September 28, 2023
  • 12:08 pm Fall Convocation 2022: “The State of this University is Strong”
  • 9:37 pm Ogrin Brings the Thunder in Toros 12-3 rout; team plays for playoff championship tomorrow
  • 7:00 am Outstanding Professor Award Recipient’s Mic Drop Moment at Last Month’s Virtual Ceremony
  • 9:10 am Bookworms of the World Unite!
  • 7:46 pm Breaking News: All Students Living in Campus Housing Required to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
  • 9:00 am CSUDH Esports Creates International Competition
  • 9:35 am Spring Commencement Ceremonies Get Brighter
  • 3:46 pm Breaking News: Spring Commencement Ceremonies Recieve Stadium Upgrade
  • 8:00 am Testing the Teachers (and All the Educators)
  • 9:30 am CSUDH Educators and School Employees, Vaccinated Next
  • 10:30 am For White People Only: Anti-Racism Workshop Addresses Racial Bias and Unity
  • 2:43 pm Greatness Personified: Remembering Kobe Bryant
  • 10:02 am Straight Down the Chimney and Into Your (Digital) Hands: Special Holiday Edition of The Bulletin!
  • 2:44 pm Did You Wake up Looking this Beautiful?
  • 11:43 am A Long History for University’s Newest Major
  • 5:15 pm Issue 5 of Bulletin Live! Collector’s Item! Worth its Weight in Digital Paper!
  • 4:06 pm Special Election Issue
  • 4:03 pm Three best Latinx Halloween & Horror Short Films available now on HBO Max
  • 9:49 am Issue 3 of CSUDH Bulletin Live if You Want It
  • 3:24 pm Hispanic Heritage Month Update
  • 2:00 pm South Bay Economic Forecast Goes Virtual
  • 3:52 pm BREAKING NEWS: Classes for Spring to be Online, CSU Chancellor Announces
  • 9:39 am “Strikes” and Solidarity
  • 8:30 am March Into History: Just 5 in 1970, CSUDH Growth Shaped by Historic Event
  • 8:30 am Will the Bulletin Make Today Tomorrow?
  • 9:04 am Different Neighborhoods Warrant Rubber Bullets or Traffic Control For Protesters
  • 5:07 pm STAFF EDITORIAL: Even Socially Distant, We All Have to Work Together
  • 5:47 pm Transcript of CSUDH President Parham’s Coronavirus Announcement
  • 10:46 am Cal State Long Beach Suspends Face-to-Face Classes; CSUDH Discussing Contingency Plans
  • 5:26 pm Things Black People Should be Able to Get Away with This Month
  • 10:25 am Latinx Students Need a Place to Call Home
  • 2:35 pm Will Time Run Out Before Funds for PEGS? [UPDATED]
  • 8:41 am Year of the Rat? What’s That?
  • 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 We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat; Tsunami 3.0 Hits Campus, Enrollment Swells
  • 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
  • 6:30 pm September Events For Suicide Prevention Month
  • 6:30 pm Higher Parking Fees Squeeze Toros
  • 6:25 pm Study Abroad Opportunities Abound
  • 7:49 pm CSUDH offers qualified students free laptops
  • 1:17 pm Peaches, Peaches, Peaches

Illustration by Nova Blanco Rico, for the Bulletin

By Raven Brown, Social Media Manager=

This is my drug addiction story: Three years ago, I crawled out of a hole I dug deep inside myself. I quit using drugs that were killing me and pursued an education I never thought I deserved. 

I am not unique. College students are twice as likely to suffer from substance abuse than people who never go to college. Fortunately, I was someone who came face to face with my mortality and decided to make a change. 

I never thought I would have the guts to talk about my addiction, but in honor of the fact that this is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, I wanted to share my experience with the hope it helps someone like I used to be, a student addicted to drugs. 

At a very early age, I felt like an outsider who viewed the world differently from everyone around me. I could be in a room full of people and I would feel so alone. I wondered whether there was something wrong with me or something in my family lineage cruelly plagued me?

My parents were divorced before I turned 5 because of my father’s drug addiction.

But I never knew why until many years later. I suppose my mom was trying to protect me from what I could become.

When I was 11, my dad was arrested for selling meth and sentenced to 10 years in prison. I ignored the anger and confusion I felt because I didn’t know what else to do. I was a child facing grown-up issues I wasn’t equipped to handle.

As the years went by, my father’s abandonment left a void inside me. I was depressed and incredibly anxious, but I didn’t have the vocabulary to express what I was feeling.

As a teenager, you would think I would be repelled by the notion of doing drugs given their role in stealing my father and breaking my family. Nope. 

My friends were doing them and though I once swore that I would never touch the stuff, I gave in. The urge to conform to the crowd was too strong for my undeveloped willpower. I wanted to belong to something, even if it was only to a group of drug dealers and users.

