I grew up in a nice town in South Florida, was fortunate enough to have both parents in my life and give me every opportunity to succeed. I did good in school, had plans to become a teacher after I graduated college, everything about my childhood was great, on the outside at least. I always felt different, I always felt like I missed some kind of class all my other peers attended on how to grow up and be happy.

My social life was non-existent, it wasn’t that anyone was mean to me I just always had such social anxiety that I could never work up the courage to walk up to someone and start talking to them. It was Thanksgiving when I was 16 when my cousin asked me if I wanted to smoke weed with him after everyone went to bed, for whatever reason I said yes. I think it was because I was afraid to say no to him. I look back now and I was surely suffering from untreated depression but you don’t know about those things at 16 for the most part.

I’ll never forget that night, something clicked for me. The weed made me feel comfortable in my own skin, me and my cousin laughed the whole night and I felt like I found the worlds best kept secret, drugs. Throughout the next few years me and my cousin would smoke together almost every weekend, I would obsess about it during the week and couldn’t wait for the weekend to come. I had tried drinking during that time and hated it, it felt like it just magnified my depression.

I graduated high school with great marks and went on to college in Tallahassee, FL. College is where I did a lot of experimenting, I naturally found the kids who did drugs very quickly. Around the first month of school I was at a small party where I saw some people snorting stuff, I asked what it was and they said, heroin. The word hit me like a ton of bricks, weed I never thought was too powerful, but heroin is something that just sounds hardcore the second you hear the word. What did I do? I asked if I could have some, it was almost just intuition.

I loved it.

My life took a tailspin so suddenly it amazes me to this day. By the end of my freshman year of college I knew I couldn’t continue, I could barely make it to class. All I was worried about was having money to get high. I told my parents my depression was getting the best of me and I wanted to take a semester off. When I came home, it took them a few weeks to know something was terribly, terribly wrong. My mom did what any good mother would do, she went through my room and found plenty of horrifying paraphernalia. I came home to her sitting with a few needles on the table, crying.

I’ve heard a lot of peoples stories since I got sober, many people are surprised when I tell them that I agreed to go to treatment that day, I had only been using for about 10 months but I can’t begin to articulate how quickly I deteriorated. Many people would of gone on after being confronted by their mother after that short a time but, I wanted more. I wanted a life, I was wise enough to see where I was headed.

In treatment I was finally able to address my depression and how it affected me and drove me to drugs. Dealing with depression in sobriety has been tough but nothing was as tough as the year I spent shooting heroin. Please if you feel like you are too young to get sober, you aren’t. I got sober at 19 and have seen way too many people die who felt they were too young.