Dear drugs, this is how I stay away from you

To: Drugs

From: Danny (As told to Lauren Brill)

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Dear Drugs,

Many believe right now, in part because of COVID-19, our society is experiencing insanity. I know insanity as something else. I know it as the events that would happen because you were in my body.

More than six years ago, I lost my scholarship to Florida International University. I quit sports. I decimated romantic relationships. For years, starting in high school, you controlled my life and put me in some terrible situations.

One night, while hanging out with you, I got kicked out of a bar and then a strip club. Then, I went home. I fell on a glass table and cut open my finger but I didn’t care because I was with you. The next day, when I was supposed to be at my aunt’s wedding, I went to the hospital, where they gave me more of you – painkillers. I took the painkillers, continued to drink and then I missed the entire wedding.

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From getting a DUI to not being able to remember what I did the night before, I often wasn’t present. I wasn’t myself the years that I spent with you. One ex-girlfriend explained my personality on versus off of you, drugs, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

One ex-girlfriend explained my personality on versus off of you, drugs, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

I hurt a lot of people, including myself.

When my brother’s first daughter, my Goddaughter, was born, I decided I never wanted her to see that side of me. I never wanted her to see me with you.

man graduating
Danny graduated college and is pursuing an advanced degree.

I got help and went into recovery. Throughout the last six years, I got my bachelor’s degree. I got married, had a daughter of my own and now I am pursuing a master’s degree in social work.

My life is filled with morals, values and genuine friends.

But my recovery group is a big part of my life and my success.

Since the pandemic arrived, they shut down in-person meetings. I like seeing people face-to-face. I like being able to hug them because in the world of addiction, every time we see someone, it very well could be for the last time.

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I don’t care much for the Zoom meetings, as I can’t see people’s reactions. You can’t hear people’s emotions, whether it be laughing or crying.

For months we, as a society, have been more isolated than ever, cutting off many social interactions.

Danny feels grateful for his family. His gratitude helps him stay healthy.

Right now, life and recovery are harder. You know it. I know it. And most other people who have had addictions to drugs know it, too.

But I am not going back to you. I am not returning to the insanity that was a part of my life six years ago before I got clean.

Whenever I’m feeling like life is unmanageable, I remember what life was like when you were in control.

That reminds me to be grateful for what I have, including my daughter, my stepson, my wife, my bed and my car.

So instead of focusing on the struggle, which could lead me back to you, I remind myself of my blessings. That’s how, regardless of the challenge, I can avoid the insanity you brought and, instead, enjoy the serenity I have since found.

I am proud of myself,

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