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Your life is precious.

You are capable of anything.

You are stronger than you feel.

Your capacity to love is greater than you realize.

You were created with a specific purpose.

You have a powerful ally in the one true God.

He is on your side.

Admit your addiction.

Ask for help.

He will answer.

As he did for me.

And millions more.

Love yourself.

Love your life.

Those of us in recovery –

Are waiting for you.

To help you.

Love you.

Show you the life you deserve.

The one you have always wanted.

A life without addiction.

Your life is precious. You are capable of

Who the Son sets free is free indeed.

13 years a slave.

Rescued on August 6th, 2018.

I implore you.

If you are grappling with addiction

Wait not a second longer.

You were not born to be a slave.

To heroin, alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, benzos.

You are a Child of God.

He loves you with all the power in the universe.

He has the power to set you free.

To release you from your addiction.

No matter how deep your addiction

How hopeless you feel inside

How long you have been struggling

It matters not.

Who the Son sets free is free indeed.

I write this to you, as a free man.

Come join me – whoever you are – in this beautiful life free of addiction.

I call upon God to save you.

As He did me.

You are loved.

You are worth it.

Who the Son sets free is free indeed.

Who the Son sets free is free

by Brandi
What happened along the way
Now you use every day
Sell your soul to get your high
While your life passes you by

I think what can I do to try
To help you see before you die
The girl that I used to know
Is hiding with no where to go

I pray she finds her way back
And fights the addiction from attack
The devil puppeteering her strings
Making her sick with everything he brings

All I want for her to see
Is that she has a friend in me
I will be there when she asks
For a friend to take on the task

Loving her for who she can be
Hoping she can be set free
From the reign of this disease
That brings you down to your knees

I am here for when you choose
You’ve got nothing left to lose
Find your way to being clean
And see the life you haven’t seen.

You deserve sobriety
You also have a friend in me
I hope that you can find your way
And have a future of brighter days

Because you deserve the very best
Your soul deserves a well earned rest.
I love you for eternity
I want back the girl you used to be.

by Brandi What happened along the way Now you

On a given day, I might take 70 mg of Adderall to stay alert, focused, and energized for the duration of the time I spend researching and writing a brief.

I have slept through five unanswered calls and the sixth one, received at 5:23 pm EST, finally breaks me out of my deep summer slumber.

“Hello,” I answered sleepily, wiping the crust from my eyes.

“Hello,” I said again. Too late. They already hung up. The call log showed I missed three calls each from my mother and dad. I’ll check in with them.

I am laying on my couch, affectionately dubbed the big green monster, which dominates the living room space of the basement apartment I am leasing in what is known as the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh.

I am 24 years old and single. It is the summer after my 2nd year of law school. I’m about to start my typical ritual of preparing for a 30 hour work bender followed by a night of drinking

I groan and slide myself off the coach. I get into the shower and turn it on as hot as it will go.

The Gym

After the shower, I chug a glass of fruity NOXplode, my pre-workout supplement. I change into gym shorts and a t-shirt.

My iPhone reads 6:14pm as I leave the apartment. Twilight is descending on Pittsburgh as I begin the 15 minute trek to my gym through Shadyside, walking past beautiful tall, leafy trees and cobblestone buildings.

I throw on “Rich” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs as I begin my workout in the dungeon-like fitness center. Am I rich? Hardly. In fact, I am approaching $150,000 in student loan debt to obtain a degree that – unbeknownst to me at the time – I will never use.

I hit the gym for a solid hour. I vainly concentrate only on my upper body and don’t care about my legs.

The workout leaves me feeling good. Sweaty. Strong. I make the walk home, where I continue my ritual and pop my first 20mg Adderall.

Running

Time for a run. I stretch lightly and hit the streets of Shadyside at a brisk pace, bumping Deerhunter and Titus Andronicus as I fly through upscale neighborhoods with million dollar houses.

I breathe in the warm Pittsburgh air. The Steel City can be a bitch to live in during the winter months, but during the summer, it’s utterly perfect.

The Adderall has kicked in, giving me a euphoric high and sense of endless endurance. I reach the halfway point and begin up a steep right turn that’s known as Cardiac Hill on the University of Pittsburgh campus.

