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Addiction is a dynamic in which nothing can ever seem like enough. I keep consuming so damn much, it’s like trying to fill an insatiable, ghost-like void inside me. I now understand when people say “it can never happen to me” or “I would never stoop that low.” That’s because I found myself swimming deeper and deeper into that river of denial as my addiction got worse. 

Where did my magic cloak of protection go when I needed it most? Drug addiction does not discriminate nor does it stereotype. Addiction is the event of my demise, the darkest chapter of my once very bright and beautiful life. It is the chapter I am now writing an ending to, never to be looked upon again. 

Temptation will always be lurking in the shadows and recovery is my bright light. At one point, drugs influenced every facet of my life: spoons/needles and syringes became the symbol of my existence. Self-indulgence and carelessness became normal characteristics for me. Year after year passed me by. I lost myself until I became a person I no longer knew nor recognized. 

I was slowly coming to the realization that I could do nothing to help myself overcome the power that drugs had over me. I had nothing left in my mind, body, and soul to fight my constant obsession to use. The vicious cycle of addiction along with my over-compulsive thoughts to use was pure insanity. In fact, my life was the definition of insanity in every way. I did the same things over and over again but expecting different results each time.

I tried several different things to disguise my selfish toxic ways. But always with the same end result. Self-sabotage. I had come to the realization that I myself was my own worst enemy. I was willing to settle for any kind of justification for my narcissistic ways of life. But instead of searching endlessly for makeshift justifications, I chose to fully surrender myself, then came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. 

I am powerless over drugs, but for once in my life, I feel jubilant. In May 2020, I was diagnosed with the COVID-19. This came in addition to battling my 15-year addiction to opioids behind these walls. During this incarceration, after overcoming the COVID-19, I have now decided to live a clean and sober life free from opiates. Every day is a struggle for me to maintain my sobriety.

But I am now ready to live life on life’s terms instead of my own. Now that I am no longer running from my emotions, I can start on my path down the road to sobriety. Getting reacquainted with the real me feels restorative. I have now discovered a peaceful plan for my life that runs deeper than that dark place I’ve been stuck in. No more ball and chain to hold me down.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Andrea Cortez

Andrea Cortez is a writer incarcerated in California.