Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tastes like victory

"Am I getting a holiday take home?" he says as he throws in cup in the garbage.
 He would ask to see his counselor, but he knows there would be no point in that conversation. Everything involved in a methadone clinic is a delicate balance between not getting caught and not getting high.

Most people start with failure as the motivator. They have some how failed to keep their shit together. Some tiny little insignificant chemical reaction had taken over their entire being.  At first, methadone tastes like victory. You crush that cup with joy like "I got this" as you beat on your chest. The power of the purse has allowed you to pay your way out of your habit. It feels good. The dose may not be right but you feel like you have done something. 

Flash forward a few weeks or months to the grind of clinic shackles. The window! Do you even know about the window bro? Have you ever had the clinic door shut before you have gotten to the window? Have you ever stood in line waiting for the miraculous raspberry yumminess that makes the world bearable? Have you had your dose held to piss in a cup when you JUST went and you have to be somewhere NOW. What do you know about the liquid handcuffs? SUCH a blessing, such a pain in the ass. The 'done tastes like victory and makes you feel like a child again. 

As he rolls over to his boy's place, he briefly looks in the rear view mirror. The eyes are slightly bloodshot from smoking the night before. His lips are so dry a bucket full of Carmex couldn't fix that shit. Is that a grey hair along his part? Somehow he never imagined he would be in this place at 25. Selling weed to support an old lady, a girlfriend, and all his friends. Some days his hustle feels as tired as the lies he tells himself. 

He tells his reflection "this is my last..Last what? " He stops himself. He knows he isn't stopping. He learned how be a man from his Dad. One step ahead of everyone. But he is better at it. He has out slicked them all. Twenty five years old and never spent a day jail. Who are you going to turn to when you can't let anyone in? 

When do you know it is time to quit this life? When you are high on Mother's Day or every day? All the days blend together. Life leaves you with a bitter after taste like you get a the clinic. All your emotions are tied in milligrams. Until you either get clean or stop coming. Are you going to show up or be tore up from the floor up? 

He puts a few drops of Visine in both eyes. It is show time. Don't let the face match the insides. One day he will get clean. He will. I know this person. But today is not that day. Cause you can't stop until you are ready. And everything can end in the blink of an eye.

"Are you coming back to visit?" the nurse asks
Fuck no, he thinks.
He takes his last drink of that magical elixir.
It tastes like victory.

As he walks out of the methadone clinic for the last time, he touches the sterile white walls. No more pissing in the cup. No more getting up before work to beat the rush. No more handing over $400 a month. A lot can change in three years. No more crack, no more dope, no more window. There is a crisp in the air on that Michigan morning, just enough to frost up the windshield. As the car warms up, he sees himself in the rearview mirror. The face is the same yet everything is different. And for one brief moment, he is at peace. 
Photo credit to dyiingbride 


  1. That post touched my soul, the moment of peace stabbed my chest because I long for that peace. Peace from this horrid affliction

  2. I guess I'm lucky to have a suboxone doctor. Once a month I go in, take my drug test, get my script, and go back to being a stay home mommy of four and wife. All that remains to remind me that I'm not Mary sunshine is that, and those horrible tasting pills that take forever to dissolve. I wonder, how long can I keep this up? Cause I just know I'm a lifer. I can't do PAWS, too many dependants. Thanks for writing, you are a hero to so many. Even Mary sunshine, the happy housewives, like me. God bless you and yours,may they NEVER do what we've done...

    1. I think there is nothing wrong with opiate replacement. In time, I think we will discover that a low dose of opiates is truly a treatment for some types of persistent depression.