Ryan L

“It was suggested to me that I spread the word about this drug epidemic to show people that you should not be afraid to ask for help. As my father always told me, “closed mouths don’t get fed”. So, this is the story of my addiction. Normally, I would have said “no” and simply sat back, but I have met so many people, so many friends and acquaintances, who have fallen to this epidemic. As a matter of fact, I almost became another statistic, another RIP status on Facebook.

The first time I felt like I was different from everyone else my age was when I was diagnosed with ADHD. I was prescribed Ritalin at first, and then as I got older I was prescribed Adderall. From that day on I was never the same, I was an outcast, a loser. I was picked on all throughout elementary school because I was an easy target and because I hated myself. Hating myself plays a big part in my addiction.

My first experience with drugs and alcohol took place in the 7th grade when I tried cigarettes, followed by alcohol and weed. When they were in my system I instantly felt okay and at ease. It made me happy and made me feel a part of. It started as a weekend thing and then when summer came around it was a daily thing.

Once I hit my junior year of high school I experimented with Xanax and then opiates. When I tried opiates, it made me feel like I was on top of the world, but from that day on it was all downhill. At the age of 19 I had upgraded to sniffing heroin after roxies had become too expensive. I was stealing money and loose change from my parents. By 20 years old, I had moved on from sniffing to other methods of getting high. I was strung out. I was ruining my life. I had earned a bad reputation in my town. My friends abandoned me.

At the age of 21 I overdosed for the first time in the driver’s seat of my car at a gas station parking lot. This was just months after getting out of a 9-month rehab program in Arizona. I had promised everyone that I loved that I would never use again, but that night I was back at it. I had reached out to a friend in Florida, this friend will remain anonymous, but is someone who saved my life. I was packing for Florida and I figured why not go out and numb myself one more time. I ended up being left to flat line and turn blue, I wasn’t breathing. I had given up.

I’ve been fighting addiction for 5 years now. Today I have 63 days sober and I know that doesn’t sound like much time but it’s a true blessing for someone like me. It’s time to stop playing with fire and spread the word so that others don’t become just another Facebook post or statistic.

​I am sick of hurting people who have never left my side, no matter what I have done to them, no matter what I have put them through. This is my opening up to people so that they can see what is happening all over America.

I’m going to end with this line from a song, “tough times don’t last, tough people do!”

You don’t have to go through this alone, find your voice.”

#findingalostvoice

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