Saturday, May 18, 2013

On pins and needles

What was the moment when you realized that you were an addict? In 1991, I was living in an incredibly sparse apartment on Calhoun street in Cincinnati Ohio. The apartment was in the busy college district , close to bars and live music venues. The apartment was subsidized by my parents. I had wrecked my third car. After my DUI, I had no license. I was living in the city so I could continue to go to classes at the University of Cincinnati. I worked at Pier I Imports at night and drank most days. Attending classes was an occasional thing though I still managed acceptable marks in school. 

I had tried heroin a few times. It was hard to get after my friend stole my connection. I was intrigued when my friend suggested we shoot morphine pills he had got from his girlfriend, the daughter of a pharmacist. "Needles and pins, pins and needles". So this is going to be different? You know I can't hit myself. I only have one rig. Can you help me out? I got $40. 

In the old days, pre- needle exchanges, you had to know a diabetic to get a syringe. You kept it until it literally broke, hopefully not in your arm while you were fixing. You would sharpen it on a matchbook. It would pull up you skin like a fish hook. In a group situation, you could be completely fucked if the rig broke before it was your turn. Couples rarely cleaned their rigs with bleach because they could not stand the wait for their issue. 

"What is this going to do it me?" Was never really mentioned. Just the feeling. Needles and pins. Four days of needles and pins. I learned about a whole new reality-withdrawal. What is THIS feeling? My legs weighed a thousand pounds. I locked up from muscle cramps on the couch. My nose was runny. My eyes watered. I thought addiction was in your head. I begged Nathan to suffocate me. "You are going to be alright Trace. You are just kicking" kill me now. 

People came in and out of my apartment that day and for the next four days. They would yell up to my window. I had no phone. No real furniture. A mattress a couch and a garbage can to puke in. Jason and Mark asked if they could stay the night. "Is there something we can do" "besides kill me, no man. Nothing." No i dont want food water sex friends air. Nothing. It should all been a warning sign but we were so young. When I get off this couch, I am never going to do this shit again. Until the next time. Pins and Needles. Needles and Pins. 

I've kicked opiates 11 times all were terrible- from using speed for four days to kicking cold turkey in jail. I can say this with 100% certainty. It does get better. It takes time. And I am going to do everything necessary to not use again. 

6 comments:

  1. I'm hooked on your stories because it's my life to only I'm not good at writing like you, I enjoy your writing, Never stop.

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  2. did you go straight into shooting heroin, no 'in between' stage?

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    1. Heroin was hard to get where I lived. I didn't have ready access to it until I got to SF. It also was super expensive

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  3. Hi tracey im from australia..really trying to quit myself bein using 10 years now and im 27. Your storys are wicked..your soo lucky. I watched BTH earlier this year for the first time...ot honestly scared me shitless. But not enough to make me stop..my life is not as tough as yours was but i see myself in alot of the people in the movie. Im off and on the subboxone atm but find it hard to stay. Kiked thr methadonr few yeas bak after i realised i was jst abusing it. ...Anyways..ill def keep reading. This page is fantastic. Thank you so much for educating me on your story!!
    Alex. From brisbane ,Australia.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading. Yes, I used until the wheels fell off but the pain is the same among addicts. 27 is a good year to get clean. i got clean at 27 myself. I hope you will stay in touch. I love hearing from readers. :)

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