Tag Archives: college

Imagining My Life Without Having Ever Used Drugs

Often, namely when I am in a state or regret, I sit and wonder where my life would be had I never tried heroin, or cocaine (which I used prior to heroin, and lead me to heroin). It is very easy to think about where my life was before I was addicted to heroin and cocaine. Your brain naturally wants to assume that sans the drugs your life would have gone down the absolute best paths possible.

I was a student at the University of Maryland majoring in Elementary Education, with a focus on English. I was going to UMCP as an honor student on an almost full college. In fact, I was able to buy a brand new Honda Civic with all the money that my mother had saved for me for college which I no longer needed. I like to get down on myself imagining that had I never become an addict, I would be an elementary school teacher right now, with a nice house, white picket fence, a decent car and 2.5 kids. Of course, I could not go back to school to get a degree in education now even if I wanted to. For one, if you have any sort of drug convictions, you are no longer eligible for any federal scholarship money.  (Don’t get me started on all that is wrong with this policy- society wants drug addicts to get clean and turn their lives around, but you going to refuse to offer them ANY sort of financial assistance. WTF). Secondly, and most importantly, even if I went back to school on my own dime and got the degree that I was originally going for, it would be pointless. With my one drug conviction (I have a second drug arrest for which I was found not guilty) and my multiple thefts, and assault I, by law, would not ever find a job.

Thing is, I had already left UMCP before I started getting high. I was driving home constantly to see my boyfriend at the time. I started having a viscous bought with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I stopped going to most of my classes during my spring semester. My shrink had a meeting with me and the dean of the school and I was able to have my classes that I failed excused and taken off of my record.

Originally, my dream was to go to NYU and major in music business. I stayed behind to be with the boyfriend (BIG mistake). After I broke up with him and left UMCP, I was teaching pre-school full time and taking classes towards that music business degree at the local community college.

This is when I started getting high with the boyfriend I was seeing at the time. It started with us getting coke (a drug that I had done a few times before). Eventually we were buying dope to come down. Soon we were buying more dope then coke or only dope.

That boyfriend went to jail on three violation of probation warrants, one of which was a no bail. My husband called me wanting me and my boyfriend (his brother in law) to pick him up to take him in town. Obviously he was unaware that my boyfriend (we’ll call him Joe) was locked up. I picked him up alone.

Soon I was picking him up every day. We had a plutonic relationship for a long, long time. Eventually after a night of drunk sex, we realized that we were meant to be together. He made me happier than I had ever felt. He made me feel beautiful, truly beautiful. He treated me like a princess. We got in legal trouble together, and often got out of it due to both of our unwillingness to snitch on one another.

Within just over two years, we were married and had a beautiful daughter. We went through periods of him being in jail, or me being in jail, or both of us being in jail. We were clean for a few years, we were addicts for a few years before and after our sober period. We are clean together now. We also have a son together now as well.

See, as easy as it is for me to dwell on what could have been had I never stuck a needle in my arm, I cannot overlook everything that I gained through addiction. I am married to my best friend. I have two wonderful, beautiful kids (one turns 9 next week, and the other turns 6 in December). Most importantly, I like the person that addiction made me. Maybe I do not particularly like the person that I become while in active addiction, but I am a lot stronger than I ever knew. I have unlimited compassion for others. I know what it is like to be at the bottom of the totem pole.

Have I lost a lot do to drugs? Of course I have. Drugs have made me realize that not everything is the end of the world. I try to look at the good side to what I have been through. I truly believe that if you can make it through heroin addiction and come out on the other side with your morals still intact and are able to achieve and maintain sobriety, them there is nothing that you cannot do. There is no one out there stronger than a recovering addict, and I am proud to say that I am in that group.




Addiction And Intelligence

My last post was written in a fit of rage at four in the morning after someone had so very ignorantly told me that “smart people are not dumb enough to let themselves become addicts”. In my blog post I had said that I didn’t think that the addicted population tended to be any smarter, dumber, moral, or immoral than the rest of the population as a whole. That we were probably representative percentage-wise of the rest of the world.

Later that day, after I posted, as I sat steaming, I got to thinking. See, I had already googled “geniuses who struggled with addiction” and came up with a staggering number of names. Who knew that the father of modern surgery, Dr. William Halsted, was an addict? I started to think about how my brain is going 24/7, how I cannot shut it up, how I overthink everything. When I was on the run with multiple (and by multiple I mean four) warrants how I would wake up stressed, non-stop stressing and agonizing about my warrants and impending doom. Getting high was the only way that I knew how to relax and not over, over-think my problems.

As usual, my mind started to over-think this story, this issue. I was remembering how, when I didn’t have better coping skills that I have since developed, how I routinely used drugs to numb my brain slightly. More importantly, I remember the first time I used heroin, and all drugs really. I worked so hard in school, studied non-stop, I needed a break. You know what they say, “work hard, party hard”. I would do E on the weekends, coke at the parties, weed during the week. It just gave me an escape. My GPA never dropped below 4.6, I got a academic scholarship to a few schools, but went to University of Maryland College Park as an honors student. Drugs were a release, but they never inhibited my life, school work, social relationships, anything. So when heroin was offered to me as a way to come down off of coke, I was initially hesitant, but wanted to try something new. I needed to come down, I had been doing coke for two days and had to come down to do school work. I said “fuck it”. 

I also started to remember that in college, lots of the lab kids, who worked 20 hours straight, used drugs, especially uppers. Combining my drug usage, with what I remembered from the hard working kids in college, and my google search of “geniuses that struggled with addiction”, I decided to google a hunch. I looked up “intelligence and addiction”. What I found, confirmed what I had been thinking all along. I found numerous studies that showed a direct correlation between higher intelligence and drug use. Studies showed that individuals with an IQ above 125, or what is considered very bright, were far more likely to have tried or used drugs than those with an IQ below 85, or what is considered very dull. Actually, the studies showed that the higher the IQ, the more likely the person was to have tried drugs.

Obviously, I felt a personal  sense of triumph and vindication. More than that, I felt a certain amount of vindication for all addicts. The person who made the original rude comment, eventually turned the argument around into, “addicts have no one to blame but themselves”. This is a point irrelevant as to the argument if addicts are stupid or immoral. Of course we only have ourselves to blame. I don’t think any of us has denied where the fault lies with respect to our personal addiction. The thing is that once I presented facts that disproved his logic of “addicts are much dumber than the rest of us” he resorted to what basically amounted to name-calling. Now it was “you only have yourself to blame”. I should note that he did the typical passive aggressive tactics of “addicts are dumb,” “I am not dumb enough to stick a needle in my arm”, etc. You know, making blatant references to me and my husband without saying that he is talking about members of his family.

So yes, it is my own fault that I am addict. It is also my own triumph that I am clean now as well. It is any addicts own actions that have made them that way, as it is any person’s own action that make them the person that they are. I can now, at least, with some amount of authority tell you if you are an addict that lack of intelligence is not to blame for your struggles with addiction.