One Detroit Junkie's Battle Laid Bare

Sunday, December 15, 2013


I've got a thing for wings and flight, the promise of freedom inherent in feathers. A promise I longed for but never came to know as my own. I'm grounded with feet planted firmly on solid ground and now I'm realizing at last that the solidity I feel beneath my feet is what I've truly always hoped for. I don't yearn to take wing and make frantic frenzied flight far away anymore. I'm happy here, happy where the snow covers the trees and my boots against the pavement have good grip. 

The strength in numbers somehow became my weakest link when the bullies ganged up so many years ago, but now it is strength in numbers which builds me strong again. New love is the best love and love when sober tops it all, and it's the friendships I've made in Narcotics Anonymous who delivered this man to me. I've never felt this way about someone before, I've never wanted someone to know everything about me- good bad and everything in between- before. Never had no fear before. Never sat and talked with a guy for hours without any awkward silences- our silences are few but when they come, they're comfortable and make me even more sure this is the right man for me. This feels right and I feel strong and it's been days- DAYS!!!- since I thought about using dope. I got rid of the last of my needles days ago and I'm committed to this new life now, and to this new man who is a part of my life now. He made it clear from the start that he's mine as long as I'm clean. I use, and it's over. Just another incentive to add to the neverending list of reasons I say fuck smack today. 

I no longer walk the line in neutral noncommittal territory- today I've chosen sides and my side is recovery. I'm free. I'm fucking free. At long, long last I'm free and the drugs don't own me anymore. They don't tell me when to wake up, when to sleep, who to sleep with, when to move and when to be still. Heroin doesn't dictate my reality anymore. I do. My higher power does. My heart does. 

When it's dark and the cold starts to hurt, it's no longer a signal that I need to scramble to find a place to huddle to survive the night. It simply means I need to put out my cigarette and go into the meeting I'm standing outside of. Surrender doesn't mean giving up. The definition of surrender is "to join the winning team." Surrender means not having to fight anymore. 

I surrender. My white flag, I wave with pride. This white flag was woven of fifteen years of pain, sorrow, rage and fear. I earned this white flag, just as I earned the white surrender keytag I picked up thirty days ago and the orange 30 day keytag I picked up last night. 

I surrender, I've crossed over to the winning team. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Lapping At My Heels

I cook it up and shoot it up and make an attempt to live it up, but fighting death gets tiring. So I suck it up and turn it up and make an attempt to sing it up, but screaming lyrics gets old. And so I turn around and look around and make an attempt to live this down, but stereotypes are stronger than I am. So I fuck it up and shake things up and make an attempt to change it up, but wasted days just bleed into wasted nights and form endless wasted years.

I sit beneath the streetlight for hours before I look up and see only darkness, some kind of metaphor for the reality of my mode of living. The truth does battle with my self-convinced mind full of lies, and up sure looks like down these days. Black looks white and darkness is blinding, and I know I have become the embodiment of urban blight. Self-imposed isolation is the hardest kind to overcome, when only shattered glass and missed cues keep me company. If you ask me to lie, I'll always tell the truth, but ask me for the truth and it's bound to be a lie.

This lifestyle weakens me physically and hardens me mentally and tears away my ability to trust the human race, because I've seen the desperation of various human conditions that have no place in this world. I've seen the aftermath of a cold shoulder, the loss of hope that dulls the eyes and steals away all light. I've seen 15-year-old kids who held more pain and weariness and distrust within their souls than prisoners of war, than battered police brutality victims, than New Yorkers on 9/11. I've stared down the barrel of a dealer's gun with no fear, only a longing for whatever rides on the butt of the bullet. I've felt cold, sharp steel against my back and felt no regret, only longing for whatever hangs on the dull side of the blade. I've felt violent hands around my throat and felt no need for air, only longing for whatever floats on the other side of the darkness. I've seen the impact incoming and stood to face it because really, what could be worse than what I've already seen?

Frostbite steals skin off my toes I won't miss, and I steal stereos and moments of euphoria, knowing always I'm only ripping off myself. Leaving smashed car windows and crushed hearts in my wake, destruction and blatant criminal acts only mask my fear of what's around the bend. If you look me in the eye I'll always look away, because to face you would mean facing myself. I run from confrontation and always crack under pressure. I'll spill guts to the masses from the tallest buildings and spill blood into empty streets and desolate alleyways, fighting with staggering violence against all that I am, all that I have become. And every time I look over my shoulder I see less and less of who I used to be, as the dust grows thicker, as the lights grow dimmer, as the wreckage piles higher. And every time I look ahead the path is drastically shorter, as I further batter my body, as the pains in my liver grow sharper, as the hours I spend asleep grow longer and longer while my body gives out. I know how it feels when my mind is no longer mine, when loss of control is so complete it leaves me questioning whether control ever existed to begin with.

