My Little Dance With the Devil

Not many people get a second chance at life, and they definitely don’t get a third. I was one of the lucky ones, which is why I’m sharing my story.

When I was first introduced to heroin it was by my boyfriend at the time. We will just call him “Walter.” I wasn’t aware of his drug use prior to moving in, but as time went on I started to catch on, and within weeks I started to uncover what was truly going on behind the scenes.

Little did I know, I was about to dive head first into this black hole called “Heroin.” I use the term black hole because that’s exactly what it is. You start by peaking into the unknown, telling yourself at any moment you can stand up and run home. Never do you imagine yourself falling so far down, with nothing to hold on to and no one to call out to for help.

You’re just free falling—and then everything goes black.

Ever since I was a little girl my favorite movie has always been Alice in Wonderland. It’s ironic that this experience felt a lot like the plot of my favorite childhood movie. I was just a young girl, curious about the world around me. Curious of that black hole, and once I fell down, I was lost, just wanting to get home.

The first time I tried heroin was out of spite—out of anger and sadness. I didn’t understand why Walter couldn’t quit.

I’ll never forget that night.

I was crying and so upset. I locked myself in the bathroom of our apartment (where I found another stash hidden) and told Walter, “If you think this is okay to do to yourself, then you can watch what it does to me.”

It sounds so stupid now, I know. But that’s where I was. I was watching someone I cared for throw his life away. And for a second I thought maybe I could change his life. But the only life I changed that night was my own. It took me ONE time…one small line of brown powder, and I was hooked.

I convinced myself that everything was fine, I mean I wasn’t shooting the stuff up…that’s what the “real addicts do,” right?

No.

That’s where people are highly mistaken; just because you don’t have track marks on your arm doesn’t make you any better than the dope head sitting next to you with a needle in his vein, nodding off. I just happen to be a little queasy around needles, so I never went that route.

Four months into this addiction I found myself living a double life.

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I quit answering phone calls, I quit going home to see my parents, I shut myself off from the people I loved most. Because these are the people that can see through me, and I knew if I were to be around them they would know something was wrong. I was ashamed of who I was, I was ashamed of the person I had become. I never went a day without this drug for over a year.

On one particular night, I went through my worst set of withdrawals. I swear, it’s like your own personal hell. I sat in the passenger seat of my car kicking in my dashboard and pleading to God, “Please just make all of this go away.”

I called numerous rehab facilities, hoping to find one that would take my insurance. Of course they wouldn’t, and I felt even more hopeless. I felt as if the rest of my life would be dictated by this drug. I was so angry with myself. I was so angry with God. I felt like He wasn’t listening to me, He wasn’t helping me.

I needed Him, and I needed Him to save me because I couldn’t save myself.

That morning, Walter and I drove to pick up another sack of heroin. I had been withdrawing for about 14 hours. We got it, opened the bag up and poured some out on my center console. I remember picking up that dollar bill and feeling the drugs enter my body. I took a huge gulp of blue Gatorade to get the disgusting taste out of my mouth. Then everything went black.

One red light.

That’s how far Walter got before looking over at me, to find my face blue and my eyes shut. I was making funny noises with my throat. Walter described the sounds as if I were drowning, gasping for air.

Not even a full minute from when that drug entered my system, and I was dead.

That’s what people don’t understand about this drug. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it, all it takes is that ONE time, and your life is over.

I woke up in the backseat of my boyfriend’s mom’s car. She had come to meet us in the parking lot where he had pulled over. They laid me in the back of her car until the ambulance arrived.

I woke up confused and foggy. I thought I had been in a car wreck. I didn’t know where I was, how I got there or what had happened. The paramedics had shot me up with narcan; after 20 minutes of being lifeless, within seconds I was back.

God answered my prayers that day.

I was taken to the hospital where my family came to join me. They didn’t know what to say or how to act. I was throwing up, my memory was all over the place. I didn’t even know what to say to them. I just laid there. My mom and step-dad were at my apartment gathering all of my belongings while my dad and stepmom were speaking to the nurses and helping me talk with a psychiatrist. They brought me home that night. The date was 11/19.

All I ever wanted to do was come home.

For two weeks I laid in my room going through withdrawals. Cold sweats, restless legs, vomiting, sharp pains running through my body. I got up a handfull of times within those two weeks. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink anything, I just wanted to sleep but that would make it all too easy. It’s impossible to sleep. I was on lockdown. My dad took away my phone; my car was parked at my mom’s. I had no way out and being that my dad lives in a gated community, he made sure that no one had a way in. My mom would drive over to my dad’s to bathe me…yes that’s right. I couldn’t even take a shower on my own. The water felt like a thousand knives stabbing every inch of my body.

When the pain got the worst of me I remember trying to leave. My dad wrestled me to the ground as I beat the crap out of him. There was nothing easy about this process, for any of us. My parents had to be strong when I couldn’t and I thank them for that.

When you’re an addict you think everyone is your enemy, but in the long run they’re the ones saving your life.

I stayed clean for two months. Until I didn’t.

The next time I did heroin I overdosed, a second time. The date was 1/19

I don’t even like to talk about this day because it was just plain dumb. Why I would ever touch the stuff again is beyond me. But I did. And here we are.

My stepmom did CPR on me for over 30 minutes waiting for an ambulance to show up. I woke up on my bedroom floor after being shot up with narcan (again) with nothing but regret and disgust. But through that relapse I found myself again. I didn’t know who I wanted to be or where I wanted to go. I did however know who I didn’t want to be and where I didn’t want to go. And that was one of two options. Dead or in jail. I picked up the pieces of my life that day and GREW THE HELL UP.

Not many people get a second chance at life, and they definitely don’t get a third. I was one of the lucky ones, which is why I’m sharing my story.

I wouldn’t wish this disease on my worst enemy, and I wish I could take the needle from an addict’s arm and make them realize what a beautiful world they have waiting for them.

But the choice is theirs. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves. It’s a tough uphill battle, but it’s worth it. I look back at those two weeks I spent in bed getting clean of this drug, and although it was hell…it was TWO weeks.

The important thing to remember once you get clean is to change your surroundings, cut off all people that use. I don’t care if you THINK they are your best friends, cut them off. And get your life back. In time, you will inspire others to do the same. THAT’S what a friend is. That’s what taking control of your life is. You deserve it. You’re worth it.

You’re always ONE decision away from a totally different life.

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A version of this piece originally appeared at livealittle.wordpress.com

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