Dear You

To the addict who still suffers,

Places in the realm of existence equal only part of an experience. The other part is how we respond to these places—emotionally, mentally, spiritually.

I have been to Utah, California, and Canada. I have been to funerals, weddings, and dark cities. I have been to many places, but none quite like the realm of addiction. None where I was so sure it would be my resting place. The place I would die. The place where my last breath would dissipate with my last heartbeat and my eye lids would close forever. This was the portrait of my life.

I was nineteen and lost in a drug infused ball of excited brain cells. My average day looked like this:

6, 7, or 8 am rolled around. My eyes opened. My whole body jolted as though I was waking from a nightmare; instead, I was waking to a nightmare: cold sweats, shivering, restless legs, nausea. My every morning wakeup call was in the mouth of heroin withdrawals.

So I got out of bed, stumbled over to my stash, pulled the garbage can next to me, and cooked up a shot of dope while simultaneously puking. My body was weak and frail; it resembled a strawberry patch—lined with track marks.

1 p.m.

I chewed up a bar and did a shot of heroin. I slumped over on my bed and sat there, nodded out. Those were the times. Yes, the insidious days and nights during my heroin addiction when I enjoyed nothing more than to sit, nodded out, on the edge of life and death. It was at that place where I didn’t have to deal with life. I didn’t have to deal with the snowball of guilt and shame that kept growing larger with momentum drawn from my life as a drug addict.

5:30 p.m.

I sat in my room cooking up a shot of dope when I heard a knock on the door. “Hold on, I’m changing!” Fuck! I thought to myself. I shoved everything under my bed and answered the door.

“Hey, dinner is ready.”

“Ok, I’ll be there in a sec.”

I shut the door, ran over to my bed, grabbed the rig, and hit up. 1, 2, 3 seconds. Bam! The rush hit me as a train of euphoria crashing into my body.

After that, I staggered upstairs and ate dinner with the family

10 p.m.

“Mom, I’ll be back in a little bit, k?”

“k, just make sure you lock the door.”

“Awight.”

God, I’m almost late. Fuck me! I thought.

I pulled up to the spot, climbed into his car, got my stuff, and left.

When I got home, I went straight to my room, shot up, and went to sleep:

Jesus I pray that you will help me to be able to hustle up enough money tomorrow to stay well. In your name I pray, Amen.

 

My addiction was the lowest time of my life: I went from being awarded my Eagle Scout badge, to smoking pot, to smoking meth, and finally, to slamming heroin. Seven years I led that life—getting high on anything and everything I could. And for what? So that I wouldn’t have to face reality. So that I wouldn’t have to face the anxiety and depression.

Life is nothing more than a series of experiences. How we respond to these experiences dictates our destiny. It’s painful, living the waking hours in theatrical scenes of my transgressions. Seeing, hearing, and feeling the sorrow I reaped upon myself and others.

I can remember being in a meeting once, some years ago, and some old man told me, “It’s not too late.” But there was a time when I thought it was. When I thought that suicide was the only way out of my heroin addiction. I didn’t ask for help, not verbally, at least. But Christ knew I wanted out; He was faithful. He pulled me out and allowed me to experience the life I dint deserve: the life of sobriety.

Today, I have 17 months clean and sober. And today, I pray not that I will have a prosperous day getting money for dope, but instead, that Christ will help you from the place I once was.

With Love,

Jake