I began using drugs (almost everything you can think of) very heavily at the age of 16. Although I abused them heavily, I never needed them. It was for pure recreation. That all changed on my 18th birthday, when a friend told me to hold out my arm, and introduced me to IV drugs. I eventually realized that I am in trouble. I saw it as my first "big people" problem. I saw no sign of ever stopping, and had no control over it. I spent over $25,000 in a single year on opiates. I tried not to let them change my personality, but I began putting drugs ahead of everything else in my life. Friends, family, morals. It was a downhill process. I am a very others-minded, family oriented type of guy, but I remember selling a lot of Christmas presents, stealing stuff, whatever I had to do to keep going. I also remember countless days crying. With drugs having that much of a priority in my life, these types of events fell into place on a regular basis. After I told my mom about what was going on, and that I really could not stop on my own, I checked into rehab. There was one bell ringer that I accredit for keeping me clean. A person told me, "Out of sight, out of mind. If you don't think about it, you won't do it." That made perfect sense to me. Although you want to reminisce, share old stories, maybe even think, "Oh man I wouldn't mind yatta yatta yatta right now", absolutely should not. Mind over matter. You have to be strong, because there are much better things that you can think about. I believe that this is why NA meetings did more harm than good at some points (That is just my personal experience.). This last November, I hit 7 full years of being clean! It was not easy. Sometimes I feel like I deserved a gold medal for making it this far. Here are a few things that I have learned. -Once you get through a little craving, you feel so much better having not have given in. -Getting through those cravings build a lot of character, and make you a stronger person. -All of my old friends are still doing the exact same crap, and will likely be doing the exact same crap 10 years from now. -Being liberated from anything that has control over you (drugs, sex, food etc.) is priceless. -It was never worth it. It feels great being my old self again. I am a kind person, not telling lies, always smiling, enjoying the finer things in life, the list goes on and on. It is very nice to not be paranoid about getting in trouble with the law, family and friends as well! I just finished my second year in college, and got my associates degree in Computer Science! It was not easy, but it is more than worth it. There are much better things in this world, you just have to find them. I wish I could get everyone to see that. If anyone has any questions, you are more than welcome to send me a private message. Thank you for reading!