Well, it is official readers. You are dying.
When I was 20 years old, I injected opioids for the first time. It was some shitty pills that needed a cold water extraction. I was with a friend. We had a used syringe that had been passed along by someone else. Both of us- bored. I wish I could give a better reason for why we tried it. But the REAL truth is that we both lived in podunk outskirts of Cincinnati, Ohio. Our options were pretty limited in terms of things we found to be exciting. We both lived at home with our parents. We both had crappy jobs. We both had histories of alcohol and drug use in our families. We both had been depressed. But most of all, we were bored. We were afraid of what the future might have in store for us. We were in a prolonged state of adolescence that comes with have both limited responsibilities and coping skills. The drugs seemed appealing, opioids even more so. They promised an escape, a chemical vacation. We shared that needle that day.
Our lives were never the same after that day. Things progressed slowly, as they sometimes do. I was "chipping", dabbling in opioids. He would soon dive head first. Our paths split off a few months later. He ended up going in and out of prison. The love of his life died in his arms of an overdose. I ended up a homeless junkie in San Francisco that eventually found my way into recovery. We shared a bloody needle that day, heroin a few months later, and the same obsession to escape ourselves.
Fast forward many years later. After losing the vast majority of my friends to overdoses and AIDS, here we are back in the same place we were in 1996. Limited access to clean syringes. Overdoses killing a generation. If you are reading this, you have lost a friend, or a friend of a friend, a classmate, or a loved one to overdose. There seems to be no corner of the United States that is immune. How we ended up here is a matter of debate. Never the less, we have people addicted in record numbers.
How do you cope when it seems as if everyone around you is dying? In my case, I used more and more and more. I stuck the needle deeper in to avoid the reality around me. I wallowed in self pity and shame. How are you coping? How are you dealing with the loss of your generation, a generation being swallowed up by student loan debt and the general feeling as is nothing matters besides this next thing? I feel like all the experts are tossing around their theories around the roots of addiction while little is being done to ask people on an individual basis how they are feeling.
I just want to let you know dear readers that I am thinking of you on this rainy day. I am thinking of you and your well being. I hope you are in a place that is dry. I hope that you are close to someone who care about you. I hope your syringes are new, the naloxone is near by. I hope you made it to the clinic today. That the suboxone films seemed a little less bitter this morning. I hope you caught that connecting bus, that person you like texted you back. I hope the boss let you off ten minutes early. I hope your pizza is warm, you coffee is hot, and you find that last five dollars you had shoved in your pants. In other words, I wish you joy in the simple things. I hope you can enjoy life just a little more and love dope just a little less.