Alumnus tells about heroin addiction, rehab

At least 10 WGHS students have gone to rehab for drug-related addictions. Pictured here is powdered heroin. (Photo from

Heroin can be a life-altering substance; a webster student shares a personal encounter with drugs.

The story of my life…exciting adventures, happy days, complicated  moments, stressed hours, memories of struggle and achievement. It all began in St. Louis, MO, I had a normal upbringing, good family, healthy lifestyle. Seventh grade was the turning point in my life.

I met someone who I became emotionally attached to. This person lived a very unhealthy lifestyle, but at the time, I didn’t see it because I was part of it. I knew this person smoked weed, but I have never had the urge to try it until one day in the summer when I decided I would smoke with this person and some friends, to feel that acceptance I had been wanting. I never really enjoyed smoking or drinking, but I continued to use because I had found a substance that changed who I was.

Later on, I met a guy who introduced me to a couple of his using friends during my freshman year. The homecoming dance was coming up, and I wanted to try something new; a party isn’t a party unless you’re f****d up…right? Before the dance, I was hanging out with some “friends”; they asked me if I wanted to enjoy homecoming more than I normally would. I was down for whatever, but I had no idea what to expect when I realized what I had taken.

The dance turned out horrible because I spent the night on the dance floor thinking I was being attacked by the techno lights. The effect of acid is what kept me from doing it again, but the overall experience of the drug was what kept me around. I realized that all I was doing was getting higher and higher but not satisfied.

Not learning my lesson, a month later I was introduced to cocaine. I was still looking for acceptance from myself. I wanted to feel okay with whom I was and not care about what other thought of me. I don’t know what led me to justify everything I did, but just like all the other times I tried, this time I felt that I needed more.

Without a single minute wasted, I snorted a line of cocaine. Every problem that seemed to take over my life was gone, every negative attitude that I had been gone and the feeling of being alone completely disappeared. I had escaped reality, but eventually the drugs wear off, and you’re back to square one.

I snapped out of my dream world and told myself that I couldn’t become one of those people that needed drugs to stay alive, so I managed to never pick up cocaine again. While visiting a friend’s house, I was offered a line; without thinking, I took it. While driving home, I started to feel different, so I asked what I had taken. What I had thought was cocaine was heroin.

From that moment on I would never be the same. Instead of feeling happy and excited, I was calm and peaceful. All noise and movements were gone, my head had shut off, and the world was silent; that was something I wanted for a long time. I had found my drug of choice and the thought of freedom.

This drug became my best and only friend. Nothing else mattered. I didn’t care about hanging out with anyone or going to parties. I was happy just being alone in silence. I had become a functioning addict. I didn’t skip school. I had good grades. I fooled everyone into thinking I was okay; I had tricked myself into thinking I was okay.

After months of becoming unable to wake up in the morning, not feeling satisfied with myself and getting sick when I wasn’t able to be high got old. I couldn’t stop, and I didn’t want help.

On Monday, Nov. 15, 2010, I was getting ready for school when my house phone rang. I remember sitting on my bed when my mom got up after answering and walked into the bathroom to finish the conversation. At that moment I knew my day was over, but I managed to leave the house, ditch all my things and get to school.

In the middle of class, my school counselor and my mom came to my class, pulled me out and told me I needed to go get tested to stay in school. My first thought was to dip out, but in my messed up head I was so beyond being angry. I didn’t even care about being busted anymore. I just wanted to be high. “F*** the world” was my thought.

I was taken to a clinic to be tested, and the result was positive for methadone, and my stomach sank. I had that feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when you know what is going to happen next won’t be good. The stomach feeling went away soon because I realized that there was no way out. I spent the next week at home detoxing while my mom spent hours on the phone with rehab facilities trying to find the right one.

On Nov. 21, 2010, I was sent on a plane Plymouth, MN, to be put into impatient rehab facility. The mandatory requirement is to stay for 30 days. For the first week at Hazelden, I was a walking bomb. I would snap on anyone that talked to me or anyone that tried to help me. I just wanted to be left alone.

Soon I realized that the only way to get out was to fake my way through the program and discharge successfully. I decided I was going to do anything to make my counselor and everyone else around me believes that I was working a good program. Whatever I was doing worked because my 30 days was coming up in a week, and I was going to be sent home.

The drive to “home” wasn’t St. Louis. On Dec. 16, 2010, I was sent to a half-way house in the middle of nowhere in a small town called Rockford, IL.

From this day forth my new life began in a new strange town surrounded by new strange people. The path of recovery is a lifelong process, and although it may be hard, I have learned to take things one day at a time.

I successfully graduated on April 7, 2011 and was released home to my family. I never thought I would make it to 17. My dream of graduating high school is now coming true, and today I am able to tell people who I truly am. I don’t have to be someone else for the sake of being in a certain group of friends. I don’t have to act on self-will because I’m too scared to accept that I cannot do this alone.

Today, I am able to live clean and serene without the use of drugs or alcohol. Today, I am proud to call myself a recovering addict.

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