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A FACE OF HOPE

Jason P.

jamie l. pic for phone

Everything seemed to be going well... and then I discovered opiates.

I remember when I was 5 years old, I was sitting at my kitchen table with my coloring book trying to stay inside the lines. My mother kept looking out the window as her friend (and dealer) stood in front of the stove, transforming his powdered cocaine into crack rocks. This was my introduction to the drug life.
Although my mother had struggled with addiction on and off, I had a great childhood. I was spoiled, happy and loved unconditionally. It wasn’t abuse, trauma, neglect or abandonment that fueled my drug use at such an early age. I think it was a combination of curiosity, impulsiveness and at times, boredom. When I was 14 years old, I started drinking and smoking weed. During the next 4 years, I had graduated to Acid, Mushrooms and Ecstasy (not to mention High School). Shortly after my 19th birthday, I had landed a good part-time job and enrolled in college. Everything seemed to be going well...and then I discovered opiates.

I started taking Vicodin and Percocet recreationally, but It wasn’t long before I was taking them everyday.

My addiction started to get out of control and I was spiraling downhill. I was fired from my job, dropped out of school, and slipped into a deep depression. Life got even worse when I found Oxycodone, Heroin and eventually, Fentanyl. I was losing hope and began contemplating suicide. In January of 2014, my mother died. All the years of drug abuse had finally taken a toll on her heart. Two days later, I lost my apartment. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I suffered my first (and last) overdose. I had finally hit rock bottom.

As I laid in a hospital bed with a tube down my throat, I thought about what my next move was going to be.

I knew that I had to make a change, and I was scared to death. On this winter morning, I took my first steps towards recovery.Over the next two years, I would spend my life in detox units, psychiatric units, crisis centers, rehabs, residential treatment facilities, outpatient programs and sober houses. You would think that this was the most difficult time in my life, but it wasn’t….far from it actually. Although I spent the majority of that time locked down, I never felt so free. In treatment, I talked about my fears, hopes, doubts, dreams, nightmares, losses, accomplishments, failures, goals, struggles, sadness, happiness, past, future…….my life. I wanted to figure out why I was the way I was, and how I could change for the better. I started to learn how to live life again, the way it was meant to be lived. When I look in the mirror now, I like the person staring back at me. This person is heathier, happier and prouder than his former self. Honestly, I still think about getting high from time to time. I don’t know if that will ever go away. Only now, the thought doesn’t consume me. I think about the life I have now, and that’s something I’m not willing to give up. I’m happy to say that I’ve been clean and sober for a little over four years now. I’m doing what I love and finally have a purpose in life. I’ve never been happier than I am today……thanks to recovery.

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