Hello everyone! I am so excited to welcome you to my website, Syringes to Sobriety! I am a recovering heroin addict who has tried almost everything on the market to remain sober. To give you an idea of the extent of programs I have tried, here is a non-exhaustive list:
- Inpatient Rehabilitation
- Intensive Outpatient Programs
- Individual counseling (Addiction Counselors, Psychologists and Psychiatrists)
- ‘Anonymous’ Support Programs (including Heroin Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, CoDependants Anonymous, and many others)
- Sober Companions
- Sheer willpower
- Sober Living Houses
- Medically Assisted Detox
- and so on…
- and so on,
Unfortunately, even after I tried the programs listed above, some successfully, some not, I still managed to end up incarcerated for felonies related to my drug use. I have spoken to many families who have lost all hope, believing a jail or prison sentence is the only way to save their addicted love one. I can tell you with 100% certainty, this is not the case.
I encourage any drug user who is thinking about quitting, or just wants a good laugh about some idiotic things we do when we are high, to follow my blog and join in the discussion! In contrast to what most authorities on the subject say, I believe a drug user should have a voice in their recovery. Aside from our love/hate, but mostly love, relationship with our D.O.C., (drug(s) of choice) each of us are individuals and each of our recoveries will be different.
From Honor Roll to Homeless in Handcuffs
I was born in Canada and, around the age of five, my parents moved my baby sister and I to Arizona. Growing up in an upper middle-class neighborhood northeast of Phoenix, my childhood was full of familial love, healthy milestones and good role models. It was a small town, but I had no trouble making friends. I was, still am, outspoken, fun, a bit of a teacher’s pet, and overly empathetic. I had a passion for theater from a young age, performing in musical theater productions all over the valley. Both my parents made a good living and I was able to attend an all-girls, Catholic high school where I joined the cheer squad, was accepted to honor society, and participated in philanthropic activities. My high school friends were like-minded, each on their own paths to success. We experimented with drinking, smoking weed, cocaine and the odd prescription pill, but no more than the average high-schooler.
Voted ‘most likely to liven a party’ in the senior yearbook, I graduated with a 4.2 GPA and received a full-ride scholarship to the University of Arizona. At the U of A, I joined the Delta Gamma Sorority and started experimenting a bit more with prescription pills. During a bout of bronchitis, I was prescribed, with three refills, a bottle cough medicine containing codeine. This is how I discovered my love for opiates. Before parties, I would take a couple Xanax or Percocet so I could get a ‘buzz’ from less alcohol. After long nights of partying, Adderall allowed me wake up and make it to class, ready and focused. I started experimenting more heavily with cocaine when I did not have any Adderall. After all, I was living in Tucson and, let’s just say, cocaine prices are directly correlated with distance from the Mexican border. 🙂 Even with all this partying, I found university classes easy to pass and my behavior seemed common among my peers.
I graduated U of A a year early with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Business Administration. Moving back to Phoenix, I landed a great job with the City of Scottsdale Community Services Department. A year passed, and I decided to attend law school. I was accepted to Arizona Summit Law School. During those three years of law school, my pill addiction worsened. I went from snorting to smoking Oxycontin and Percocet. Waking up one day, during my 2L year, I realized I was physically and emotionally dependent on pain killers. I sought help through the Suboxone Program so I could continue with my education. The program worked for a while, but at the beginning of my 3L year, I relapsed. After spending the rest of my savings on pills, I felt I had no other option but to switch to heroin because it was so much cheaper.
In my last semester, I found myself in an intense relationship with a new guy, hiding the fact that I was smoking heroin off of foil in the bathroom between classes. Eventually, my last set of final exams rolled around and, the tall, handsome man showed his true colors. He lost his temper and violently assaulted me. I may have been too busy dealing with the stress that is law school or too busy hiding my shameful addiction, but for some reason, I did not see the warning signs.
Immediately following the assault, I went to a fellow drug user’s (an I. V, user) house to tend to my injuries and get my head right. While smoking some heroin, I became agitated, throwing the foil down because the physical and emotional pain was not going away. My ‘friend’ asked me to stick out my arm. I put my arm out, let him insert the needle, and immediately fell to my knees. All the stress, all the pain, physical and emotional, had disappeared. It felt like I was having ten orgasms all at the same time. (Please excuse my crudeness, but it is the only way I have found adequate to explain the feeling.)
Instead of finishing the final draft of my last assignment in law school, I spiraled.
Soon after, I was forced into rehabilitation.
Within the next year I was homeless.
This was more than four years ago and, since then, I have been incarcerated multiple times, forced into treatment programs, remained sober for different lengths of time, and relapsed a few times. A circle of triumphs, failures, mistakes, and ultimately, frustration and disappointment.
I still struggle every day, every second, to keep my head on straight, but I the thing that has kept me sober more than anything is writing. Sharing my story and helping others.
Using my Experiences to Help Others
I hope my experiences help someone else avoid making the same mistakes. If not, I hope I can at least be a sounding board for any frustrations any of you may have. I don’t want people to blindly follow when a therapist or website tells you the best way for you to get clean. I want to help people put a plan together based on their individual needs.
I also want to help families understand what is going through a drug user’s head. Through my stories, I hope readers understand, that your loved one’s struggles with drugs have nothing to do with how much they love you. They love you very much. Take comfort in this forum as a place to refer someone to. I will never turn anyone away who needs advice and, after reading my story it should be clear, I have no room to judge!
I strongly believe we have not found the perfect approach to recovery yet, but I have not lost hope. Whether it is reviewing every meditation app on the market or recommending a treatment center that conforms to your individual issues, you will be able to find it on this site. With the age of the internet, and forums like this, the opportunities are limitless.
It is my mission to provide information that sparks the passion one needs to recover. The ultimate goal of this site is to put together an extensive resource of products, programs, articles, advice, real-life blog postings and love. I want to connect the recovery community to work together to tailor custom recovery to individuals, while connecting like-minded, recovering drug users.
I encourage positive, uplifting discussion between readers and will be available to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to post your questions and comments below.
All the best,