Greg: What is going on, everyone? It is Matt and Greg here from Project Unbroken. So, today, is kind of our first video we’re shooting for Project Unbroken, we want to release to people, and we want to start by kind of talking about, what it’s like to be a heroin addict?
Both us have been heroin addicts. We’re recovering. He’s been 10 years clean. Going on about eight off heroin, and about five off methadone. So, today, we just want to kind of introduce people, what it was like for us, individually, to be heroin addicts. So what would you say, for you, going into heroin, what was it like when you first started doing heroin?
Matt: Well, I’ll say, the whole experience, or the amount of time that I was on heroin, it was the best time of my life, and the worst time of my life, just, combined. It was, like, the highs are really high, and the lows are really low, literally.
Matt: But when I first got into it, it was a quick transition from pills, to heroin, and then, it’s, you become an every day user.
Matt: So it starts to slowly overtake your life.
Greg: And we did pills for a couple years, where we came off the book. We kind of transitioned to heroin. It was a pretty quick steam roll there.
Matt: Yeah, yeah. Pills were casual use. Heroin, it took over pretty quickly. To be honest, at first, I really enjoyed it. I think, maybe it’s the same for you. Greg and I were really good friends, when we fell into our heroin addiction, and I had a lot of fun with it. I mean, I know, we used to go out, all the time, and this is like, heroin was definitely a social drug for me. It made me feel more at ease in social settings. I just really enjoyed it. But we would go out, and play pool, and whatever, just have a really good time with it, and I felt great.
Greg: You know, it’s funny. It’s, most people probably listen to that, and they’re, like, “What? On heroin?”
Matt: I know. Yeah.
Greg: They’re thinking, like, nodding out, but you kind of also use it. It gets your endorphins low. It makes you feel good. So, pretty cool.
Matt: Oh, yeah, yeah. I used it in both settings.
Matt: Social, and just, honestly, it gets to the point where it makes everything better.
Matt: I think that’s the problem.
Matt: Yeah, temporarily. I mean, we were working at a job where we were up, really early in the morning, and then, you kind of get high, early in the morning. You’re like, “Well, this is awesome now.” So, then, every time you get up early in the morning, if you’re not high, it’s going to suck. That is how heroin puts its grips in you, is, it’s because, you don’t want to do anything sober ever again.
Greg: So how long would you say it was enjoyable for you?
Matt: I mean, I don’t know. Maybe, two years. It was awhile. It was a long time. It was enjoyable, most of the time. As far as, I felt, I didn’t want to stop. But it adds a lot of stress to your life, that I don’t think you notice, because once you get high, it makes it okay again. You do start to realize that your life is becoming less and less manageable. Like, it’s, heroin takes over everything that you try to do. It takes precedent over your finances, over your family, over your relationships.
You will definitely steal from people you care about. You’ll lie to people you’ll love, but you don’t see those things. Heroin puts a big blinder over your eyes, and it’s really hard to see what’s going on. So, I’ll say, looking back, it probably became less enjoyable after things started to fall apart. We had a business together, that kind of fell through our fingers, and we were like, “What the hell happened?”
Toxic relationships, it’s not very much fun, but while you’re in it, you can’t see that they’re bad things. Again, basically, my family, my support system, kind of called me out, after I got caught. After enough times, they were like, “All right, this is over.”
Greg: So once it wasn’t fun anymore, how would you describe heroin addiction?
Matt: Oh, it’s hell. I mean, you’re, like, stuck in a prison.
Matt: Mentally, it’s very, very difficult to deal with. Because you’re trying to find your way out of it, and you feel like shit, and you know the key to feeling better is right there.
Greg: And you can take it, like that.
Matt: All the time. Right. Yeah.
Greg: It’s immediate.
Matt: Yeah, it’s immediate. So, it becomes, just, you’re going through hell.
Greg: Maybe to make people understand that, there’s people out there who are smokers, or drink coffee every day, and they say, then, “What, we’ll just go through the pain, for a little bit.” Well, try to stop drinking coffee, trying to stop, quit smoking. How many people can, right?
Matt: Oh, God.
