’t interfere with their life or their fun, or get them in trouble.

  When I left the hospital, I tried to get my life back together. It was hard. I’d gone from partying with groups of people every weekend, to sitting home every night by myself, crying. It wasn’t easy giving up my addiction, but it seemed nearly impossible to give up the lifestyle, the “friends.” Once I stopped using, they wanted nothing to do with me. My family has been there for me the whole time, wanting to help and always supporting me. Without them I don’t know how I would have ever pulled out of it. When I was ready to tell them everything, I made them promise not to say a word until I was finished. It was just as hard facing my parents as facing my problem. They were in shock at some of the things I told them.

I decided to clean up by myself without rehab or counseling. I got myself into it, so I wanted to get myself out. It may not have been the right way, maybe I should have asked for help. But I made the choice to quit, and I am the one who has stayed clean and sober for over 18 months. But without my parents, I may have relapsed.

 

I have recovered, but not fully. Now, a year and a half later, I still struggle with both short- and long-term memory loss. A lot of the time I don’t remember what I said right after I say it.

Because of the choices I made I wasn’t able to graduate with my class, but did return the following summer to get my GED.

For the rest of my life I’ll be in recovery — because just one slip can blow everything. The most important thing for me to remember is that despite the mistakes I’ve made, I am still a good person and have much to give. I stay clean because I wake up every day and promise myself that I won’t do drugs that day. Imagining not doing drugs ever again sounds too overwhelming, so I take it a day at a time.

In 2001, I entered the Miss Teen Utah contest. Many of the other candidates told me that I didn’t deserve to be there because of my past. It was hard to hear, but I couldn’t let other people’s perceptions prevent me from bettering myself. It turns out I won — and the feeling was ten times better than any high I had on drugs.

 

 

I also had many incredible experiences such as the privilege to run the 2002 Winter Olympic torch through Spokane Washington, and appear on the Montell Williams show about club drugs.

Now I’m concentrating on reaching my goals. I recently moved to New York City to pursue my love of singing and performing. I even wrote a song about addiction called “Someone Save Me” which you can listen to here. During the period of time I was into drugs I forgot about my dreams. But now I have some great things lined up. I made it through something as difficult as drugs and addiction, obtaining my dream will be a piece of cake!

  I’m also focusing on educating kids about drugs. I speak at elementary, middle schools, high schools, and on college campuses. I want kids and teens to know what can happen when you choose the wrong path. I have seen both sides, lived both lives. Believe me, I now know how lucky I am to be alive.

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