April 8, 2012
By , Yakima, WA
“This is the last time I'll do this, I swear”, Matt says as he inhales. Three years of promising an end to his destructive ways. Three years of slowly ruining his life. Three years of slowly losing everything that use to mean the world to him. He lost his closest friends, his home, and his parents’ trust. He had gone too far now, he felt, to turn around and get everything back.
Going back about four years, Matt was the star of his high school football team as a sophomore. He got straight A’s, had a beautiful girlfriend, and a nice car. He had everything that any 16 year old could possibly ask for. Matt’s girlfriend, Sarah, was a junior and was in all AP classes. She already had planned out where she was going to go to college and Matt was going to follow her. He told her how he would always love her and would go with her wherever she went. Matt and Sarah weren’t the stereotypical high school sweethearts. They weren’t together for each other’s looks, although they were both fairly attractive, and they weren’t together for sex. Being best friends slowly blossomed into true love. The two were inseparable. They were still the best of friends and did everything together. The whole school was sure they would be married right after Matt graduated.

May third of Matt’s sophomore year, so close to the end of school and to being a junior, is the day he received the worst news imaginable. Matt’s true love and best friend was taken from him a lot sooner than he had ever planned or imagined. Sarah had a myxoma that had gone untreated for too long. Sarah didn’t think anything of it when her heart would beat too hard or too fast because it would only be a problem for a couple minutes and then she was fine. All along, Sarah had a tumor in her heart and nobody knew. Matt lost his girlfriend that day but even more so, he lost his best friend. Matt stayed in bed for about a month. He wouldn’t go to school or talk to friends and hardly ate anything. He didn’t want to leave his room and be hit with the reality that Sarah wouldn’t be running to great him at school. Never again could he feel her kiss or hold her in his arms or move the hair from her face to look at her big green eyes. Never again would he be the open arms she ran to after her dad drank a little too much and went a little too far in punishing her. Never again could he comfort her the morning after a long night of her parents screaming at each other and throwing things above her room. Sarah was the strongest person Matt had ever met and he would never be able to hear her voice again besides listening to the voicemails she used to leave him. Matt’s parents and friends tried their hardest to get him to leave his room or to even get out of bed. He refused. He didn’t want to go through life without his best friend.

Matt never returned to school after Sarah passed away. Some said that Matt was being too dramatic; others didn’t know how he ever left his room at all after she died. Matt no longer cared what people thought; he only wanted to hear the thoughts of Sarah. Matt spent that following summer just floating through life, doing whatever came his way. A night where Matt felt slightly more than mediocre, he decided to go to a party his friend, Sam had invited him to. He hadn’t realized that summer was coming to and end and this was a “summer’s over, back to school” party. The time and day of the week wasn’t important to him. Without going to school or making plans with Sarah, he had totally lost grasp of time and reality. Matt pulled up to the party at 1:24; the party had already been going for a couple of hours and everyone was way past the ‘okay to drive’ limit.

“Matt! You decided to show up! Come here, man, I’ve got something for you.” Matt followed his friend, Sam, through the giant, crowded house. He had never noticed until now how skinny Sam was. Sam had always struck him as the average high school kid but looking at him now, he was way too skinny for a 17 year old guy. Sam led him to a small room with about 11 people packed in there. Everyone in the room looked like zombies. One or two people were talking, the rest were staring at the floor or ceiling or their hands. Matt had never been to a party, he had spent his weekends just watching movies or playing basketball in his drive way with Sarah; he never felt the need to go to a party. Confused as to why his friend had led him to this room, he asked what they were doing. Sam turned toward Matt and handed him a pipe. Matt had seen pipes on television, so of course he knew what it was for but . . . “how do you use one?” he thought to himself. Sam kind of chuckled at his friend’s cautiousness and walked him through the process. Matt was surprised at how quick he was to accept his friend’s offer. He never imagined himself as one to take any kind of drug and he hadn’t even known what was in the pipe and yet, he had grabbed the pipe and done everything his friend told him to do. At first, Matt thought it was all a joke; he hadn’t felt any different. Frustrated, thinking his friend had tried to pull a joke on him; he grabbed his keys and walked out the door. As soon as he stepped out the door though, he couldn’t find his car. A small, bright red, miatta is pretty hard to miss but he didn’t see it anywhere. He had even parked right up front. Thinking he was going crazy, he sat down on the front lawn and ended up passing out.

Fast forwarding to the present day, Matt lives in an old, run down apartment with a drug addiction that he feels he cannot escape. Everyday of Matt's life revolves around getting his next fix. He hates that this is what his life has come to but this is all he knows now. Despite the hateful words he's spoke to his parents, they call Matt everyday to check in on him. They hate what his life has come to as well but they still have that unconditional love for him.

After a year of trying to convince Matt to get help, his father finally got Matt to agree to go in for treatment. Matt never thought that he would go to a rehab center. Until recently, he honestly didn't think that he needed it. He had seen movies and heard stories about people who go in for drug treatment but he never realized that his life had reached that point. The night before he was about to head to the nearby rehab center, Matt had never felt so scared or alone in his life. He didn't sleep at all and he finished off all of his "product" he had bought a few days earlier. He knew is wasn't a good idea but he didn't know what else to do; it was the only thing that comforted him. His dad arrived at 7 in the morning, eager to get his son the help he needed. Matt opened the door for his dad and they both packed Matt's bags out to the car. Everything felt surreal. Matt and his dad drove for a half hour in silence. Matt was embarrassed that his life had come to the point where he needed his father to drive him to rehab and his dad didn't know the right words to say. When they arrived, Matt's dad was able to help him pack his bags in, hug him goodbye, and then was asked to leave. This big, empty building was going to be Matt's home for the next 60 days. 60 long, scary, mysterious days laid ahead of Matt.

The first week felt like the hardest week of Matt's life. He spent his days sitting in the corner of his room, shaking and sweating, but had never felt so cold in his life. His night's were spent crying and throwing up what little food he had managed to eat that day. For the first time in a long time, his thoughts were again consumed with the thought of his one true love. The drugs had always kept his mind off of Sarah but now, without them, she was all he could think about. He missed her more than ever because she was always able to comfort him in his hard times. After the first week, things started to go a little smoother. He started eating a little more, crying a little less and shaking a little less. Matt's roommate, George, had been there already for 30 days by the time Matt arrived. George told him "You just have to make it, one day at a time. Don't think about tomorrow, tomorrow will worry about itself. Just get through everyday as it comes." That's how Matt got along. Days spent at the rehab center turned into weeks and then months. By the 50th day, Matt couldn't believe how long he had been there. He had never felt better. He went to daily meetings where he opened up and talked to people about Sarah for the first time since she passed away. He built a lot of strong relationships with amazing people who had all been through a lot in life and all had their own story and reason for ending up there.

He had finally made it. The 60th day had arrived. The day he had been waiting for since he had showed up. He woke up, looked around the room he had spent the last couple months in and said goodbye to George, who had a tougher time leaving than Matt. George wished him luck and told him he better not ever hear about him coming back here again. Matt promised. "This is my last time I'll do this, I swear."

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