I’d always been just a little bit ashamed of my privilege. I grew up with more than any child could ask for and I was always very uncomfortable with it. Perhaps it’s a credit to my parents and my upbringing, but the role of “rich kid” never fit. I went to public school, hung out with regular kids and was always reminded that I had more than them and, thus, had to act a certain way. It seemed like I always had to apologize for who I was. Eventually I stopped playing the part, did a complete 180 and started doing drugs with guys who had seemed to learn very early on that they were never going to make out of my hometown and decided to pass the time by destroying themselves.
I started taking painkillers when I was fifteen and became a sort of voluntary mule for my “friend’s” older brother. He said I was the perfect cover because I had money to begin with and no one would question me if they caught me with a bankroll. I just wanted to hang out with kids who made me forget about who I was—this was the perfect crowd. I sold and used OxyContin for about two years and almost got my wish of having nothing. I was suspended from school twice for possession and missed practically my entire junior year. By the time I had eventually graduated from high school I was also drinking heavily too. Then one day I overdosed and the only thing I can remember while I was starting to slip away was my housekeeper slapping me back into consciousness and my chest starting to cave in—I really thought I was going to die.
I was really lucky to survive, but then I saw a side of my parents that I’d never seen before at any point in my life. They’d gone from being the earnest, yet progressive parents to the desperate and deeply concerned disciplinarians willing to throw me out of the house and cut me off if I didn’t get help. They made me go spend thirty days in a luxury drug rehab facility in South Florida. Naturally I didn’t want to go and tried to do everything to talk them out of it, but for the first time in my life they did not give into me, so I reluctantly went.
I be lying if I said the detox was really easy. My body had gotten used to a regular fix of OxyContin and put me through the ringer when it didn’t get it. I spent the first few nights in detox desperately searching for a pill that someone may have smuggled in, and accidentally dropped on the ground. Of course I didn’t ever find any contraband in their detox facility. They had some great doctors and nurses that always keep me comfortable during the detox and did all they could for me.
When I was clean of the drugs and alcohol in my system I really enjoyed the therapy part of the rehab process the most. I decided to approach my therapy seriously because I wanted to know why I carried around this guilt and this resentment toward my family’s wealth. The therapists used a holistic approach for treatment which worked really well for me. I learned to overcome my deep seated feelings of guilt and low self-esteem. I re-diverted my energies toward proving my intrinsic worth, rather than fixating on just my monetary worth. I’m now in my second year of sobriety and have developed a healthy sense of responsibility to life. I also look forward to giving back at some point in my future to help others who aren’t as well off as I am to hopefully get clean and sober too.