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From Juice Box to Junkie

From Juice Box to Junkie

 
By:  Mission Team August 1, 2021
#AmazingNation, #Anxiety, #Depression, #Encouragement, #Jesus

I once was just an oddball tweenage boy who had too much energy and was always outside. I could have lived on my trampoline drinking nothing but juice boxes and eating nothing but Cheez - Its. Fast forward 5 years and I no longer was drinking Juice Boxes but had moved onto Alcohol. Weed became the air I breathed, and instead of Cheez - Its, I started eating Pills, Acid, and Shrooms. These were just a few of the things I was hooked on going into 2019. I found myself using at least one of those drugs almost on a daily basis. I knew it was wrong and I had a problem but I always tried to justify it. Saying things like: “It helps my depression” or “It calms my Anxiety” and “ I just got to get out of my head”. I didn't realize how heavily I relied on drugs until I found myself in the hospital.

 

How it Started:

All my life I have struggled with depression and not knowing my self worth. When I was in high school this manifested as always seeking approval from others. I spent all my free time with the “cool kids” having the encouragement and “care” of people with high social status was what I thought I needed. However, the company of these people only led me down the wrong path. Being the edgy kids we were, me and my “ friends” picked up smoking weed and drinking my sophomore year. I was only 15. I didn't want to say no because I needed my peers' approval and the more I did it the easier it was to forget about my problems.

How it affected me: 

Weekend get-together smoke sessions turned into weeks and months that I couldn't remember anything that happened because I spent almost every day high, drunk, or tripping. I was so numb. My tolerance for drugs got higher and higher and I knew I was heavily reliant on drugs when at New Years I said I would quit but then couldn't take more than 2 weeks off without getting super depressed. This went on for almost 2 years without my parents ever catching me.

 

 

How I stopped and why:

Three days before my 17th birthday I had pushed myself too hard and overdosed. I passed out on my “friends” driveway with no heartbeat or pulse. By the grace of God I woke up and drove home, my parents then took me to the hospital where I spent the night. What followed were 2 things: 1. The hardest 4 months of my life and 2. The most joy I had experienced in my life.

 

How God Helped me through it:

At this point my parents started to watch me more closely, through their help and the help of some of my close friends I was able to get myself out of the toxic relationships I had been in. But the next few months were very lonely for me because all the people I found my validation in were no longer there. Being at rock bottom made me turn to the very things I should have turned to from the start; Prayer and the Sacraments. I started going to face to face confession and getting spiritual direction from my parish priest. On days where all I wanted was to drink I would go drink the blood of Jesus Christ at Mass. When I was depressed and had no one to talk I went to confession or adoration. I began to journal which helped me so much because I could look back on what I was struggling with and praying for during my hard times, then reflect on the present and how God had answered my prayers, taking certain burdens from me.

What keeps me from going back:

Through prayer at a retreat I came across the verse Isaiah 43:4 which says: “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I would give nations in exchange for you and peoples in exchange for your life.”

Through this verse and the Sacraments I realized my self worth and that the only approval I needed was God’s, not only this but that I already had His approval. I didn't need validation through “friends” or drugs anymore.

 

Why I’m Writing this:

I'm writing this because the Washington post reads that 1⁄3 of Americans now show signs of anxiety or depression. That's a lot of people. Additionally there are almost 21 million Americans who struggle with drug use and only about 10% that get help. I hope if you're reading this and you struggle with drug use that you realize that the happiness drugs and alcohol gives you is fake, but the love of God is the most real and fulfilling thing you can experience. I hope you realize that God is greater than your depression and anxiety and bad habits. Through him you can quit. Through him you can find true JOY. It's a hard road to cross, but when you do cross it your life will change.

Sources
https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-statistics/,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/05/26/americans-with-depression-anxiety-pandem ic/
Photo Credits:
"Juice Box" by treehouse1977 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
"Moment of silence" by sacks08 is licensed under CC BY 2.0
"Confession" by Lawrence OP is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
"laughing old Turk" by doc(q)man is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

https://unsplash.com/photos/x2byGrIsQYg
https://unsplash.com/photos/nNPp6NfH8rg
https://unsplash.com/photos/BxcqeEcb-xk



About the Author Mission TeamThe mission team is made up of writers within the HN team who serve for a time with our ministry to Awaken the World to the Power of God's Love. Through their efforts, their vision of making a world where no one suffers alone is an encouragement to many hurting people of all ages. 


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