Addiction is an incredibly difficult thing for anyone. Whether it's an addiction to exercise, to alcohol, to drugs, or something else it can manage to take over and destroy your life until you don't even know who you are any more. Your routine is based solely on when you can get your next fix, and that's all you're ever thinking about.
Thank you to the awesome and brave souls who shared their stories with us, to help highlight the horrifying dangers of addiction. The road to recovery is a bumpy one fraught with twist and turns and potholes and roadblocks but it's a journey well worth embarking on.
1. My daily life when I was using:
Wake up dope-sick at about 8-9 am. Shoot up heroin in the bathroom with the shower running so roommates didn't know what I was up to. Often mixed in meth/coke for the energy boost.
I would then get ready and drive to work as a salesman for a major cell phone retailer. As soon as I got there, I would shoot up again in the car before I walked in the door. Many days I would steal iPhones or galaxy s3 phones and pawn them to stay high. It's a miracle they can't prove it and just withheld my last paycheck, or I would be in prison today for theft over $20k.
I would also call my parents and make up reasons I needed money, and sometimes just steal stuff from people's garages. I sold everything I owned, including my own phone and computer.
I had to steal if I did less than a gram of heroin a day I got sick. To actually get high I had to mix in Xanax or alcohol or meth or coke. Another party of my routine was contemplating suicide. Usually thinking about driving off a bridge on the highway.
I shot up everything except alcohol and Xanax, cause there's no reason to do so for those. I shot up about 7-9 times a day.
I've gone 6 months clean a week from today, and sharing this reminds me of why. Thanks for reading.
2. Alcoholic here. Wake up 4am. Can't get back to sleep. Take 6-10 Advil to stop the pain. Take 2mg of klonopin to stop from shaking. Eat half a roll of Tums to stop the burning. Lay awake tossing till the sun comes up. Tell yourself, "Today is the day I'm not going to drink." Have coffee, skip breakfast. 12 noon, hands start to shake. "Damn, I need a drink." Just one drink to calm you down, I'll stop after that. (Continued)
Continue reading this on the next page.
3pm and I'm trashed on a couch watching Netflix, smoking cigarettes, ignoring texts. 6pm and rambling incoherently to anyone who will listen. 8pm passed out in a state of near death on a couch. 4am wake up and say to myself, "Today is the day I'm not going to drink."
3. I would usually wake up around 6 am to the sound of my dad getting ready for work, and I'd go throw up in my bathroom. If I threw up or peed the bed I would usually have a garbage bag in the room to throw my sheet into so I could take care of it later. This only happened a few times but it got more and more frequent. Usually the vomit was dark black, goopy, and extremely acidic. I found out later it was blood.
I had a constant supply of Tums that I would eat from. I would then drink a bottle of water, a hit from the bong to reduce nausea, and some valium to stop myself from shaking. I would then wake up at around noon and take more valium to stop shaking. I would usually sleep until about 2 or 3pm, sometimes up until 6pm. Once I woke I would take a few shots of captain morgan to keep the constant body high going, and depending on how much weed or valium I had I would try and make some calls to get some more. Around 7pm before my mother left for work I would go through her meds to find Klonopin and Ambien that I could take later in the evening. I was ALWAYS thinking ahead - because I liked to be completely obliterated by around 11pm. She took a quarter of a 10mg of ambien to sleep, and I would usually take about half of her bottle over the month (Between 20 to 60 depending on the script). Denial.
If I wasn't hanging out with friends that night I would be on the computer all night or with my girlfriend getting wasted and popping valium. Each valium was 10mg and I'd usually take around 20 per day. Eventually I would get really nauseous because I forget to eat, or just took too much, and I'd have to smoke weed and eat more Tums. If I didn't want to stop drinking at this point I would purposefully push the contents of my stomach up and I would vomit violently, and then continue drinking. By the time it was all winding down I would take up to 40mg of Ambien. At the time I liked to tell myself this was to sleep, but I always stayed up and drank with it in order to gain more of a body high/psychedelic experience.