I dream the dreams of the dying, so starkly clear, those that don't fade a bit after I wake. I'm dancing life's razor's edge, pushing the limits of even this addict's endurance, feeling pieces slip away as the walls close in. I don't just take chances, I take major risks, putting my life at stake by constantly seeking that once-in-a-lifetime high, shooting as much at once as I can fit into the syringe, regardless of whether it's heroin, coke, or whatever else I've decided to use to blot out my thoughts. And even when I scramble and get up on my feet for brief periods, my body still lives with the aftermath, constant physical pain and weakness that doesn't fade anymore. After I've been running the streets for months seeking dope, I finally become so sick that I sleep solid 72 hour periods as my body tries desperately to heal. To rest for the next week's inevitable torment. And yet, I just can't stop.

So I spend my life searching, while my wasted days bleed into wasted nights and form endless wasted years. And I spend most hours face down on the pavement, cursing the moon and stars while I grasp at straws that only get shorter and shorter. There's interference in the clouds and my satellite dish fails to pick up transmissions from the future, and the static is the perfect place to stage an ambush.

And as the edges blur and the sun becomes reluctant to rise, I grow tired of waiting for the storm to pass and make another attempt at learning to dance in the rain, water rolling off my shoulders, washing away a decade's worth of dried blood and city dust. And though I dance alone these days, my neck is gaining strength, almost powerful enough to lift my head again to salute the world as it passes me by, our parades marching opposite directions on the same crowded street. And in these moments, if you tell me the end is near I'll just laugh and live on forever, with flames always lapping at my heels, the hounds of hell bounding circles all around me, rain pounding my back and elusive hope slipping in and out of my grasp.

(Written by me in 2008. Still had five years of living in hell left ahead of me. And elusive hope was a lie- I had no hope left.)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Burning Alive

I'm frantic to get away but I can't walk. I'm sweating and shaking and nothing stays down, throwing up globs of blood because the acid is eating me alive inside. I weigh next to nothing and my pants are held up with the cord from my hoodie. I'm filthy, my sweat smells like death, my body is revolting against me and I can't make my goddamn legs work. I can't get up. I'm in a puddle of bloody vomit but at least there's nothing in my guts to be coming out the other end. It's winter but I'm burning up, my skin cold and clammy to the touch but if you touch me, I'll lash out and rage against you and smash my fist into your teeth and drive it through your face because my skin fucking hurts. My bones fucking hurt. My hair fucking hurts. It all fucking hurts. 

I'm on a wood floor in the living room of an abandoned house with no glass in the windows and snow gathering around my face. I'm a human puddle of pond scum, I'm vacant on the inside and my soul is fucking bankrupt. My heart's beating funny and I keep hoping it'll stop. I know I won't freeze because the white hot steaming heat my sick body throws off might be enough to burn this motherfucker down. God let it burn down. Let it get torched and just let me fucking die. Somebody please help me. Would somebody please, please just help me. "help." Put a bullet in my brain like a crippled old horse or put a needle in my vein that'll pull me out of this remorse. Somebody please just help me. I'll never do it again if you'll just help me this one last time, I promise. 

My eyes are glass, you couldn't tell what color they are they're too filmed over. I'm seizing now, my body moving on its own with energy it apparently has but that I can't harness to make my useless legs move. My legs move all right, they move constantly, kicking and crawling and I need to punch them till they're black and blue to get them to stop for five fucking seconds. Now my arms start. Punch one with the other and then switch sides. The dopeman, he's not shown up here today. Where the fuck is he and why did I let this get this bad? Why didn't I walk and cop while I could still walk? Why do I keep trying to kick when I know I'm gunna die a filthy disgusting junkie with nobody to mourn me?

I got fantasies and dreams- I fantasize about rotting here after this finally kills me. I dream of ending up in the hospital with an IV line to exploit. Hopefully a central line, those are the best. It'll be a central or a jugular line, that's all the options left for anyone's needle now. My fingers black with gangrene stink like the rotten flesh they are but my sweat smells worse. Oh god, what did I do to deserve this? The smack was an escape, how did it become the very thing I now cannot escape from?

I haven't slept in a long time, I either nod instead or am wide awake in misery as I am tonight. The dopeman was supposed to come by, he does every single day like clockwork to take care of me in return for me taking care of him. Did he die? He got shot I bet. I bet he's never coming back. I bet he's doing this on purpose. I bet he's watching. I bet I'm gunna die but not anytime soon cuz I've got to burn for my sins first. First I got to suffer and suffer I am. 

I'm delirious. I'm hallucinating. I'm starving. I heard a noise, I hear birds but its midnight, why're the birds awake? Why're the birds whistling? Why're they yelling at me to sit the fuck up? Oh god it's him. It's the dopeman. I'm saved! I'm saved. I'm saved from responsibility and from reality and from a future I'll never know. The rig's preloaded, he'll let me get loaded before I take care of my end of this deal...

I'm awake now. I'm awake. I'm awake and I'm sitting in bed. I'm not high. I'm not sick. I'm not in an abandominium, I'm in my mom's house and I'm safe here. I've still got 19 days clean and I'm in my inflate-a-bed with my dogs awake and looking at me with concern. It was a nightmare. It was all a nightmare, it lasted fifteen years but I'm awake now. 

I'm awake.