21 Oct Bonus YSS: Patrick’s story
Heads up about this story—it’s super intense. If you read this and have strong emotions about it, definitely talk to a friend or trusted adult. Patrick details his horrific journey honestly and frankly, so please read with this in mind! Thank you.
Simply: My story
There is a common misconception out there that if you have the right upbringing and atmosphere, you will grow up to live a successful and happy life. That, my friends, is nowhere near correct – at least in my case, it wasn’t even close. I grew up in a very decent environment, actually. Good Christian family, sheltered, always taught to have good manners, and show respect to my elders. When my siblings or I did wrong, we were disciplined. We were taught respect and responsibility on a daily basis. By 7th grade, I was placed in a Christian private school which I attended until I graduated in 2008 at the age of 18. So the question is, how in the world did I become a full-blown drug addict, not even 6 months after that? How did I manage to be declared legally deceased before the age of 23? Well, I’m going to tell you. This is my story; my story of how life can change in the matter of moments, and how everything I dreamed my life could be, almost never happened at all.
Let’s jump back to when I was 14 years old. At this point, I had never had alcohol, and I couldn’t even spell marijuana. Funny how quickly that changed. One night, when hanging out with a couple friends and playing video games, everyone decided to take a quick break. That’s when they took out the bong and weed. I, having no clue what weed was beside an annoying plant my mom wanted me to pull out of the garden, was rather confused. They explained to me that it will make me feel good, and it’s time to experience life through a different set of eyes: the red and disoriented kind. So, I thought, what the heck, let me try it. That was probably the biggest mistake I could have made. It would inevitably lead me to the darkest, most tragic 4 years of my life, which began when I was 18.
Jump ahead to 18 years of age. I had just graduated and had made good grades all the way through high school. I had smoked pot regularly and drinking was second nature to me at that point. I managed to keep all of it hidden from my parents (like most kids that age manage to do). I had never done any other drugs, I never got out of control; I kept my cool. I didn’t realize how quickly that would change when I gained my freedom at 18. I never did much before then: I went to school, held an easy part-time job, and spent my spare time playing video games. That all changed in the blink of an eye.
As soon as I turned 18, not a month later, I was addicted to cigarettes (which I had despised as a child). I managed to make all the wrong friends. I stayed out late. I partied. And the sad thing is, I loved it.
It wasn’t long after my love for weed turned to sheer boredom and I wanted something more. Something more entertaining – a better high, I guess. After all, I limited myself to weed and alcohol. Who knows what else I could manage to get my hands on? That’s when I discovered “robotripping”. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, robotripping is when you purposely overdose on cough medicine, usually that medicine being “Robitussin” (hence the title, “Robo-tripping”). There is an ingredient in this product and many others known as “Dextromethorphan”. Enough of this ingredient will give you the sensation of a trip, or a high. What no one tells you is that this so called sensation comes from your body organs shutting down and your body fighting to keep alive. I was unaware of this at the time, but even if I was, it wouldn’t have mattered. I found a new high, and I was going to take advantage of it.
I spent many days robotripping and many crazy nights with friends I convinced to do it with me. One night I went too far. I tried to achieve a plane of tripping I never knew existed. So I went and got 5 bottles of Robitussin gel caps. That equals out to 100 gel caps, and I took every last one of them. I don’t remember that night, nor do I remember driving back home the next morning. All I remember is my parents found out I was messed up, and convinced me to tell them on exactly what, after it was obvious enough when I couldn’t walk up the 5 steps of my front porch to my front door. I was immediately rushed to the hospital where I spent the night under watch by doctors until my trip wore off. It took over 24 hours for that trip to end due to the excessive amount of DXM in my system. This was the first time I was hospitalized, and it was also the smallest of my hospitalizations. In the next 3 years after that, I would be hospitalized 2 more times, and each time would be worse than the one before.
After a while of doing DXM, I began to search for the next high, the next best thing. That’s when I was introduced to my first prescription pill, OxyContin. Not only was it a huge mistake to take this pill, I was hammered drunk at the time I did it. In the world of drug/alcohol abuse, it’s common knowledge to NEVER mix drugs and alcohol. All it takes is one time to be fatal. Then again, I didn’t care. Getting high on a whole new level was all I wanted. It started with OxyContin. Over the next year that would turn into abuse of anything and everything I could find. Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Percocet, OxyContin, Roxycontin, Morphine, all the way up to paying $80 for one pill of Opana on a daily basis. That was just the painkillers. That doesn’t include the Xanax, klonopin, cocaine, ecstasy, Molly, acid, shrooms, Methadone, Methadrone, Mescaline, 2CI, 2CE, and Heroin. All these drugs, all that money, got me to one place. That place being closer and closer to my death. That is soon to be explained but let’s jump to December 9th, 2010.
20 years old: I wake up in a hospital bed. I have a 12 inch incision, stapled shut, running from my waist down my thigh. Family and friends gathered around me, trying their best to keep a smile on their face through the outcome of my stupidity. I remember what happened, I just didn’t expect it to turn out this way. A month and a half later with a $108,000 hospital bill under my belt, I was back in the world. Only this time I had 18 screws and 6 brackets screwed into my bones, to remind me everyday for the rest of my life of that night. How a $10 pill of ecstasy, would change my life forever.
