Faces of Addiction

Hi everyone!

It's been almost a month since I last posted, mostly because of work and a couple vacations. My goal has been to share every week or two, yet summer just means more busyness!

Anyhow, my last post, The Rise and Fall of All My Dreams, really took me back to just how much happened throughout my high school years. I really had all I had dreamed of and in what seemed to be the blink of an eye, it was all gone. I had dropped out of high school and was living on the streets. Living might be an overstatement. I was existing, and sadly so. Then one day I met a girl. One who was my age and seemingly had everything I didn't - a home, a vehicle, money, class, and the list goes on...

Finally, I felt like I caught a break in life. I was excited for a short period of time. But there remained one major problem that was only increasing in nature. Addiction. After my last post, I was taken back to just how prevalent drugs were in my life at that point. That girl, who is now the mother of my son, sent some pictures over for the very purpose of sharing here. I took one look and realized how strongly the stimulants had a hold of me. Back then, there was no way I could see that, though. I was happy on those drugs, and nothing was going to get in the way of that, especially not confronting any potential problem.

Needless to say, the relationship didn't last long at all. I left her place after a month or two and stayed in the basement of a foster family's home with a buddy of mine. That's where the pictures above were taken. I would come and go, always high on drugs or coming off drugs. Awake for many days at a time on methamphetamine, pills, cocaine, and anything else that would do the trick. I was never in a normal state. Yet this family continued to help. They arranged for me to go back to NRHEG to finish out my senior year. I had to do a few weeks of makeup work for the months I missed, but they allowed me to come back.

Aside from shelter, food, guidance, school and financial support, the family also wanted to help with this "problem" that was becoming more apparent to all those around me. But you see, the addict in those who are afflicted doesn't want to talk about help. There's no room for that. It's not necessary. And the addict in me had me do what I always did so well; run. I left their home in the middle of the night and went back to the streets, convincing my buddy to come along. We stayed at my mom's for a while until money disappeared from her safe, and that was the end of that.

Now it really was back to the streets. I can't recall most of what happened the last half of my senior year, but I do remember most days consisted of drinking stolen, warm vodka, begging for food and a place to sleep, and many, many tears. I wanted life to be over. Daily. The energy to show up and fight faded by every waking minute.

When the relationship I mentioned above had ended, that girl told me she was pregnant. We were 17 years old. I didn't believe it. I didn't want to. I couldn't have a child. I just couldn't. I really convinced myself she was lying. It became reality as she began to grow in size. I was so deep into drugs and alcohol that I couldn't really grasp what was happening. I had so much hate for the path my life had taken. A lot of that came out on her. During one drunken stupor, I intentionally damaged her car and was charged with criminal damage to property. Then 18 and a senior in high school, I spent my first nights in a jail cell. I would have a few more of those nights before the end of that school year, all because I didn't know how to confront life's problems. I didn't show up at court dates and I didn't meet with investigators ahead of court dates. If it meant my problem could be found out and require attention, I didn't show. And it cost me my freedom, time and time again.

I finished up my jail time and was put on probation for a couple years. I convinced my probation officer that if she let me move to Massachusetts, all my problems would go away. If you hung out with the people I hung out with, you'd be in trouble, too. I'm not sure if she believed me or just preferred not to deal with me, but she obliged. I also managed to get that diploma. That school either felt enough pity for me, or just didn't want to see me another year, as they signed off on my graduation, to the surprise of many. (I actually had more days absent than present that year) My uncle Todd, who took care of me in soooo many ways throughout my life, managed to get me to Massachusetts. I knew I'd have to come back, because my son was in the womb and I had made a pact that he would NEVER experience as a child what I did; abandonment, pain and a life mostly without a father.

I remember bouncing back and forth between marijuana and alcohol in Massachusetts. The games that we as addicts play with ourselves are incredibly puzzling, even comical at times. I would drink for a while and then convince myself it wasn't okay, given my dad's history. DUH. So I would smoke marijuana, because that didn't have me doing all the crazy things alcohol did, and my dad didn't die from smoking marijuana. DUH. That got old, so I convinced myself at least alcohol was legal. Back and forth I went. Always something altering the brain. I managed to stay away from the harder drugs, almost certainly because I didn't have access without knowing anyone but family. I worked for about two weeks at a New England fair, not an easy thing for someone like me to do. Then it all ended, just as quickly as it started.

I received the message that my son was going to be born, and in the next couple days, I packed what I had into the purple minivan my uncle bought me and headed for Minnesota. I left the marijuana and alcohol behind. This was a new beginning. Something I could live for and look forward to. This time I knew it was going to be different, because of all that pain I could never pass on to another human being. I was going to be a father, and a good one, too...

Stay tuned, friends and family. Subscribe for email notifications of new posts at the bottom of this page.

Peace and love,

J

1 thought on “Faces of Addiction”

  1. I love reading your posts! I have always known since you were little that you would turn out fine….I prayed for you and your brother so many times and the rest of your family as they grew over the years. I didnt keep in touch as I would of normally had, but did have friends and family that kept tabs on your family and kept me updated as I moved away…so proud to see you at the stage you are at…I am happy for you and you should be too! Praise God!

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