The story of my drug use is a very strange one. I grew up being told the dangers of drugs and how they could ruin your life. Everyone can relate with these horror stories, especially attending a public school. They were told to us by every D.A.R.E. officer we ever had. For some of them, it worked. For others, it only sparked curiosity.
I had taken anti-drug classes in every grade from elementary school through middle school. I was perfectly aware of the dangers, but no one had ever really explained to me what a “high” was like or why people used these drugs in the first place. I was a very curious child, and I found myself more and more interested in these psychoactive drugs that were shunned by society (which also attracted me). A small fire inside of me sparked when I first read experiences online that people had had while they were on drugs, and that was a fire that would prove to grow and grow.
At the tender age of thirteen, and after much curiosity, a friend of mine offered to smoke a joint with him at his house. Being the adventurous sort that I was, I decided to try it. After I arrived at his house, we hung out and did normal kid stuff for about an hour or so. Then he asked me if I wanted to smoke, and I agreed immediately. A few hits and several coughs later, I felt something that was completely foreign to me. This floating happy feeling that was so different from anything else I had experienced had just opened up Pandora’s Box. I was determined to experience a variety of highs after that point, and it all went downhill from there.
Just a few short weeks later, I had started drinking cough syrup by the bottle to get high off its active chemical; DXM. My experiences with DXM were very brief as the drug causes you to vomit when you first ingest it and has a less than pleasurable high. This only left me wanting more, and in about a month I began using a lot of opiate painkillers. Vicodin and Oxycodone were amazing drugs to me. I loved the way it made me feel like I was almost asleep but also awake, however this faded away after another month or two of regular use. I was still searching for my personal “high of all highs” and I was about to find it.
One day, the same friend that I smoked pot with told me that he got his hands on some Adderall. I didn’t think much of it and popped the pills he gave me. About half an hour later my body had felt like electricity was flowing through it. My mind was moving a mile a minute, I was talking about everything I could think of, and this intense feeling of euphoria overcame me. Little did I know I was on the route for addiction.
I soon became a fiend for any type of amphetamine related medication at the age of fourteen. It almost seemed like my stomach couldn’t hold enough pills to feed my insatiable appetite for them. Luckily for me, this drug was prescribed to just about everyone I knew. I didn’t even have to pay for them because most of my friend were prescribed the medication didn’t like taking it, so I became their source of disposing of the unwanted amphetamines.
Adderall XR was my favorite drug, and at the peak of my addiction I was taking upwards of 120~mg a day (almost twice what’s prescribed for serious ADD). Popping a few pills in the morning and a few pills at night would leave me “tweaking” for days on end with no sleep. Filling my time with strange thoughts, paranoia, and useless tinkering. I didn’t know it, but I had put myself in a serious amphetamine psychosis.
The extreme amount of speed I was taking had started to fill my mind with all sorts of irrational thoughts. Most of which were paranoia. Every casual laugh in class had turned into people talking about me behind my back. I was suspicious of everyone and to this day I have no idea why. This turned into an anger that cannot be described at something that also cannot be described. I was quickly transformed into a violent and angry person.
Depression became unbearable eventually. Nothing seemed to make me happy, not even Adderall which I had sold my soul to. This drug that I thought was what I had been searching for my whole life turned out to be destroying me piece by piece, and thankfully I was starting to realize it.
I rolled out of bed one day after spending the last few days and nights binging on speed. I felt like my body was shutting down on itself as I pathetically gathered some clothes off my floor and went into the bathroom. I remember the water feeling like it was boiling away my frail skin and I had lost so much weight at this point that I was practically a skeleton. It was at this moment that I was faced with the options of recovery or death.
I had just had an epiphany; which to this very day I believe saved my life. Something inside me clicked that I was pumping poison into my body just for an artificial feeling. I hadn’t been legitimately happy in three years at this point and I was only sixteen. I knew that I had to quit taking drugs and attempting to wean off the amphetamines would only lead to relapse and even more of a sense of faliure.
I quit, cold turkey, right then. I spent the next two months experiencing the acute effects of amphetamine withdrawal, primarily a very deep depression. But after some time had passed, I felt my health returning. I was gaining weight, and I had been finding happiness in things that never seemed possible before. I finally realized that I have successfully broken this addiction.
It’s been five years since I last touched any hard drug, and I can’t even begin to imagine where I would be today had I not quit when I did. These drugs are so readily available and excessively prescribed that anyone can get them if they want to. It is a very sad situation, but unfortunately there isn’t much that can be done about it at the moment. As personal advice from experience with the Adderall demon, just say no.