In my last post, I described my parents’ fears about raising children in America, particularly in New York City. Big cities come with big opportunities, but big risk and danger as well.
My siblings and I all attended the neighborhood public school growing up. My struggles with addiction began early when I was only in middle school. I wasn’t even a teenager yet.
I was only 12, but plenty of kids in my grade were already having sex, drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. My parents were very strict about those kinds of things, and I had always been scared to disobey them.
But one night I was at a sleepover party for a boy in my grade with a handful of other boys from our class. We all played videogames and ate way too much junk food. Once his parents went to bed, someone pulled out a joint.
We stuffed a towel under the door, opened the window and turned on a fan to usher the smoke out. Nervous and giggling, we all passed the joint around, taking hits and coughing. I remember being terrified, but wanting to look cool, so I lifted my pinky out and held the joint at the tip like I’d seen people in movies do. I held the smoke in as long as I could, my eyes watering and my lungs burning.
I remember time moving slowly, and laughing at nothing. Someone turned on some music, and it was an album I’d heard before, but it sounded so different after smoking. It sounded much better to me.
That was the first time I ever got high, but it wouldn’t be the last.
After that sleepover, that group of guys and I would sneak pot whenever we got a chance. At first, it was just late at night at sleepovers, but then we got bolder and smoked after school in the parking lot, or even in the bathrooms at school.
They say marijuana is a gateway drug, and if you try it, you’re more likely to try other substances. I’m not an expert, and I don’t know if that’s accurate for everybody, but it was definitely the case for me.
Keep reading to learn how my drug abuse progressed and spiraled out of control.