If you want to use that's your business. If you want to quit, that's ours.

Doug's Story

I started drinking and using drugs when I was about was about 12 years old. I was hanging out with the older crowd, trying to fit in, and having fun. This went on throughout my teenage years. In the middle of all of this, I eventually started using opiates. At first I did not really like them, but I fell in love with them the first time I really felt the effect. After a while, I could not score any pain pills and I got introduced to heroin. I did not discover heroin until the age of about 22. Heroin was something I always looked down upon, but I found myself loving it. I remember it gave me the effect I was looking for and more; I went from pain pills to heroin. Later on, I found myself unable to control the heroin like I was able to do before. I went from picking and choosing my spots to almost an everyday task. I wound up with a dope habit and was getting dope sick when I could not score. By this time dope was causing problems in my life and I went to a treatment center to seek help. While I was there, some people from various 12 step fellowships came down to carry a message of hope, and by doing so they were insuring their sobriety. They began to talk about a problem as they had understood it. Simply, once you start can you call your numbers? And can you manage the decision to leave the heroin alone for good and for all? I understood the first part, which meant I had lost control. I could no longer use heroin without picking up a habit and getting dope sick, but by this point in my story I did not know if using heroin was a choice or not. So for the next 14 months, I tried various ways to walk away from heroin. I tried going to a bunch of meetings, reading spiritual books, trying to become a better person, drinking alcohol, Xanax, moving to a half way house, etc. I knew I could no longer use heroin because I understood the first part of the problem (no control once I start). However, I always had other methods which I had not tried to see if they could possibly work for me. What if it could work? In the latter stages of my story I finally had all the fun I could stand, the dope was not working anymore, and I began to wonder, “What's wrong with me and why can't I stop?”. Throughout the interim of me trying to stay sober, I was introduced to someone who walked my same path and understood what the heroin problem was all about. The only difference was he found a way out. Though I did not take him up on what he had to offer immediately, I knew he had a solution for me if I was ever convinced I had the same problem he did. After a couple of meetings with him he encouraged me to find out if I was a real heroin addict, which meant I was going to use heroin until the day I died no matter what. Eventually I figured it out. I wound up at a Salvation Army with no more excuses on how I was in another predicament like the last time, and no more ideas and plans on how I was going to stay sober this time. At that moment I realized what it meant to be a heroin addict, and how he had emphasized to me that if I was a real heroin addict, using was no longer a choice. I got back in contact with him and accepted the solution he had to offer me. Though the Salvation Army or any means of treatment never got me sober, they allowed me an opportunity to focus on this solution so I could be a free man. My life today is not what I had ever imagined it to be. It is more and better than what I ever could have planned. I'm still young and have an opportunity to make my life count for something. In my story, I had only been using heroin for around 3 years and did not have to lose everything. I was spared several years of misery, and it is my hope that anybody with my same problem will not have to take heroin addiction to the lengths some of the other people at Heroin Anonymous have had. Until I understood the problem (1) loss of control (2) no longer a choice, little or nothing could be done for me. Thank God I have a way of life today and do not have to fight the battle myself.

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