Addiction has many consequences, both for the addict and those close to them.

Addiction has many consequences, both for the addict and those close to them.

This story is based on personal experiences, and aims to accurately represent the dangers and consequences that exposure to drugs and other substances can bring.

David is a 30-year old man who lives alone in Jacksonville, Florida.

On the face of things, David lives an ordinary life.  He has a steady, if uninspiring, job, and goes about his business quietly without making any major impact on his community.  David keeps himself to himself, has few known friends, and when people do manage to engage him in conversation, he gives little away.  Everyone else in the neighborhood assumes David is a shy, introverted character, who is simply taking time to adapt to living in a new town.

What no one here knows is that David’s story is actually one of great promise that became embroiled in a world of self-indulgence, before tragically unraveling in the midst of addiction.

Bright Future

As recently as eight years ago, David was a man who seemingly had it all.  He graduated from college with the degree he had been aiming for ever since his early teenage years, and took up a position with a leading engineering firm in his hometown of St Petersburg.

While David loved his job, he also had a fondness for the evenings when he and his workmates would head down to the local bar, enjoy some beers, and shoot some pool before heading home.  This suited David’s home life down to the ground, too, as his childhood sweetheart, now his fiancée, would have similar evenings with her friends and colleagues.

David’s life started to change one evening when he found himself longing for something to pick him up.  The last few weeks of his life had sucked, work was getting him down, and arguments at home seemed to be never-ending.  David thought he would try a line of cocaine.  After all, he had heard plenty of people speaking liberally about their own recreational drug use, and if they could take it whenever they wanted, why couldn’t he?

Into the Spiral

Unfortunately for David, ‘a line of cocaine’ is not where his drug use started and ended.  The first time he did it his fiancée was already asking questions, given that he arrived home sporting a glazed look in his eyes and was restless all throughout the night.

He knew that, if she became aware of what he had done, she would likely walk out of the home there and then, irrespective of the long years they had spent together, and the plans they had made.

David felt that, despite her questioning, she did not really have any idea what was going on.  This, coupled with the buzz he got from taking drugs, led him to do it again.  And again, and again, until two months later cocaine was a part of his everyday life.  It was as ordinary as drinking a can of Coca Cola at his desk in the office.  David felt good, yet paradoxically found himself battling with the feeling that something wasn’t right.

He hadn’t realized it himself yet, but David was a drug addict.

Facing the Music

David received a big shock that day when he arrived home.  His fiancée – remember, the one who would never suspect anything – asked him outright.

“Are you taking drugs?”

David was too shocked to speak, but the tragic reality is that he didn’t need to.

The changes in him had grown more and more pronounced over the previous two months.  He wasn’t eating, never had money or time to spend with his fiancée, and had distanced himself both from her and the rest of his family.  The photographs that someone had posted on Facebook were the final nail in the coffin for the relationship.  Without everything else he could have laughed it off as a joke, or someone who just happened to look like him.  His behavior, however, meant he was bang to rights.

As she left, his fiancée dropped another bombshell.  She was pregnant.

David’s initial reaction was one of rage.  Thankfully, she managed to make it to the sanctuary of the car before he caught her, and she drove off into the evening.

Unperturbed, David soon calmed down.  He knew the answer to his worries, so he went indoors and did another line right there on the coffee table.  He experienced a strange euphoria in the feeling of not having to hide his cocaine use at home anymore.

Reality started to hit home for David over the coming weeks.  Of course, without his fiancée, he now found himself solely responsible for all of the bills, the rent, and the groceries.  His addiction, and his failure or unwillingness to recognize the situation, meant that he was soon in trouble and behind with payments.

One idea David had was to have a little gamble on the sports results.  He had played the local lottery for years, but the long odds weren’t going to get him the money he needed to get his fix in a hurry.  By now, David’s finances were in such a state that he did not have the money to spend on too many bets.  Being unable to develop a gambling addiction to fund his drug habit was a small ray of light in what was becoming an increasingly hopeless existence.

David’s last hope was the shopping mall, as he knew that there were some ‘businessmen’ in the local area who would exchange pricey goods for either cash or the drug of his choosing.  The only problem was that David, at the age of 23, didn’t know the first thing about shoplifting, or how to get away with it, and was arrested on the spot.

When the police searched him, he cursed himself for forgetting that he had left a cocaine wrap in his inside pocket.  David had never been in trouble with the law before, had a great job, and until a few weeks ago was living with the woman of his dreams.  Now he was incarcerated as a stereotypical drug user, reduced to stealing from stores in order to fund his habit.

The Last Word

The writing was on the wall for David’s employment prospects, too.  No one was about to post bail on his behalf, and when he failed to turn up for work it didn’t take long for the management to find out where he was likely to be.  The same boastful individuals who indirectly contributed to David becoming an addict were quick to rat him out, although they had grown increasingly concerned about his behavior in recent weeks.

Ultimately, David received a five-year prison sentence having been caught in possession of cocaine.  That would have been bad enough, but then phone calls to family members went unanswered, opportunities for visits weren’t taken up, and his ex-fiancée was not about to bring a potentially violent drug user back into her and her baby’s life.

Owing to his drug addiction, David lost everything.  Although he relocated to the north of the state on his release, he still carries the mental scars of what he put those closest to him through in his home town, and will live with those for the rest of his life.  If anything positive came out of his years in jail, it is that he met some inspirational drug support workers and was able to get himself clean.  David works a boring nine-to-five right now, but is waiting for a place to open up on the Jacksonville Drug Support Program, where he can be employed as a counselor based on his own experiences.

In  a strange sort of way, David feels that if he can help one person to say no to the temptation of taking drugs on a ‘one off’ basis, and ensure that person doesn’t risk losing their dream job, partner, or never seeing their child, then all of his troubles would have been somehow worth it.

Although David’s tale is a tragic one, it can serve as an inspiration for anyone looking to protect themselves from falling into addiction, as well as those who are at various stages in the recovery process.

Doing drugs once led to David losing everything, and these dangers exist around alcohol, gambling, and many other things.

Whether you feel like you may already be an addict, or believe your personality makes you susceptible to temptation, seek help now, for it can soon be too late.

Mental Health - Alternative to Medication