an honor student finds the needle

by Zoe
(Rhode Island)

Growing up, I had a pretty normal childhood. I lived in a very small upper-middle class town in Rhode Island, where daily worries consisted of one of our horses getting loose or getting stuck behind a tractor on the way to work. I never went without anything growing up, and I was never exposed to alcohol or drugs in my home. To this very day, my parents rarely drink, and there have been leftover beers in our fridge since Christmas.

Although I had a normal childhood, I never really felt like I fit in anywhere. I had a ton of friends and was involved in every activity I showed interest in, but I was overweight as a kid, so I got picked on a lot. Some days I would come home crying from being teased, but by the next morning all was forgotten and everything went back to normal.

I was introduced to alcohol at a relatively young age, since all the kids in my neighborhood were older than me, but I didn't actually like to drink. We would all sneak beers or little nips from our parents' alcohol cabinets, and then meet in the woods where we would share our stash. I can remember pretending to sip from the bottles, or pouring out my beers behind a tree because I hated the taste of alcohol, but I still wanted it to seem like I was drinking.

I know some people say that it was love at first sip for them, but for me it was different. I could take it or leave it, really. Around my sophomore year of high school, I began to do the 'weekend warrior' thing, or drinking and smoking pot on the weekends. Again, I wasn't really into it, but I did begin to drink a bit more. I began to experience blackouts, but to me it was all in the name of fun.

I went on doing the weekend warrior thing, and I never suffered any consequences from doing so. I maintained my honor roll status in school, and stayed active in all my sports teams and extracurriculars. My parents knew that I was out partying, and though they didn't condone it, they didn't stop me either. In our town, partying while in highschool is accepted... after all, theres not much else to do but go down to the beach, light a fire and have a few drinks. Even the cops don't care too much, as long as things stay under control.

In my junior year of high school, I was at one of these parties. I was really excited because I had talked to an older guy earlier that day and we were supposed to meet up at the party. We met up and started talking, and we clicked instantly. He offered to drive me home from the party in my car, since he lived on my side of town, and I accepted. This guy intrigued me. He was a lot older (22, I was 17) and he sold weed. He was also the cousin of one of my good friends that was my age. So, he drove me home that night, and on the way he asked if it would be alright to stop in a nearby city, so that he could sell some weed.

I said alright, and we went to a park. He got out and met the people, and when he came back he had these little blue bags in his hand. I asked him what it was and he said coke and asked me if I wanted a line. I'd never done it before, but I wanted to impress him, so I said yes. I did the line, and about 20 minutes later I could barely keep my eyes open and was really nauseous. I told him I didn't feel well, and he said, sorry babe that wasn't coke. It was heroin.

I went from motified and disgusted to content in a few seconds. I figured that it was alright - I could add it onto the list of stupid shit that I'd done and it would be over with. Oh, if only that weres the case.

The boy (we'll call him Chris) and I started seeing each other regularly, and every time we hung out he brought heroin and weed. I didn't want him to think I was uncool or too young for him, so I smoked as much as he did and snorted as much as he did. This became our daily routine, and while I never viewed it as a problem, in the back of my mind I kenw that I shouldn't have been doing it.

We saw each other steadily for about two months, and used every
day out of those two months. Then one day we had gotten into an arguement about something (I can't even remember now) and we broke up. It didn't really phase me at that moment - I had more important things to do. Number one being score alcohol for a party that night. I was always the one that got the packy runs for my friends, since I had an older boyfriend and a lot of older friends. Well, since my boyfriend and I weren't talking at the moment, I had to call someone else to get me alcohol.

So, I called up (let's call her Kerrie). Kerrie had a known reputation for being the town heroin addict, but I didn't think much about it as I drove over to her house to pick her up. However, when I walked in her door, she was sitting on the couch shooting up. I was mesmerized, and I thought that it would be the perfect way to get back at Chris for our fight. I asked her to shoot me up and it didn't take much convincing on my part. She did, and boy, I never looked back.

From then on, it was me and the needle. Chris came back into the picture about a week later, and I hid my shooting up from him. What I didn't know, however, was that he was shooting up too. It only took us a few days to catch on to our respective secrets, and then we were off and running. We began to sell his weed just to support our habits, and when that money wasn't enough, we would take our valuables down to the pawn shop.

