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by Abigail Van Buren

Longtime Addict Seeks to End Downward Spiral of His Life

DEAR ABBY: I am a 46-year-old drug user. I have been addicted for more than 20 years. I know it's wrong. I know I can be a better person. I got hooked when a supposed friend introduced me to crack in 1992. If I could only go back to that day, I'd kick the you-know-what out of him. I was all set to make something of my life.

In 2010, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. It only got worse. I have hurt the people I care about the most. I have stolen from my mom. I have written checks on her bank account and pawned her jewelry. I don't know what to do.

I know I'm depressed since Dad died. I'm also disabled and on disability. I pretty much kept everything in check until 2001 when I lost the job I'd held for 17 years. I have drifted from job to job ever since.

So there it is. I have developed COPD. I'm on oxygen full time and can't work. I ask myself why I'm suddenly doing three and four times more than I've ever done. Do you think I'm that depressed? That I'm trying to speed my own death? I'm at a loss and need some guidance. I contemplate suicide daily, but I guess I'm too much of a coward. Can you help me? -- END OF MY ROPE IN FLORIDA

DEAR END OF YOUR ROPE: At this point, the only person who can help you is yourself. The problem with using drugs is that after a period of time, the body builds up a tolerance, and it takes more and more of them to achieve a high. This may be why your use has increased the way it has.

Because programs to help people break their drug habit usually cost money -- which you don't have -- go to to find the location of the nearest Narcotics Anonymous meeting. As you may already know, NA is a fellowship in which addicts help each other to get off and stay off drugs. Please give it a try because it could save your life.

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