One Detroit Junkie's Battle Laid Bare

Monday, March 10, 2014

Every Burn Heals

I find myself wiping tears from my eyes quite often these days. I've always been a crier, always had a steady supply of saltwater to back up my other signs of pain and injury, emotional and physical. Once every few months I could be relied upon to break down sobbing uncontrollably, sounding like a wounded, broken, doomed animal who sees the end coming on fast. 

These tears though, they're different. They come when I think about my life and where it was 118 days ago versus where it is today, with 117 days clean. They come when there's peace surrounding me and peace within me. They come when I think about the look in the eyes of the man I love as he gently, so gently, strokes my cheek as we fall asleep side by side every Saturday night, our designated "no matter what!" overnight date night, in addition to seeing each other throughout the week. These tears come when I laugh with my new friends, friends who understand and support me and helped give me my life back, friends who loved me until I began to find things to love about myself and then loved me some more. These tears, they aren't tears of sorrow, of pain, or anger or even of happiness. 

They are tears of pure, overwhelming, soul-filling gratitude. 

I believed I would die a junkie. I believed I'd slowly rot away, too chicken to kill myself quickly so opting for slow suicide by smack instead. I was terrified to really try to get clean, I didn't think I could face all the wreckage of my addiction without a chemical buffer. I was so dead fucking wrong. 

I gave myself one last shot at recovery. I walked into an NA meeting, sat down, and finally fucking surrendered. I finally admitted I was truly powerless over drugs. I spent 15 years, well over half my life, trying to find a way to use drugs successfully and I almost died in the process. I have fingers that don't work anymore due to gangrene caused by shooting up in them. I have scars over my jugular veins from using them daily for two years after all other veins gave out. I have chunks of flesh missing from my upper arms from abscesses I got injecting into my muscle after even my jugular veins became impossible to hit. Every vein in my body has scars above the length of it. My hands turn purple when I get the slightest bit cold. And my instinctual reactions to loud noises and fast movements will always be skewed. I'll never be able to sit with my back to a door. I had to train myself to brush my teeth twice daily instead of twice monthly again. I've had to learn to function as a normal adult for the very first time. 

And I love every second of it. I truly love my life today. And in the last couple of weeks I've been able to finally honestly say I love myself as well. I am a recovering addict today. I am an employee today. I am an equal half of a very serious relationship with the love of my life, my soul mate, my one true love, Joel. In the next couple of months we will be moving into our own home together with my dogs- one of whom has switched allegiances and become his dog, that disloyal little dork! Joel has almost a year clean and is one of my biggest supporters and the one I trust most in this world. 

The best part of proving myself wrong and learning to live clean? I can now pass on my experience, strength, and hope to other addicts and help others walk a different path as well. I have a story worth telling and it seems to finally have a happy ending. It isn't going to end abruptly with a needle in my neck from a bad shot. It isn't going to end with me unidentified in the morgue for months because I drove away all those who knew me. It isn't going to end because of filthy fucking heroin today. 

I'm rambling. I'm just grateful. I'm grateful. I have 117 days clean and I know I have many more ahead of me, shared with my dogs, my boyfriend, my family and my friends in recovery, who helped me get my life back and make it one worth living. 


  1. Thank you for your blog. My brother is a heroin addict, and reading your struggles and triumphs helps put it into perspective. You're a strong person, believe that. And being grateful for life is a beautiful thing. :)