Let’s get real for a second.
We all love to drink. If we didn’t love it, we wouldn’t do it. No matter how much I hate OxyContin, there is a part of me that will always love it.
I had no idea what I was in for…
It was a normal Saturday night. I was 19 years old. I was hanging out at a friends house who lived on 16th and Jefferson in North Philadelphia. We will call my friend Stan. Stan and I were going to a club that always served under age kids. We would share some joints and a few drinks and a lot of laughs.
This night was different. This night four strangers were waiting outside for us.
The story goes that Stan had burned these strangers for a few hundred bucks in a weed deal. I didn’t know anything about this. We had a great time at the club and decided to call it a night. We walked outside the bar and immediately shit hit the fan.
I don’t remember much. Well, I remember all of it but it all happened so fast it is more like a blur. I remember Stan getting jumped. I remember running over and hitting a kid with my skateboard. I remember getting tackled from behind and feeling a kick in my ribs that dropped me and put me in the fetal position. I remember clawing my way up and headbutting someone and the hands fell off of me. Then I remember running.
When my adrenaline slowed down I could feel a burning above my eyebrow and could hear a whistling out of my chest. I got 17 stitches through my eyebrow and the kick had cracked my ribs. I was fine, but I walked out of the ER early that morning with a prescription to Percocet. I had found what I was looking for.
Quickly one Percocet turned into five. Five turned into twenty and eventually I graduated to OxyContin. My love affair with Oxy was one sided. I gave it all I had and it took without forgiveness or compassion. It’s funny because I can honestly say that I enjoyed much of our unhealthy obsessive relationship. There are parts that I miss.
I Miss The Invincibility
It didn’t take long for the addiction to take control. I had always dabbled and experimented with drugs, but this was different. This was superhuman.
I spent most of my teenage years in an awkward existence. I was unsure of myself. I spent a lot of my time skateboarding alone, writing in my journal and reading graphic novels. Once I graduated from Percocets to OxyContin my confidence shot out of control.
Some people say that opiates made them drowsy, not me. Oxy jacked me up. I could think more clearly, speak with more articulation, and could deliver jokes that I knew would get laughs. Nothing could touch me.
Oxy gave me the confidence to be the person I saw in movies, the guy that could hold people’s attention and could walk up to strangers and could be arrogant and charming at the same time. I could talk to girls, I could work longer hours and make more money. I really felt like I was privy to some secret, some cloak of invincibility. Truth is, I have never been the same since.
I miss feeling unapologetically and outrageously invincible.
I Miss The Euphoria
When you’re a drug addict, you are due for some rough mornings.
You know when you wake up from an amazing dream, and you instantly try to go back to sleep and pick up where you left off? Well that’s what the mornings feel like. Every morning.
Your first thought isn’t of a peaceful morning with morning dew and coffee. It’s panic. Rarely did I save any drugs for the next day, so by 6:30 AM you could bet I was on the grind.
The moment I would get the drugs in my hand, I knew that everything was going to be okay. For at least the next couple hours, I didn’t have to feel pain.
The strange thing is, that moment of euphoria makes it all worth it. There is a ritual involved. Every drug user has a ritual. For me, I would carefully scrape the green coating off. Next I would sit at my desk with a round paperweight and crush the pills into a fine powder. Next I would grab a hallowed out BIC pen that I cut in half, put it to my nose, line it up and BOOM!
Just imagine, every problem you have dissolves away. All your doubts, insecurities, family problems, money problems, fears and mistakes no longer matter. All that matters is this moment. Right here and right now, I am a God. I am the king of my little bubble, and I can do anything I set my mind to.
I miss feeling like nothing mattered. I miss the euphoria.
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I Miss The Excitement
It’s why I won’t get a motorcycle. Things that can kill me generally excite me.
When I was younger, I always bought skateboards with big wheels and fast bearings. I would skate as fast as I could down the middle of Broad street, cars whizzing by me in both directions. I would find the highest parking garage and skate down as fast as I could. I would look for fights and I still drive my car too fast.
Drugs perpetuate this insanity. If you combine opiates, cocaine, Adderall and alcohol you can pretty much go nonstop for four or five days. I loved it. I loved waking up with bruises and running from police and noise and commotion. I loved jumping into mosh pits, I loved 4-day rages in Atlantic City, I loved going fast.
The human body isn’t designed to sustain this. We work best at a level of homeostasis. There is a natural balance in all things, but OxyContin tipped the scale. I could go faster for longer and it didn’t matter what the consequences were.
I miss being able to push my limits in the way I could when I was a drug addict. I was underweight, always dehydrated and generally malnourished, but it didn’t matter. The drugs had me convinced that I was stronger than the rest.
I miss feeling like the world was a playground.
So Then Why Do I Stay Sober??
I stay sober because I know it wasn’t real.
It was all a fantasy. I was simply tumbling down the rabbit hole. I stay sober because sobriety is and always will be my greatest achievement of my life. These days I understand my drug use. I know that really, I was looking to the answer to a question I didn’t understand.
When I was getting high, I would go for walks with my dog at night and look at the stars and just be completely baffled and confused as to the reasoning of my existence. I don’t do that anymore. Now, when I look at the night sky, I feel a sense of belonging and a feeling of inner peace that I thought only belonged to a privileged few.
I don’t wake up in a panic. Instead I wake up with a feeling of calm. I feel well rested, ready to start my day. I feel a purpose behind my actions. I feel as though my life has meaning and that I am connected to all the people in this world, whom at one point I felt so separated from.
I don’t feel invincible but I don’t feel weak. I don’t feel excited all the time, but I am not bored either. I don’t feel euphoric but I don’t feel hopeless. I feel content. I feel at peace with my past and excited for the future.
The truth is, this is the life I was always searching for. This is the enlightenment that I thought only existed in a false reality. I get it now.
I understand that life is a journey. I understand that my fears are all lies, and that with patience I can do anything I want with my life.
I stay sober because I am completely free. Nothing holds me back, and it feels great.