To start, I want to make clear my aim of writing this blog about my history. By no means am I writing this to glorify my iniquities or narrative, but to help recognize the darkest depths of my background. Moreover, I want others who are inside and outside of recovery to know the explicit nature of drug dependence. Addiction is a scary disease and I want to be as real as possible. Ultimately, I want to be of aid and give hope to those who are continuing to struggle this day with addiction. With that said, I want to narrate one of my latest relapses.
A few years back in early October life was good from an external perspective looking in. I was shining at Brigham Young University as a collegiate athlete and student. I was dating an excellent girl, was a starter on the BYU soccer team, and was on track for graduation in April the next April. I was thriving from a foreign prospect, but looking back I was so frail in so many ways. What made me frail was my eternal inward battle with who I was as an individual. At the time, I inwardly hated myself for being an addict and tried to hide it by doing all the “normal” things others were doing in merry Provo, Utah. I used these tools to disguise the fact that the foregoing drugs led to me being arrested, stealing tens of thousands of dollars and properties from my family, cheating on multiple relationships I had, stealing objects and money from friends, admittance to treatment facilities, and overdosing in Salt Lake City multiple times. I hated that I was different, I wanted to be “normal”. For many months before October, I was doing nothing for my recovery. I never attended meetings, never read from Alcoholics Anonymous, always put myself first, rarely went to church, and was just a self-centered individual in all aspects of life (the list could go on ad infinitum). This all added up and in that October God threw me a curveball.
In a soccer game for BYU against Weber St. University, I tore my ACL for the second time. When it happened, I knew. I did not want to think I knew, but I knew it was a complete tear the second it occurred. I simply jumped and twisted while trying to score a corner kick, and pop went the knee. I was defeated. During the remainder of the game, I remember fighting back tears as my teammates, friends, and girlfriend at the time came to soothe me. That night, so many emotions were going through my head I don’t know how to put those feelings into words. Simply said, I was crushed. I would be lying if I didn’t say I cried multiple times through the next couple of days. After a few days of emotions, the MRI results showed a complete tear, the need for reconstruction surgery. Again, I was devastated and wept continually. I felt I had lost my identity as the “cool guy on the soccer team”. Not only that, but knew the inward difficulty I would face to once again pick up dope.
After a couple weeks or so of fluctuating emotions and trying my absolute hardest to avoid opiates, I turned to the only place I knew I could find release and comfort. Drugs. Looking back, I wish I had told my friends, family, and especially my girlfriend at the time I was struggling and had thoughts of using. I wish I told her, it could have saved the relationship. Regrettably, I didn’t and the cycle commenced.
Proceeding, I want to say I am going to get real and explicit about my month or so of drug use. By no means am I proud of this time, but I want to be as real as possible to show the certainties of drug use.
I can not remember the exact day when I picked up, but I remember how I got the drugs and that the first initial high was not as good as I would have hoped for (It never is, we are always chasing). At that time in late October, I had lost all my dope connections so I had to search high and low to find my drugs, but I was fixed. I went to the only place in Utah I knew had others with addictions and connections to drug dealers, the block. The block is a homeless shelter in Salt Lake City where drug dealers and users hang out and obviously sell all kinds of drugs. Favorably, in August the Salt Lake Police Department ran a huge raid on the joint and cleaned up the place a bit. In October, after a short time searching for dealers on the block, but too scared to talk to the homeless people for connections I thought I needed to go remote. Thanks, SLC police… In the past years, I picked up a lot of drugs in the West Valley area so I headed over there to look for Latinos who would know dealers or have drugs themselves. Naturally, drugs are everywhere. It is a huge problem.
