Raising Awareness To End Medicine Abuse
I was so honored to participate in the the Listen To Your Mother and The Partnership at Drugfree.org live-streaming event on Tuesday. By sharing personal stories, we hope to bring awareness to #EndMedicineAbuse. The following piece was my contribution.
When I was growing up, I don’t remember having a conversation about the perils of substance abuse. Sure, there was the television commercial with the frying pan and the egg and the ever ominous “Any questions?” but my parents never sat us down and told us exactly why we shouldn’t do drugs. I guess maybe they thought “Don’t do drugs” was a given.
And it was. And then my parents sent me to college and told me to get a job.
I became fast friends with the staff of the upscale restaurant where I worked as a cocktail waitress. I would go to work at 8 in the evening, around the time the boys in the kitchen would be slowing down from the dinner push. We would sit together upstairs in the employee locker room passing joints back and forth with whatever bottle of booze someone had brought to work. The kitchen staff would soon head home, but the bar staff was just getting started, since after the dinner service the restaurant turned into a nightclub.
We were encouraged to drink with our customers, it drove their bill up and in turn, we made more money. Some nights I would be so extremely smashed that my manager would have to read my checkout to me and tell me what cash to turn in. I would wake up the next morning at my apartment, still in my work clothes with hundreds of dollars stuffed into my purse and I wouldn’t be able to remember how I got home.
I had a regular who would come into the bar, have a few drinks of scotch with his cigar, leave me a $50 bill and a small, folded paper square full of powder. No strings attached, he was just being nice.
My life revolved around more bars, more booze, more drugs. Pills were better if you washed them down with an exorbitant amount of liquor, coke was easier to come off of if you had weed, ecstasy, acid, and mushrooms were excellent when we could find it.
A few years went by and I saw friends OD, go to treatment, go to jail…all because they couldn’t stop using. One by one, our circle grew a bit smaller. We would rally because hey, at least it wasn’t happening to us. I dropped out of college and left my job because they suggested that several of us might have a problem, and looking back, I was sick. And by sick, I mean I was so addicted that I couldn’t even tell you what I was addicted to the most.
One night, while I was out with my roommate, we made a new friend. He mentioned he was holding if we knew anyone that was interested, which instantly made him our new, best friend. The three of us ended up in the bathroom of a dive bar, cutting so called happiness up on the back of the dirty toilet. I knew it wasn’t what I was used to as soon as it went up my nose, it was like fire and made me feel like I was crashing through the floor, but I kept doing it anyway because I didn’t know how to say “Hey, this isn’t right”.
We decided to move the party across town and we got into our new friend’s car. It was pouring rain and as we merged onto the highway, he floored it. I was sitting in the passenger seat and I remember watching the speedometer hover around 120. I could feel the tires skip, lifting off the wet pavement, while the car danced closer to the blurring concrete divider wall.
I was terrified. I was going to die in the front seat of a Camaro that was being driven by a drunk guy I hardly knew while spun out on crank and all I could think about was how it would probably do my mother in.
I was so high that night that I couldn’t bring myself to actually say the words “Hey, slow down”.
A month later, I left town moving to an entirely different state. Back then I thought it was the cowardly way out, that I was running with the hopes of not being caught, but perhaps knowing when to fold was the best I could do. I had to leave because around every corner was the ghost of party past and I wasn’t strong enough to actually say the words “Hey, I need help”.
I managed to stumble clumsily out of the mess I had created and it wasn’t easy. Someday, sooner than later, I will explain to my children that the risks will always outweigh the high old times and I hope that they will appreciate that I was straight with them, that I was honest about my past. My greatest wish is that they will be stronger than I was, their mother who went along for the ride simply because she was never brave enough to say no.
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Follow these links to read powerful stories from the women I was honored to read with:
Lisa Rae Rosenberg: http://www.smacksy.com/2013/09/the-inside-world.html
Judy Miller – http://judymmiller.com/2013/09/prescription-drug-abuse-sharing-stories-to-raise-awareness/
Heather King – http://extraordinary-ordinary.net/2013/09/12/endmedicineabuse/
Brandi Jeter – http://mamaknowsitall.com/2013/09/smoothing-wrinkles.html
Lyz Lenz – http://www.lyzlenz.com/
Janelle Hatchet – http://www.renegademothering.com/2013/09/12/i-could-tell-you-my-story/
Sherri Kuhn – http://oldtweener.com/2013/09/a-plea-for-my-teens.html
Ellie Schoenberger –http://www.onecraftymother.com/2013/09/medicine-abuse-is-epidemic-in-our.html
Melisa Wells – http://suburbanscrawl.com/
Alexandra Rosas – http://www.gooddayregularpeople.com/2013/09/end-medicine-abuse.html
To learn more about The Medicine Abuse Project, visit drugfree.org/medicineabuseproject and follow the conversation online at #endmedicineabuse. It is so very important that we talk to our children about this because this? Is real. And scary.