By Aaron Emerson
Yes, my blog is called Hope From Dope. And yes, there is definitely hope from dope. I was a heroin addict for many years and found recovery and happiness after a very tough ride through many jail and rehab stints. At age 26, I have spent five years of my life inside the walls of places nobody would get paid to live in.
But even though there is hope, sometimes us addicts fuck up and resort back to our old ways. That is where I stand right now. I will NEVER make an excuse for a relapse, because when we addicts/alcoholics find recovery, we are once again afforded a choice to use or not to use. When we are in active addiction, we don’t have that choice unless we go to rehab, jail or hit a hellish bottom. I am at that point where I have hit a bottom where I am desperate to get help again.
I didn’t create this blog and website to brag about my recovery or how good I was doing. I made it to show people what it is like to be an addict trying to find recovery. If you have read my blog in the past years, you have seen the hope I found. You have seen me document my past and show that any addict can get help and get clean. As a three time felon who was addicted to heroin for years, you saw me get clean. But, sadly, I relapsed, again, and I couldn’t be more mad at myself. So, I write this blog to once again show you that the life of an addict is not an easy path.
These last couple years, I have been dealing with a lot. I have never written about some of the stuff I am about to post. It is not an excuse as to why I relapsed, I just want to give a little perspective of what we addicts sometimes deal with and why we resort to drugs in the first place.
Before I write this, I want to let you know that the only person I have ever mentioned this to is my brother, my ex and my parents. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my life, and I went to therapy last year for it. After the first three sessions upon talking about it, I stopped attending the counseling sessions because I wasn’t ready to fully get into it. But, after relapse, relapse and more relapse, I think it is time to be open about this, because in the last couple years, it is the thing that has been bothering me the most and has contributed to me constantly reaching out to drugs to ease and cope with the pain.
I’m not going to get into great detail, because I am not ready to post that kind of stuff on the internet. But when I was 16, I was sentenced to a juvenile prison facility. I spent a year in there, a facility in Saginaw, Michigan, and was one of the first people from the Lansing area to ever be sent there, as it was a newer facility designed to help repeat juvenile offenders. I was sort of like a guinea pig for the Ingham County court system for this facility.
When I got there, I immediately realized I was going to have to hold my own with my fists unless I wanted to join a gang. Since I was the only white kid and the only kid in my group from outside of the inner city of Detroit, I didn’t know shit about gang activity. So, I decided to test the waters. After a few weeks, I regretted not joining one of the two main gangs, as I would have had protection from getting jumped in my cell while the guard/staff workers watched three Detroit bloods “show me the ropes” for simply being white.
A couple months later is where it got really bad. And this is the part where I have debated for years about writing about. I wrote a book about my life, but I left this part out because I just wasn’t ready to even think about it. Even in recovery, I blocked it out. I tried to forget it happened. I even tried to think it was a dream, that maybe it didn’t actually happen. But after this latest relapse, i can’t hide it anymore. I need to get it out before I go to rehab, because I think it would really help me in my latest attempt to get sober. Honesty is key, and I created this blog to let it all out, so why not?
I don’t even know how to write it. But, three guards or staff members or whatever the fuck they are called, came into my shower one night and “did what they do.” I don’t even know how else to explain it, because, frankly, saying the word rape as a 26 year old man now is just hard to even write. But I tried to fight back. It just wasn’t enough as one 17 year old kid against three grown men, who were there to “protect” us. I did my best to fight, because my whole life, my dad and family taught me to never start a fight, but if one was started, to finish it. But I couldn’t finish this one. I did my best, but this was one fight I lost. I wish it was only a one time occurrence, but it wasn’t. I wish just one of those pussies could have come in there by themselves and I guarantee it wouldn’t have happened, because my whole life I have been a fighter, but three against one was something I couldn’t handle, so finally I just stopped fighting.
From here, I don’t know what else to say, besides I am finally trying to accept what happened and realize that this has been something I have blocked out for years. I relapsed again, and that is not the reason why, because I know there have been many other people who have dealt with similar things who are in recovery and have dealt with their shit properly. But I never have. Like I said up above, I blocked it out, I tried to act like it never happened. But after this latest relapse, I can’t block it out anymore. I can’t deny it anymore. I was sent to a place to get help, but it turned out to be a nightmare, somewhere that turned me into a monster for a time. But I have hit my bottom, and I am so ready to change.
Please, there is always hope, no matter what you have been through. I hope my story can somehow help another person, because that is what this blog is about. It is not to brag, promote anything, or sell anything. It is simply to share my story to help other people. Just know that God is always there. During that year in juvenile, I never thought God was real. I felt like a loner. I felt like my life was broken. I felt low. I felt like I would never, ever get out of that jungle. When I told my probation officer that something was going on, he thought I was just trying to make stuff up to get out. After that, I stopped trying. I stopped thinking there was a God. I thought that as a 17 year old addict, my life would always be full of pain. I was wrong. I got clean after several more years and enjoyed life. But I relapsed again because I didn’t deal with this properly. But I am ready. Please, pray for me as I go back into rehab on Monday. I am sick of this life. This was so fucking hard to write, but I really felt led to share it in case it could even help ONE person. I love you all. God is good and will never give us more than we can handle.