All along, I was telling myself that it wasn't a problem, and I could stop whenever I wanted to - I just didn't want to. Soon, the drugs became more important than everything else in my life. I was a senior in high school now, and I began to come into school late, leave early, or not even go alltogether. My grades slipped a little, but I was able to catch back up and make honor roll my first two semesters. It wasn't until our family vacation to Aruba in April of 2008 that I realized something wasn't right.

I had brought a small amount of heroin with me for the trip, but I had used it all by the end of the first night. I woke up the next morning physically sick - shaking, vomiting, diarhhea, sweaty... I chalked it up to eating something bad and disregarded it as food poisioning. It never crossed my mind that I was dope sick.

We got home from Aruba and I was back to the races. Everything from that point on was a downward spiral. I was kicked off my softball team for missing too many practices, but I didn't care. I would lie to my parents and say I was going to games or practice so I could spend more time with Chris and have more time to score drugs. My friends were fed up with me and gave me an ultimatum - them or Chris... of course I chose Chris.

Things went on like this for a while, and then Chris and I broke up for good. I didn't care because at that point I had my own dealer and other running partners. It was all or nothing by then. I lived to use and used to live - there was no other way. I would wake up in the mornings and promise myself that I wasn't going to do drugs that day, but I would get so violently sick that I had to.

My parents shipped me off to rehab and I got clean for a little while, but I moved back home and started using again. This cycle went on for a while too - go to rehab, get clean for a few months, move back home and relapse.

My parents finally had enough two years ago, and they sent me to a six month program, which I completed. I moved back home in September of 2010 and I stayed clean until around Christmas, then started to use again.

I'm 21 years old now, and I play the roll of a 'functioning' heroin addict. I'm in college and I have a really high GPA, I have two jobs, and everything on the outside looks good. However, I still use heroin on a daily basis, though nobody knows it. Looking at me from the outside, you would think that I have everything going for me, however, if you really knew me, you'd know that I'm just an empty shell of a person.

When will this hell end?

When will this end?

Comments for an honor student finds the needle

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Dec 26, 2013
Sounds All Too Common

Normal kid, friends influence to use "safe substances." introduced to an influence (the guy) that get Her hooked and addicted. To combat this stuff I think children/teens need to learn how to love themselves and not need other people to give them their sense of meaning.

Aug 22, 2012
by: Rae


That's really wonderful that you told your family and you were able to go to treatment. You should be so proud of yourself! It's so much easier that way - without the lies and secrecy and every other horrible thing that comes with addiction.

I am so glad this website has helped you - that was the whole point of creating this website, so knowing that it has helped you is amazing.

Keep us updated if you want! Congratulations on being brave enough to acknowledge your addiction and for being willing to get the help you deserve.


Aug 17, 2012
Thanks Rae!
by: Zoe

Hi Rae,
I just wanted to say thank you for this wonderful website. After I wrote in and shared my story, it felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. I finally decided to give up my charade, and came clean with my family that I was using again. I went an impatient treatment center in Florida in the beginning of June where I spent 37 days. I filled my toolbox with some shiny new tools, and I've been putting them to good use since I've been home. Thanks again. If it wasn't for this website, I might still be using.

Love and Recovery!

May 18, 2012
To Zoe
by: Rae

Hi Zoe,

Thanks for writing in and sharing your story. I really appreciate your honesty. I can relate to a lot of your story - I started using at a young age, and it started to become a problem in highs school and into college. I didn't care about anything but getting high.

No one even knew how bad my problem was - I played 3 sports and got good grades, so no one suspected anything. That's exactly how it was for me - as long as I could make everything on the outside appear okay, then I could continue doing what I wanted to do.

For me, it came to a point where I just couldn't do it anymore. My parents and my husband found out how bad things really were, and they sent me away to treatment. I came home after a day, stayed sober for a little, and relapsed. They then made me go back into rehab, and that was almost 2 years ago.

I didn't choose to quit or choose to go to rehab, but once I got there I realized that I just couldn't live like this anymore. I threw myself into recovery and was committed to staying clean no matter what.

It sounds like you know how big of a problem your use is which is at least part of the battle. Once we know how bad things are, the next step is to get help. I hope you get the help you deserve and need. No one should live through the hell of addiction - it may be fun for a while, but when it's fun, it's probably not addiction yet.

Just remember that you never have to keep using. There is always a way out, so don't give up hope. No one is ever too far gone - it doesn't matter how many times you have tried or relapsed or anything - you can always get clean an you can always have a better life.

Thanks again for writing in, and good luck with everything!


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