My story starts in the winter of 2020. I was in my Freshman year of high school, and we were out because of Covid. All throughout my middle school years, if a friend had nicotine I would take a hit, just to know what it tasted like. In October of 2020, my grandfather died and my brother moved 8 hours away. I took these events harshly. I’ve had mental health issues since 4th grade, so no one in my family was surprised when I didn’t leave my room for a week. That was when I started wanting to try something new, and dangerous. I felt an itching to do something. I found out which gas station didn’t card kids, and out I went for a “walk.” I got addicted to nicotine very quickly.
In December 2020 I met my current boyfriend. We started dating quickly after meeting and learned that both of us used. At that point, I had only gotten high from weed once. I had a job and was making decent money (to a 15-year-old) so I could fund my addiction. My boyfriend and I started using together almost every time we were together, which was every weekend. I quickly got addicted and found a friend at my school to use with(at this point we were half virtual half in person). We called each other our drug buds. (ironic, I know) We would use at school in the bathrooms, and go to work together and use there. We worked the same job and had many classes together, so we were constantly high. Every single paycheck would go towards drugs. The gas station previously mentioned, was a 3-minute walk from my job. At every lunch break, we would go up there and buy more nicotine or cigarettes, preparing for the next day.
In March of 2021, my boyfriend’s best friend, who was my close friend too, passed away in a car crash. That hit us both really hard. Since that, I started to use every day, all day. There wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t high. I started to lose the friends that I’d had for 5 years and started to lose the relationship I had with my mom. We were always really close and understood each other. She had caught me twice at this point with just nicotine, which didn’t stop me. I always had more stashed somewhere. After every class at school, I would meet up with my drug bud in a bathroom, and we would take a hit then go to class. (Adding a quick note: the time of these events is an estimate, as I do not remember this time in my life very well, and have put pieces together based off of what others have told me and little blips of memory.)
After some time, I started to skip classes altogether. My drug bud and I found all the places in the school where there weren’t cameras and where people didn’t go. First, it was the bathrooms, then certain stairwells, then the ceiling of the school over our stage. If there wasn’t a camera, we were there. I would join my class from my Chromebook on zoom to get credit for attendance, even though I wasn’t doing any homework. Before drugs, I was a straight-A student and would never take a B as a grade. Now I had C’s and D’s. My grades were most likely the first thing that triggered my parents to realize that something was wrong. But, I would sneak out, and sneak around my house, so that I wouldn’t get caught again. I started using heavier stuff, higher THC %, acid, and I had a plan to get shrooms. My drug bud and I even broke into someone’s cow farm looking for mushrooms in the pasture.
I started to scream and yell and argue with my mom whenever I was at her house(divorced parents). At my dad’s, I would never leave my room or the basement where my PC was. I destroyed my relationship with them. My stepdad was in Florida doing construction on our future home, so it was just my mom and me at home. I would find any excuse to start an argument with her, just so I could feel that rush. I snuck out to buy drugs and to go to my boyfriend’s house. I got caught once going to his house and didn’t care at all. I just shrugged it off. I felt like I was on top of the world. I felt free, which now I know that I was chained to the drugs. I felt powerful, and that I could do anything I wanted. I was invincible. So I started to do things that could have ended my life.
Then one day, in May of 2021, a teacher came into the bathroom I was in, and caught a random student, my drug bud, and me. We were dragged to the principles office and searched. The random classmate dumped her stuff with us and got out with just a slap on the wrist. My drug bud was sent to the emergency room because of how her vitals were showing, and I was intensely searched. I had a lot of drugs on me, and many different kinds. They put me on probation and had my parents pick me up from school. I thought my life was over. Over the next few weeks, I was going through withdrawal symptoms and extreme boredom. The police took my phone and went through it, telling my parents everything in it. I was furious. I continued to argue and scream at my mom, and ignore my dad. All I did all day was quite literally, stare at the ceiling of my room, for hours. I was then threatened with being sent to treatment. It wasn’t the first time I was threatened with it, so I didn’t take it seriously. Then, I got a date. June 28, 2021. I was going to be sent to a long term residential. I was so angry. I thought about refusing, but it was either treatment or Juvie. at the time my thoughts were that I wanted juvie, now I am glad of where I was sent. The court ordered me to go to treatment, and threatened me with being taken by the police and also not being able to be in contact with my boyfriend. So, I got in the car and got driven to where I reside now. My father drove me down, and it was the worst I had felt in a long time. I showed up to treatment very angry.
I’ve now been here 11 months, and am graduating on June 9. Over my time here, I started off with planning on using as soon as I leave, to now not even wanting to look at marijuana. I had my struggles here, my mental health issues and my addiction. I have done a lot of work during my time here. I still was unsure of if I was going to stay sober, when Kriya assigned me to read your book. I read it in 3 days, and wow. Like I said earlier in the email, it really hit me. I want to help as many people as I can with what I have learned. I didn’t know some of the effects of smoking, even with Kriya teaching me a lot. Hearing the story of your son really moved me because I saw it in myself, and my friend who passed, it happened to him. I now have a plan for leaving treatment and going forward with my life. For the first time in a few years, I am actually looking forward to the future. My one year sober was May 21, 2022, and I was so incredibly proud of myself. I had never felt that proud in a long time.
I really wanted to write to you, to say thank you. And I can see how much you want to help others, and you helped one more. I am really sorry about what you had to go through, and you came out on the other side. Again, thank you so much. You have changed my life through your book.