I’d grown up around drugs my entire life. I know now that my parents were functioning marijuana abusers and pill addicts who lived in an age where rehab was a crude and barely developed concept. As research improved, and drugs affected their behavior and health more and more, they were stuck in the belief that rehab would do nothing for them. They’d worked hard to get ahead early on in life, and if they wanted to spend their remaining years high all the time, than that was their business—even if they had two kids at home. Our live-in nanny would take care of us well enough until we could make our own decisions.
I can’t blame the development of my pill addiction entirely on my parents’ laissez faire approach to childcare. The fact is, some use family history as a compass for what not to do, rather than an excuse for when things go wrong, and I was plenty aware of the consequences of drug abuse early on in life. Still, by the time I was 24 I had a rather nasty pill habit that seriously impacted my physical health and had me spending money like it was water. People had said yes to me my whole life, so it wasn’t like pills were hard to come by. My favorite thing to do became getting together with friends and pouring all our prescriptions into a pile and having a big pharm party.
I made a decade of it, and was convinced after a while that I was going to die young. I was paranoid, distrustful of people, delusional and in constant pain. Eventually my doctor told me that I needed to get off pills. I’d had the same physician since I was 12 and he had bore witness gradual physical and mental decline. He said that he knew of a luxury rehab program where I could get help and be as comfortable as I’d be at home. As he was talking, I heard my father’s voice talking about how rehab was a scam, and I’d never hated him more. I thought about what he had turned me into, and realized that I let myself become a victim of my dysfunctional, yet “privileged” childhood. I agreed to enter treatment.
My program was nothing like I feared it would be, I had almost all the comforts and luxuries of home, and was surrounded by people with a genuine interest in my wellness, not just people who wanted something from me. They held a mirror up to my face and showed me that I’d become the cliché I never wanted to be. I fought hard to face up to my addiction, and have been clean for six years now. My rehab program not only helped me regain my physical health, it also gave me the tools that I needed to rise above my past and become my own person for the first time in my life.