Greg: Heroin is about 100 times worse, trying to quit.
Greg: So, it’s the same thing as any other addiction. It’s just very, very strong.
Greg: You do have withdrawal symptoms that come along with it, if you don’t stop.
Matt: And then, I mean, you tackle on top of that, we talk about what it’s like to be a heroin addict. It’s like, you have, you’re dealing with a lot of, just, internal stuff the whole time, too, like, nobody’s proud to be a heroin addict. You’re dealing with shame.
You’re dealing with, maybe not living in a way that lines up with the ethics, or the moral code, that maybe you were raised with. I know that was a big part of is, just like, a daily struggle of, “Man, I should not be living this way,” but you’re so deep in it, it’s hard to get out, though.
There’s a lot of things that are going on there. What about you? When you think back?
Greg: Yeah, pretty similar. I first started to actually remember thinking, like, “This is, I might just do this forever.”
Matt: Yeah. Yeah.
Greg: When I first started, when we were on pills, and stuff, I had started an online business, which I now have, now, which is doing very well. But back then, it did pretty good, and I had a good amount of money, so things were easy. I would even buy you stuff, a lot of the time, just because it was easy.
Greg: It was easy. I had my best friend with me, we were kind of, just having fun together, and there was no struggle in it. I didn’t have to go steal, and all that stuff. So, I remember thinking, “I’m just going to do this forever.” I can kind of work on my business, and just function normally. I was somewhat functional, so I’ll do this forever.
Greg: I think that happened, for about six months to a year, where it’s fun for me, and then, the money started running out. Things started getting a little harder, and for me, that’s when it stopped being so much fun, where I’m like, “What am I doing?”
Greg: “I’m doing heroin. What am I doing?”
Greg: Because we talked about this before. I remember sitting in high school, in a class, and people were talking, they were talking about heroin addiction. I’m like, “Who does heroin?” I’m like, “Who does that? Who would be that dumb, to do heroin?” And it catches, like, it caught us.
Matt: Next thing you know …
Greg: Right? So, I mean, the thing for people to understand is, most heroin addicts, or addicts in general, don’t really choose to be that. They kind of just find themselves caught in a situation. Same thing with a bad relationship. You don’t ever really plan to get in a bad relationship, it kind of just happens.
Greg: It catches you off guard. So, it was about a year in, I think, where I realized, that this … “What am I doing? This is not fun.” The dealer we were getting it from, that’s when he started, maybe not getting it, like, he had more troubled getting it. I don’t know what happened there, so I would start withdrawing more. Whereas, the first year, it was like, I pretty much always had it. Started losing friends, starting not hanging out with as many people, started being more secluded, stopping eating. Well, we had stopped eating when we were first taking heroin.
Matt: Oh, yeah.
Greg: But didn’t work out at all, so, my confidence was at an all-time low, and you said shame. I think it’s, when I realized what I was doing, and I stopped realizing it was shameful.
Matt: You don’t feel good about yourself.
Greg: Shameful, yeah. So, at about the year mark is where it took the turn, and then from there, we made many attempts to try to quit. I think, as we got further along, and more and more attempts at trying to quit, I think it got worse and worse. Because it was like, “Shit. I’m stuck, that cannot get out of this thing.” So, like you said, about the first year or so, it was kind of fun. I was kind of enjoying it, and then, it turned into hell, right just as quick, into hell.
Matt: Yeah. That’s a terrible feeling. Because Greg and I made several attempts to quit, and it was, there were a couple dynamics involved. We were messing with real sketchy doctors that were kind of subscribing, maintenance programs, drugs to help people quit, but it was a complete rip-off. We’ll go over that later, but there’s a lot of people that they’re preying on, those who are trying to get out of their addiction, for financial reasons, and otherwise.
And then, it was just the fact that Greg and I were both in it. So, one of us would try to quit, and the other one will be like, “Ah, let’s get high.”
Matt: You’re not going to say no. It’s like, A, it’s my best friend. B, getting high was awesome.
Greg: Especially when you feel like shit.
Matt: And you feel like shit.