Jump back to the previous night. I was out looking for fun. I managed to purchase a pill of ecstasy from a dealer of mine. I took it and went to the bar across the street from my girlfriend at the time’s, neighborhood. Jump to an hour later. I’m rolling hard (rolling refers to the trip one experiences on ecstasy). I feel like I can do anything, I convince my girlfriend to jump out of her 2nd story window, I will safely catch her, and we will have a wonderful night together. On drugs, most things never go as planned. I’ll never forget the sound of my thigh bone popping, cracking, and shattering into pieces on impact. The pain was indescribable. My leg was now attached to my body by muscle and skin. When my friends carried me across the parking lot to the front entrance of the hospital, my leg was turning almost 360 degree’s. How did I know when I bought that pill that night that my life would never be the same? I didn’t, and that’s something I have to live with now. There are many things I can no longer physically do. I often have discomfort in my leg, and later in life it’s going to give me hell. There’s nothing I can do now. I made my choices and now I have to live with the consequences of those choices. That was my 2nd hospital visit, and believe it or not, it wasn’t the worst one.
Jump to 22 years old. You would think after previous experiences, I might have learned my lesson and changed my life a bit. Wrong. I went deeper into the abyss. The addiction got stronger, the depression got worse, death drew closer everyday. Why was I using so much? Well, that’s the big question, isn’t it? Why do the drugs? Why get high? I didn’t know. I didn’t care. I wanted to escape the harshness of reality. I wanted to find comfort where I couldn’t find it anywhere else. I wanted to overwhelm my emotional pain with synthetic happiness. The cutting wasn’t working anymore. No matter how much more I shredded the flesh on my shoulders, it wasn’t working. So I could only think to do one thing: Go farther than I have ever gone before.
Heroin. That was the name of my killer. The grim reaper came in the form of a syringe and a small substance known as black tar heroin. September of 2012: There wasn’t a drug I hadn’t done except Crystal meth and that’s only because I couldn’t find it. My life was in shambles. I destroyed relationships with friends and family. I became a thief, which got me fired from a job. Four years previous, I couldn’t tell you what weed looked like. Now, I could find a pill on the ground, tell you what it was, and how much it was worth on the street just by looking at it. I was lucky to be alive even to this point. In this particular September, my drug of choice was heroin and I was shooting up 3 bags a day. That equals to around $60, depending on who I got it from at the time. One day turned out completely different than I expected.
I had just gotten off work and had already had one 40oz. beer, and a 4 Loko on my lunch break. After work I went to get a bite to eat. After that, I was ready to go home. The only problem was I couldn’t get my car to start. So what was the first thing that came to my mind? Get a beer and try to figure it out. Skip ahead 1 hour later. I wake up in the back of an ambulance, I have no Idea where I am or what happened. I look at the paramedic and ask her what is going on. She proceeds to tell me, “Sir, you were declared legally deceased for about 3 minutes. You are lucky we were able to get you in time or we would not have been able to resuscitate you.”
Within that hour of my car not starting and waking up in an ambulance, I had ingested four 40oz beers, 1 Four Loko, 2 bottles of Robitussin (40 gel caps), snorted 3 lines of cocaine, and shot up 1 bag of heroin. It killed me. I was dead and I didn’t even know it. Two very close friends of mine gave me CPR the whole time until the paramedics arrived. I owe my life to them. I was also informed that if they did not do that, my time would have run out a lot quicker. I was immediately transported to the hospital, where I stayed for the night. I couldn’t believe it. My irrational decisions and the urges to get high had killed me, and I thank God to this day I am somehow still here. I thought I was invincible. I thought I could do whatever I wanted and nothing could stop me. You never know how wrong you are until you realize you almost never had the chance to take another breath again.
A week after my 3rd hospitalization from my overdose, I was checked into a Christian rehab facility where I stayed for 4 months. I learned what it was like to live without drugs again and I met some of the greatest guys I could ever meet in there. They had all been through rough times, if not rougher than mine. Young guys. Old guys. It didn’t matter. We all had the same demons. We learned how to cope and how to fight past the urges and keep a clear head. It wasn’t easy getting through, but I did it. I made the effort, I got clean, and I’m a changed person.
I could write pages and pages of my experiences, but I’m hoping this will suffice. I can’t say I haven’t had my struggles since I’ve been back in the world, because your demons will always try to bring you back. That’s when I take a look back and remember I almost didn’t make it to 23 years old. I almost wasn’t able to write this story in hopes of it reaching anyone. I almost wasn’t able to get married one day and start a family. I almost threw it all away, and for what? To get a small, temporary, extremely expensive high? Let me be the first one to tell you if you haven’t already heard it before: IT WASN’T, ISN’T, AND NEVER WILL BE, WORTH IT. Nothing out there is worth your life. Don’t be the one to put a price on it. Please take whatever you can from my story and think hard on it if you ever feel lost. You can make a difference in your life; you just have to choose to do so. Don’t be like me and make the wrong choices when you have this kind of knowledge. Make the right decisions for your friends, for your family, and most important, for you. I’m lucky I have a second chance at this life to do it right, because there are thousands out there who weren’t so fortunate. Don’t include yourself in those unfortunate ones. Make the right choice. Love yourself. Love your life. Never give in, and most important, NEVER give up.
If you have questions for Patrick, or would like to send him a message, please email Paula@YourSelfSeries.com and I will be sure he gets it.