How Drug Addiction Changed My Life

How Drug Addiction Changed My Life

His presence was always there even when he was not.
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They always say that as a little girl, your daddy is the first man to ever love you and show you how you deserved to be treated. I was never given that luxury.

For years my dad would come home high every night after disappearing for the entire day. He would wake up my mother solely just to start an argument. Many nights I would wake up from their screaming and cry myself back to sleep. Sometimes I purposely cried loud enough for them to hear in hopes they would stop. Sometimes they did, sometimes I just wouldn’t go to sleep at night. I still suffer from insomnia to this day.

I remember one specific time my dad was nodding off in the middle of the day while I was trying to talk to him. He told me he loved me and that he was sorry for never being around. Those words meant much to me as a child. But as I got older, I began to realize that they didn’t mean anything.

Although we never had a good conversation, I always looked forward to actually seeing him and being able to talk to him. Even if he didn’t talk back or fell asleep while I was talking, I made myself believe that he was listening.

I guess the hard part was that he was never truly absent from my life. His presence was there even when he was not. Sometimes I wish he would have just left completely. I think that would have been easier on me.

While his addiction may or may not be over, it will never be over for me. I am fighting a constant battle within myself every single day.

I thank my dad for the things he’s done for me. He’s the reason that I always say “no” to drugs and stay out of trouble. He’s the reason that I care so much about people because I know what it’s like to not be cared for. He’s the reason I have my guard up for all of the right reasons. He’s the reason that I keep pushing myself to go far in life, because I do not want to end up like him. He’s the reason I always keep my promises to the best of my ability, because I know what it’s like to be let down.

I often feel guilty for having little to do with him. I tell myself it's not his fault and I read articles about how addiction is a disease on a regular basis. But unfortunately, I am unable to put the past behind me.

Contrary to belief, I have forgiven my father for all of the pain he has caused my family and I. However, it is impossible to forget about everything.

It saddens me that my dad probably won't be there to see me graduate from college, walk me down the aisle, or even be a part of my children's lives. He was once an amazing man with a great life. It's unbelievable how just one hit can change all of that.

If anyone reading this has dealt with substance abuse in their lifetime, I want you to know that you are not alone. If you are someone struggling with addiction yourself, I hope this article encourages you to find a way out. Addiction truly does affect everyone around you and it will for the rest of their lives.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.drugaddiction.org/drugs/

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Denver's Decision To Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms Offers New Hope For Those Struggling With Mental Illness

If we want to really make progress in mental health treatment, we might have to start considering solutions that are a little bit unorthodox.

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Admittedly, magic mushrooms are not the first drug that comes to mind when you think of Denver, Colorado. However, this week the residents of Denver will vote on whether to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms as part of a movement nicknamed "Decriminalize Denver." The movement is the nation's first public referendum on hallucinogenic mushrooms. Initiative 301 aims to ratify the directive that enforcing laws for personal use or possession of psilocybin mushrooms "shall be the lowest law enforcement priority in the City and County of Denver."

While the motives behind decriminalization are undeniably varied, one major reason to support the legalization of magic mushrooms is the fact that they offer a lot of potential in long-term treatment of mental illness and addiction. According to a study led by Jeremy Daniel and Margaret Haberman at the South Dakota State University College of Pharmacy in 2017, psilocybin mushrooms have high affinity for several serotonin receptors located in numerous areas of the brain, including the cerebral cortex and thalamus.

Findings like these point to the fact that psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, may be an effective treatment for addiction, depression, chronic pain, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The benefits are so convincing that the FDA has granted "breakthrough therapy" status to study psilocybin for treating depression due to the fact that preliminary evidence shows "the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy," meaning magic mushrooms might be closer to their namesake after all, bringing new hope for those who have exhausted other options and found them more harmful than helpful.

Kevin Matthews, the campaign director of "Decriminalize Denver," credits psilocybin mushrooms with "really saving [his] life" following his medical discharge from the United States Military Academy due to his major depression. Matthews says his "life had crumbled beneath [his] feet" and suffered without a solution for years until his friends introduced him to magic mushrooms. Since discovering their potential for treating his depression, he's dedicated his life to bringing others with severe mental illnesses the same opportunity.

A 2015 paper from the University of Alabama went so far as to find that "classic psychedelic use is associated with reduced psychological distress and suicidality in the United States adult population." Findings like these are imperative, especially in a time when suicide rates have risen 30% in the last decade.

If we want to really make progress in mental health treatment, we might have to start considering solutions that are a little bit unorthodox.

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