One Detroit Junkie's Battle Laid Bare

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dousing Flames

Everything has a natural summation, an ending unavoidable and with all the hallmarks of finality. Life ends at death, day at night, autumn at winter. It all follows a natural order without deviation. Addiction is no different, but it has two possible endings- death or recovery.

It has been a long, long fifteen years. I had fun in the beginning, running wild and enjoying my newfound love, heroin. But that fun ended so many years ago. It devolved into the lowest form of slavery, I gave away all I loved and all that mattered before the dope to avoid that horror that is withdrawal and the greater fear of reality, life on life's terms. Then Monday before last, eleven days ago, some shit went down that left me asking myself how high a price I was truly willing to pay to live as a junkie.Was I willing to spend years in prison? Was I willing to die and leave my dogs without their mom? Leave my family broken, leave life behind, all for a fix? Just to avoid being dopesick and avoid the pain I've held inside for so long? Willing to chance the next near miss not being a miss at all and instead being a screeching halt and a farewell to any possible brighter days, against my true will?

I've lived in a motel the past eleven days. Well, one motel the first night and then a much cheaper and seedier one the rest of the nights. A clean drug test was required to come back to my dogs and my family, and I got seriously lucky in that an unlikely friendship meant rather than sleep outside or in a vacant house or the two-door Neon a friend loaned me, I slept in a bed. Massive doses of loperamide- in the 100mg range (they only come in 2mg the math) kept the worst of the sick away, and today I took a drug test that came back negative for heroin- my first clean test in five years.

I threw away over two years clean five years ago, on a cold and rainy Devil's Night in Detroit. I cried the whole way to the dopehouse, begging whatever higher power had kept me alive over the years to please make me crash the car, get pulled over, do something, any fucking thing, to stop me. Nothing stopped me. I gave it all away that night and the next night, Halloween, was nodding out while giving kids candy. That night, I was told to get the fuck out and I spent months afterward on the street. Spent Christmas Eve in a burned out Crown Vic in an empty lot, digging for veins. Thanksgiving at a soup kitchen. The only call those I loved would take from me was if I called to ask to go to rehab- a call that never came.

I told myself I could control it. I got myself off the streets through manipulation and lies and scams and back into my family's house. I started a dog rescue. I had a Jeep. But the dope? I never stopped. I fooled everyone around me into thinking I had stopped, got sneakier and slicker and everyone gave me the benefit of the doubt or perhaps just ignored it or thought I was simply crazy and didn't want to risk confronting me. I balanced on a razor's edge, keeping up an outward appearance of normalcy while really I was just a fucking smooth-talking hoodrat hyena in sheep's clothing. I truly believed it was under control. I had access to suboxone, and I would shoot dope and then take sub when I thought it was out of hand- but for five fucking years, I stayed solidly physically dependent on opiates in one form or another. Even that month I had "clean" just recently- I was hooked on the goddamn loperamide the entire time. Kept trying to wean off but couldn't. Had a damn diarrhea pill habit, for fuckssake. And the whole time, my brain kept spinning, saying, "when you get your shit together, Hyena, you can handle shooting some dope here and there." Here and there meaning every fucking day again within two weeks. Meaning backed up against a wall again. A wall that eleven days ago started flashing cherries and berries and almost ended very, very badly.

My hands are still swollen, yet another abscess is on my upper arm from getting frustrated after digging for veins for an hour while blood clotted in the needle until I gave up and forced the shot into my muscle. I'm dizzy a lot, I have to pull some dopefiend moves to put gas in the car I've got use of until my friend gets her license back, I took the last bit of loperamide today and have been weaning off and feeling like shit for days but I AM CLEAN. I didn't have to dig into my jugular vein with a bent, dull, barbed needle and dig till I either hit or gave up and resigned myself to causing another abscess multiple times today. Both my main dealers are now in jail or just not dealing anymore, which I wouldn't wish anyone into jail in Wayne County but it seems like some higher being conspired to take them out of circulation right at the time I got smacked in the face with a seriously terrifying wakeup call. There's rumors in the 'hood that I'm a snitch, since both dealers were either with me or going to see me when they got pinched, but I honestly don't give a fuck what people think anymore. I'm not wasting time trying to talk sense to someone so deep into their addiction they're willing to spread shit that could kill my entire family- someone that sick won't listen to a word I say anyway, and might drag me back into the thick of it. What others think just doesn't matter to me anymore.

What matters is that I no longer have any reservations- I know I will never, ever be able to use heroin once in awhile and then leave it alone. I finally understand and accept the full first step of Narcotics Anonymous- admitted we were POWERLESS over drugs, that our lives had become unmanageable. I always knew life was unmanageable when I'm strung out, but never truly believed I was powerless- but I'd tell you I was because it was an easy excuse for why I was seemingly unable to get and stay clean. But I get it now. Powerless means that when I pick up a needle, I won't put it down until I am dead, locked up, or hit with a scary enough wakeup call to knock me into reality long enough to understand what I'm really doing to myself- and to everyone who loves me.

Heroin, in the end, makes me fucking miserable. It makes me want to put a pistol in my mouth and pull the trigger. I shoot dope and I end up crying when I'm high. I beg, borrow, steal, rob, whatever to get more. I become someone I hate to the very core and I cannot stop. Dope no longer acts as a cushion, it's a bed of needle sharp nails now. It shakes my ground and makes me give away my hope. It's clear to me now like never before what my choice comes down to- go on to the bitter end, blotting out my consciousness with as much smack as I can fit into each syringeload, degrading myself in order to maintain a raging habit that claws at my soul every waking second- or recover. Face every dirty rotten low down junkie scumfuck thing I've ever done. Heal my soul, make amends, trust others with more clean time than me. I'm going to NA and AA meetings on a daily basis, I'm learning slowly how to live through the emotions cropping up in a whirlwind, and I'm motherfucking determined not to let reservations about control sneak back into my head.

All that stands between me and death or prison or complete, irreparable insanity is one shot. One pack. One bad choice. I want my life to be more than an existence. I want something worth living. And the only way I'm going to get that is to murder and bury my constant companion of the past fifteen years, that beautiful, destructive, omnipresent Lady Heroin.

Today, I'm moving on.