Hitting Back

written by
Logan M

"Remember, getting sober is hard, but staying sober is harder."

My name is Logan Morrow, and I am a recovering addict. I was born and raised in Columbia, TN., and have one older brother and one older sister. We grew up your typical middle class family, my father had his own insurance company and my mother worked in the banking industry for as long as I can remember so we never needed or wanted for anything. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church, was very active in sports, had great childhood friends, and a wonderful loving family that wanted nothing but the best for me. I won first place in the D.A.R.E. essay contest in the fifth grade and was always a great student, but to be completely honest, the D.A.R.E. program only piqued my interest in drugs and tobacco. I thought to myself, “If it makes little Timmy feel like that, I wonder what it would do for me.” I’m only mentioning these things because I want people to know that this disease of addiction does not discriminate. That very active, loving, well behaved D.A.R.E. essay-winning child was about to change.

When I entered into the sixth grade, my parents decided they were going to live separately for a while and try to work on their marriage, but at the age of 11 or 12, I don’t believe I really comprehended what was about to happen. When my parents divorced is when I really started acting out in school and at home, and when I tried my first drug, marijuana. To this day, I remember where I was, who I was with, and a play-by-play off that day after smoking. I firmly believe I remember all these things because I loved the feeling I got so much from that first high. Throughout middle school, I continued to dabble with marijuana and tobacco products, and had my first run-in with law enforcement. From middle school to high school I stopped hanging out with my old friends and found new ones that were doing the same things I was doing. During this time frame, I started having to appear in and out of the court system for charges such as curfew and tobacco.

I was driving my freshman year of high school and always running with the upperclassmen. Since I was driving during my first year of high school, I skipped school quite a bit and got in trouble with the truancy board. The reason for skipping school so often was the drugs and partying. That year of my life is when my addictive personality really took place. The first time I ever took a prescription pill not prescribed to me was in the cafeteria at my high school. It was a class of drugs called Benzodiazepine, more commonly known as ”Benzos.” Benzos are pills such as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. Having such an addictive personality, I thought to myself, “Well, if I like these prescription pills, I wonder what something like ecstasy would be like.” At the age of 16, a group of friends and I were taking ecstasy every weekend, and I was charged with my first simple possession charge. I was caught having marijuana in my vehicle on school property and had to go to an alternative school for one year. During this time of alternative school, I started taking ecstasy throughout the week before school. That changed when I was introduced to the first “love of my life,” OxyContin. The first time I tried it, I truly believe I was hooked because I wasn’t even thinking of ecstasy after that moment. All I wanted to know was how much it was and where I could get more. The Oxy started out the same as the ecstasy did—I went from doing it on the weekends to eventually driving to Mt. Pleasant on a daily basis to get it. By this point, I was selling drugs to get money to support my habit, stealing from family, and pawning off family possessions.

At the age of 17, I stopped attending public school and tried the homeschool route. This did not work. I was really caught up in the lifestyle of “easy money,” so to speak, and was picked up for my first felony drug offense. Being my first offense as an adult, I was able to get the charge reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor and one year of probation. Toward the end of my probation period, my drug abuse was very obvious to my family. Up to that point, I kept it hidden (for the most part). One week before my probation was up, my mother asked to have me drug tested and I was forced to go to rehab since I tested positive for several different substances.

My first rehab experience was more of a learning experience on how to elevate my drug use and I learned how to use my favorite drug a “better way”. Upon completion of my rehab, I returned home to a double funeral of my grandparents, so needless to say, I was right back to using after the funeral. This was a turning point in my addiction—I went from smoking and/or snorting opiates to intravenous use. At the young age of 19, I was injecting anywhere from 80 to 200 hundred milligrams of Opana a day. Opana (or oxymorphone) is a very strong opiate. Like OxyContin, it’s used in treating severe pain in patients such as those battling cancer. This continued to go on for a few years, and my life was in a downward spiral. I was in and out of detox programs, jails, shootings, and was even left in a ditch after being robbed for the money in my pocket. The only thing good that came from these couple of years was meeting the love of my life, but I was shortly given the ultimatum of choosing her or the drugs and lifestyle I had been living. I gave up the only woman that ever truly saw the potential in me that I couldn’t see in myself, and who always wanted better for me even when I didn’t think I deserved it.

Fast forward a couple years to my early 20s. I was living a true life of crime, and my world revolved around getting, using and finding ways and means to get more opiates. I can honestly say that I couldn’t even get out of bed without having some sort or drug in my system and can recall nights were I would wake in the middle of the night just to use whatever opiates I had to go back to sleep. I was slowly killing myself with the warmth of these pain killers and wouldn’t hesitate to use heroin if I couldn’t find prescription opiates. At the age of 22, I slowly but surely started to turn my life around when I was arrested for four counts or promotion and one charge of manufacturing methamphetamine. These charges are for buying pseudoephedrine (more commonly known as Sudafed), a precursor to the making of the drug and the one charge of actually making the drug itself. I was not actively making this awful substance but was well aware of it. I was buying and doing these things in exchange for my D.O.C., or drug of choice, which was Opana. The Maury County Drug Task Force raided my father’s house I was renting and I was arrested later that day for those charges. I have nothing but respect for those officers. People in active addiction or living life in the streets tend to forget that they are only doing their jobs and trying to stop or prevent people like me from engaging in these illegal activities. In the end, I was only convicted for two promotions, spent some time in the county jail, six months of mandatory rehab, four years of probation, and seven thousand dollars in fines and fee. I will never forget the look in my father’s eyes the night I went into that county jail weighing ninety-five pounds and a 650,000 dollar bond, he said to me “ It doesn’t matter how hard you get hit, but how hard you hit back”. At first, I only wanted the rehab program because it kept me out of jail, but eventually, I took what my father said to me to heart, started fighting the good fight, and eventually wanted it for myself.

I came home seven months sober. I lived with my mom and stepfather, got my first job, attended my 90 in 90 ( 90 Narcotics Anonymous meetings in 90 days), and reached out to the love of my life that I had so easily given up for a stupid drug that was killing me. This woman had the heart and courage to let me back into her life and try to mend the relationship I so foolishly took for granted. But even after trying to mend our relationship, owning my own car, maintaining a good job, and having a roof over my head, I got complacent and relapsed at nine months sober.

After this slip-up, I checked myself into rehab for the 18th time. I did it for myself and not anyone else. I tried time and time again to sober up for all the wrong reasons whether is was parents, the court system, or girlfriends. I was never going to stay sober and live a clean life until I truly wanted it for myself. Those nine months that I white-knuckled through gave me a glimpse into the life I never thought I deserved, and here I am—celebrating five years of sobriety, married to that loving and courageous woman that was willing to take a chance on an addict like me, and working toward my bachelors in social work. I guess it’s true what they say, “A good woman can change a man,” but none of these things would be possible without my higher power whom I choose to call God, great support from my family, the twelve steps of Narcotics Anonymous, and, most importantly, my father who was always standing right next to me ready to hit back. I truly do not have any regrets and believe all of these trials and tribulations made me the man I am today. I will leave you with this, the drugs and lifestyle are only side effects of addiction. The true problem lies deep within, and once you can find and resolve that issue (like as I did with my mother) you can live a clean and sober life. I am so grateful for the wonderful relationship I have with my mother today. It didn’t happen overnight, but with compromise and work on both ends, it has turned into a relationship I never thought was possible. Remember, getting sober is hard, but staying sober is harder. It is a daily fight, but no matter what gets you into recovery—whether it’s court, getting your kids back, for your parents, or just being sick and tired or being sick and tired—hold on to that and, eventually, you’ll want it for yourself.