A strange question that people have asked me (Dear addict, you are not trapped by your addiction. You CAN stop using drugs.)

How much did you use?

Two days ago I updated my life insurance and retirement annuity, and since I was honest about my past use of drugs the first time, my broker asked me a series of questions on filling in the new application. (I’ve been clean for long enough for them to reduce the loading of my premiums. Hence the meeting with the broker.) This was one of the questions.

So how much did I use? I hate this question because people are not prepared for the answer I give them. The truth is, I have no fucking idea how much I used, so I usually give the short answer: As much as I could get, more even

He wasn’t prepared for that. I put it down to a combination of ignorance about drugs and drug addicts, and a common mistake. People think that because I am stable now, am anti-drugs, have a good job and am well spoken, that maybe “I wasn’t really so bad” or that my addiction wasn’t so severe.

At the same time, they expect me to give them some number… The amount of drugs I used (like that number will really mean anything to you) but they really want to hear that I didn’t actually use all that much. Well, I’m sorry but that’s not how addiction goes.

I can’t honestly say how much it was, but I can say this… In my first stint in active addiction (April 2006 to October 2009), I wasn’t using that much at the end, because by the end of that I had lost my job, my house, my car, and pretty much everything else. Therefore I couldn’t buy drugs, and my choice never to do anything criminal limited my supply of drugs at that time. So I didn’t use every day, but got from my girlfriend and the dealer that she was cheating on me with, neither of whom shared my qualms about being criminal. So my life was a living hell, but I wasn’t using that much anymore. Take that with a pinch of salt – I didn’t use much because I couldn’t get much.

My second stint in active addiction was different. (Start of 2011 to September 2013.) I used alone, and remained employed throughout my time using. So I used every day. I’d build a trust relationship with a dealer, buying several thousand Rand worth in a single month, then once I had their confidence, I’d get on credit – several thousand Rand more. Pay it back end of the month, get more credit and so on.

I’d buy two packets of meth at a time. Packet size would vary between dealers, typically a gram or half a gram. Then I’d use until the packets were empty, and go buy some more. Sometimes they’d last until the next day, but generally didn’t, regardless of packet size. Sometimes I’d go back two or three times on the same day. I have absolutely no idea how much I used on average daily, but it was probably more than a couple of grams.

So I’m sorry to disappoint, but I used as much as I could get, and was high every minute of every hour of every day, and remained awake up to seven days at a time. I could not imagine myself without drugs, and I hated myself and my life. So the bottom line is that I used a shitload of drugs, just like every other addict.

So why tell you this? Do I want to boast about how much I used? No, I do not. At the end of the day I wasn’t any different to any other addict. My addiction wasn’t less severe than anybody else. But I was able to stop. And I know that I will never use again.

If I can do it, so can you. That’s it, my only point today. If you are one of those people who say that you can’t stop, I’m calling bullshit and saying it’s because you don’t want to stop. There is no excuse to continue using drugs.

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About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
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