My Battle with Addiction

Addiction is a complex issue that must be treated like a disease, only without the use of medications. In fact, medications simply give addicts a legal avenue through which to numb themselves, without ever forcing them to combat their internal demons. Recovery is a slow and challenging process; I have been sober for 14 months and I still carry around the consequences of my drug use like a ball and chain.
A little over three years ago, my slow descent into addiction began. I had always been friends with people who meddled with tobacco, alcohol and marijuana, but I was never interested in seeking it out for myself. On my 17th birthday, a pool party turned into a pot-and-alcohol fest once some friends of a friend arrived with marijuana and beer. Happy birthday to me. Prior to this, I had only taken a hit here and there at a couple of parties, so after sharing the pot with my best friend, I was on some other planet and loving it. I tend to identify this as the beginning of my addiction, which is not what I would have called it then. I would not admit that I was an addict until I hit rock bottom two years later.
Within a month of this smoke out, I had done mushrooms, popped cocktails of painkillers regularly and was smoking marijuana every day. I also asked a friend of mine, who was a speed addict, if she could get me crystal meth. Her reservations forced her to make me watch ‘Requiem for a Dream,’ and it scared me, but not enough. My curiosity was too strong. I knew that she was thin because of the speed, and I figured, why not? To me, it was a drug, like marijuana or shrooms. However, this particular drug would make me lose weight while making me feel on top of the world. It sounded ideal. If I was stoned and needed a wake-me-up, I would do a line; if I was too spun and needed to relax, I would smoke a bowl. To say the least, that summer I managed to get myself in pretty deep.
When my senior year started, I was enrolled in AP classes, the president of our school’s Academic Decathlon and on the road to manifested addiction. My best friend and I decided it would be a good idea to show up on the first day of school after having smoked two blunts, which resulted in us spending the entire day trying to hide our perma-smiles and bloodshot eyes. We giggled through each passing period.
This first day set the tone for the entire year. I began skipping Academic Decathlon practices or an entire day’s worth of classes to get high. Pretty soon, my attendance was, at best, three days out of five each week. I was eventually kicked off of the Academic Decathlon team due to awful attendance, but I would not and could not tell my family this. Instead I began making excuses for being out ‘after practice,’ saying I was at Border’s studying for the SAT or, later in the year, AP tests. My parents were not na