Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Life Beyond Drug Abuse

By Angela Marchese

Dan is a 22-year-old college student whose life has been affected by drug abuse. It all started when he was just 14. His older brother, who at the time was 17, had been using drugs for a while and he introduced them to Dan. Dan admitted he was open to anything and when I asked him why he was so open he said, “Can’t bash it until you try it.”   Dan told me he remembered the night like it was yesterday. They were sitting at a friend's house and they were all talking about what to do that night and the idea of smoking weed can come up. For Dan this was an unusual thing to do on a Saturday night. Dan was used to playing video games instead of getting high. From that night on Dan fell in love with the idea of enhancing his life with a stimulant. He never thought about altering his life until then.

After Dan went on about his first use, he got very quiet. He admitted that the first night he had used drugs was the best as well as the worst day of his life. His life changed from that day on. It took him away from more important things that he should have been focusing on. He started doing poorly in school, lost all focus on his future and even stopping caring about his health.  He went night and day with his drug use. His drugs were his best friends since Dan lost most of his friends. They did not like who he became, but Dan didn’t care, he had his drugs. For the nest 6 years Dan made some poor choices. He drove under the influence of drugs and totaled his car. He also started selling drugs in order to make more money. He lost his job due to the fact he showed up to work under the influence. Dan’s parents became worried as well as over-protective of him.

Dan had been abusing drugs for 6 years before he realized how much he was hurting not only himself but also his family. His friends were going of to college and getting jobs and all Dan would do was get high and not worry about a thing. He realized that he could no longer live his life like this. He was being immature and selfish. He waned to make his parents proud as well as himself proud. He decided to quit his bad habit and apply to college, and he did so. He is now drug free as well as a senior at Ramapo College of New Jersey studying accounting. I asked him if anything positive came out of his drug abuse and he replied, “it gave me the perspective of what other people could go through. If I never did it then I would never understand ... how hard quitting is and how it affects people.” Before making any choices in his life, he thinks about how it will affect his future. Dan has become a cautious human being.

It looked as if he still had more to say. I asked him if he would like to add anything and he said yes. He told me that his past drug use is still affecting him till this day. He added, “it is a part of me and it is who I am now. I don’t hold back from things because of my past, it only encourages me to improve myself and I refuse to look down on myself. ... I saw drugs as harmless because I didn’t know the effect and it never affected my brother, but now I know to think twice before doing anything because you never know how it will affect your life in the future. And I learned that just because if didn’t affect something doesn’t mean it won't affect you.”

This was the first time Dan had talked to someone about his drug use. He was happy that I got the chance to talk with him. He feels as though a weight has been lifted off his chest because now someone else knows what he went through. He asked if I judged him at all throughout the interview. I told him no because you wouldn’t be the way you are today if you had not experienced your past. He smiled and closed the interview with, “thank you for listening to me and understanding me. You have my full permission to write about anything that I said. I have no shame in who I was.”

Angela Marchese, a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas College majoring in communication arts, has a passion for detail and making people smile. She has an outgoing personality that makes people feel extremely comfortable. She has been working as a wedding and event planner for 3 years. She plans to combine her love of planning events with her communications background to become involved in corporate communications as well as corporate events.

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