November 21, 2019
  • 6:20 am Artist Who Gave Life to Death and Inspired Countless Others Gets His Due at Dominguez Hills
  • 5:16 pm Why I’m Rooting for Dr. Cornel West
  • 5:00 pm Under Fire from the Feds, Vaping’s Future is Cloudy
  • 3:28 pm Enrollment, Part one: We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat; Tsunami 3.0 Hits Campus, Enrollment Swells
  • 1:22 pm THE FIRST ISSUE OF THE BULLETIN IS HERE
  • 4:48 pm University Weathering a Wave of New Students
  • 9:21 pm The Bulletin’s Public Records Request Offers Springboard to Launch Gender Equity Discussion at CSUDH
  • 4:27 pm Black is the New Black: Raising the Capital on the “B” Word
  • 10:53 am Guns Up for Arrest: Student advocacy group pushes for CSU No Gun Zones–Including the Police
  • 4:09 pm Staff Editorial: Words on the First
  • 8:42 pm Carson Mayor Blasts Media, Landmark Libel Case in Keynote Address
  • 9:27 am Free Speech Week Calendar of Events Update
  • 6:02 am Food for Thought: 40% of Students are Food Insecure
  • 3:12 pm Academic Senate Rejects CSU GE Task Force & Report
  • 3:06 pm Work To Be Done
  • 5:56 pm ASI Elections: What You Need to Know
  • 8:02 pm CSUDH President Parham Announces Cancer Diagnosis
  • 9:47 am CSUDH Art Professor’s 20-Year Journey Results in First Local Showing of Film
  • 9:13 pm Free Speech or Free Hate area?
  • 9:08 pm CSUDH’s Best & Brightest Shine at Student Research Day
  • 9:05 pm Academic Senate Approves Gender Equity Task Force
  • 12:37 pm When Dr. Davis speaks, Toros Pay Close Attention
  • 3:38 pm Investing in the Future: Dr. Thomas A. Parham Reflects on the Past Eight Months and Contemplates​ the University’s Future
  • 3:24 pm Green Olive to Open By End of Feb; Starbucks Not Until Fall
  • 3:20 pm Gov. Newsom’s Proposed Budget Hailed for Extensive Funding Increases
  • 3:08 pm Out of the Classroom: Labor and Community Organizing Course Aims to Teach Students How to Organize for Social Justice
  • 2:54 pm The Other Route in Professional Sports
  • 9:02 am Hail to the New Chief, CSUDH President Thomas Parham
  • 3:36 pm Career Center Holds Major/Minor Fair
  • 5:34 pm After Unexpected Delay, Undocumented Becomes More Intimate Theatrical Production
  • 1:30 pm What to Expect When You’re Expecting New Buildings
  • 4:23 pm Latest issue of Bulletin online now
  • 9:46 am Arts and Entertainment Expo Offers Many insights
  • 3:44 pm Still Time Left to Hit the Rink And Help the Hungry and Homeless
  • 5:32 pm Toros Remain Undefeated at Home
  • 5:19 pm The Lightning Rod: Chiefs-Chargers Preview
Story tips, concerns, questions?

By Joseph Baroud
Staff Writer

I know I didn’t die twice and was spared each time for a life of despair on the street, becoming victim to the syringe and the poppy flower. To the depths of my own personal hell I’ve sunk, but each time I’ve gotten up and started walking again. But I know this journey is far from over.  

For eight years, I worked on destroying my life. I did whatever I could do to obtain a disgusting, smelly, black tarry substance, and put it in a spoon, or a can of soda, add some water, cook it up, draw it into a syringe, and dig, sometimes for 30 minutes, to find a vein so I could inject the thick brown liquid.

I stole—not from people, but from stores, so I guess I had some morals, as lame as that sounds. I dug through trash for recyclables, thinking sometimes my father was looking down on me from heaven, so proud seeing me do that. Or maybe he just tried to die again.

I was always a troubled youth. I didn’t have a rough time growing up financially, but I had emotional issues. My whole life, I was sent to psychologists and therapists to find out what was wrong with me, and prescribed medication to fix whatever it was.

But it didn’t work. Whether diagnosed as bipolar, autistic, depressed, and whatever medication I was given, I still felt alone most of the time, unloved, and unacknowledged. 

After my father died when I was 18, the few friends I had started disappearing for one reason or the other. But I would eventually discover something that, at first, didn’t make me care about being alone. It was heroin. I had used drugs like cocaine or meth recreationally before then, but my natural anxiety didn’t make for the best of fits.

But, the first time I tried heroin, I fell into a kind of love that would soon reveal itself as a nightmare. At first, it kept me company, whenever I needed someone. It was my friend. But at some point, I no longer did it to feel that euphoric high or tranquil calm, but because I had to. My mind and my body had to have it. 

Sure, I tried to stop, but if you’ve never endured heroin withdrawal, count yourself lucky. There is nothing worse. You can’t sleep, you can’t sit still, or even be in your skin. It’s the worst anxiety magnified by 20. So, I just kept using.

Finally, I had become so disgusted with myself, my situation, my environment, everything, that I knew I had to change. Knowing I couldn’t quit on my own, I went to a free clinic and was prescribed methadone, a synthetic opiate that works on similar receptors as heroin does, preventing your body from withdrawing from not having heroin in its system. Some people might say I’ve traded one addiction for another. But I don’t get high on methadone and once it’s time to get off, which is very soon, my clinic-dispensed prescription will be gradually reduced, so I can taper off slowly and hopefully evade any withdrawals.

Right about here is the part of stories like this (“My Courageous Battle Against Addiction,” “Kicking Drugs and Feeling Great”) where the writer shares the inspiring lesson they have learned. Well, I got nothing on that front. Because I don’t think I’m anywhere near to being in a place where I could impart wisdom. 

You see, for addicts, deciding to stop is just the first step on a long road. Though I’ve been off heroin for two years now and decided to go back to school and get a degree, I am a 30-year-old man with no money who lives in a shack behind his mother’s house. I rarely shower more than twice a week. I am always hungry and I never have any damn thing that I want or need.

But I have gained one thing I never had before: the self-love that comes with self-respect. Instead of relying on heroin or desperately feeling I needed others to love me, I am slowly realizing that the only love that matters is the love that comes from within.

Without it, you can’t hope to love anyone else. And with it, it doesn’t make a damn difference if anyone loves you or not. And I’m trying to love myself by setting goals and accomplishing them. By accepting myself, by being honest and having respect for myself and others. 

That’s not a particularly original philosophy, I know, but it’s the best I can do. And for the first time in my life, I am in a place where I’m okay with doing my best. Because for the first time in my life, I know I can, and will, become better.

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