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I was a heroin addict for11 years, and have been free from it now for 8 1/2. It is hard to describe the nature of heroin addiction to anyone who hasn't been there. It acts at the same level as hunger for food, or survival itself.
I was a "middle-class" guy - good family, a marriage I wanted very much to stay in, my own business, a house , and many other things supporting those. Over a period of 2-3 years, I lost all of the above. I ended up just like any other "street junkie", in a craven, degrading existence. I overdosed many times, and would certainly have died at least 3 of those times had not someone been around to revive me. I went through withdrawals probably 50-60 times. Of all the people I knew as a user, I've seen only a very few since. The rest I've never seen again, or know are dead.
What I know about being free from it is this: That it is easier to get "clean" than to stay clean -- and that's difficult enough. I could absolutely not stay free from it on my own. I was introduced to NA and AA through my first treatment center, and those methods and fellowships have helped me stay clean. From the first time I really tried, and wanted, to get free of addiction, it took me 7 years of treatment, withdrawals, meetings, "home" groups, reading/studying, mentors, family interventions, support, and more. I have never met or heard of anyone who just quit heroin and walked away by themselves. But for those of you out there still using, know that it can be done, with help from others.
For the problem as a whole, as long as people want badly enough to try anything to feel better, or just get caught up in it, there will be a ready market for drugs. Personally, I've never known anyone to stop using, or selling, drugs because of fear of consequences. There is no solution on a broad scale that I can see, short of getting everyone so content there is no market left. But... the massive funds we spend on interdiction and punishment have clearly had no effect whatsoever. I can't help but believe that if detox and treatment were free and consistently available a great number of current addicts would be there, as often as it took, to get free. We have the money and resources to deal with this...
Thanks for letting me share.
posted 3 years, 1 month ago
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