I’m 31 years old, born and raised in Pretoria. I’m the third child to my parents. I’ve always had a good sense of humour. I like sharing my humour with my family, friends and pretty much anyone I meet. I just love making people laugh, smile and feel good about themselves. Eight (8) years ago I used to regularly drink beer with friends and at times I would smoke marijuana. When it came to my work as a graphic designer, jokes aside, I always did my work and made sure I was good at it.
I once heard about heroin and how addictive it is. I knew a couple of my cousins that were addicted and said they couldn’t stop using even if they tried. I was amazed by how people that I knew, grew up with and used to play with are addicted to this drug. Even their uncle and parents were afraid of them.
I found myself asking the question “how easy is it really to get addicted to heroin?” I had experimented with drugs but I was just curious to try heroin. I found out that it has morphine and morphine is a pain killer. I told myself that I would be careful and smart about it and only take it once and perhaps over the weekend now and then to experience that feeling one gets from taking it.
This one time I was out with my friends to celebrate my friend’s birthday. I managed to get my hands on heroin and brought it to the party. I showed it to my friends but they showed no interest in taking a hit with me. Me being myself, I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. I took a fix. After a while I felt intense euphoria, deep contentment and relaxation. I loved it. That feeling I experienced was so relaxing but I told myself I would be careful not to overuse and only try it once in a while.
I wanted more but I had to be careful not to get hooked. So I told myself that I will stop whenever things looked like they were getting out of hand. One day of using turned to two days. After the first two days in succession I stopped taking heroin because I told myself I can.
The following day I found myself on the floor in my bathroom next to the bath tub shivering, sweating and experiencing unbearable stomach cramps. I thought I came down with a bug. I remembered Heroin, the feeling I get from taking that fix. I figured it will work and take this pain away.
I managed to get a fix and another one and another one just to try to feel better to stop these feeling of pain. This became a habit and I continued using for four (4) years. What for me started as a naïve curiosity turned into addiction that continued for years. How easy is it to get addicted to heroin was my question then. It’s easy to get addicted to heroin, that’s my answer now. I didn’t like this route that I was taking, I tried stopping by myself but I would always go back to using.
Four (4) years of worrying my family, 4 years of hurting people close to me, 4 years of not being able to manage my life. I felt lost and it’s only after these years I realised that I’m not only hurting my body but I’m also hurting my loved ones. I started finding out about recovery programs that were available to help individuals that were struggling with heroin addiction.
I was afraid to begin or enter into any program because I couldn’t imagine being at a recovery centre and not having access to my drug of choice. But With the support I got from my friends, parents and the professional health care providers I met with and who had not lost hope in me recovering from heroin addiction. I went into a recovery program.
I attended the inpatient program and ever since I got out I have been clean for 4 years and counting. When I was still addicted to heroin I kept telling myself that it’s impossible to stop using this drug but I found support and help to stay clean. This just showed me that no matter how hopeless a situation may seem, recovery from any drug problem is possible.