This is a story about part of my journey. Everything is real and happened to me. Thank you in advance if you take the time to read this. I greatly appreciate any feedback. “Hi. My name is Alex, and I’m an addict. I’m one day sober.” Those words trembled from my lips as I introduced myself at my very first NA meeting, five years ago. Let’s back track, back to the beginning. Here’s the story of how I forever changed my life, and the life of my family. My road with addiction was a long one, and it still is a very, long, road. I was 16 years old. I thought I was unbreakable. I thought I was impervious to death. Everyone else could get addicted, everyone else could overdose, but not me. I was untouchable. I had everything under control. Oh how wrong I was...My drug use started when I began a relationship with a man, an addict, six years older than me. For privacy’s sake, let’s call him Z. Well, Z introduced me to Vicodin first, and then Oxy. I loved the way it made me feel. I felt euphoria like I’ve never felt before. I thought to myself that this was a feeling I could get used to. As odd as it sounds, I thought it made me better. In fact, I thought it made me the best version of myself. The love for that feeling was instantaneous. It turned from a “once in awhile” thing to an “every weekend” thing. And of course, as you may have guessed by now, it turned into an everyday thing. Even when I was using everyday, I still thought I had it under control. It helps me, I thought. How could I stop something that made me so much better? How could I stop doing something that HELPED me in such a tremendous way? I didn’t realize, that this drug, this pill, was the devil in disguise. I started to lie, and steal. I started to slowly lose myself. It was as if the Alex everyone knew and loved was no longer there. She was buried alive. Buried underneath lies, theft, shame, and guilt. She was still there, just buried deep down in an unfamiliar place, alone, ashamed, and gasping for air. Every once and awhile, the “real” Alex would appear to the surface, breathless and dazed. She would claw her way back to the top, every single time the drugs wore off. She would emerge back into a world, and a body that she was unfamiliar with. A body shaking from the chills but also dripping with sweat. A body aching with every movement. A world so clear with a mind so clear, that it was unbearable. The guilt, the shame, and the pain, all smacking into her, trampling over her like a freight train. The “new” Alex knew how to fix this. Take the pills, and everything will stop. The pain, the sickness, the guilt, will all melt away. Day after day, the “real” Alex was buried. That was the way it was going to stay. The days felt like weeks, and the weeks felt like months. I had a secret, a potentially deadly secret, that I couldn’t allow anyone to know. The only person who knew, and encouraged this, was Z. I was living a double life. It was agony. My entire day revolved around two things. Get high Hide it I knew deep down I was losing my “control.” The control I never had to begin with. Then, one day, everything changed. This secret, the secret I had been hiding for two years, was discovered. Even today, I will never be able to put into words what I was feeling that day. It was as if the “Real” Alex was back, even though I was high. I couldn’t keep her down anymore. She was back, and she was the one who now had to clean up the mess. The only thing I could do was run. It was fight or flight and my god, did I choose flight. I sat beside my sister in our room as I wrote an apologetic note to my family, trying to hide my tears. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t leave a note, that would make things worse, I thought. I crumpled the note, shoved it in my pocket, and snuck out my back door. I didn’t have a plan, I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going. As I was running through my backyard, my body in autopilot, I stopped for just a moment, turned, and looked at my house. I thought of my family and in that moment of blind panic and clouded judgement, I decided leaving was less painful for them than for them to discover who their daughter and sister really was, an addict and a liar. So off I went. I ran and I ran, my feet moving forward without thought. I ran to a gas station first, just a few blocks away from my home to try to withdraw the small amount of money I had left from their ATM. I was getting phone calls now, all from my Mom. She left me an accidental voicemail. I listened to it shortly after receiving it and all I heard on the other end was my mother, heartbroken, frantically yelling my name. I could hear the distress in her voice. I turned off my phone. I was to guilt ridden to answer, or return her calls. I couldn’t bear to hear her voice. I couldn’t bring myself to explain to her what I was doing. I myself didn’t know what I was doing. It felt like I was in a nightmare that I desperately wanted to wake up from. I was too much of a coward, all I could do was run. As my fingers frantically pressed the buttons on the ATM, I heard my stepfathers voice. Shocked, I turned around and faced him. For a split second, I questioned whether or not to turn around. Although I was scared, and seeing him changed my plans for my attempted desperate escape, I was relieved to see him. I asked him for a ride to my friends house who lived just down the road. He agreed and dropped me off. My mother and older sister not twenty minutes later came to collect me. At first, I was reluctant to even leave my friends home. I was frozen in fear, riddled with guilt. My back was pressed flush against the locked front door. