I believe in artificial happiness. That is the only thing I have known. You don’t understand or know how it is to have nothing.
There isn’t a lot of real happiness because of my childhood. I was with my mom ‘til I was 7, and then I was in a custody battle. My dad all of a sudden wanted me. From age 3-7, it was constant back and forth.
I ended up with my dad who abused me. I just let it happen. This is when I started drinking.
I was 12.
My dad was dependent on alcohol, and it’s all I saw. I ran away. My life had nothing left of it.
This is when I started smoking. When I smoked, I began to mix other drugs or alcohol with it ‘cause why not. I liked the way it felt when I was using.
It made me forget. Drinking and smoking made me happy, and that’s better than feeling empty and hopeless.
So I ran away and moved around from house to house. I never really had a place to call home. No one really wanted me. This was before the summer of 2015. I was 16.
This was the summer where I said “fuck life.”
I drank myself to the hospital … and I knew it was time to change.
That summer, I met some hippies, and this was the big kickoff for drug use.
Man, the hippies were cool! I felt like I found people who had the same mind as me.
We drove to Eagle Creek, a local park in Indy, and the view was beautiful … Dude, the water was so blue! The next morning, I started tripping, and everything just got better.
It is a feeling you can never replace. You just forget about all the cares in the world.
I stayed with them for a week, and then I wanted to go find my mom. I don’t know why, but I just wanted to see her.
I found her and stayed with her for a little while.
I went to school for a few months, but then I got expelled. This is when I met my girlfriend at the time, Megan.
Man, do I love her! I would do anything for her. She knew about my past and tried to change me. It didn’t work, though, because now I’m in this youth-detention facility.
The reason I’m here is because I hit my mom. I don’t know why I did it. It was just a reflex.
She called the cops on me. We had this rule where we don’t call the cops on each other. She broke that.
It came to the end of the summer of 2016, and now I’m here. I’m 17 years old and in a facility with other boys my age.
I got here because what else do I have to live for … I don’t have a lot to lose either.
Life just happens.
But I am done with this shit. It sucks in here, and I am ready to go. It took me to come here to realize I can’t do everything I have been doing. I mean, I am not saying I will stop, but I’ll calm it down.
I haven’t had any visitors during my time here, but I’m almost done here so who cares.
I don’t value myself. I don’t care about me. I care about others sometimes. It’s just hard letting people in. Because once you let them in, it’s hard to let them go.
It’s hard not seeing Megan. It might be the hardest thing about this. I regret not seeing her before I got in here. That’s my only regret.
Well, I guess I also regret how fucked up my brother is. It could be a little bit because of me.
He always saw me drinking and angry when I was around him. One time, I punched him so hard he threw up. He’s seen a lot more than he should at his age.
He’ll end up like me or worse. He doesn’t have any feelings. He cares less than I do.
But I do hate being in here. I wish I could change some of it. I don’t like my life with drugs, but I like the stories. My life doesn’t suck; there is just nothing in my life to care for.
If I could be one thing in the world, it would be a chemist. I know I can be that, and one day, I will be that; it’s just not in the near future for me. But the only thing I can do now is wait.
There’s not a lot in my life right now, ya know? People look at me and are like, “You don’t know what you’re doing with your life. You have no plan.”
It forced me to have a plan. I don’t care what plan it is — I really don’t — but it makes me want one. I could get shot in the head tomorrow and not care. I know no one out there cares about me, so why should I?
I would love to have real happiness in my life than this artificial happiness I got. But artificial is all I have to compare to.
Artificial is my view of happiness and how I want to see myself. Drugs are artificial to a point. You create the happiness you want to escape from it all.
Addiction is a lifestyle, and it can happen to anybody. You don’t think it can happen to you, but it can. Your life begins to center around it because it’s something you grow to need.
It’s just the moments of weakness or the environment you put yourself in. When you’re around something all the time, it is easy to become addicted.
I don’t want to be a user my whole life, but it’s been a part of my life. It’ll always be something that is inside of me.
I’m trying to lean off of drugs, but I don’t think I will ever become clean. It is a part of who I am, but I don’t want it to be all of me.
Drinking and smoking makes me happy. It’s not the best thing in the world, but that’s better than feeling empty.
That’s why I say my stories happily. That’s why I laugh when I talk about my life.
I say it like that because being fucked up or drunk or high or being whatever … no matter how much it fucks with the people around you or fucks with yourself, it’s better than dealing with your own shit.
It’s way fucking better.
It’s better than feeling a bunch of stuff you don’t want to feel about yourself, and that’s the honest answer.
This story originally appeared in Facing Addiction in East Central Indiana, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Dr. Adam Kuban and the Louis E. Ingelhart Scholars at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.