*This post was written by Ventura County young adult, Max Coleman.
Have you ever wanted to try using drugs? Do you think by using drugs, you’re escaping reality or entering reality? Have you ever had a hard time expressing your feelings, so you wanted to smoke joint, pop a pill, snort a line of cocaine or just had a sudden urge to drink alcohol and let your feelings vanish? All of those answers are the wrong way to deal with and handle situations that life provides. The only reason why I say this is because if you were to look into my eyes, you would see the years, the money, and the friendships I have lost because I thought drugs were going to increase my popularity. My name is Max Coleman, I’m 18 years years old and I live in a city called Calabasas where there are a lot of wealthy families and famous people. This is my story about how drugs took my life and threw it in the trash.
I grew up living in Calabasas since I was 5 years old. (Quick fact about me, I was adopted from St Petersburg Russia when I was 5 years old to be given a better life.) Growing up in Calabasas, everything felt different for me, by different I mean people were entitled and I wasn’t. When I first arrived into the city, the appearance was unsettling for me. It wasn’t something that you could adapt to quickly, but you could understand just by observing the environment.
During the start of middle school, I remember I wanted to fit in like all the other kids, but for me the other kids enjoyed my personality, so I didn’t have to explore much or the crowds that school environments have. At lunch there was always talk about “what’s new”, rumors also gossip about other students and if you have ever been to middle school, you’d understand. It was a Friday evening and I was about 12 years of age (6th grade) when I first smoked marijuana. It was from this sketchy friend that I barely knew, but we used to skateboard together a lot. He always was telling me how his sister would get him weed and anything he wanted that was related to drugs so I thought to myself, “why not?” We kept in contact and had conversations about how to smoke weed, what was the best way to get the highest high, and how to keep it discreet so others wouldn’t know when you’re out in public that you are stoned. I took an interest to marijuana at a very young age and I never bothered looking up the bad effects from it and how it damages your brain. The more I smoked weed, the more fun I had.
After meeting a group of people that seemed to take an interest in me because I had a very enlightening and energetic personality, everything changed. We had certain spots where we would sesh and enjoy the time but with each new sesh spot that i came across, there was always new people to smoke with as well. This one day, this guy was talking about Xanax and I had no idea what Xanax or how prescription drugs worked. He was telling the group that he popped a school bus (full Xanax pill) and he had a vile in his backpack. I asked the guy when we got done smoking if I could try a school bus. He handed me a pill and I took it. My mind felt like a washing machine and earth seemed RIDICULOUSLY slow. I could barely even talk and had difficulty saying a complete sentence with the way that Xanax hit me. I didn’t realize it at the time but not only was I inhaling THC into my lungs but my memory was shortening. Whenever my mom would ask me if I would remember a certain situation, I would look at her and say “no I do not” – While saying those words, my facial expression was careless. My feelings for life and emotions were getting cut off and my decisions were only getting worse and worse as each day went on and each time I took Xanax or smoked weed.
Eighth grade came around and I was at my 3rd middle school transfer. I kept moving from school to school because I absolutely had no desire to educate myself with what seemed to be, useless knowledge. I kept hanging out with friends and socializing with others about what other types of drugs there were and expressing to them my personal experiences from what drugs I had already taken. To be completely honest, a lot of middle school was a mental blur for me and it is still to this day. Anyway, middle school graduation came around and I never felt happier. The last day of middle school, I remember I got into Oxycontin and Oxycodone and I kept taking one with the other. The effects made me ridiculously numb and instead of focusing on what was important, I was focusing on how to get more and more.
My parents started to get very concerned with my behaviors and actions that they sent me to rehab. I went to rehab in the back of a police car and when I arrived, I felt like life was over. The officer walked me in and told me “your parents will come pick you up in two days.” That was a complete lie. Two months went by and I was completely sober. My parents and I had slowly worked things out (that’s what I wanted them to think) but as soon as I got home from rehab, I got into crystal meth, nitrous oxide, and cocaine. Not only did I lie to my parents, but I was far beyond abusing drugs after rehab. Inside rehab, there were moments where depression came like rain and hit all the other students around including me. The isolation got to a lot people and at times, some students would have mental breakdowns. It wasn’t just because years and years of drug abuse, but the rehab facility had fed the students lies on how to become clean, in reality it comes down to a self decision (internal power)
Balloon after balloon, each filled with Noz, my head was gone. Inhale from the top of the balloon, and for 10 seconds after you exhale, your mind would lose consciousness. My buddy Elijah told me to be careful while having a cigarette come close to the balloon because if I didn’t pay close attention, the balloon would pop. I didn’t know what to do with my life at that point. I wanted to become successful and a somebody but with me doing insane amounts of lines, smoking ridiculous sized bowls and popping pills, my motivation kept decreasing and slowly my hope for life was fading away.
October 28th 2016, I remember this date in particular because this was the date that not only freed my addiction to awful and various amounts of drugs but left me speechless and with no personality. I got off the phone with my girlfriend at 1:30 and fell asleep. While falling asleep, my subconscious kept screaming at me to get out of the house. What felt like sleep turned into a nightmare in a blink of an eye. Lights turned on and two (one white and the other African American) people stood over me and were instructing me to pack my bags and go with them. My dad stood in the doorway and I shouted while tears where running down my face, “How could you do this.” The two people told me that if I don’t follow instructions and resist going with them, I would be put in handcuffs and forced out of my house.(There term’s “forced” meant dragged physically) Balling my eyes out, I called my girlfriend and told her what was going on, she as well balled the very second she heard me sobbing and kept weeping after I told her what was going to happened to me. After I got off the phone, I went to the bathroom to change my clothes. I had a vile left with 4 school buses (full Xanax pills) and I chose to take them all before leaving my house and not being able to come home for a year and a half.
Year and a half later, when I stepped foot back into recognized territory, I had the urge and clarity to do what I couldn’t have done before and actually get comfortable with work in general. I told people that my ways have changed and that I want to take on more responsibility in my life. But no, I had just lied again and this time it took my mental state away from me. I got back into Oxy, started smoking weed again and developed the habit of drinking alcohol on top of smoking cigarettes and snorting cocaine. After 4 months, my best friend knew something was wrong with me. I became super quiet and for some reason didn’t say the right sentences around people when they asked me questions. For a fact, this time I knew it was the drugs and the alcohol that had made me like this. I kept thinking a lot and started to have arguments with my subconscious and from there, my life was obliterated. I kept waking up in the middle of nights with awful flashbacks of where I got sent away and the actions that other students did there. These flashbacks were of what I witnessed at this facility, I don’t want to get too in depth because I don’t want to put images in anybody head, but all I’m going to say is a lot of people there were literally insane. I hate talking about it still to this day because what I saw will never go away, but I did get great life advice from this place.
After my 18th birthday passed, I really had to do something with my life. Looking for an escape, I realized the only way to become clean and live a healthy life was to quit. My mental state at this time was locked. I walked around anywhere I went with complete silence and always in my head, like a zombie. Nothing ever felt right and depression kept coming harder and harder. Until that one particular day I took my Oxys, weed, alcohol, coke and all the other stuff I had and went down to my community park. Standing on the grass, overlooking a hillside, I chucked everything and looked away as fast as I could so I didn’t have to see what once was an enjoyable thought, crumble and break before my eyes. I heard glass break and a loud thud. RELEASE. I knew I had done it, I had conquered my biggest problem, fear and closed the book that was titled “No remorse.” The years of drug abuse had finally and actually stopped. I remember when I got home I sat in my bed and wept. Tears of joy fell down to my carpet and the only thing I inhaled was pure oxygen.