Liah M. Long
Contributor

My name is Jane Doe and I’m an addict.

I’m 22, live in Lorain County, work and go to school full time. I love my family, friends and boyfriend. You’d look at me and think I was relatively normal. But that’s not necessarily true. My drug of choice, like many addicts in Lorain County, is heroin. Well, any opiate drug really. But heroin is cheap and extremely easy to find. I have been an addict for about seven years and I consider myself a highly functioning one. I’ve gotten clean several times in my life, with the longest being for about two years. Every time I relapse, I end up in the same place; strung out on drugs and alcohol, broke with nobody and nothing. There is absolutely nothing glamorous about being a junkie. I know that for a fact. Heroin or any narcotics won’t take you anywhere you want to be. And getting clean (as I’m trying to do now), is almost impossible.

   I know drugs are bad news. I knew enough and had enough sense to get sober four times. But even when you’re sober, it’s a daily struggle. You’re always thinking about using when you get stressed or upset. I regret ever relapsing. Because when I do and decide to clean up, it feels like starting all over again. I often think about all the time I’ve wasted that I can’t get back because I chose to life my life this way. This time around, luckily for me, I’ve only been using heavily for about six months. But I see how heroin is affecting my life right now and I know that I’ve got to stop. I’m a young lady already having problems with my kidneys and liver. Almost all my veins are collapsed from injecting the drug too much. It’s also affecting my personal life. I have experience kicking the habit, I have a great support system and a lot of tools at my disposal to help me. Not every addict has that and I consider myself lucky for that, too.

    I’ve actually been clean for a week now. The withdrawal symptoms are hard to handle; so sick I can’t work, go to school, hardly get out of bed. I’m throwing up, sore everywhere and am horribly depressed. I had the willpower, but couldn’t handle being dope sick. So I took the step to get myself on medicine. I’m on a few different things right now and they’re making the process very easy for me. I also stay busy with my job, my classes and my social life. I go to AA and NA meetings. In a month, I should feel almost normal again. I have high hopes for myself.

   There is a part of me that fears I’ll never really get better. I have seen many many people go to detox and rehab and relapse. I have seen people kick the habit for years and relapse. I myself  have relapsed. I wonder if the want will ever go away. I wonder if I’ll have to  think about not using drugs every single day for the rest of my life. I hope not. And I really try not to think like that, especially not right now. The fact of the matter is, it’s going to take work for me to be sober. A lot of work for a really long time. I’m up for the challenge. My advice those who are or know someone currently struggling with addiction is to get help; you won’t regret it. You can see a counselor on campus, talk to a family member or friend, go to a meeting or call the Nord Center. There are an endless supply of resources in Lorain County to help people get clean. It might even take time to find what works for you. But once you take that first step, it gets easier. Everyone deserves the chance to have a good future. If you’re on heroin, I can guarantee you won’t have a good future.
That’s all there is to it.