Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Harm Reduction Works

I started using marijuana as a teenager because all of my peers were doing it. I then moved to heroine, then to cocaine and on to crack. During the course of my addiciton, people, places, and things were a big factor. I got HIV and hepatitis C because I wasn't injecting safely. Right now I have very few friends and associates because I utilize the harm reduction approach and I avoid the people, places, and things that perpetuate my addiction. All of my friends are still addicted.

Once I began using using, I was off and running. I started using heroin on the weekends with friends and then I began using it alone, and then I HAD to do it alone. Several times a day. I was working at the time and I never needed to steal. Lie and manipulate, yes. I lost my job and several jobs after that. I got into many fights and I got beat up a lot. I owed people money and they owed me money. It was all from the addiction.
I have been through over 10 detox's over the past 10-15 years-but I left detox and went straight to get high. It got me nowhere, save for a few days clean. I have never been in a long-term treatment program because I wasn't ready and I didn't want to have to go away.

I learned about harm reduction about three years ago when I came to Harlem United. I have tried quitting cold turkey, but it never worked for me-I always fell and fell hard. I went right back to using. Then I learned about harm reduction, and that's what has worked for me. Now I just use less. I'm not up all night partying anymore. And I don't go to my program intoxicated because I take it seriously. When I am intoxicated I am uncofortable and my program is my escape-Harlem United and FROST'D have taught me how to live without being intoxicated. Before I knew nothing else but getting high, but now I am motivated to do other things. I still use, don't get me wrong, but only 2-4 times a month. I use coke intravenously, but I am enrolled into the SEP program and always use clean needles. I know how to be safe.

I have also started looking to religion, employment, and volunteer work. This all helps me. Harm Reduction has given me a feeling a self-worth.

Money is still a big trigger for me. I still have problem with that, so I have gotten direct deposit and a debit card. This way I don't need to cash a check and I don't have "cash money" in my hand. I still ahve access to it, but it's different. This is also harm reduction.

All I want to say is harm reduction works. Try it, you're gonna like it.

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