Friday, January 11, 2013

The Little Things

Travis W. Shellman
This I Believe
Written Jan.10th, 2010
Revised and Edited on Jan.11th 2013

I Believe in the Power of Little Things

              November of 2000 was a turning point in my life. It was the first turn of many in the downward spiral of heroin addiction. I learned a lot of  important things before November of 2000, but I have learned much, much more, since.I never understood the importance of the little things in life, If I had, I had no appreciation for them. I was taking everything for granted, as I later learned on my own.I thought that I understood the meaning of life before this date, but I soon discovered that life can, and will, take on a whole new meaning. I try my hardest not to take life for granted anymore. I believe in the power of the little things.
              The longest journey of my life began somewhere around November 22, 2000. This was when I tried heroin for the first time. I do not want to sound any better than any other addict, because I most certainly am NOT. I, however did start using heroin for a totally different reason than most.The day I first abused heroin, I did so because I was in severe pain. I had shattered my ankle and heel bone on a job a couple months prior, and it was never set. I was scheduled to see a specialist but through some sort of misunderstanding my appointment kept getting pushed back and rescheduled.
               I was injured in September and here it was the end of November and I still hadn't been scheduled for surgery. To make things worse, the pain was unbearable and I had no medication to ease it. I had been lying in the same spot since September and I couldn't even move because the pain was so excruciating. Just as the pain was getting to the point that I was having suicidal thoughts, My friend stopped in to see how I was faring. He couldn't stand to see me this way. My friend, so upset at the state I was in, offered up a small line of heroin to make the pain go away. I agreed with him that if it worked as he said it does. I would be much better off. I hadn't experimented with drugs such as this. I had never even SEEN heroin before but I figured I couldn't be any worse off so I gladly snorted it..........If I only knew then, what I know now. I didn't know the extent of the damage I was going to cause myself and everyone around me. I didn't know that some of my closest friends would be lost to this world, due to overdose. I didn't know I would start hurting the people I loved. I didn't know I would soon lose my freedom and thus my right to experience the little things in life. I was so naive.

               This heroin thing seemed to be working for me. Every day, I was hurting less and less. I was able to get motivated, and after a few weeks I was even able to stand and walk with crutches. I was so amazed at how quickly the drug made all my pain and worries disappear. I thought it was amazing. I thought it was miraculous......Little did I know, I had already taken the first steps of many in the downward spiral of heroin addiction.

                I soon realized that the drug had swallowed my life. I learned that I needed it to survive. I also learned that I would do almost anything to get it. I learned fairly quickly that if I didn't have heroin, the pain and sickness would soon set in. This "sickness" is the worst kind of sickness I had ever experienced and still is to date. I wouldn't wish this sickness on my worst enemy. I learned the hard way about withdrawls. At this moment in time I knew I had a problem. I knew that I was a junkie. I knew I had transformed into someone that not even my closest family could pinpoint or recognize. I had a problem.....I needed help.....I had no idea how to fix this!

            The sound the crickets make at night, the smell of fresh spring rain, the sound of children laughing..........I took it all for granted. The warmth of sunshine on my face, the comfort of my own bed and the warm, fuzzy feeling I get when I see Charmin toilet paper are only a few of the things that I lost.In February of 2005 I was arrested on felony drug charges. This was the beginning of the rest of my life. It was the beginning of my realization.

           I finally realized what I had done, and knew (somewhat) how I could fix things.It was time to stop lying to myself. It was time to be a man! I told the judge about my problem. I told him I was a serious user and that I needed help. I told him that I wouldn't quit on my own. I WAS BEGGING for help. I had already spent 5 months of my life in jail and I was thinking about the little things. There were so many BIG problems in my life that needed fixed but the little things bothered me the most. I started to crave them. I wanted to have real deodorant. I missed the smell of flowers. I longed for a hug. I wanted pizza. Most of all................I just wanted to take a crap in private, without another man sitting three feet away from me!
           Lucky for me, the judge did just as I had asked. He placed me in a six month treatment program where I could get the help I so desperately longed for. I had gotten what I so desperately needed. I learned how to be a better person. With help, I was able to kick my habit. I am no longer dependent on heroin to live. 

         I WILL ALWAYS BE AN ADDICT, but I now have a weapon to combat my addiction. My weapon is my memory. My weapon is Knowledge. I now know what I will receive if I use heroin again. Fortunately, I also know what I will lose!

           I still do not understand the meaning of life, but I do understand the importance and meaning of the little things in it. I believe in the power of the little things. If not for that supreme power, I might not be here today.