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.
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.
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
“Mom, I’ll be back in a little bit, k?”
“k, just make sure you lock the door.”
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.