Usually by this point my girlfriend would be passed out, and I would just be on the computer. Many of these nights I spent crying from 2 am to 5am, either when my dad would wake up and he could console me, or my girlfriend woke up. Needless to say those two and my substances were my only coping mechanisms. Many times my father would come check on me to make sure I was okay every morning.
This was my routine for 3 years until right around age 22. The only thing I have left that reminds me of it is a bald spot of cement on my floor where my black vomit destroyed the carpet, so we had to cut it out. When we got new carpet (they did this when I was in rehab) they left that cut out. Every morning my feet touch the cold reality of the world, and I am ever so grateful that I am alive. Sorry this was long winded. I had a hiccup last night after two years of sobriety and this was really perfect timing for me to write.
4. Wake up. Hit snooze. Hit snooze at least 3 more times. Brush teeth, outside for a smoke, and hit the shower. Groan under the hot water for at least 15 minutes, trying to burn some of the hangover away.
Drive to work, right in between half-pissed and hung-over, praying I don't get pulled over. Grab a takeout coffee so big I can swim laps in it. Stumble into work and hope nobody notices.
Somehow make it through the day, and since I didn't bring lunch, grab a slice or a sub for lunch. Now the work day is done, and it's time to head home.
Inventory the smokes. Are there enough for the night? Try to remember if there's enough ice and mix. Maybe pick up a bag of chips or something when I get more smokes. Stop at the liquor store and pick up a 375ml bottle of whatever, and 3 or 4 500ml beers.
Ah, now I'm home. Crack the first beer, and use it to chase a solid shot of the booze. There's a nice glow, good. Wait 10 or 15 minutes until for the warmth to spread before the first bowl of the night. Fire up the computer.
Take off my clothes, and throw them on the pile on the floor. (Continued)
Continue reading on the next page.
Put on my tattered robe from better days, and then grab the least dirty glass from the massive pile in the sink. Sit in front of the comp, in my underwear, bathrobe and socks, drinking, and smoking the night away. Maybe make a phone call. Maybe have a wank. Once in a while, score some lines, or an Oxy, just to mix things up.
Toss the empty beer cans in the general direction of a trash can. Maybe empty the overflowing ashtray, but only if a lit butt put another burn mark in the table. Try not to miss the toilet when I piss. In fact, try to piss a little harder to scrub the freckles off the bowl.
Down that last shot, then stagger into the bedroom and flop down on sheets that haven't been laundered in a month. Bam! Coma sleep.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat....for 30 years.
Picked up my 6-month chip last week. In those 6 months I have lost 40lbs, got a promotion, new clothes, new furniture, and this week I get a new car. I ended a toxic relationship, and have a great social life through the people I have met in AA. I'm not healed, but I'm healing, and I have a sense of optimism for the future that I haven't felt in decades.
Relying on a molecule for your happiness is a lot like repeatedly hitting yourself in the forehead with a hammer. It feels really good when you stop.
5. At the moment, my routine consists of total abstinence from drugs and alcohol for the first time in 23 years. October 25th will mark my 9th month clean. Prior to that I was chasing the dragon, smoking pot, snorting coke and drinking endless cans of beer, preferably in that order and in the same sitting.
Overall, I'd say my most 'routine' drug was pot. I started smoking it daily in 1989 and by the mid-nineties I was literally getting high every morning, noon and night. Painkillers entered the fray around '93 and by '97 I experienced opiate withdrawal for the first time.
By the late nineties, my opiate use had abated somewhat, but only because I was drinking heavily instead. Every morning, I would wake and bake, stay high all day and start throwing back Heinekens with dinner.
I was a relatively well-adjusted and productive addict. I put myself through college, maintained above a 3.0 GPA and graduated from a private liberal arts college with a bachelor's degree.
I was completely geeked on weed and Percocet in my cap and gown and I accepted my diploma with a smirk on my face as if I was proving something to the world.
In 2000, I landed a job at a major cable TV network primarily because I had a friend who worked there who told me that they didn't test employees for drugs. Brilliant! I thought. Not long after I was hired, I realized that my stellar health insurance plan was tailor made for an affable junky such as myself. Thus, I began a strategically structured regimen of drug-seeking and doctor shopping. It didn't take me long to find what Burroughs referred to as 'croakers' in his professional guidebook Junky. Oh, I was livin' the dream and rising to the occasion of all my addled, literary heroes. Burroughs, Jim Carrol, and that venerated liege of light and letters, Doctor Thompson would be proud.
