My name is Ryan, and for over 25 years, I lived in a haze, jumping from one high to another. From coke to benzos to meth, I thought I had it all under control. But that was far from the truth. 

I was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania. My life was simple until my late teens, when I was introduced to a world that seemed to offer escape but eventually became a prison. 

**The Downward Spiral** 

I started experimenting with cocaine at parties. Soon, I moved on to heavier stuff. Life became a series of ups and downs, punctuated by moments when I felt invincible and times when I was down in the dumps. 

**The Abyss** 

I hit rock bottom on a cold winter night. I’d mixed a lethal cocktail of substances and collapsed in an alley. My heart raced uncontrollably, my vision blurred, and I felt like my life was hanging by a thread. 

**The Wake-Up Call** 

That night, an old friend found me and called 911. As I lay in the hospital, staring at the sterile white ceiling, I had an epiphany. I didn’t want to die; I wanted to live, to see my daughter have her baby, to be a grandparent. 

**The Long Road to Recovery** 

Recovery wasn’t easy. I attended countless therapy sessions, went to rehab, and leaned on my family for support. I replaced my cravings with a newfound love for science and technology, things that always fascinated me but I’d neglected over the years. 

**The Message** 

Today, I share my story not to glorify my past but as a stark warning. Drugs offer a temporary escape but take away so much more. I lost years, relationships, and nearly my life. If you’re on the edge, teetering between choices, take it from me: Choose life. Choose family. Choose yourself. Because trust me, the high is never worth the fall.

Text LF999 to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line for free crisis counseling.
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