A frequent contributor, Marilyn Kegley has been sharing her articles on this blog. I am grateful for that, because many teens and pre-teens are curious and many have an urge to experiment with drugs. Parents of teens are not sure how to handle the situation if their kids start showing interest in trying drugs, including myself. My daughter who is now 14 knows about the dangers. However, she is not in high school yet, and things could change. I never had issues with drugs or alcohol myself. Therefore, I would not know how to handle a situation involving drugs. Kegley has shared many tips for parents, and teens who are involved in the situation. This is an article she has written and also wanted me to publish here.
Marilyn Kegley’s Journey Through Inpatient Drug Rehab
I believe that any good story comes from personal experience, so why not share my struggle with heroin addiction and what it took to overcome the terrible disease.
Although, statistically speaking, less than 10% of Americans that have ever tried an opiate-based illicit drug have become physically dependent on it, it is still an extremely prevalent problem throughout the country. Not in a million years would I have guessed that I would fall under that small minority.
At first, I was like any normal teenager dabbling in various substances such as alcohol and marijuana, but I always had a certain propensity for wanting to engage in everything the world had to offer me. Once I made it to college, I started trying drugs that I had never dreamed of trying when I was younger. Ecstasy, cocaine, LSD and painkillers were some of the drugs I began to use recreationally, but I never found myself physically dependent on any drug.
Throughout my years in college, I found myself heavily smoking cannabis, and, to this day, I’m still not exactly sure why. I knew that I loved smoking weed and it wasn’t hard for me to stop, but I never felt the need to stop. I would rationalize and intellectualize constantly about using marijuana without ever taking into account the negative repercussions of heavy drug use.
At one point, I was introduced to a popular painkiller by the name of Roxicodone or “Roxy”. I had noticed that it had become increasingly harder for me to get high from smoking marijuana, but when I added Roxy to the mix, I found utter solace from my thoughts, reservations and everyday anxieties. I had never felt more relaxed and comfortable in my own skin than I did when I was under the influence of opiates.
At the time, it was hard to come by Roxy on a regular basis, and the price per pill was way too expensive for me to form any substantial habits. So, I continued to recreationally use the drug from time to time when I would come into a connect and some extra money.
By the time I was Junior in college, I met the girl that I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. She was just as passionate about knowledge, life and drug use as I was, but I was unable to foresee the impending disaster that would ensue from two like-minded junkies in love.
We would regularly steal pills from her mom and get high to pass the time; making the most passionate love drug-induced pill-heads could achieve. We still had not reached the point of physical dependence, due to the lack of a reliable connect and cash-flow.
By the end of my Junior year, I had started dealing marijuana to bring in some extra cash and free weed. I also came across a regular connection for painkillers as well. Thus, the combination of a cash-flow and a reliable connect led me to the point where I could buy Roxy whenever I wanted, which happened to be all of the time. The flow of Roxy could not keep up with my ever-increasing habit, and the prices kept going up per pill.
One day, when I was meeting with my dealer, he introduced me to my first bag of heroin, telling me that it was much cheaper and always in stock. The only thing my brain was thinking was to satisfy its urges. So, without hesitation, I began my descent into the permanent midnight of heroin addiction.
My relationships began to deteriorate, especially with my girlfriend at the time. We would engage in some of the most heated fights, which resulted in unmentionable physical confrontations. I found myself detached from everything I once loved, and began to skip classes just to get my next fix. I went from being a model student to a complete no-show.
Finally, when I realized that I was over a grand in debt and failing some of my most important classes, I had a moment of clarity where I knew what I needed to do. I ended up taking a medical leave from school and moving back home in order to check myself into an inpatient drug rehab facility. The experience was one of the best and worst experiences of my life.
My Time in an Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation Facility
The drug rehab program that I attended included a 30 day program where 5 days were spent in detox and the rest was spent in rehabilitative classes. Drug rehabs will ease the pain of withdrawal, but the nights were still horrific without my doses of dope before bed.
The day came that I finally felt like myself again, even though the cravings were still looming in my mind. Thankfully, the inpatient program had a strict regimen that kept my mind preoccupied throughout the day. For the most part, I spent my time attending group therapy, individual therapy, addiction classes, educational lectures and therapeutic activities, such as yoga, mediation, volley ball, and other exercise-related coping mechanisms.
What I Learned In Drug Rehab
More importantly, the drug rehab taught us what it was going to take to for us to overcome this awful affliction; namely, a profound change in our perspectives. Not only was it about working on our mindsets, but it was also about finding healthy activities to preoccupy our minds. If the practices learned in drug rehab were not carried over into our ever day lives, addicts had a 50-90% chance of relapse after leaving inpatient drug rehab.
These statistics were surprising to me at first, but I knew with enough time and effort, I could overcome anything. When I was released from the facility, I began intensive outpatient (IOP) counseling for several months. The service provided weekly drug tests and group counseling three days a week.
To this day, I still struggle with cravings every now and then, but admitting myself into an inpatient drug rehabilitation program was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. I understand that I will have to deal with addiction for the rest of my life, but if I keep my mind focused and preoccupied, I know that I will be able to continue with my success for years to come.
Marilyn Kegley works with several addiction treatment centers to educate individuals about the dangers of substance abuse. After watching numerous loved ones struggle with addiction, her goal is to help as many people as possible get effective and successful rehabilitation treatment. To learn more about drug and alcohol rehab, please visit: http://www.theheroinproject.