By 2006, the dream had taken its inextricable turn to nightmare as I was taking painkillers in the morning solely to prevent junk sickness. At the time, my narcotic of choice was a particularly seductive combination of codeine and the barbiturate butalbital. Five of those knocked back with some chocolate milk around 6:30a and a couple of bumps of coke in the car on the way to work would have me sauntering down CNN's long plastic hallways like Dean Martin on an ether jag.
To say that my behavior had become erratic would be an insult to understatement. If I wasn't slurring my speech with a gleam in my eye at work, I was naked on all fours, sweating profusely and spewing bile into my toilet in the middle of the night. My wife was ready to divorce me and my employer was ready to fire me, but I won the lottery and was forced to take a leave of absence from work to go to rehab.
After that, I managed to clean up my act for a few months, but by 2007, I was back in the game and by 2010, I was fired. I managed to hide my use from my wife for a few more years and finally hit rock bottom last January in a cheap hotel room. (Continued)
Continue reading on the next page.
The jag that had lead me there was straight out of a bad Lifetime Original Movie. Driving around the most frightening neighborhoods imaginable with a one-eyed, 55 year-old hustler named LaVie and his lethargic pit bull 'Honey Bean.'
At one point I had a loaded .45 caliber Glock and $500 worth of Afghan smack in my lap as I drove past two police cruisers who were speeding in the opposite direction. My windows were down and as their sirens and flashing blues filled the interior of my my car I laughed maniacally to try and rival their intensity, but for the first time in three days both LaVie and Honey Bean looked genuinely concerned for our well being.
As I finished up the heroin, alone in my cheap hotel room, for the first time in my self-storied drug saga, I wasn't enjoying it. I was high out of my mind, as numb as I could ever want to be and all of a sudden, I felt a palpable sadness wash over me like a ghost. I was out of money. My gun was in the pawn shop and my wife and two little boys were at home wondering where I was. It was a terribly long time coming, but I had finally crossed the river. I'm not sure if it was death that visited me at the Days Inn, but I'm certain that it will be if I ever return.
6. Not a physical drug, but this was an average day in my life for about 12 years.
Wake up and slowly sit up. I couldn't stand or sit up quickly because I would start to black out (I was orthostatic). I didn't have to pee because I was so dehydrated. Feel hunger pains. They hurt but felt good. Weigh myself. Less than the previous day? Today was a good day. More than the previous day? Body, I hope you're ready to be punished. I was hungry, so I'd eat a packet of oatmeal. Then I'd feel guilty, so I'd chug a can of soda and purge the oatmeal and soda. Go to work. I wouldn't focus because I'd be thinking about what I ate the previous day, what my weight was that morning, what I was going to eat next, whether I was going to purge it, and where I was going to purge it.
Go to class. I wouldn't focus for the same reasons as above. Come home. Eat about 8-10 packages of frozen broccoli (purging it all as I went). While I was bingeing, I would reddit, Facebook, watch TV on my computer, etc. Maybe try to study during this time. Eventually pass out due to exhaustion. Or due to literally passing out and waking up on my bathroom floor with blood in the toilet. Wake up. Do the same.
7. When I was 12 I did my first line of Meth. It did not really become a habit until I was about 14. For a year I would go to school after being up all night , come home, smoke some weed and do some more meth with my boyfriend at the time and his best friend. When they would go home I would be up all night geeked out of my mind, constantly cleaning or doing homework. My grades were awesome that year. Then morning would come and I would go to school and start all over.
I would go days without eating or sleeping. My mom did a lot of drugs so she knew, but she was geeked out all the time as well. My friends at school had no idea. That was never really their scene. I got really skinny really quick, and I looked gross. Looking back at pictures my face was all broken out and my clothes were hanging off of me.