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know how to speak to my family. After some coaxing, my sister and mom got me to come outside to them. I was ashamed. I couldn’t even look them in the eye. I sat silently in the backseat with my heart racing and tears streaming down my face. I was at a loss on what to do. We went out to a diner, I didn’t even want to eat. I didn’t feel worthy of having a meal purchased for me. I had just caused so much pain. Not only was my secret disclosed, but I ran away like a coward. I didn’t deserve a meal, let alone have my mother pay for it. I didn’t deserve kindness, I didn’t deserve anything other than ridicule. I tried at first. I tried to straighten myself out and gain my family’s trust once more, but I didn’t know where to begin. I felt like I was walking through the dark with a blindfold on, looking for even a small glimpse of light, a small glimpse of hope. My first attempt was short lived and unsuccessful. I quickly returned to my old ways. It was worse this time. My whole family knew and they were suspicious of me, they didn’t trust me, and they had no reason to. There was no more hiding, no more denying, no more lying. I was an addict and everyone knew. In haste, I decided to go with my (then) boyfriend to his home. I wanted to get away for the weekend, and I wanted to get high. I couldn’t face my family knowing that I had already returned to my old ways. I brought myself back to square one. I left, but this time, my family wasn’t able to come get me. Z was my enabler. He was abusive, he was controlling, and he scared me. He was an addict. Z picked me up on a Friday afternoon. Little did I know, as I hugged my family goodbye, that it was going to be the last time I saw them for two months. We made the two hour trip towards his home, chatting along the way. Z knew that my secret had been discovered. He knew that things with my family were less than stable. I told him that I didn’t know how to even face my family anymore. It was as if I was a stranger being introduced to them for the first time. Z said that he had the solution to my problem. He told me I wasn’t going back home. He told me again, and again that I was an adult. I was eighteen now and my family does not have a say in what I do with my life. “Pick up the phone and call your Mom” he said to me as we were driving closer and closer to his apartment. “To say what?” I asked. “To tell her you’re living with me now. Tell her you’re not coming home.” I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to call her, I didn’t want to live with him, but I did want to get high. It was all I knew how to do. I was terrified. I refused, and he insisted. He made a wide variety of threats towards me, threats towards my family, filling my head with all of the malicious things that he would do if I didn’t make that call. I made the call, the worst call of my life. I desperately wanted to ask for help, I desperately wanted to scream into the phone “I don’t want to stay with him, I’m afraid of him, he’s insisting I say this to you. These aren’t my words they’re his. I’m so sorry” but I couldn’t. I did what he said. All of the things he said he would do, I believed him. He had this insanity behind his eyes, I knew he meant what he said. Everything spiraled out of control. Him and I were so toxic together. We were both addicts, and we were using together. Part of the reason I hastily went to his home, was purely for a fix. I knew he had connections, I knew he could score. I wasn’t ready to kick my habit yet. I needed to feel numb and I definitely didn’t want to go through withdrawals. We would steal, lie, and sell anything we could get our hands on. We would even go to different hospitals monthly to try to get prescriptions. We were so, so destructive. We were out of control. The more I thought about all of the pain I had caused, all of the irreparable damage I had done to my life, the more I used. He was the only person I could “relate” to. He was just as addicted, and was destroying his life just as much as me. I had hurt everyone I loved so much. My parents were devastated, my sister wouldn’t speak to me, I had to drop out of high school, everything was in shambles. I ruined my life. Weeks went by, and there I was, just a miserable shell of my former self who was getting high, daily, in a cockroach infested apartment. I felt like I was constantly suffocating. I would hide in the bathroom almost every night to cry. He got angry when I cried. I missed my family, I wanted my normal life back. At this point, I could barley remember what living sober was like. I had lost all sense of the word “normal”. For two years, getting high everyday WAS normal. I couldn’t tell my family what was really happening and how I really felt. He would listen to my phone calls, constantly monitored my text messages, had all of my social media and email passwords, and he never let me out of his sight. I know what most of you must be thinking “Just leave! You’re not shackled, or being held against your will, just go home!” “Why didn’t you call the police if it was that bad?” “You could’ve found a way to tell your family! You could’ve done something! You didn’t try hard enough!” You know what? You’re right. I could’ve done all of those things, but I was too terrified of what would happen. He would tell me that if he couldn’t have me, no one could. He would tell me that if I ever left him, he would