To my right is the Western Psychiatric Hospital of Pittsburgh. Seven years from the night of this run, I’ll be entering the hospital deep in the throes of amphetamine psychosis. But I have no knowledge of that yet.

All I knew right now is I’m getting in shape, performing at my job, and keeping up appearances as a “successful” law school student thanks to the pink little pills I am taking.

I sprint up Cardiac Hill to the tune of “Nothing Ever Happened” by Deerhunter, considered one of the greatest rock songs of the 2000s. It features a seismic bassline courtesy of Josh Fauver. Fauver will pass away from a drug overdose 2 months after I enter rehab in 2018.

I’m panting by the time I make it up Cardiac Hill. The top of Cardiac offers a gorgeous view of the City of Pittsburgh. After I make it up the insane incline, I breathe in and grip my sides and gasp for breath.

Slowly, I make my way back down the hill, preparing for the back half of the run. Once I return to the bottom, I take a straight shot down 5th Avenue, through Oakland and Shadyside back to my apartment.

Is This Hell?

By the time I finish my run, night has descended upon the city in all its glory. The time is 9:30pm. My work is about to begin. I down a 20 oz. Dasani bottle in its entirety. Toss the empty plastic vessel into my trash can. Then plop down, sweaty as all can be, at the desk in my living room.

As part of my work ritual, I flip on ESPN in the background. There is something comforting about the familiar sights and sounds of sports and Bristol crew when I am working.

I sit at my desk and pull up the assignment from my attorney. I am to write a Response to a Motion for Summary Judgment in our case. This should be cake, with the help of my friend Adderall.

I pull up my email account and Westlaw, crack my knuckles, and prepare to dig in.

I hate law school, mind you. The snooty classmates. The overpriced books. The know-it-all professors. The C’s that blanket my transcript.

I’m not used to failure or mediocrity. But my law school experience has been characterized by a terrifying brush with the former (nearly failing out my first semester) that’s settled into a close relationship with the latter (2.5 GPA but on track to graduate).

This is what drove me to the psychiatrist’s office in the spring of my 2nd year of law school. He heard me out and prescribed me what I’d been looking for.

I pop another half tablet and begin reading the Motion for Summary Judgment. Once I finish, I stand up and make a pot of coffee. Amphetamines, caffeine, and nicotine are the unholy trinity that powers me through nights like these.

I take a sip of brew and return to my desk, whipping out a can of Grizzly Wintergreen, packing it, and throwing in a massive dip. Adderall makes me fiend for tobacco like it was the very oxygen I needed to breathe.

The time on my computer reads 10:14pm. It’s time to rock and roll.

Nightcrawler

Six hours later, I rub my bleary eyes It’s 5:30am, and I’ve spent this whole time researching court precedent for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on the subject of gender discrimination. A delightful enterprise.

Although I’m not particularly sold on the facts of our case warranting a decision in our favor, I’m not prepared to go down without a fight. Adderall really brings out a very contentious intellectual stubborn streak in me.

The initial caselaw bears no fruit to support our argument, but I’m used to that. After six months working for my attorney, a solo practitioner who has been hit with more than her fair share of sanctions, I’ve come to expect these sorts of suicide missions.

Hell, I’m only making $11 per hour. But I need the money. And I can bill as much as I want, provided I meet the deadlines my attorney places in front of me, which I always do thanks to the little pink pills I keep slipping into my mouth.

On a given day, I might take 70 mg of Adderall to stay alert, focused, and energized for the duration of the time I spend researching and writing a brief.

It will take another seven years for me to reach the 140 mg mark that propels me into amphetamine psychosis. But at this point in my life, I’m able to use and abuse the drug with impunity.

Finally I decide to take a break. I scope out a few ex-girlfriends on Facebook. Check the latest music writeups on Pitchfork. Read the latest articles on Deadspin.

Purgatory

A disturbing thought is beginning to weigh on me more and more lately. There is no one to talk to – except for myself. I have no friends and am not involved in any relationships. I don’t even own a plant. The concept of God – or talking to God – has a scarce presence in my mind. I am at the height of my religious skepticism at this point of my life.