I quit doing it every day right after my 15th birthday. I was actually ready to drop acid for the first time but got scared and chickened out. After that I quit smoking weed and quit everything else. It was easy enough for me. Although whenever I smelled it when my mom was doing it I would get the shakes bad. This lasted for a long time. Well into my 20's. The thought of it would make me crave it. I loved it. I only quit because I saw what it did to my mom and did not want to be like her.
Im 26 now and that life seems like forever ago. I don't really talk to anyone who knew me back then so on the rare occasion I tell someone that story they find it very hard to believe. I agree. I am a totally different person now. Just as an after thought my boyfriend quit well before I did and grew up to be a very responsible healthy marine.
8. I'm kind of weak-willed, and get addicted to things very easily.
For a while, I was hooked on hydrocodones/loritabs/vicodin (any of those, really), but it went largely unnoticed because I lived in an apartment where everyone was partying constantly. I was around 20 at the time. I wound up selling most of my stuff to buy from a guy for usually around $4/pill. The day would usually involve me waking up, taking pills until a party starts, continue taking pills, go to sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat. Not exactly interesting stuff.
Well, eventually I got tired of the party life, heard about some Argentinians who needed a roommate on a ski resort, so I left in search of peace of mind. (Continued)
Continue this story on the next page.
It actually worked quite well, but the ski season came to an end, and I wound up running off to Hawaii with a girl I hardly knew.
Naturally, that didn't work out, so I wound up moving back in with my parents for a couple of months. I was pretty down from a bad end to a bad relationship, and developed insomnia. Got prescribed Ambien, and the two months where I lived at my parents' were lost in a haze. Started taking more and more Ambien, with it having less and less of an effect, and eventually quit because the more they didn't work the more I thought suicide would.
I told a friend about all this, and he came and picked me up. I lived with him for a while, started going back to college. I was a Biology major (which didn't suit me one bit), so I resorted to Adderall. That got worse and worse, and lasted for a few years.
It got to where I would take one and then not fifteen minutes later I would start mentally psyching myself up to take the next one in ~2 hours or so. Of course, a legit prescription couldn't cover that many Adderall, so I got prescribed Ritalin and bought an entire Adderall prescription from a girl I knew every month (at a pretty reasonable $2-3/pill). It took a really, really long time for me to come to realize that it was making me stupid, and only after finding out that Adderall is "neurotoxic" (from someone on /r/nootropics, for the record), I finally decided to stop.
I've also gone through marijuana and drinking phases that lacked in any sort of moderation whatsoever, but this is already getting too long.
I've been sober for a couple of months now (completely sober, too), and I've been off Adderall for about 8 months or so. I still feel as though I'm operating from a... I don't know, cognitive deficit that I'm certain wasn't there before the Adderall, but c'est la vie, I suppose.
I've managed to replace drug addiction with an addiction to exercise, which I'm told isn't unhealthy, but probably also isn't "healthy" either.
On the plus side, I'm really muscular now and despite the fact that I'm only just now about to graduate college at 26 years old, most people think I have my ducks in a row. I don't know that I do, but it's nice of them to think that.
9. This was my routine 2 years ago.
Morning: Wake up, feel like I was going to crawl out of my skin, self harm, clean myself up, go to class.
Afternoon: Attempt homework, become overwhelmed, self harm, clean up, go for a walk/run to get coffee.
Night: Realize I "forgot to eat" all day, binge-eat, feel overwhelmingly guilty for binge-eating, force self to throw up, self harm to calm down, take too many aspirin, clean up, cry self to sleep.
I worried so many people and destroyed so many relationships during this time. I was stared at, called a freak, called crazy by my classmates, teased by my roommates, and failed classes left and right.
This is my routine now... (Continued)
Continue this story on the next page.
Morning: Wake up, make 2 cups of coffee, get ready for work, drive to work while playing my favorite music.
Afternoon: Work with kids all day, have fun, make people smile, get some giggles from people, and enjoy myself.
Night: Get home, "detox from people" by browsing the internet and watching TV, go to bed.
