Do you wear dirty clothing, beg for money, have missing teeth, steal purses from old ladies and live under the bridge? Maybe, you say? Well, I have news for you none of those things I’ve just mentioned describe a junkie. Those things describe someone who has clothing that is dirty. Someone who is begging for money. Someone who has teeth that are missing. Someone who steals purses from old ladies and someone who unfortunately lives under the bridge. So what is a junkie, or who is a junkie? Am I? On any given day, I can be, absolutely! But I know what a junkie really is and I didn’t start out that way. Oddly enough most people don’t take the time to consider how someone came to be so consumed by addiction that they might call them a junkie today.
This junkie started in a doctors office. Prescribed medication for legitimate pain, depression and anxiety. Most junkies I know didn’t start off banging dope. They didn’t start off smoking crack and they didn’t start off missing teeth and homeless under a bridge. Although my first experience with drugs was alcohol. The first time I sought out getting high it was with pills. It was euphoric and nearly fatal. How that is possible only a true addict, perhaps even a junkie would know. I would go on to search and destroy for that euphoric, fatal one-two punch for the next two decades. It wasn’t until the late 90s early 00s when I was introduced to OxyContin, by a doctor. This is exactly when and where I turn junkie folks. Now, I should also take the time to mention that by this time in my life I had acquired many things. My life was full. I had a good marriage, beautiful children, a nice home and a career. It wasn’t easy street but it was a good life. It was a lot to exchange for one pill. Now I’m not here to play the blame game. I take responsibility for my actions today. However, in 2000 these doctors were prescribing OxyContin like Pez candy and getting kickbacks for it. It wasn’t enough to just prescribe OxyContin though, I got Methadone and Xanax too! It did not seem possible for one human being to clinically consume all of the medication being prescribed and live. In fact, many didn’t, but I had given all but my life, including my marriage, my children, my home and my career to my disease. I was operating in the negative and I continued in that downward spiral for another decade. The doctors had started shutting down, some of them even died. I ended up in numerous treatment centers and methadone clinics. I ended up dependent on methadone for five years. That was miserable half decade of hell. But I pulled through them all. Decades.
Decades it took to ruin the life that I was so ungrateful for and give me the one that I would not trade for one pill or one hit or one drink or one dose. Just for today! I wake up every day and have to work very hard to make the right choices. I know one wrong decision and I am easily right back out there. Life is too beautiful to waste one more moment in the grip of addiction. Today, I am by the grace of god celebrating 18 months clean and sober this month. Today I am your neighbor, but on any given day I am a junkie living homeless under the bridge.