I started my car to roll down the window just enough to not let the rain soak my door, lit my cigarette and stared at the people walking by my car into Walmart thinking to myself how much I hate them for not feeling the way I feel, being oblivious to my desperation and anger. I looked at my phone hoping that if I looked at enough my drug dealer would call saying “I’m here where are you”. I look at the time and think what is taking so long I have money, I called him, I texted him, where is he?
An hour goes by I can’t stop shaking my legs and stretching them under the gas pedal trying to stay calm knowing that soon I’ll have my heroin and I’ll feel better. Finally, a car pulls up next to me and I see him. I quickly jump out run over and hop in the passenger seat, I get the bag and give him the money and ask him if he will be good later for more, he says “just call me”. I jump out and get back in my car and pull across the street. I open my bag and that vinegar smell fills my car and this overwhelming sense of relief comes over my body. I spend 30 minutes trying to find a vein, frustration anger and hopelessness showers over me I begin to yell at myself out loud in my car “please god just let me get it this once”, finally I see the blood rush into the syringe and I push it all in my veins. I sit back and think this is what I need to do in order to function every day, because I am a heroin addict.
This was my story, my movie, the metaphorical train I was on for 8 years, get the money, get the dope, do the dope and then repeat day in and day out. I never thought to myself how it came to this how did I become a junkie? To me this was comfortable it was the life I thought I wanted to live I honestly thought I was good at it. Being emotionally disconnected from everyone and everything seemed to work for me no matter what I had heroin to rely on it always made me feel better no matter how sad, angry, and hopeless I felt as soon as that drug hit my blood stream, I was the best version of myself. This was the false reality I told myself to justify my actions.
The thought of going to rehab was never an idea I came up with on my own always forced upon me by my parents or other family members. I was so hostile and aggressive when these conversations would come up and I would always leave saying “this is why I don’t come over anymore”. I felt like no one understood the demons I was battling inside my head, that I could not just walk away from this war I created with myself. In and out of jail, living from place to place, using people and being used by people something changed for me, I stopped fighting.
My introduction to Treatment
It was October 2014, it was raining as it always does in Seattle, I had broken into a club house at an apartment complex and made a bed out of cushions from patio furniture in the bathroom and I sent a message to my parents on Facebook messenger begging them to let me come stay with them in California. Later, my mom said, “I could tell you were done and really wanted help finally when I read that message”. Within a week I was on an airplane with my mom heading to Orange County, California. I got off the plane already shaking and regretting my decision to leave the life I had hated some much but became so comfortable with.
When I was detoxing off heroin I kept telling myself there is nothing I can do but try to power through the aches and pains the feeling hot then cold the constant shaking of my legs , I reminded myself that it does not last forever and I am not a weak person I have been through some terrible things in my life and I survived, this was just a speed bump in my life that I needed to breath and just slow down and eventually I will get over it.
Surprisingly I felt really good physically within the first week but mentally I could not get the images of the needles going into my pale white skin and I would feel myself romanticizing the idea of getting high just one more time, I thought that I was setting myself up for disappointment and failure again but that was not my truth I had literally failed my way to success , looking back on it now I was trying to prove something to myself to everyone that doubted that I would not make it out of the life of the heroin addict statistic. I finally was not worried about disappoint my parents or my daughter I was genuinely fighting to not disappoint, myself.
In November 2014 I walked into the group room of the treatment center I had been admitted too, nervous and shy I had given up on thinking that I knew what the best answer to the problems I had created for myself, I did something different, I started to listen. Every day I was in treatment I wrote a number on my left had that represented how many days I had been sober, 11 became 30, 30 became 54, 54 became 87 and when I made it to a year I made a promise to myself that I would treat these days that I had collected like I treated my bags of dope, I was not going to let anyone or any circumstance I was going to encounter take away these days.
My Life Today
It’s difficult for me to describe what my life has become over the past four years, the only thing that really comes to my mind when I am asked this question, what it was meant to be. Coming down to California turned out to be the best thing to happen to me. Not only did I overcome the hardest thing in my opinion to overcome during the sickest time of my life, but I was able to build a better foundation to share my experience strength and hope with other struggling addicts.
To talk to my peers about the important things I learned to help change people’s perspective as much as far as I can possibly reach. I still have days where I struggle to get out of my own head but I’ve learned taking life day by day , appreciating what I can do and what I have gained , telling people I love them , not taking anything personally, and enjoying every second that has been given to me is the most amazing new way I look at life. The whole point of writing this is I want people who struggle with addiction to know they are not alone and all it takes is a little willingness and motivation to reach out. To stop fighting this war you created.