By BrightView
Published: May 12, 2020
Updated: May 12, 2020

I have lived the life of one of the most low-life, ruthless, and hopeless heroin addicts that you may ever hear from. My childhood was great. I was raised in a great home with great parents and great influences. Looking at the way that I grew up, you never would have thought that I would have ended up the way that I did. This goes to show that addiction can happen to anyone, regardless of their profession or their upbringing. It is just as possible for you to become an addict as anyone else. It is a scary thing to think about. Addiction is killing our children, parents, brothers, and sisters in record numbers. This must end! Far too long have we been caught up in the argument of, “Is it a disease?” Far too long have we been saying, “They made their choice. Just let them die.” Let me ask you, does it really matter if it is a disease or not? Who cares!? It is a major problem nonetheless, and people are dying. I should be dead, but I am not. I am alive to tell the world that there is a life after addiction. Not only life, but a happy life. Marriage, college, employment, children. No more worrying about going to jail if you have a court appearance. No more stress when you look into your rear-view mirror and see a police officer behind you. I have seen the worst of Cincinnati. Now, I can go to that city and actually see beauty. And wow, I never realized how gorgeous trees are! No matter how hopeless, it is possible to break the chains of addiction. I am and will continue to be the example of the scum of the earth that nobody wants around if that is what is needed. I am one of those people who made their choice. I am one of those people that the world should have just let die, and I am alright with that. I am alright with that because I am here now to prove all those people wrong who feel that way. I will fight, tooth and nail, day and night, to change the minds of those people, for I might very well be the one person who saves their loved one’s life one day. I will be the example of scum if that is what you need me to be. But, I will also be the model of hope for many others. This is why God kept me alive. Addiction is a very misunderstood and controversial topic. But, it is real, and it will not get any better unless we stop condemning addicts. We must get rid of the stigma behind the word and realize that we are people. The “real us” are simply hidden away inside of ourselves. We still love, we still care, we still have potential. We just need help. Condemning us to death is not a solution to the issue. There will always be another addict to take our place. Throughout my life, I have seen both sides of the coin. Not only have I lived my life as an addict, but I have also had to be the one to worry about and bury my own loved ones. Kyle was my best friend. He was not my real brother, and he most certainly was not my child. But I will tell you that the pain that I feel from his passing is brutal. I cannot imagine what his parents feel. Through his passing, I have made a promise to never put another addict on hold. I learned a very painful lesson. One that I do not wish on anybody. Living drug-free is an amazing feeling and a great accomplishment, but it is not always easy, for I still must live with the guilt from that night. I must live and be okay with the fact that not everyone will make it out of their addiction alive. I must be okay with knowing that some of my friends will die because of it. I have done my best to tell my story to the best of my ability. Please understand that this is my story and my experience. You may not share my view of certain topics that I have covered. That is okay because recovery is different for everybody. Do not get discouraged if you or your loved one does not remain sober after their first or second attempt at treatment. Keep trying! Love, support, understanding, open communication, and patience are crucial for everyone involved! I want to stress to you the importance of creating good habits and practicing self-care. That could be getting a gym membership, continuing your education, or simply making your bed in the morning. No matter how big or small it may seem, they can all play a significant role in the recovery process. Routine can literally be a lifesaver. There are many, many options for treatment and help for us addicts. I am only one resource. I am a very small, microscopic piece in the world of recovery. Help is everywhere.  All you have to do is reach out for a hand, and someone will catch you. This excerpt is from the book BACK ON TRACKmarks: From Hopeless to Dopeless Written by Matt Peterson