I began rebelling as a way to escape my less than charming reality. What began as up all night, young drunken fun turns into a life of insanity. Not right away of course, but as time passed, I found myself lost, alone and addicted.
I began my life as a normal girl growing up in the suburban town of Cherry Hill, New Jersey to a high-class defense attorney father whose efforts to show me, love, at the time, meant a limitless credit card and a shopping spree.
Then my parent’s appalling divorce goes rye as my dad flees the state —leaving my stay at home mother and me with nothing. My once perfect life begins to crumble, as the mansion I grew up in gets foreclosed on, forcing my mother and me to move into a two-bedroom apartment on the other side of town. That’s when I started to rebel.
In an effort to discover something more than the Cherry Hill bubble I was all too familiar with as well as the tarnished legacy my father left behind, I journey to find my home away from home at West Virginia University, which at the time was number one party school.
Initially, it was innocent, like anything else, it started off as fun. From dance party raves to sorority life, I thought I was finally beginning to find myself, but as the story continues, my bad taste in drug dealing boyfriends only escalates the inevitable.
Wherever You Go, There You Are
College graduation is upon me along with my sensible attempts to get the good girl back. The thing is, I was severely addicted to opioids. I was literally doing about 31 pills a day of Roxicodone, and if you do the math, that’s over 900 milligrams every 24 hours.
But I thought if I could simply leave, then I could get better. I was living my life through the saying, out of sight, out of mind. So I pack my bags, give my apartment key back to my landlord, and try to start over, again. Destination —sunny Florida.
Except, my idea of beginning again just brings me further to my knees. Not at first though. I bought a month’s worth of suboxone and Xanax, which would help me detox without medical care. Oh, and I just happened to have 50 pills left over from my last pick up. I thought with that, I was ready. You see, the thought of withdrawing caused me such anxiety that eventually, I became willing to do just about anything to get and stay high.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. At this point, my drug-dealing boyfriend, Brad, was going to medical school somewhere out of state. He invited me to join him but I wasn’t about to move across the country for someone I couldn’t see a future with. The truth is, I loved him but we were more codependent than anything else. It was not a healthy relationship, by any means. I mean, we were addicted, after all. So I tell him I can’t go and eventually we break up.
Now in Boca Raton, Florida, I’m living with my sister and her boyfriend (now husband). Rule number one: no talking to Brad. Since I wasn’t the best at following rules, I chalked it up to a mere suggestion. Regardless if our relationship was toxic or not, we were together for over two years. So yeah, I missed him, a lot.
New Friends, Same Habits
A few weeks into my new life, my sister asks me to go downstairs (she lived in a condo) and pick up her mail. I felt pretty good. I was taking suboxone trying to stay clean. I still had several actual pills left, but I was trying to pretend they weren’t there.
I grab the mail and head back upstairs as I wait for the elevator doors to open. Then, a guy with really nice blonde hair walks beside me. He asks if I am new to the building because he hasn’t seen me before. He lived in one of the penthouses, which ironically is where I was headed too.
We talk as the elevator goes up. It took a while so we talk some more. The doors open and he asks for my number. I gladly give it. It felt satisfying to be noticed by a normal guy. I thought, “Damn. I still have it.” Well, he then invites me to grab a drink later that evening. I gladly accept. We make plans to meet at this bar down the street in Mizner Park.
I run inside the condo and immediately tell my sister. She thought that meant I was officially over Brad and anything to get Brad out of my head, she was more than okay with. She helps me get dressed and I realize how nice it actually was to be together. As 7:30 p.m. strikes, I head for the door. Since it was so nice out, I decide to walk.
I arrive at the bar where he’s already waiting. After an hour or so of small talk, I realize he’s kind of a creeper. I had to ditch him. Since I’m all dressed up, I tell him I don’t feel well and that I’m leaving, but I really don’t. I pretend too as I ask the bouncer if I can come back in. I end up talking with that bouncer for about an hour. We exchanged Facebook’s and I thought I found a new friend. The night wasn’t a total bust.
