I never thought I’d say this but I’ll be turning 26 this year! Yikes! That is kind of old. Anyhow, I am writing to a specific generation: The millennial. But not just any millennial, the millennial junkie. The junkie whose addiction began with prescription painkillers rather than heroin. The new junkie who started out with Vicodin then moved on to OxyContin. There are so many of us, many now not capable of using their phone to read this catalogue because they pawned it off for more opiates. If you reach a point where you are ready to quit opiates please do not try Suboxone or Methadone. These drugs just prolong the inevitable, putting your life on hold.
For many of the 20-somethings that read this article, you are out there living your lives, being the person you always dreamed of being when you were in high school. It is our turn to be the envy of every teen’s eye as we are the perfect balance of youth and responsibility. However, if you were like me and millions of other suburban idiots, instead you spend your 20s constipated or completely isolated from everyone and everything.
But first, let me explain how I became encapsulated as a stay-at-home son and gave my best years away to a pill. It all started when I was a teenager (it always does). I was maybe 14 when I met her (every story has a girl). Her name was Laura, she was the hottest thing on two legs that summer of 2004. We had started out as friends but over that particular summer something changed in her that made me feel that I had to have her. Something inside me turned on and I immediately became hooked on everything and anything that had to do with this girl. She was the apple of my eye.
Well at 16, when a girl becomes the “apple of your eye,” it usually ends with her getting pregnant. And of course, that is exactly what happened. By early 2006, we were actually in talks to be on a new TV show on MTV about being 16 and pregnant, but Laura was afraid her dad would find out, so we backed out at the last minute (damn, almost famous. Obviously I had no clue popular that show would become). Alas there we were, the original teen parents staring down the barrel of adulthood and the loss of innocence. Well as you can probably guess what a shit-show that all turned out to be. We ended up giving our son up for adoption, and we both kind of went our separate ways when neither of us had a reason to make it work anymore. We both spiraled out of control, into a life of partying and drugs. Before either of us knew it, we were both addicted to opiates.
Now I cannot speak for her, but I for one found bliss in opiates. For the first time, I didn’t care about what had transpired between Laura and I or what had happened to our son. I believed at least for the time that I had found the answer to all my problems. I watched carelessly as my parents divorced and nestled into a much smaller residence south of Granite Bay, CA. By the time the “party” was over and realized I had a problem it was too late, I was hooked. I was only 19 and for fear of detox, I begged my parents to take me to rehab, but not just any rehab, a Suboxone rehab. Once admitted, the doctor administered what I thought was a magic cure for all my suffering. Boy was I wrong! In fact, what was really happening was the end of my life as I knew it.
About a year in, I started changing. Much to the confusion of all my friends, once labeled the “loud” and “social” guy, now couldn’t find a reason to leave his room. I then began developing debilitating bowel issues, going months without using the restroom (months!). I was lucky enough to finish college and get my degree, but after this, my progress stopped. I became a shell of who I once was. I no longer felt emotion, just irritable and catatonic. My mom once referred to me as a zombie, who turned on the television once and a while. The thing is no matter how bad things got, I refused to admit that I had a problem. I believed the doctors when they said I was cured. A barrier had formed between me and society as I could no longer muster up the courage to talk anyone, even friends I had known for years. A state of confusion would pass over me anytime someone new would approach me. I labeled this portion of my life as being “disconnected” from everyone and everything.
By the time I had reached 25, I was in full quarter life crisis mode. I became noticeably more aware of my own mortality and the danger of letting Suboxone eat up anymore of my life. Finally I had enough, and I decided I would taper off of this horrible affliction. Wow, that was so hard! Everything that made coming off OxyContin such a nightmare was nothing compared to what it felt like to titrate off Suboxone. Damn that hurt, I can’t stress that enough! I’m talking no sleep, flu symptoms, arthritis, anxiety, depression, no immune system to the point that doctors will test you for HIV. Your life will suck for the better half of a year depending on how much and how long you have been on this crap. Unfortunately, due to this medication’s half-life, one cannot just stop taking this drug and expect to be peaches and cream.
Anyway, here I am at 26 and I am finally free! I cannot tell you how thankful I am to be off of this garbage. It’s finally safe to use the bathroom again! Never again will I visit the ER at night just to have some 20-something nurse physically unplug me! Lord that sucked. The biggest difference, however, is my ability to connect with my peers again. The truth is, the hardest part of being on a maintenance drug such as Suboxone or Methadone is that it creates a barrier between you and the ones you love. Getting off of this means I can really connect again, and oh yeah did I mention being able to have sex again? I am finally a man again and at least for a little longer know what it feels like to be young again. Boy is it nice, being old is going to suck.
To all of you 20-something junkies out there sitting there reading this, remember to stay away from maintenance therapy. Fight the demon head on and take your life back, especially while you are still young. There are millions of you opiates addicts out there in their 20s, afraid for their futures and what to do next. I hate to break it to you, but there is a new generation in town called Generation-Z and they don’t even know what OxyContin is. It’s over guys, give it up and start your adult life! And to all you younger millennials who grew up watching an older sibling suffer with opiate addiction, rejoice in the fact that your brother or sister is still in there somewhere.