This Is What It’s Really Like To Be A Teenaged Drug Addict In Recovery

karin and the camera
karin and the camera

I’m sitting in a café, writing this, drinking a cup of coffee.

A year ago I was sitting in an abandoned house, drinking booze, writing my suicide note.

Tonight, I’ll get dressed in my uniform and go to my waitressing job.

A year ago I would get dressed in an entirely different kind of uniform, and go to my job on the corner.

Tomorrow, I have class at my University.

A year ago I had substance abuse classes at my inpatient treatment center.

Today, I don’t use drugs. I don’t go out and party, I don’t sell my body for that next hit, I don’t lie, cheat, and steal.

But I used to.

I’ve been an addict since the day I was born, and I’ll be one until the day I die. But I didn’t become addicted to drugs until I was 13 years old, and weed started looking appealing instead of scary.

When I was 15, ecstasy and pills started looking like fun, and all the warnings my family and friends have given me went right out the window.

When I was 16, I took my first hit of crack, and everything that ever mattered to me disappeared – all that I cared about was the drug.

I was a normal high school student by day, and a crack-addicted prostitute by night. I hid my “childhood” life from my dealer, and my “crack whore” life from my friends and family.

It worked, until it didn’t.

I had fun, until I didn’t.

I still remember when it changed – sex became a chore (it had never been fun in the first place), getting that next hit became harder and harder, even just showing up to school in the first place was a task I couldn’t handle.

This led me to sitting in a condemned house, getting drunk, writing my suicide note.

At seventeen years old.

“I want to go to treatment.”

I still remember telling my mother, the woman who thought her little girl was an angel, that I was a drug addict and needed to go to inpatient treatment. “I don’t want to get high anymore,” I told her, “but I can’t stop.”

The scariest thing I have ever done was put myself in a treatment center – no cigarettes, no sex, no coffee for 45 days. Most of all, no drugs.

The second scariest thing I’ve ever done was leaving treatment, going back home, and trying to stay clean. I didn’t know how to live without getting high, and I didn’t think my life had a purpose anymore.

Now, I have almost a year clean. My life has purpose – I go to college, I’m a waitress, and I have a family. The biggest thing is that people trust me today – and I trust myself.

I might be an addict, but I don’t have to be addicted. TC mark

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