I never thought it could happen to me. Becoming addicted to inhalants was not a plan that I had. I had a pretty good childhood, playing sports and hanging out with my brother and neighborhood friends. My mom and I were close, and we would spend quite a bit of time together.
My family lives in a fairly small, close-knit community where there were always fun activities planned for the kids. When I was 12 years old and entering seventh grade, when most kids anticipate new and exciting adventures, my life went down hill.
I, Megan – you know, the girl next door – had many problems. Although a lot of teens probably feel as though they have problems, mine were rooted in something that wasn’t my fault: sexual abuse. Dealing with something such as this, alone, is virtually an impossible task, and at the time, it felt impossible to overcome. Therefore, I needed to cope. Life was becoming too much for me, and when I was offered help to begin a healing process, I refused it. I felt nothing at that time would help, until I encountered drugs.
Shortly after my 13th birthday, an older kid in the neighborhood who knew I was struggling offered me some weed. He thought it would help. So did I. It really seemed as though getting high was helping me forget my problems. Although, without even noticing, soon, I needed more drugs to get high. That’s when I began huffing – you know, inhaling various household products to get high. I inhaled almost anything I could get my hands on – computer cleaner, air freshener, various spray bottles, etc – so that I could get high.
My parents knew something wasn’t right, and they would drag me to counseling. I learned though that when one starts inhaling, he or she can be very sneaky so that they don’t lose an opportunity to get high. Honestly, I was a great manipulator. I even had the counselors fooled. I would sit there with my arms crossed for an hour – not listening to a word they had to say. I just wanted to continue my huffing.
I enjoyed huffing because it was cheap, an easy high to obtain, and in 20 minutes my high would be gone so no one would know. Inhalants took up so much of my time, thoughts and energy that I didn’t realize my life was getting totally out of control. Huffing was becoming a big problem, and an everyday occurrence. I did it alone, I did it with friends, I did it when I felt sad, lonely or scared – even when I was happy. It was my escape. I did it anytime – I didn’t care about family, friends, life or anything.
It was inevitable that my family would learn of my abuse. I couldn’t hide it anymore. That’s when my parents sent me to treatment for my huffing addiction. For the first month, I hated treatment and I hated my parents. It wasn’t until I completed the initial month that I realized this is what I needed if I wanted to stay alive.
When I entered treatment at age 14, I definitely wasn’t the same girl, Megan, who lived next door. In treatment I learned how to communicate my feelings instead of hiding from them through drugs. That was a major problem for me – any time there was a problem, I thought if I got high it would go away. Even though I hated treatment for the first month, it was the best thing that could have happened, because I changed in so many ways. Now, I am able to talk about my thoughts and feelings, instead of covering them up. I was in treatment for three months, and actually, I feel lucky. In fact, I know I am lucky. Huffing could have killed me. I started to huff when I was 13 years old…that’s too young to do a lot of things, including becoming an addict, or dying.
I recently celebrated my 15th birthday, as a sober, healthy high school student and to be honest, staying sober can be challenging at times. Kids in school definitely huff to get high, and some even ask me to participate even though they know what I’ve been through. Trust me, I have no plans to ever get high again. I never want to go through that nightmare again.
An important lesson I learned when i got out of treatment was that my supposed friends who i used to get high with , only liked me when i was high. I also realized that I didn’t like me when I was high.