When I think back to last Christmas, I remember one of the worst days of my life. I come from a relatively large family of six, and Christmas has always been an important day of coming together and being with each other, but last Christmas, because of my addiction, I was unable to do that physically, mentally or emotionally. I woke up on that Christmas in my default setting: dope sick and miserable. I ripped myself out of bed and went upstairs to the tree, where we would open gifts as a family. I hadn’t gotten anyone in my family a gift because all of my money was going to support my drug addiction.
While we were opening gifts, I began to get aggravated. I noticed that there was nothing I had been given that I could pawn. I had been relying on getting Christmas gifts to support my habit. Unable to control my emotions in the grip of my addiction, I began to yell at my mom. She begged me to stop, but I was so sick and out of control that I didn’t care. I ran back down to my room, where the argument followed. As my yelling escalated, I remember my mom getting quiet and almost whispering “I didn’t know what to get for someone who’s addicted to heroin” before she began crying.
It hurt so much to hear that, but I was utterly unable to handle any uncomfortable emotions in the grip of my addiction, so instead of showing how guilty and full of shame I was, I got even angrier instead. I just yelled louder. My uncle, a Marine, was called over to try and calm me down. Then things got really out of hand. We immediately got physical, resulting in me punching a hole in the wall, one of many I had created in unbridled rages over the course of the past month I had been living at home. He picked me up and put me in a chokehold. Completely defeated and ridiculously dramatic, I told him to kill me.
I wanted to die.
He let go, and I ran out of the house and began to walk down the interstate. I was picked up by the police and cuffed in the parking lot of the Panera Bread that I had been working at. My Dad watched the whole thing go down from across the parking lot. Based on my parent’s request, they let me go, and my dad drove me home. It was only about ten in the morning.
From there, we went to my grandma’s house, where I was so dope sick I was unable to even get off of the couch let alone hang out with my cousins or siblings. We all tried to pretend that the morning hadn’t happened.
This Christmas is going to be the exact opposite of last year; I’m sober now, and I have a new relationship with my family. While there have been rough patches, I am in a much better place both physically and emotionally. They enjoy coming out and spending time with me. I enjoy spending time with them. My little brother and sisters look up to me and the improvements I have made in my life since last December. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have been given to have them back in my life, and this holiday season has been much, much safer than the last. I never have to live the way I did before again, and from now on, I hope I always get to be there for Christmas with my family.