I still slip up from time-to-time, as I regularly forget to eat (honestly forget, not intentionally forget.), but I'm in a much better place mentally. :)
10. I wake up, and the first thing I do is prep a shot. Like before I even think, I prep a shot. I take a deep breath. I tie off, just about an inch above where I'm planning to enter the vein. I release my breath and push the needle in, waiting to see that bright red sign that I've hit my mark. As soon as I get it, I remove the tie and push my liquid version of heaven into my arm...and blast off. That's the best I'm going to feel all day, and I know it, so I savor it for a second. Then I go outside and smoke, and proceed to start my day.
I went to work. I got home, I went to meet my drug dealer, bought some more, and repeat.
It was a truly miserable existence. Working for money, to run out and spend every dime of it, for not enough junk.
So glad I don't have to do that anymore.
11. I used to pop ritalin and adderall like it was candy, to the point where I would be in a speed like trance all day. It got so bad that I needed to wake up an hour earlier before work to pop a pill and feel its affects before I had the energy to roll out of bed. Stopped cold turkey and it caused major depression.
12. I have been sober for a little over a year but will attempt to give an accurate story of my different stages if addiction.
It all started when they took OC (OxyContin) off the market.
A few days before it happened my friend got his hands on about 500, 20 mg pills. I sold about 150-200 of them I took my profit and went up to Portland Oregon to buy some heroin to start selling. I started selling points for $15 which was cheaper than anyone else. So I started making some decent money. I would smoke and sell all day and go to bed around 5-6 am and wake up around noon. Depended on when I started getting calls or if I needed to head to Portland that day. I wasn't selling huge amounts so I would pick up a quarter to half ounce each time I went up and I would make 2-3 trips a week.
I had to supply heroin for me and my girlfriends addiction so I never moved past about a half ounce. Well, this lasted about a year until I got pushed out of business. Someone paid the guy who was hooking me up to start cutting me out and I didn't know who else to go through. I also let people get in debt to me which was a bad idea. One kid owed me $2000, which was a ton of money to me.
Times got tough after I stopped selling. Each day I would wake up around 10-12. If I had money then I would go and get some heroin since I would already be sick upon waking up. If I didn't have the money then I would have to go sell some clothes or my electronics. I went through 2 TVs, 4 ps3s, a surround sound system, 4 iPods, 3 iPhones and a bunch of movies doing this. When I was selling I could only go 12 hours without using until I got sick but at this point it was 24 hours.
I was not shooting up at this time. So this went on for about a year. It was miserable!! I couldn't enjoy my high anymore because I would constantly be thinking of how I could get more. It wasn't about getting high anymore. It was about not being sick.
So after about a year I was tired of this routine. I decided to get sober. I quit cold turkey and was able to stay away for 6-7 months. Then one day I got a call from my friend who was selling. He needed a ride to go pick up his stuff. I agreed and that's what started me being his driver for about a year. He was shooting up so I decided to start.
He would pick up about 6-10 ounces a week and a couple ounces of cocaine. I pretty much lived at his house going on huge binges. If I wasn't at his place then I was at mine, sitting and waiting for him to call me so I could drive him and get some free dope. At the end of one binge I noticed my ankle starting to get sore. Within 2 days it has swelled to twice its normal size. I decided to go to the emergency room.
When I got there I had a 103 degree fever along with my swollen ankle. I ended up having a nasty blood infection and had to be on I.V antibiotics for 3 days. One of the scariest times of my life but I was back to shooting up while the I.V was still in my arm. I remember doing shots of coke while driving on I-5 on the way to Portland. It got pretty bad.
I got to the point of doing 4 point shots. To me that was a lot but to my friend it was nothing. He would do 1 gram shots like it was nothing. His arms were covered in black holes where he had missed shots of coke and heroin. So I drove him for about a year until I just couldn't take it anymore.
I asked my parents for help and was on a plane to Sierra Tucson treatment center the next day. I have now been sober for about 15 months. I hope this granted you a little insight in to the day of a drug addict. To anyone still going through addiction know that there is life after addiction. I know it's scary as hell but it can be done. Feel free to PM me with any questions you may have.
13. Just now, I walked to my car, opened my bottle of vyvanse, went to the gutter and dumped my remaining pills into the sewer. I went online and cancelled my next appointment. I have no way of obtaining these pills outside of the pharmacy. Today is the day I take my life back.