A Tale of Addiction

Within four years, I was homeless and there was nothing left of my former self.

I like to say that my story starts in 2011, but in all honesty, it starts long before then. 

It starts with the chronic depression I so often felt as a child…depression that morphed into bulimia as I got older. It starts with the Xanax I was prescribed for anxiety and the sleeping pills for sleep. I guess you could even say my story started at birth, when a mix of genetics came together, predisposing me to mental illness, specifically addiction. For the purposes of this tale, however, I’ll start in October 2011—right after the death of my father.

My dad’s death was sudden and unexpected. I had previously lost a dog and my grandma within a few months of each other, so losing my dad filled me with overwhelming grief. For a while I dealt with the depression and grief by throwing myself into school. I wanted to make my dad proud by  doing well in university. But after a few months, I was feeling burnt out and exhausted.

At the time, I was dating someone who was the love of my life, but also someone who was dangerous. We were both involved in something we had no business being involved in. As a result, I had easy access to drugs. I’m not sure why I decided to take that first pill or do that first line. Maybe I thought I could beat the system? Maybe I no longer cared what happened to me? Either way, I threw myself into using and my life spiralled out of control from there.

Within four years, I was homeless and there was nothing left of my former self. I lost all sense of self-esteem, worth, and dignity. I was unrecognizable and didn’t even know who I was anymore. 

Losing everything made me want to die. I continued using, hoping that maybe one day I wouldn’t wake up. I was sure that no one would care either way. 

Losing everything made me want to die. I continued using, hoping that maybe one day I wouldn’t wake up. I was sure that no one would care either way. 

It wasn’t until I started waking up with a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach—an overwhelming desire for my old life—that things started to change. I was exhausted from chasing drugs all day and lying awake at night, worried about being robbed.

After being assaulted by someone I mistakenly considered a friend, I decided to seek help. I reached out to my mom. Luckily, she took me back in and helped me get into a rehab program. 

Being in treatment totally saved my life. While there, I learned the tools and skills to cope with my emotions so that I was no longer overwhelmed.

Now that I’m back home and living in recovery, I attend weekly Women for Sobriety meetings and I’ve sought treatment for my bulimia. My life is finally what I want it to be. I am in no way perfect, but I’m finally learning who I truly am inside…without the “help” of drugs or an eating disorder. 

I think my dad would be proud.

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