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Life of an Addict with Paraplegia (Pt. 9)

Reaching Out

First I'd like to say happy holidays to all of my readers and a special thank you to those of you that donate to help fund future chapters.

So many people will tell you to just quit. Or ask you why you still do it, even after all the negative things it has brought on in your life. It's not that you don't want to stop. I would have given anything to be able to just quit and never look back. But I couldn't. And it wasn't just me that couldn't stop, it's all addicts. It wasn't fun anymore. It actually stopped being even a little bit fun at a very early stage of my use. I was miserable. I hated waking up in the morning—not only because I would wake up sick and already feeling withdrawal symptoms, but also because I felt like I didn't have anything positive, in my life, to wake up to.

I would never take my own life intentionally. Regardless of what my beliefs were, at that time, I was afraid of what would come after you die. And even worse, what comes if you take your own life. But I have to admit, I wasn't afraid of death at all. During some of my super low points in my addiction, I actually welcomed it. I used to tell the people I used with, "If I overdose, don't even try to revive me or call an ambulance. Just let me go." I could see the sadness in some of their eyes when I would say that. I think it's because they could tell how absolutely serious I was when I said it.

When doctors or my counselors would say, "Your next shot might be your last shot," I would think to myself, If I was only that lucky.

Thinking back to those times and the way I thought, I'm so thankful that I didn't become a statistic—like so many of my other friends—and I made it through that super low time in my life. I used to really push myself. I was the one that would do two or three times the amount that everyone else was doing. I don't know if it was because I didn't care if I lived or died. Or if it was because I was always trying to get as high as I possibly could. But I was never scared, and I have no idea why I wasn't. Thinking back about all the things I used to do, I really should have been very scared. I can say that I was an idiot. But, I know that what I was... was an addict. Addiction really is a sickness. A disease, just like the flu, cancer, or AIDS. And much like those things, you have to get treatment to get better. Maybe it isn't the same kinds of treatment, not exactly. But nevertheless, you still need to get treatment. No matter how strong you are, or you might think that you are, you cannot get better by yourself.

I remember, many years ago, when I first went from pills to heroin, one of my best friends happened to be with me when I was fixing up a shot. He wasn't aware yet that I had started using needles. I saw the look of disappointment on his face and said to him, "I only do it like this sometimes. I can stop if I want to." What he said to me next was something that has stuck in my head for about 20 years. And I don't think I will ever forget it.

He looked at me and said, "There are thousands of junkies in the world and you think you're gonna prove them all wrong?"

I was actually speechless. I didn't know what to say. But I know that moment and his words were burnt into my mind forever. Even at the age we were, he was exactly right. Heroin isn't something that you can just stop when you want after you start. There aren't many things that I would change if I could go back. But I would have taken what he said, a lot more seriously, if I could go back to that day. I definitely never became "the one" to prove all those thousands of junkies wrong. That's for sure.

I write these entries to help me cope. Being a paraplegic, I still wake up sometimes, wishing I didn't wake up at all. I feel like a fuck up that is always disappointing my family. So, thank you to all of you that are reading this, especially those that make donations. Living on a measly $750 a month is practically impossible. I have found that marijuana helps with my pain from the rods in my back—due to my paraplegia—as well as the screws in my hip and femur. But, considering that Medicaid doesn't cover that either, I spend most of my days in pain and try to keep writing to keep my mind off of it. Most months I can't even afford my bills. I'm just waiting to end up on the street from not being able to afford my rent. So, please give a holiday donation and help someone in need. I hope all my followers and readers have a wonderful holiday and a happy new year.

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