I sit on a nearby bench parallel to the bar’s entryway and smoke a cigarette when I realize I didn’t have a lighter. These two Jersey looking kids approach me and offer a light. We start chatting. It turns out they are indeed from New Jersey and we actually have mutual friends. We exchange numbers (I was on a roll) and they invite me to an after-party at one of their houses. It was still pretty early and I was not about to turn away potential friends.
The Law of Attraction
I call my sister and tell her what’s going on. I explain how I found some friends who know people from camp. She approves. I leave with them and we drive just a few blocks to our final destination. One of the guy’s roommate was having people over. I end up staying all night.
What began as a blunt session, turned into something much more. I use the bathroom and when I come out, I see a few guys in the back bedroom snorting pills. Guess what kind they were? Roxicodone —my drug of choice. I get so excited because I hadn’t done one in a few weeks. Luckily, I had forgotten to take a sub that day. Yes, I had my stash but like I said, I was pretending they weren’t there.
The funniest thing I’ve learned about addiction is that these drugs will always find you. It’s like when you make a vow to not use, you notice them everywhere. I kind of freaked out. They thought it was hysterical. I tell them you’ve got to be kidding me. I used to sell these damn pills. So, they offer me one. And then another.
We start up a deep conversation while smoking cigs on the back porch. I spend the night. Turns out, our Jewish, Jersey roots had a lot in common. And so, we become friends. I get all of their numbers and head home. One of the boy’s, Georgey, who sells them, tells me I can hit him up anytime. As fate would have it, his apartment was within walking distance from my sister’s condo. It was perfect.
Not even including the fact that they looked like nice Jewish and Italian Jersey boys, I knew my sister would approve. Little did she know, they were rich boys with mommy and daddy’s money who sell pills to support their habit. Sound familiar? I think so. When I get home early Sunday morning and recount the evening’s festivities, my sis was pretty excited for me. I go to the bathroom and hear my phone ring. It was a text from Georgey.
He was inviting me over for Sunday Funday football and beer. I guess they really did like me. I go over as planned later that afternoon to watch football, drink beer, smoke weed, and of course, I got a few more pills. In short, I was in heaven. The weeks go by. I find myself hanging out there more, disregarding any leftover Suboxone because I was back on pills. I felt like I was apart of something —one of the guys.
It was nice. My sister and her hubby had no idea of any of this and so, I arrange for them to meet Georgey. I knew if I was going to keep this facade up, I had to make that introduction. And it worked. He looked like a really nice, well-mannered kid so they allow me to hang out there anytime I want with open arms. My one time use turned into an everyday affair, and before I know it, I’m addicted again.
More Friends, More Problems
Through Georgey, I met others. There was Steve, he’s the one I initially met at the bar who took me under his wing and introduced me to the rest of their crew. There was Andy, Georgey’s Irish roommate. We would always joke around and no matter what, being around Andy guaranteed a laugh. Andy and I would scheme together whenever Georgey was out of pills. Then there was Brian. We hit it off instantly.
Ironically, the first night we met, we went to an NA meeting, nodding out (talk about an oxymoron). He itched my back and I itched his. I think that’s an addicts way of flirting because these pills make you itch but in the best way. He would become my best friend. He would pick me up and buy me blues. The times when our luck ran out and we either couldn’t get the money or find pills, we’d even withdrawal together. It was cute (in a drug-addicted way).
Brian then introduced me to this black guy, Junior from Boynton Beach, who was a consistent, timely dealer. Those were a dime a dozen. He always picked up the phone, never jerked you around and was cheap. His pills were $10 versus $25 from Georgey. I only had to drive 15 minutes into the straight ghetto (no big deal —kidding). I would go with Brian initially, but as the months went by, Junior got to know me.