kill himself and I would be responsible. He would tell me that if I left him, he would make sure that I never had another relationship again, he would show up on my wedding day and gun down my husband and my family and only leave me alive. He told me he loved me. He was mentally ill, and constantly high. I was too young, dumb and to scared to do anything. I was paralyzed. The part that hurt the most, was knowing that my family believed this was what I wanted. Little did they know, to no fault of their own, that I wanted nothing more than to just come home. After the worst weeks of my life, I saw my chance. I finally had an opportunity to go home, for good. I asked him if he could bring me home for a night to see my family, and to “collect the rest of my things” so I could “officially” move in. He was reluctant but he eventually agreed. That two hour drive home felt like a lifetime. He kept asking me to promise him that I would come back. He kept telling me the consequences if I didn’t. I thought at any moment he would become suspicious, and would turn the car around to bring me back to the place I so desperately wanted to be away from. Thankfully, we made it to my house. I started to cry before I was even through my front door. I couldn’t believe I was home. All of the shame and guilt was still there, but it wasn’t on my mind. The only thing on my mind was that I was about to see my family again. This was the longest in my entire life I had ever been away from them. All I could do was cry. I will never forget the way that hug my mom gave me felt when she first saw me. I will never forget the sound of our simultaneous sobs. I was finally home. Once I was home, I broke up with him. It was terrifying, but liberating. I was getting (no exaggeration) hundreds of text messages and phone calls from him, daily. They were a combination of insults, threats towards me, and threats of killing himself. I didn’t know what to do. He would tell me he would never go away. I was scared but I knew I needed to do this. I needed to cut the chains that had been holding me back, and change my life. I eventually had to involve the police on two separate occasions, neither of which did much good. We lived in different county’s, so it was difficult for them to do much. The first time I involved the police was when he called me to say he was going to jump off of his apartment balcony, and his death was going to be all my fault. I kept him talking, and called the police in his county from a different phone. I could hear his mother in the background, screaming and begging for him to calm down. The cops arrived, and spoke to him. He assured them that he was fine, and they left. The second time I called the police, he was threatening to show up at my house because I wasn’t answering him. I called the police in my county this time. A female officer showed up. I explained the situation and told her I was afraid for my life. I showed her various text messages, and showed her the amount of phone calls I was getting. As I showed her my phone, Z started calling me. The officer answered the phone, and put him on speaker. “If you don’t stop harassing her, she’s going to file for a restraining order.”That statement was followed with maniacal laughter, a laugh I will never be able to forget, then the words “You think a f****** piece of paper is going to stop me?.” The phone call was then ended by Z. The officer took me outside to her car to do some paperwork. She notified me that unless he physically comes on my property, or to my place of work, there wasn’t much they could do. After months and months on end of constant harassment, it finally stopped. I was free. The next step was my recovery. My mom came with me to my very first NA meeting. I was scared, and in the very early stages of withdrawal. She held my hand and sat along beside me, supporting me the entire time. I finally felt like I was getting my life back on track. Withdrawal was the worst experience I’ve had to this day, and wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. You’re dripping with sweat but you’re freezing, you’re entire body aches, you’re depressed, you can’t sleep but you’re exhausted. The “worst” of it was gone within a few weeks, the depression lasted for much longer. I slowly gained the trust of my family back. I got a job, I got my GED, and most importantly, I got clean. There was no more “Real” Alex and “New” Alex, there was just me, Alex. The Alex that I had been from the beginning. The Alex that was missing for two, long, devastating years. I was finally back. The moral of this story is that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to go down the wrong road. It’s okay to have a problem. Addiction is real, addiction is terrifying, and addiction is everywhere. I changed my life and so can you. Please, don’t be afraid to reach out to me, your family, or your friends, or a professional. Although you may feel guilty and ashamed, it’s much worse to go through it by yourself. Reach out, and get the help that you need. You’re strong and you can overcome this. Don’t let addiction win. Any addict alone is in bad company. Thanks for letting me share.

Hi everyone! My name is Alex and I am a recovering addict. I was addicted to Oxycodone. I'm a fun, sweet, caring and empathic person who is always there to lend a helping hand and I'm a very good listener! I can help with motivation and support. . Feel free to add me and never be scared to reach out! God bless and stay strong!

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