My name is Anna and I’ve been at San Patrignano for one year and a half. I came into the program when I was 18 years old and I assure you that it wasn’t an easy choice
I remember it as if it were yesterday.
I remember that felling of insecurity, of not feeling quite like myself, of feeling inadequate in every situation with everyone.
I remember looking in the mirror and not being able to figure out who it was staring back at me, behind those big blue eyes. Once upon a time they were alive but now they were dark and empty and lost. I saw someone I didn’t know in that mirror.
I remember feeling total resignation in the hunt to try and find myself, to rediscover the Anna I used to be but I was trapped inside a record, stuck on repeat.
Things got worse as time went on. It was like I was watching my life as a spectator. I had come to lose absolutely everything, even my family. The only choice I had was to go to a community. You have to admit, it wasn’t an easy choice to make, especially at my age. I was scared of what I was going up against but I just was so tired of my life. I remember it being a Saturday in June and the city was lit by this enormous sun but I just couldn’t see the beauty of it all. I had lost all hope, so I decided to try.
We drove there, my mother, my sister and I. It was an hour’s journey but it seemed like it lasted forever. No one breathed. Not a word was spoken. The only thing that broke the silence was the radio. I was in despair.
We finally got to where we were going: a community that had been recommended to my mother. I spoke to the people there and I panicked. I quickly changed my mind. I said I wasn’t that desperate anymore but I was really just scared. I didn’t want to go in.
“This is my life. You’re just going to have to accept it. I need to go and score. Now!”
I told my mother that I never wanted to change.
“Anna, I’ll kick you out if you don’t get help”.
So I packed my bags and I left. I slammed the door on the way out of the house, not knowing where to go or what to do. I couldn’t wait a minute longer. With the last bit of money I had I went to go buy a bag of heroin.
I was lost again, far away from the rest of the world. I climbed back into the cage that I had been locked in for what had been years by that point. But this time I felt different.
There was this huge void inside of me that drugs just weren’t filling anymore. I had been holding back my emotions for so long that I didn’t know how who I was anymore. I had become a perfect stranger.
I remember looking up to the sky and just wishing that one day I would be able to wake up in the morning, open the window and feel good.
Thinking about all of this today sends shivers down my spine. I was a desperate failure, a misfit. I couldn’t stop thinking about my family, my sister.
But the call of that life was so strong and it kept dragging me back and it felt like I just couldn’t do anything about it. It outweighed everything.
Days went by, then weeks and then months and I was getting worse: the only thoughts I had were to get enough money to go and buy drugs. I would drag myself around the city in a constant search to get high.
I had finally hit rock bottom. I had exceeded every limit that I had set myself and I knew it was time to give myself another chance. I came in to San Patrignano looking for change and I found it. I feel good now when I wake up in the morning. I feel alive. I guess my wish came true.