That’s how this reader describes his past:
I have been sober—free from drugs and alcohol—for almost nine years. Before I started my journey out of addiction, my life revolved around alcohol, cocaine, MDMA, and prescription painkillers. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel extreme gratitude for where I am now. I know that I am lucky to have found a way out, since most addicts don’t; they end up in prison or in a cemetery.
My experience has really shaped my views on public policy surrounding drugs and addiction. I believe that our current views and policy surrounding illegal drugs is not only ineffective, it perpetuates the very problem it aims to solve.
First, while I was in the trenches with my addiction, I lived in fear. I was afraid of what people thought of me, afraid of being lonely and inadequate; my life was run by fear. Even so, I was never afraid that I was breaking the law. I didn’t think twice about using illegal drugs and I didn’t think twice about breaking the law to continue using them.
Furthermore, I didn’t get sober because I was afraid. I was arrested numerous times, I was berated by a judge in front of a courtroom full of people, I developed serious financial problems and health problems … and yet I still continued to use drugs and alcohol. I didn’t fear the consequences, the loss of family and friends, or the threat of jail.