The only thing I have to look forward to is the fact that tonight is Friday, which means my law school buddies with traditional summer internships and 9-5 schedules will be grabbing a few beers somewhere. Girls will be out. I may even attempt to talk to one.

I have been up for 12 hours. Another 12 hours to go before I can relax. And another 7 years before Adderall fully breaks me as a human being.

On a given day, I might take

One of my favorite writers of all-time was an underrated talent behind the likes of Parks and Recreation, Eastbound and Down, and the Humblebrag Twitter account.

Harris Wittels was a brilliant, preternaturally gifted comedian and writer. I followed his work closely while he was alive – simultaneously amazed at his talent and jealous beyond belief of him.

Tragically, Harris passed away of a heroin overdose a few years ago. Before he did, he went on comedy podcast You Made It Weird and told his addiction story, in full.

It’s one of the most powerful addiction stories I’ve ever heard, multiplied by its tragic ending. I felt it worth sharing on this website. Rest in peace, Harris. I hope your story helps a fellow addict.

One of my favorite writers of all-time

When Wolf Parade sang, “I keep my head up tight. I make my plans at night. And I don’t sleep, I don’t sleep, I don’t sleep ’til it’s light. Some folks float. Some are buried alive.” I felt that.

I grew up in the wealthiest suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. A place called Germantown.

Off the top of my head, I can name 7-8 high school peers who did not live to see their 35th birthdays. All succumbed to drug overdoses.

Their names: Adam H., Mallory M., Stephen M., Adam B., Peyton C., Ches L., and now Phillip C., who I just learned passed away yesterday.

This is insanity.

Saved By the Grace of God

I was almost one of those names.

When I was 20 years old, I took Xanax for the first (and only) time. Drank a ton on it. Blacked out driving home from a party. Ran headlong into a telephone pole doing at least 30 miles per hour.

By some miracle, I had my seatbelt on. It saved my life.

I got a DUI. Lost my license for a year. Amazingly, I felt sorry for myself – rather than being grateful for being alive.

I got on a friend’s account on a message board, posted a sob story about the experience, and got utterly destroyed by the message board members. It was pathetic.

Even more pathetic was the next dozen years of my life – where I sunk deeper and deeper into Adderall addiction, until God rescued me from my disease.

The names I mentioned earlier were less fortunate. Young men and women with bright futures.

I have a better fate now than the one I deserve. The one that so many of my colleagues have met. I am humbled and grateful to God that He has spared me from the destruction I sought to bring upon myself.

Called to the Light

This is a prayer for the family and friends of those who have succumbed to their addiction. There are millions out there. My heart grieves for them.

God, please bring comfort and solace to those who have lost loved ones to addiction.

Please bless them and allow them to feel the Holy Spirit in their lives this week.

Let them know that they are loved and that they are not going through this alone.

Help all of those currently suffering from addiction to get the help they need – spare them and their loved ones from further anguish at the hands of this unholy disease.

In Your Name I pray – amen.

When Wolf Parade sang, "I keep my

When Sorority Noise sang, “Just last week, I slept 8 hours total. I barely sleep.” I felt that.

Back when I was taking 120 milligrams of Adderall per day, I stopped sleeping. Literally.

I’m talking 72 consecutive hours of uninterrupted consciousness. Most of which was spent staring at a computer screen.

I knew it was nuts as I was doing it. But the rush of Adderall, the sweet alertness and confidence, held sway over both human biology and my sense of logic.

I would wander into work with deep circles under my eyes, voice hoarse from dryness.

Hunch over my computer screen, frantically pounding out emails, social media posts, blog content, and so forth for my employer – a tech startup run by friends from college.

One time, I had a one-on-one with my boss, who’d been my friend for a decade.

“What’s the number one thing you want to see out of me going forward?” I asked.

He paused. A weird, sad expression crept over his face.

“I want you to look less tired.”

Road to Recovery

In the summer of 2018, I experienced the biggest blessing of my life: amphetamine psychosis.

Full-blown paranoia. Grandiose delusions. Imaginary threats. All gradually escalating to a crescendo over a matter of 3 months.

Even though I was mentally insane for its duration, I vividly remember the thoughts, feelings, and sensations of psychosis.

How real it all seemed. How strongly it overtook the rational side of my brain.

