I’ve been a heroin addict for ten years and today is the longest I’ve gone without a hit. I know cannabis has saved my life.
My name is Arielle and I am a recovering heroin addict, which I will be for the rest of my life. My parents got a divorce when I was 8, and I remember the details of that time as a big turning point for me. The night before we moved out, my dad sat at the end of my bed and cried because he wasn’t going to see us everyday anymore. The next morning, we hastily packed what we could and left for my aunt’s house.
This began a period of great instability where we were sleeping on floors and then moving to a smaller town. The new school was tough for me, as a tomboy. I was also bullied a lot for my weight. I became very depressed and anxious.
Fast forward to my freshman year in high school. I fell in with a bad crowd, but felt like I belonged for the first time in a long time because they were older and good looking. When I was 15 I snorted my first line of heroin. I immediately fell in LOVE. It made me so much more confident and felt so damn good. I forgot about my depression and all of the ways I felt I didn’t belong. It also helped me lose weight, which people noticed, and that made me feel on top of the world.
The Progression of my Addiction
Over the next few years, my addiction progressed. I started snorting once a week or so. When I was 17, I was caught, barely conscious, with heroin in my backseat. I was expelled from school, arrested, and charged with felony possession as an adult. That was the second turning point.
After that, I started to use every single day. I risked my life going into the worst parts of Chicago to find dope, just feeling untouchable. Then, I got caught stealing $200 from my brother and was sent to live with my aunt in Wisconsin.
There I met a boy; he had methadone for me. But, THEN I found out he could get me heroin! My God. This resulted in a serious downward spiral of us shooting up meth and heroin and smoking speed.
What Happened When my Parents Found out
The day my mom found out, she came to bring me home. I promised I would change. Got a prescription for Suboxone but then used that to trade for heroin. I was full on until I ended up face down in a public restroom with paramedics and cops around me. I got into treatment, but honestly, they put me on so many medications…Xanax being the one that made me into a super, super addicted zombie. I started to think the place was bullshit and just there to make money off addicts.
I checked out.
Life went on for a bit. I relapsed. Back to treatment I went. More bullshit: Gabepentin, Trazadone, Adrenal, Naltraxeone, Strettera, Remron…and send the zombie on her way.
Then I met cannabis. I had smoked weed here and there when I was younger, but never paid attention to what it did for me. Indica saved me from my anxiety, ADD, depression. But most importantly, from my addiction. When heroin tosses her seductive head my way, I smoke my medicine (cannabis) and she withers away.
It has been eleven months since I used any drugs. I smoke cannabis every night, with a few hitters throughout the day. It keeps my head on straight, my stress in check, my brain focused, and my appetite good.
I’ve been a heroin addict for ten years! And TODAY IS THE LONGEST I have come being clean. Cannabis has saved my life. I know that. It has helped me get over my addictions. And It has been an important component of my recovery. I believe that if I hadn’t started smoking cannabis regularly, I would be in jail. But, probably, I would be dead.
I’m sharing this even though my immediate family does not approve. I am nervous about that, but at the end of the day, I have to be true to myself…and to my friends who are still where I was and for those in recovery.