Waking up from the seemingly endless night of drug abuse

There’s an excerpt from an article that best describes what it feels like after – having done drugs for so many years – realizing you want to stop being a drug addict, but you have no idea when the stopping starts. Or if you even have any control over that seemingly unattainable point in life.

“There comes that phase in life when, tired of losing, you decide to stop losing, then continue losing. Then you decide to really stop losing, and continue losing. The losing goes on and on so long you begin to watch with curiosity, wondering how low you can go.”

George Saunders wrote this and much more in his “Chicago Christmas, 1984,” published on December 14, 2003 in The New Yorker. The story was about a downward spiral in his life that started with a relationship gone awry.

I latched onto the excerpt above immediately. Instinctively.

I recognized it as what being in the throes of drug addiction feels like. I read the line, and was stunned by how efficiently it describes a drug binge that always – always – is the result of a day gone bad and how one hit after the next is needed to make reality go away.

Some people have asked me over the past several years how I stopped using meth, and I normally answer, “cold turkey.” But it’s more complicated than that. All of you wanting to quit and those of you waiting for your loved one to beat the addiction ought to pay attention.

Long term meth use does enough to compromise our cognitive abilities to a point where making rational decisions becomes complicated. And it’s not like we realize that is so while we’re getting high. The choice to quit using meth is not as simple as a diabetic choosing not to eat a strawberry pie.

What we do know in our heart of hearts is that using is wrong. It is unhealthy. It is hurtful. We may even understand that our use is hurting other people. We know we are missing out on important things, like family and friendship and citizenship. We know society deplores our conduct. So as we jump from one drug den to drug orgy and go from one high to what we think will be a better one, guilt builds. Self loathing grows. Because we’re so retarded by the drug, we often displace so much ability to handle our emotions and mental anguish.

And so, if we don’t quit, we either die by violence, by overdosing that causes our hearts to stop beating, or by our own hands.

I made a decision to stop using because people were by my side telling me I should, I could, and I must. But that was just the start.

“We can’t be doing this all our lives,” Johnnie Rosario told me. She was already a year sober by the time she told me that.

The first few days of my sobriety were relatively easy because I was asleep for them; my heart was finally resetting after such long term and heavy abuse. The work started when I woke up.

My boyfriend, my friends, and I cut myself off from every person I knew who did drugs. I kept myself busy building up the company Kandit. Johnnie literally stood by my side most of the day. I had encouragement from her and a small circle of friends, including Jesse Mendiola, who went sober a few years before us.

To be honest, at first, I didn’t even really care or believe in how big of a deal sobriety is. I just went along with it. At first, I was sober because I didn’t want to disappoint my family, friends, and Kandit’s growing viewership.

I had done drugs for so long that it took quite a while for the fog to lift from my brain and for me to realize and value sobriety. I didn’t decide one day to stop using drugs, then become a completely different and better person the next day. In fact, every now and then I get a strong craving for meth. But, now, I value sobriety and I love life like never before. The difference is vast.

If you’re in the throes of meth use and you know it’s not something you want to keep doing, latch on to a sober friend or family member and let go of that whole drug world. Go to sleep for a few days, and when you wake up, get busy with something constructive and that helps other people and yourself. Turn off Facebook and Instagram messenger. Those are the devil.

Eat. Exercise. Stay close to your sober friends and let them deck anyone who tries to bring a pipe anywhere near your face. You’ll be sober and loving it in no time.

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