Greg: If there’s opposite ends of the spectrum, you go from feeling absolutely horrible, to feeling really good.
Matt: Yeah. It’s a big, like that.
Matt: Yeah, absolutely.
Greg: Let’s talk about the day to day. Like, when we were caught up, you remember what our day to day was, you know what I mean?
Matt: Yeah, for the most part, 100%. I mean, we both held down jobs.
Matt: We were working together, so we were functional, but I would say 100% of my mental energy was going towards, “How are we going to get more heroin?”
Greg: “How much do I have left, and where is it going to come from?? And what if he doesn’t have anymore, when we call him?”
Matt: That’s a bad feeling.
Greg: You know what I mean? So that, every day, I think you’re worrying about, “How am I going to get it? Is he going to have enough? How long is this going to last? Am I going to go through withdrawal?”
Matt: I’m talking, that is 100% of what my brain, like, my brain was on, talking, thinking about heroin all day, like that. There was no room for, “How can I improve my life?” How can it, like, nothing.
Greg: There’s also, “How am I going to space them out?” So we would get a certain amount of bags, and it’d be like, “Well, okay, I have this many. So I can do this at this time. I can, maybe two hours later, I’ll do this many.” So it was also managing, and how much you want to do throughout the day.
Matt: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Almost scheduled out. It’ll be like, “I’ll do one at 1:00 p.m.”
Matt: “One at 3:00 p.m., one at …” It’s exhausting, and again, we’re talking about the business that Greg and I lost, because of our addiction.
I remember, there was like, a mutual acquaintance that we used to get high with, who said early on, he was like, “You’ll see. Everything falls through your fingers.” You’ll think you’ll be focused on something, but if you’re addicted to heroin, or whatever, everything else takes a back seat.
Matt: Somehow. Even if you think you’re paying it the attention you need to pay, it just doesn’t work. You’re so focused on your addiction, nothing else stands a chance.
Matt: Relationships, everything, it doesn’t matter.
Matt: Everything takes a back seat.
Matt: So it was absolutely exhausting. Day to day, not fun. Now that you bring that up, it was less fun a lot earlier than I said earlier.
Greg: I think it was about six months to a year where we were both, finally, “Dude, what are we doing?”
Matt: Yeah. I’m thinking of the feeling of getting high, but when you’re talking about the day to day. Not to mention, we would work all day, and then, it’s like, “Well, let’s go try to get this heroin.”
Matt: And then, I did not … You started doing better financially back then. I wasn’t, so I was, like, scrambling.
Matt: Like, “I’m going to have to get another bundle. Where am I going to come up with 100 bucks?”
Matt: It sucks.
Greg: So that’s a little bit of what we kind of experienced, of things, like, being a heroin addict. We have a lot of topics coming as far as, anything from, side effects, to parents or loved ones, what to look for. What we would have done to get out of it quicker. There are just all different topics, across the board, on addiction and related topics.
Matt: Yeah, things that have helped us find recovery, things that …
Greg: But set us back.
Matt: Things that set us back, and hopefully, especially now … This is about 10 years later, since my last run-in with heroin, it’s gotten a lot worse. It’s an epidemic. It’s touching all communities in America. Hopefully, our experiences can kind of help give a little bit of insight to somebody that’s going through it, or if people out there have loved ones going through it, just to kind of see, what is this all about?
Matt: We don’t claim to have all the answers, but again, maybe from our experiences, somebody can see that there is hope, you can get through this, you can live a happy, successful life after heroin addiction. So that’s kind of what our goal is for Project Unbroken.
Greg: Yeah, we’re going to be sharing all of our experiences, all the way, before, into addiction, through addiction, out of addiction, and where we are now, which is, both pretty successful, in family and in life, and all that stuff, so … If you guys have any specific questions on any topics, let us know. We already have a bunch of videos. We want you guys to ask questions, so we know exactly, different types of questions to answer, where we can go into depth into whatever you want to know about.
Matt: Yeah. Well, thanks for watching, guys. Again, you can check us out at www.projectunbroken.com, find out a little bit of our story there, and we’ll look forward to talking to you soon.
Greg: All right. Have a good one, everyone.