In this blog post, I am going to go into more detail about one of the choices I made when I was at my most vulnerable and how it has shaped where my life is at today and who I have become. I didn’t realise the significance of what I decided back then, but I now I understand that if I had made different choices, I most likely would not be alive today.

To explain what I mean, I need to go back to the time these decisions were made. This was when I first moved into a youth refuge at 14 years of age.

I was a walking talking ball of emotions. Not only was I dealing with the effects of abuse I had been subjected to, but I was also a teenage girl with teenage girl hormones and emotions! That’s quite the combination I had going on there.

When I was homeless, young people were drinking, sniffing glue, smoking weed and shooting up speed and heroin. It was more common for homeless young people to be taking drugs than for them not to be.

I had 2 choices to make at that time – to take drugs or not to take them.

I chose to not take them.

The feelings of rejection and the brutal agony of feeling unlovable that I felt in every fibre of my being was crippling. It was soul destroying.

Those of you who are or who have been where I was know exactly what the feeling is that I am talking about and it is you this blog post is directed towards.

The depth of those feelings is that intense and brutal that I absolutely understand why some people make the choice to turn to drugs and/or alcohol. I mean, who wants to feel that way all day every day when you can numb it in some way?! When you are in the grip of those feelings, it does feel like the best option for you is to do whatever you can to not have to feel.

To numb the pain. To not have to feel.

Why feel that way if there is a way not to. I get it. Completely.

I am going to say something to you, as someone who fought a daily battle for many, many years with the feelings of being unloved, unwanted and alone. A battle because I felt worthless and was rejected by the very people who were supposed to love me and see my value as a person.

Drugs and alcohol will only numb the pain for a short time, but they will, without a shadow of a doubt, cause even more pain than what you are feeling now for you in the future.

When I was homeless, the drugs that were mostly used by young people were marijuana, speed and heroin. The latter two were everywhere and they are not drugs that can be taken for a long period of time.

They will kill you.

As a result of hard drug use, HIV/AIDS became prevalent amongst those who were homeless then. Practices such as needle sharing as well as prostituting oneself to support a drug habit would have lead to a significant number of my peers from back then becoming infected with HIV/AIDS.

Then there would have been drug-related crime. There would have been a number of deaths due to that.

Then, on top of that, there would be those who took their own life. I don’t have those figures of how many made that choice but I know it probably wouldn’t be a small number.

There are certain statistics that I will go into at a later date where it is believed that 60-70 of a specific group of 100 homeless young people died.

It is a truly sickening number of young people. If you look across the entire population of homeless youth at that time, so many were using drugs that it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that most of the young people using drugs back then could have suffered the same fate.

They too could have died.

I made a choice to not take drugs to numb the pain I was feeling. The reason that I made that choice was because I didn’t want to die, and realistically, the odds of me surviving using heroin and speed if I had done so, were very very low.

The irony of that being the reason I made the choice I did was that I tried taking my own life so many times. There were times where I genuinely did want to die but when I think back on that time, there was that small part of me that was defiant and refused to accept this was all there was for me. I think this the underlying reason why I made the choice to not take drugs.

Sometimes, when you are in the middle of such hell and your heart aches every second of every day, the easiest thing to do is to do whatever it takes not feel. To numb the pain. I get that totally. The way I tried to not feel, when the feelings were at their worst, was to attempt suicide.

I will be honest with you – I have sat there when people have shot up heroin and other hard drugs in front of me, but I have never been even remotely tempted to take them. Not even once. I tried marijuana 8 times in my life and I hated it every single time.

Drugs are an easy way to numb the pain but they carry a high price tag and that is addiction. Things might be hard to get out of now but I guarantee they will be so much harder if you become addicted to drugs.

You might no-one will care if you take drugs. That it doesn’t matter at the end of the day.

That isn’t true.

It does matter. I care!! So do others!!

I will say this again – so many of my peers are now dead because of their decision to take drugs. It might sound like I am trying to scare you. Well, I am. I don’t want anyone who is reading this to become a statistic like the ones my peers became.

There is more to you and your life than what you are going through. It isn’t a full-stop but drugs and drug addiction can be.

Drugs kill. They killed so many of my peers. I don’t want them killing you.

You deserve better. Not being able to numb the pain is harder but my decision to not take drugs is why I am here today. It’s as simple as that. I believe you have the strength to navigate your way out of where you are today without drugs. It won’t be easy but please trust me when I say it is more than worth it.

YOU are more than worth it!

YOU deserve more than what drug addiction can bring to your life.

So much more!!

All my love, Gretel. xx