Age 14 was the entry point

I was 14 the first time I got high. Instantly, I felt a paralyzing shift within me. My relationship with drugs went from smoking weed to drinking alcohol at parties and eventually dabbling in other drugs whenever the opportunity presented itself. I loved the out-of-body sensations and how disconnected I felt from my problems. There was some guilt for giving in to the same vices that ruined my parent’s marriage, but the euphoria quickly drowned out my lone inner voice that was screaming for me to stop.

That singular voice told me that I was an idiot to waste my talents and that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. But it was constantly lost amid the chorus of other voices inside me that told me I was a loser and would never amount to anything. 

By some miracle, I graduated high school at 18 and enrolled at El Camino College. Although I often wondered if I would even live to see my graduation day, and usually didn’t even care if I lived or died, I somehow stayed enrolled in school every semester, even if it was just one or two classes.  

“That singular voice told me that I was an idiot to waste my talents and that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. But it was constantly lost amid the chorus of other voices inside me that told me I was a loser and would never amount to anything. “

I bounced between majors for several years, studying nursing, kinesiology, nutrition and psychology. It was almost as if I was seeking answers to my own problems through studying subjects in the healing fields, as if that would turn my life around. But even though I loved school and I wanted to help people, I couldn’t seem to help myself. My insatiable drive to succeed in school was matched by my equally ravenous addiction. 

And every day,  I found a way to feed both cravings.

From the outside, no one knew I was struggling. I was working and going to school full-time, but it was all a front. I became a professional liar and was ashamed at how weak I had become. I couldn’t seem to shake the drugs or the hold they had over me.

When I turned 25, I was introduced to crystal methamphetamine by someone I wish I never met. I told myself I only wanted to try it that one time, just to see what it felt like. I was dying to feel happiness, even if it was artificial. Instead, that rock took a hold of my soul in a way no other substance ever had. I was completely powerless to it. With that first hit, I became totally addicted. 

After that, my entire life revolved around drugs. I shut out all my friends and isolated myself in my room almost 24 hours a day getting high. I lied to myself and believed that the energy meth gave me was helping me get through school. I had more time to study from not sleeping and had laser-like focus; every student’s dream, I thought. 

Dual addictions fed each other

My addiction to both drugs and school became intertwined and I couldn’t see anything else. I was hell-bent on earning a college degree. The obsession weighed on me heavily because I knew I would be the only one in my family to do so. I wanted to be proud of myself for accomplishing something in my life. 

After almost two years of methamphetamine use, I weighed 85 pounds. I became increasingly mentally ill and experienced schizophrenic-like symptoms. I was paranoid, completely delusional and hallucinating shadow-people all around me. I was terrified I was going to end up severely brain damaged or dead. 

Eventually, the drugs stopped working. No matter how much I used I wasn’t getting high anymore and I was forced to face my demons. At 27, I quit cold turkey and the next two weeks of my life were a living hell. With my dopamine reserves totally depleted, I could barely get out of bed and it felt like every cell in my body was being torn apart. 

I struggled for the next year with my mental health and staying on top of my schoolwork, but the fog finally lifted and I felt my true self coming back. The girl I was before I first tried drugs all those years ago. 

At 28, I transferred to California State University, Dominguez Hills, switched my major to journalism from psychology and found a peace I had never felt. I developed a sense of belonging among my peers and realized that had I not pursued an education I might not be here today. 

I once believed that all I would ever be was a hopeless junkie, hitting a pipe every hour on the hour until my lungs or my heart finally gave out. I thought that I was a lost cause and unworthy to even breathe the air that I felt others deserved more than me. 

That person still lives inside me, but so does the one with the passion to help other people, someone who doesn’t seek to bury the past, but who will use those experiences as the centerpiece for how she can be of greatest use to others. That’s why I wake up every morning grateful that I was given another chance at life, and certain of the knowledge that continuing my education saved me from a life of addiction—or worse.

All too often, college can feel like a chore, a tasky check-all-the-appropriate-boxes transition between our teenage years and legitimate adult status. But I’ve come to realize getting an education isn’t a chore; it’s an unbelievable gift, something that no one can ever take away. 

Yes, maybe you will stumble occasionally, feel like a failure, change majors a million times, give up all hope, cry yourself to sleep every day for a year because it’s all so overwhelming and feel like nothing in your life will ever make any sense. I know that, I’ve lived it. 

But I have also picked myself up after every fall, pulled myself together after every mistake and bad choice, and kept my sights fixed on getting that diploma. And I can’t help but think when that day arrives that all the struggles I endured, self-created or not, will make it feel all that much more worthwhile.

Now in my senior year, I have been clean from drugs for more than three years. It took going through a personal hell and realizing that there is more to life than escaping my problems for me to get here, but that light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer every day. 

But it’s not really a light. Or a tunnel. It’s a voice, one my addiction tried to stifle for so long but that refused to be silenced. It’s my voice and it’s saying “I knew you could make it.”

If you are a student struggling with substance abuse, please contact the Student Psychological Services (310-243-3818) or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (800-622-4357) for more information about treatment and how to get your life back on track. 


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