Saying No to Steroids: To Hell and Back
A true story about the negative side effects of steroids
By Marcus Power

My introduction into the world of Bodybuilding came to me one night as I was watching a movie. The movie was Conan the Barbarian, staring Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was without any doubt probably one of the worst movies that I have ever seen. It was also the first time that I had ever seen a Bodybuilder. I was in complete awe of him. As soon as I laid my eyes on him I knew there and then that I wanted to be a Bodybuilder. I wanted that size, that strength, I wanted that physique. From that day onwards I became completely obsessed with the sport.

So at the tender age of sixteen I set out on my quest of becoming the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. Over the next four years I trained as hard as I could, I pushed myself to the limit in every workout. I read everything that I could about training and diet, I wanted to know it all, I wanted to be the best. After four years of hard training I had made some good gains in both size and strength but I was still no Arnold. I had become frustrated and dishearten with my training. I was doing everything by the book, why wasnít I looking like Schwarzenegger.

It was around that time I got talking to one of the bigger guyís in the gym. He told me out straight. ĎIf you want to get really big, you have to take steroids, itís that simple.í I was shocked, I also felt betrayed, all the books and magazines had lied. What I wanted just physically could not be done naturally. So age the age of twenty I took my first course of Anabolic steroids. I put on a stone of muscle over a six week period. I was delighted, over the moon. I had finally found the secret ingredient that was required to help me fulfil my goal.

My first courses of steroids were in tablet form. My next course was a mixture of both tablets and injections. I was terrified of needles, but once I conquered my fear of the needle there was no stopping me. With each new course of steroids that I took the dosages would increase. It got to the stage that each course of steroids contained up to six different types of steroids.

By the time I reached the age of twenty six, I was a seventeen stone Bodybuilder. I was huge, I really stood out in a crowd and I loved all the attention, it was life changing. I was completely obsessed, Iíd let nothing get in the way of my training or diet, nothing was more important than getting to the gym. But as the saying goes, Ďyou get nothing for nothingí So along with all the size and strength that I was getting, I was also getting all the nasty side effects that come with taking steroids, both physical and psychological.

The aggression, the mood swings, insomnia. My liver and kidney had taking a real pounding by that stage. Iíd wake up every morning with server headaches and nose bleeds. I was paranoid, depression had set in. I was in a very dark place.

My body and mind could no longer take the punishment that I was inflicting on them. Enough was enough, it was all over. My Bodybuilding dream had become nothing more than a living nightmare. After a stay in hospital, I decided that I could no longer carry on living this way. I was told by the Doctors that I had done a lot of damage to my internal organs. They made me sign a consent form explaining that I had being warned that if I was to continue taking steroids that I would be dead soon. I remember crying as I signed that form. I tried and failed a number of times to come off steroids; I really believed that I needed them to survive. At one stage I thought that the only way I could beat my addiction was to end my life. I didnít want to die, I wanted to live, but I just couldnít seem to cope without taking steroids. I was in a terrible dark place, I wanted out. I gave it one final try. I completely cut all my ties with Bodybuilding and the gym. Just like an alcoholic stays away from a pub, I had to stay away from the gym and from my friends that I trained with. It was far from easy.

I hated what I had turned into. I was no different than the average junkie that you see on the street. I was a junkie as well, ok I didnít look like a junkie, but when you think about it, there is no difference. I was addicted to steroids in the same way a junkie is addicted to heroin, or in the same way an alcoholic is addicted to alcohol. Addiction is addiction, thereís no point in trying to window dress it. Addiction of any sort needs to be faced head on. Itís not easy and itís far from pleasant, but thatís the reality of it.

I went cold turkey and finally managed to beat my addiction. I often look back over that period of my life and think, wow, that guy was big. But it was all false, without the steroids I would never have reached that size, I would never of had that great physique, so really I achieved nothing. All the size, all the strength, all the attention, it was all false. The risks that I took were crazy. Do I regret it? Yes, Iíd be lying if I said no. My steroid addiction nearly killed me on a number of occasions.

Society today seems to have painted a picture of how men and women should look. Seemly women should be all tanned and thin and men should be all buffed up. How messed up and unrealistic is that picture. Itís a scary thought that young men are taking steroids just to look good in a tight top out on the dance floor on a Saturday night. This is actually happening.

These young men need to know the dangers that they are putting themselves in, both physically and psychologically. Iíve used and abused anabolic steroids for over ten years. I have suffered from nearly every single side effect that steroids will throw at you. Even though I went through hell during that period of my life, it was all self inflicted, I took my chances. I also know that I am one of the lucky ones. Some of the guyís that I trained with over the years are no longer around, heart attacks and strokes sent them on their way, while some ended up on dialysis machines, others having nervous breakdowns.

Yes, steroids will give you all the size and strength that you want. But when the piper comes to collect, and he will come. You better be ready to pay his high price for the physique that he has given you. His price is high both physically and psychologically.