The life I was living during Thanksgiving last year was not a quality one. I was living in a dirty apartment out in Tucson, Arizona where I was planning on staying for the holidays. My parents told me that if I did not want to go with them to a relatives house for the day, then I was going to have to stay at school because they did not trust me at either of their houses without one of them there. I knew if I went to a relative’s house for Thanksgiving and spent time with my family, I was not going to be able to get high the way that I wanted to, so I decided that staying in a dirty apartment was a better option for me. Luckily I had a friend from before I started getting high who was still in my life. He knew how I was using and where my life was going. He told me that if it came down to it, he would come pick me up and bring me back home to Orange County. Three days before the holiday he drove out from San Diego State, picked me up, and then brought me back to Orange County to stay with his family for the holidays. As soon as we got back into the area, I had him drop me off at my car, so I could get high before I went over to his house. I said “hi” and “thank you” and then found a reason to leave. I went and got high for the rest of the day and then snuck back into the house at two in the morning. I spent my time back home before the actual day of Thanksgiving leaving his house when I woke up and then getting high all day and either returning to his house late at night or just staying out all night. When it came to the day of Thanksgiving, I left his home in the morning, and after a while, he sent me a text telling me that I was going to dinner with all of his relatives at his grandparent’s house. It was the first time that I had spent a holiday like that not with my family as well as not talking to them. It was a lonely feeling being at somebody else’s Thanksgiving dinner with all of their relatives and the only thing that I was able to think about was getting high after dinner and how I was going to get out of there. All dinner I felt like a fish out of water because I did not feel like I was okay or that I was myself if I was not high. I was on my phone, trying to figure out how I was going to get high later. When the opportunity presented itself, I slipped out of there and went to get high and drunk. I used one of the only people who still wanted me around and was down to show up for me when I couldn’t like a doormat. I used him for hot meals, a place to stay, and a way back home from Arizona for a couple of days.
This Thanksgiving looks a lot different than the one I had last year. I have my family in my life now, and I am able to show up for them on not only just holidays but on every day of the year. I am grateful for my health and that I do not think about getting high every second of the day. I am able to be present in my day to day and have real conversations with my family as opposed to only fighting with them. I am grateful that I get the opportunity to show up for my family and that was not a thing that I was able to do in my time of use.
- Written by Matt L.