At a mall in West Valley, UT I drove past a Latino man sitting on a bench and gave him the universal head nod indicating I was looking for dope. He nodded back and I knew it was on. I quickly parked and approached the man shyly. I sat next to him timidly and asked, “You got drugs?” He nodded, and in his broken English said follow me. I quickly followed behind a dumpster and he said, “What you want?” What are the odds?!? I approached a random Latino guy in West Valley, UT and he had the drugs I wanted on him. I was expecting him to take me to a homeboy or something, but the guy I picked out had drugs on him. Crazy. Anyways, I replied, “Four black.” He gave me four balloons wrapped in white plastic. I gave him the money and was quickly back to my car. Initially, when I got the drugs, I just thought he wrapped all his drugs in white but when I opened one I noticed it was crack. I was pissed. I had rarely used white, black was my drug of choice because I loved the high. I hustled out of my car and demanded an exchange for black. He was spooked but complied with my request. An act like this could result in someone shot from a bad drug deal, but I guess he was chill. Initially, he didn’t understand my request for four black. He did have super broken English, so I can’t blame the fellow. That day, I abused all four black fairly quickly, but barely felt a thing. Again, I remember being pissed at the lack of potency of the drug and thinking I just needed more. In actuality, I could never get enough dope to suffice my demand for the perfect high.
Over the next couple of weeks, I was gone and running. Daily, I spent a hundred dollars or so on drugs from my boy I met at the mall. This added up quickly after I ran through all of my personal cash and credit cards. I resorted to stealing from parents, friends, and pawning stuff to get by with the addiction. After using a ton of drugs, I was not feeling the high anymore so I tried crack and fell in love with the effects of smoking black and white together simultaneously. For those who do not know, this is the fast track to the looney bin. Heroin alone makes you crazy, but the mixing of crack and heroin combined is ludicrous. Again, for the next couple of weeks, I started smoking a lot of this lethal combination. During this time, I was isolated completely. My girlfriend found out and we broke up, my roommate found out and was advancing to get the cops involved and my life was just smashed in every way imaginable. Promptly, my parents found out from my roommate and I was on the run from everyone. I had nowhere to go. I could go into so much more detail about all the other shitty experiences I faced in that short month and a half, but I want to save those for another post. To give you an idea of what I went through here is a list – I broke up with my girlfriend, experienced an overdose, smoked drugs all over BYU campus, almost got in a serious car accident, had a drug-induced seizure, stole from everyone, had an encounter with SLC police, had hundreds (not exaggerating) of little canker sores on my tongue from the bacteria of smoking, rarely ate, rarely slept, and was on the run from everyone. Shit goes south quick. In another post, I will emphasize my experience with those aspects, but today I want to emphasize what I learned from this experience and where I am at today.
Today, I can acknowledge that I am a drug addict and need daily care. I am a very dangerous addict, I am one sickly motherfucker who thinks he knows more than I do. (I rarely cuss, but I want to emphasize my experience). Not only that, but I am a junkie. That is harsh, but I want to be explicitly true and this is the truth. Although I am those things, I don’t let them dictate my future or who I am. Today, I can say I am a gracious junkie. I graduated college from Brigham Young University with a BA in Psychology with the help of God. Work in an RTC. Played professional soccer in Australia, and am close to finishing my license to be a drug and alcohol abuse counselor. Furthermore, I can also say I am a generous, selfless, God loving, humble junkie. Today, I am so much more comfortable with who I am. I am not my friends who are going to UCLA Law school, or working for Goldman Sachs, or working for big companies in Utah/SLC County, or who my mom wants me to be. I am simply myself. God made me, He knows my exertions, He knows the concrete wishes of my heart, and He loves me for who I am.
I am appreciative of the individual I am now. I am comfortable with identifying as an addict. That does not mean that go and tell the world that I am a drug addict, but rather, pay back my life to God and look for every opportunity to serve others because I know how shitty life can get if you do not do those things for your recovery. Being able to understand who I am through the love of God has made me a stronger individual than I was a short time ago. Individually, I think God gives us trials to not only humble us but to make us powerful and a concrete tool in His hands to help others. Ultimately, I truly know God loves this drug addict named Matt.
Book of Mormon – Ether 12:27
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”