Written By Mel.
Art by Callan Hoskins.
My name is Mel and I’m an addict. It’s not usually how I like to introduce myself, but here goes.
I am 19 years old, and as I am writing this I am 14 months sober. I spent six years of my life struggling with addiction—trying to get sober and relapsing, giving back in to the disease. But just over a year ago, I started my final journey towards recovery, which I’ve so helpfully documented the whole way. As someone who is passionate about helping others and making quieted voices heard, I’ve shared my journey on Instagram and with friends and family. As my voice has grown, I’ve started attempting to reach a larger audience. I do this because, truly, all I want is to help even one struggling addict. This article, this audience, is my best shot at it.
I’ll begin by sharing a journal entry I wrote early on in my journey, in order to remind myself of why I was fighting for my sobriety:
“I’m 18 years old and I have been an addict for five years now. The longest I’ve stayed sober was two months. Until now. Now I am nearly six months sober. And I’ve finally decided that I want a future. A life. No more arrests and OD’s. I’m going to make it this time. I’m turning my life around so I can have a life.”
I am over a year sober now, but still struggle with intense cravings, depression, and that feeling of missing out on life because I can’t get high. Honestly, I know I won’t be the first to admit that sobriety is hard and it really fucking sucks sometimes. And I won’t be the first to admit to relapsing during recovery. Even at 14 months sober, I still consider relapsing. So I wrote this guide for myself, and for any other addicts who may need it.
Honestly, I know I won’t be the first to admit that sobriety is hard and it really fucking sucks sometimes.
How I Stay Sober When I’m Hurting and All I Want (Need) Is to Get High:
•Delete their number, or block them on social media if that was your way of contact. You know who I mean. Delete, block, remove—just do it. No access to your DOC (drug of choice) = no chance of relapse.
•Text someone who has your best interest at heart. This could be a friend, your mom, a partner, your sponsor, or even just a stranger who said their DMs are open to you. All you need to say is “I want to relapse.” Reach out, tell someone before you do it. Please. Never be ashamed to ask for help.
•Find a distraction. Whether it’s binge-watching funny animal videos on YouTube, going for a run, finally playing that weird puzzle game you downloaded and never used, chatting with friends, or eating a good meal, do something other than dreaming of your DOC. I’ll be honest, it’s probably (read: definitely) not what you really want to do, but it will keep your mind busy until your urges settle down. You just have to wait out the urges.
•Give yourself an hour, or thirty minutes, or ten minutes, or two hours, or a day before you fully commit to relapsing. If you feel the urges, say to yourself, “If I still want it this badly in [whatever time period], I’ll do it.” If you give your body and mind the time to calm down without stressing yourself out more by completely saying no, it’s likely your urges will calm themselves. (WARNING: This does not work for everyone so please use with caution).
•If worst comes to worst and you are going to relapse, please take a drastically lower dose than what you took when you quit. Your body built up a tolerance to that higher dose over time, but you started using your DOC at a much lower dosage. That, plus the fact that your body is no longer used to having this drug in its system, means if you take the dose you quit using at, it will kill you. Please don’t take your usual dose if you do relapse.
We are not just junkies. We are people who need help, love, and compassion.
Addiction is a deadly disease, and I’m dedicating my recovery to helping other addicts stay safe, find peace, and find joy, whether they are in recovery or not. Hopefully, my words can and will make a difference in how the world views addicts—and in how addicts view themselves. We are not just junkies. We are people who need help, love, and compassion. And I hope my personal sentiments and tips and tricks to sobriety can help even one person view addicts in a brighter light, can help even one addict fight the disease.
Stay safe, bring love, and keep fighting.
Mel is a 19 year old mental health activist and caregiver. As someone who has struggled with mental illnesses their whole life, they have dedicated themselves to raising awareness and spreading love. They plan to continue writing for various news outlets and aim to continue spreading awareness about mental health and addiction.