BURIN, NL – Justin Hickman of Burin says when he thinks about everything his drug addiction has cost him, he can’t help but cry.
“I have no job no more,” said Hickman, who previously worked as a cook on fishing vessels. “I’ve had good jobs, sailed with the best sea captains around – lost them all due to drugs.
“My family is almost gone, only hanging on by a thread and the match is burning that. I can’t sit down and talk about none of this without bawling my eyes out.”
Hickman made the decision earlier this month to seek help for his drug addiction, which he refers to as a “lifetime of drug use.”
He said he has his family’s support.
“They will believe it when they see it. It’s been nine years of neglect and abuse towards them,” said Hickman. “Nine years of destruction can’t be fixed overnight. There is going to be stepping stones and it will take time. But they are genuinely happy about my decision to get clean.”
Last week Hickman posted on his Facebook page that he had been accepted into a program,
“Bed availability for me Feb 19,” he wrote on Feb. 6. “Here's to a new life and long overdue change. … If ya wanna drop by for coffee, (a) smoke and a story I got lots of stories ... Say a (prayer) for me and the sick God bless.”
When asked what made him seek help for his drug addiction, Hickman told the Southern Gazette he is “sick of being sick, always wanting a fix.
“Tired of lying, stealing and taking away from my family to get my fix.”
Hickman said he has been using for approximately 16 years, including marijuana, opioids, cocaine, and most recently, crack cocaine. He said he started with marijuana, but then got into heavier drugs.
“As for getting into the harder stuff, you don’t even realize that it is harder, just following the times and the crowd,” said Hickman.
“Like in high school, it was weed and hash – that was in 2000-2001, but it seemed (like) cocaine and opioids came on the mainstream more recreational, (and) now it’s a full-blown epidemic.”
As his choice of drugs progressed, so did the amount of money he needed to get the fix he was looking for.
“Could be once a day, then that’s not enough, then twice a day, then more and more – then bam, 10 years later and I still feel like I don’t have a problem, yet I know I do.”
He added the amount of drugs he used could vary depending on the day, or even the month.
Hickman was going through his first day of detoxing when he spoke with the Southern Gazette. He said he felt great starting off the day, “then as the day is progressing the cravings are growing stronger,” he explained.
“I got the sweats and moody as an old sailor but keeping busy helps.”
Hickman said the program he is entering is between four to five weeks in duration, and although there are longer programs, they are also expensive.
“This is a lifetime of drug use, a lot of physical and mental abuse on my body,” he said. “So, I am preparing my mind that this program is going to last a life time.”