The two of us went so much that I finally got his number and was approved to go alone. I was going every day after work to buy 10 for $100. I had built a pretty big tolerance once again so, in order to get out of bed, I’d overcompensate by buying more pills. Eventually, though, I couldn’t wait until end of business, which led me to leave for lunch. I’d always come back late. These pills were more important than anything else. Funny because I needed money to get my drugs since I had already gone through my savings account, which meant I spent over $20,000. It’s an expensive habit, to say the least.
And on the days when Junior was out, I did some pretty stupid shit to find more pills. I remember one-time meeting this random guy at a convenient store, down the street from where I normally meet Junior. I had boughten Junior’s last two pills but once again, I needed more. At this point, that stash from college was gone —just like everything else including my sanity. When that random guy approaches me at the gas station parking lot, I bet he knew why this white girl was in the ghetto.
He told me he had a connect and could grab a few for me after we got to talking. I stupidly say yes. I give him $50 to get me five pills and drive. I actually let this random dude in my car, which at the time was a C280 Mercedes Benz. He goes inside his dealer’s house and comes outside a few minutes later. He hands me my pills wrapped in toilet paper and darts away. I open the tissue to find fucking rocks. They beat me.
I wasn’t about to venture back to work without getting what I came for. I call Junior again and tell him what just happened. I, of course, changed the story a bit to make it seem like they robbed me violently instead of me stupidly handing over the money. He invites me over exclaiming he actually had a few personal ones, he would let me have. He says he has a private stash for his VIP customers and I was now one of them.
I paid him the rest of my money, barely having enough gas for the week, but that didn’t matter. I thank him and head back to work. I arrive —only after snorting two of the 10 pills I had. My eyes were pins but I was feeling good. I thought I was in total control. I didn’t think anyone had a clue. I was a functioning addict or so I thought. I park, walk upstairs and sit at my desk. I’m an hour late and I expected to walk in like nothing had happened?
Yeah right. It was now a pattern and they were on to me. My work was slipping. I hadn’t had a sale yet. I was a medical recruiter making pretty good money considering. As I place my purse underneath my desk and turn my computer on, the manager asks to see me in her office. I was fired.
Finding My Way Back
My story continues with several more attempts at recovery, but my addiction proves to be just too powerful. I become homeless and not just in the physical sense. I lose everything —my dignity included. But I never stopped dreaming of who I could be.
This once Cherry Hill diva is now at rock bottom, but through the gangsters, thug life and kidnapping; I somehow never lost the idea of hope; the belief that the little girl in me would find her way home.
And so, after a grueling intervention (more on that later), a painful county ran detox and two long-term treatment centers later, I was actually sober. I started medication, which helped my psychotherapy sessions. Then, I started yoga and that’s when everything changed.
The thing is, movements like yoga and even a 15-minute meditation session really helps me put things in perspective. During treatment, I realized that although I started partying and doing drugs for fun, there was a deeper issue. I never felt fulfilled. I didn’t have a purpose and so I drank or snorted away my fears in an effort to keep them at bay. And then, it took on a life of its own.
I finally realized that the only thing stronger than fear is hope. So, through everything, all the damaged I caused, all the wreckage in my name, I wake up one day ready to throw the pills down the toilet and restore the once good girl legacy. It wasn’t easy, but anything worth fighting for will not be. From isolation, rehab, cravings, and relapses to hard work and actual recovery, the girl who lost everything fights for her life to bring it all back.
The point here is, you can too. Are you struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse? If I can overcome that, then I swear there’s hope for everyone. I promise.
Start by getting honest with yourself. Then, don’t take no for an answer. If it hurts, if you want to back down, don’t. Ask for help. Discover new ways to bring you joy. Find a hobby and definitely a therapist. At the end of the day, I’ve suffered, I’ve learned and because of my pain, I’ve changed. I love the girl I am today because I fought to become her.
So I’ll ask again, who’s ready to battle for some sanity? I hope you say yes.
*names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.