But this isn't me. Isn't me anymore- right? I'm not laying on the bed with my headphones on, dreaming about the drugs. Skating the line between life and death ended long ago. Now, I worry about spreadsheets, Easter baskets, and wonder if they have the full size lipstick at Sephora since I have a coupon. As I put on my eyeliner, I wonder if it will run down my face tonight. The chances are awfully good. My foundation covers my ever present wrinkles, not my track marks.
When you get a craving, does it make your whole body shake? Like an endless loop of want. I am trying to watch this movie on netflix when I feel that pull, like a rip current, sucking me back to all the places I just left. How much for________ wait, I haven't even gotten to the second season! I thought we were binge watching this bitch. Tell me how it ends. I know this plot line very well. Can I learn to be the heroine in my own story?
I think this movie is almost over. "I love drugs" he tells me as he rests with half pinned eyes. the trash can is close by in case he throws up again. It is hot in here from on old floor heater, the type that won't allow you to adjust the temperature. There is a ring of sweat all around the top of his t-shirt. I had never really seen him high. I wasn't sure what to expect. Certainly not this. "You want some orange juice? It has ice..."
"No thanks," I reply with a polite smile.
No, I don't want any fucking orange juice. I want some of what you had. I want to be able to lean back, close my eyes, and completely ignore that this uncomfortable feeling makes me completely at ease. I want to be in that haze that tells me those open sores did not leave a bloodstain on your sheets. I want to ease into a place where everything and nothing mix for six more hours as my legs twitch in recognition that I've gone to that place that only opioids take you. I want to scratch myself until I bleed. I want to not fucking care.
Do you realize how much I love you I think to myself as I hug my friend goodbye. The words may come out of my mouth. When I see a reflection of how I used to be, it shocks me to my core. This is me. I am them. This is who we are. The savage junkie is just beneath the surface of a "normal" life. If we are realized back into the wild, the feral animal within us takes shape. We are not so far removed.
As I step out into the open air, I take a deep breath of reality. It feels good, the night air. Like that breath you take after you have overdosed. Life is rushing back into me. I feel my limbs again. Have you ever been out to dinner where you are struggling to pretend that you aren't high. They are looking directly into your eyes. You are projecting, with ever fiber of self will, I AM NOT HIGH despite the fact that you know they can see it. But they don't. They don't want to see. Another opportunity lost. Another memory made. It isn't that they did not notice. That person just loves you so god damned much they just want to have a few precious words. Am I talking about myself or you? You don't have to hide who you are from me. I completely understand.
There are seconds, there are moments, when the all the things I thought were real, reveal themselves as a fantasy. Are the drugs the illusion or it is the life we struggle to avoid? It is time for me to go home now. I am returning vaguely satisfied yet sober.
Staying off drugs is critical to who I am today but I don't forget where I came from. It is not that I judge users in any way. I absolutely do not. I just know for me drugs stopped working. Heroin saved me from committing suicide. That is the flip side of opioids. In the early days, they will suck that depression away and it turn it until the most magnificent crystallization of I DON"T GIVE A FUCK about my problems for a few hours a day. It really is ingenious the way those chemicals invade the body, take over, and sit in the drivers seat. Eventually, I realized the car was being driven off into a brick wall every single time. "Partying" turned into "more" turned into "maybe possibly hooked" turned into "so what I'm a dope fiend". I didn't need to justify my use to anyone if there was no one around. Just me, my dealers, and the occasional using buddy in my life.
I struggle with depression. I struggle with self image. I struggle with connection. I never struggle knowing I am better off today than I was when I had to stick a needle in my arm (leg, foot, neck) 6-8 times a day. I miss heroin sometimes. It is 100% okay to miss it. I don't dwell on it though. Instead of focusing on the past, I focus on the thing right in front on me. This life I have built that makes me content if I can't always be happy.