I was a high achiever with a law degree, a solid professional reputation, a loving family, and tons of friends. And Adderall still broke me.

In breaking me, it forced my hand. I spent 6 days in a psych ward, at my parents’ behest once it became evident I was losing my mind.

I never would have agreed to go had I not hit rock bottom.

In the days before entering the ward, I was at my lowest.

My parents took my paranoid delusions in earnest and prayed over the phone with me for God to protect me from whoever was after me.

He came through. As He always does.

That morning, I took Adderall for the last time.

Forty-eight hours later, I was in the psychiatric ward.

One week after, in rehab.

Where am I now?

Sharing stories of my addiction with you.

Grateful for my rescue from the days where I’d abuse my body and mind with Adderall.

Sleeping like a baby.

When Sorority Noise sang, "Just last week,

“Started recreational/Ended kinda medical.

Came on hot and soft/And then it tightened up its tentacles.

– The Hold Steady

Addiction is a disease of the mind.

A spiritual disease.

One that robs you of dignity, autonomy, and sanity.

It infiltrates, destroys, and rebuilds you.

Into a mockery of your true self.

It makes fools of those who love you and care about you.

The beauty of it, though,

Is the way God uses addiction.

He is infinitely more brilliant than the forces that create it.

As ugly as addiction is –

God makes the recovery process 10X as beautiful.

Using human beings in recovery

As shining beacons of what life can be like

Lived right.

In touch with a Higher Power.

Experiencing the joy of life

In its restorative, infinite beauty.

"Started recreational/Ended kinda medical. Came on hot and

Every addict is an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. I’m no different.

The first flight had been cancelled. Two hours before takeoff.

No doubt the work of the Feds, I think to myself. 

A week prior, I’d sold old company laptops to a Middle Eastern guy on Craigslist.

The next day, I entered a diner during lunch.

The food took longer than normal – and I was soon joined by two obvious spooks and a Homeland Security agent decked out in full riot gear. 

That couldn’t have been a coincidence.

Or perhaps Congo CEO Julian Barre was behind the cancellation.

He knew of my work with Negotiator, the company that was going to disrupt the eCommerce world and bring Congo to its knees.

The same way Congo had brought Crossings, Okes and Bales, and countless other book retailers to their knees years before. 

Definitely Barre. I affirmed to myself silently.

Perhaps in conjunction with the Feds. Congo had that kind of power these days.

I was lying on my friend’s couch.

Reclining in a position so that my head wouldn’t be exposed to sniper fire from the outside.

Two glass doors provided ample lanes for an execution to prevent me from fleeing town. 

Dawn’s darkness was still in full force.

In my possession was a backpack filled with hastily packed clothes, a plane ticket to San Francisco, and a few thousand bucks to my name. 

The podcast I had just appeared on was entitled, The Mindful Millennial.

A week after cutting the interview I was fully in the throes of amphetamine psychosis. 

Every addict is an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. I’m no different. 

My name is [redacted]. I am 31 years old.

Two Days Later

Alyssa takes me through the woods. We walk at a brisk pace next to each other.

We’re in San Francisco, hiking through a nature preserve at her insistence. 

We reach our destination – a cliff overlooking an expanse of the Pacific.

Beautiful, blue ocean. Calm washes over me.  

As Alyssa takes a seat next to me, I turn to thank her. 

“I knew what your heart needed.” She responds. 

Right as she finishes the sentence, the crowd around us gasps.

A majestic whale emerges from the frothy ocean to the shock and delight of everyone on the cliff.

We hail a Lyft back to her place downtown.

On the way back, I confess that I’m not mentally well.

She tells me she already knows.

I tell her I’m leaving town the morning. 

She exits the Lyft, starts walking toward her apartment. 

Stops.

She turns around and comes back to the car. 

“Oh wait, I thought you should see this.”

She hands me her phone through the open window.

I look at the screen, glowing iridescent in the San Francisco night.

It reads, “In Native American lore the whale symbolizes wisdom, spiritual awareness, good fortune, and long-lasting love.” 

As a hardcore amphetamine addict who had essentially lied to myself every single day while I used, I take that as a good omen.

The very next day I check myself into the Western Psychiatric Institute of Pennsylvania. 

Every addict is an egomaniac with an