A MASK TO HIDE THE PAIN.. The story of a heroin addict…

by Angie Sweigart

(Douglassville, PA, United States)

My name is Angie, and I am an addict. I am also a mother, daughter, granddaughter, aunt, niece, and sister. None of that mattered once I found my lover HEROIN.

My drug use started at 14 with just marijuana, and occasionally alcohol on the weekends at parties. However during this time my father was in recovery for his own addiction/alcohol problem, and my mom worked 3-11pm.

We all saw a lot of horrific things. Just dealt with them our own ways.I managed to find a way to put on a mask for anything. A smile was my way of hiding my true feelings.

It worked well until I was introduced to cocaine at 16, and then I played games with dealers to get stuff fronted.

Went to rehab, because the games were catching up with me. Came out and went back to pot, and it was my way of saying screw you Dad. You weren’t there for us when we needed you I am checking out. I was very disrespectful running away, and calling the cops for child abuse. All my parents did was ground me from any kind of life.

Therefore I skipped school a lot, and gave up on my talents. I played flute at age ten until high school,but quit because being popular meant more to me. Anyway I ended up getting pregnant at 17, and became a teenage mother.

It was weird because I quit everything for the baby growing inside me even smoking cigarettes. It was so unplanned I had signed up to be in the Navy, and was dating this guy. Well I was waiting for my period to start my birth control, and it never came instead a positive pregnancy test was what I got.

Eventually we moved in together in 1997, and my son was born in 1998. Then another surprise in 1999 I was pregnant again. I gave birth to my daughter 4 days before my 21st birthday. Well this is where my addiction takes off.

After the birth of my daughter about six months I was scheduled to get wisdom teeth pulled, and came home with percocets. After I healed I had a headache and took 2 pills, and man I felt like supermom. So I played the game of doctor shopping until I was prescribed 60 20mg of Oxycontin, and 120 5mg of Norco(just like vicodin but less tylenol).

I thought I had it all…Until I ran with old friends from school, and the one dealt coke, and that started for like a year. Then my scripts were running out way too soon, and the insurance companies were on to me.

Three years later my world was at a stand still. At that time my brother was injecting heroin and coke, and left his kids and girl to live with some skanky chick. I didn’t care though I needed anything so I asked him for a little line of Heroin, because I ran out of my meds.

Instead of paying $40 a pill I wanted to see what the hype was about. Well the line was the size of my little nail, and that was all it took. I called back and went on a five year run.

My own brother ripped me off, because that’s how insidious this disease is. Eventually I ended up injecting it, and I loved that more than I loved myself. I went to the same rehab twice in the same year, because I was done playing that cat/mouse game, and just so I wouldn’t be sick. I had my share of relapses, but my bottom was when I got arrested for possession. I never felt more like a worthless human being, and a mother.

I eventually went on suboxone and took monthly urines, and today I couldn’t be more satisfied. I was hurting those who care about me the most my family, because that dope dealer don’t care if you die. They just want the money, and today you can’t put a price on what I have.

We all have that hole, and we try to fill it with whatever fills good at the time, but for me God wants me to fill it with all the good he put here. I use to relapse whenever things started getting better, but today I like who I am. I buried 5 friends in high school as an indirect result of drugs, and I am not going to be a statistic. Life is about relationships with people that matter in your life not about who has the best dope, and sticking needles in your arm. For what? A 20 minute rush, and being broke.

My son is 13 and I am so afraid of him going down the wrong path, and my daughter. Karma is a bitch, and I know I am going to go through just what I put my parents through. If I knew now what I thought I knew, and could change one thing I would’ve never smoked a cigarette, and experiment with drugs. It’s the devil in disguise.

Today I have a program and it’s the best therapy, and it only cost $1, a meeting. I also attend church, because God gave me many chances, and now I am going to live the way He intended. I think God personally chooses Addicts, because those who make it through get to be closer to him. I feel for the younger generations because they have no guidance, and are doing drugs a lot younger.

I learned it wasn’t worth putting all those I love through the sleepless nights, and my kids also have been through it. That’s what the active addict doesn’t know how selfish we really are when we chose that drug over our spouses, kids, parents, siblings. The funny thing is that we also think no one knows, and the truth is they all know what you are doing. What are you going to do?

Well done fair play to you

by: mick ireland

Hay nice Angie, well done to you. I am still on that bad long lonely road. What you went through I have done a lot. I know deep down now it can be, done all the best and God Bless. x


by: Karen

Thanks for sharing. I can relate to that. I’m still struggling with active addiction to heroin and crack…lost soooo much. It amazes me when I read about people who get off heroin successfully. It seems so hopeless but it brings hope to hear ppl are doing it!

A Mask….

by: Lynette


Dear Angie,

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your story. I am printing it to give to my son who is an addict and is now in jail.

The last 13 years I have been going through the worst time of my life. Now, for the last year I finally “got it” at my Al Anon meetings and realized a lot of things. All I did was try to help my son in any way I could and I did not take care of myself. I was just trying to save him and I was so scared.

I know that I meant well, but now I realize that by helping him so much I was actually helping him to continue using. I would take him and pick him up from to rehabs., bail him out of jail, take him and pick him up from hospitals, spent a lot of money-the whole 9 yards.

I have been seeing a counselor for the past 4 years, talking to my minister and seeing a physician’s assistant. I also go to Al Anon meetings.

My son is now saying that he is sick of that lifestyle and wants to change and get really into the Alcoholics Anonymous program. He WAS clean for 7 months before relapsing this time and ending up back in jail.

Anyhow, thanks to yours and others stories, I know people can make it.

The problem BEFORE was that I thought he really wanted to get better but I didn’t realize he’d come out of “whatever” place and go right back to using. I have had my heart ripped out and stomped on so many times I can’t believe it.

Now I know that I cannot walk his road for him. I need to walk my own road. I really cannot help him-I AM NOT GOD. So, every day I give my day to God and I give everything over to God. I know He can help him and me.

Thanks again for sharing and I will pray for you-Lynette

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