Just like losing your virginity, every addict remembers the first time they got high. And like sex, most people’s expeiriences tendnto be either really bad or totally orgasmic and wonderful. Either people tell stories of throwing up for hours or speak of an inexplicable bliss that they would go on to chase forever, never to duplicate.
My first time was neither, or rather both. To set the scene, I was 19 and on summer vacation from the University of Maryland College Park where I was an honor student. I had recently broke up with the verbally abusive, alcoholic boyfriend that I had had for the past three years. I was hanging out with a guy who would eventually become my boyfriend for a short time. He was a recovering addict. He had just come home from jail and rehab for theft charges that stemed from his drug habit.
I was hardly a drug virgin. I had smoked copious amounts of weed, popped E pills galore, done Special K and coke. Never heroin, though. I was scared of it. My ex used to do dope occasionally and sometimes would disappear into the ghetto parts of Baltimore for a week or so, worrying me to no end. The guy who I was hanging out with (who we will call J) was recovering from a pretty bad dope habit. I was sort of afraid of heroin.
One day J called me up saying that he had gotten a bunch of cash for his birthday. He asked if Inknew somewhere to get some girl (coke). I said that I did not as my ex usually got any drugs that we did. I never really sought out drugs at that time, I just did what was around. Anyway, J told me that he new a place where we could get it. He would pay if I provided him with a ride. I was game.
What he didn’t tell me was that we were going to be pulling up to a dope strip. He had told me that we were meeting somebody in Baltimore County. Lies. We were going to an area behind the Edmonson Village Center that I would come to know very well in the future. When he told me that we were almost there, I asked if he needed to call the guy and was very confused when he stated that he didn’t. “Umm, how will he know that we were here if we don’t call?”, I inquired. “They just will”, he told me.
We rounded the turn and the road went from row houses to a cul-de-sac with three to four level brick apartment buildings. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot about 15 guys ran to the car, shoving their hands and heads inside either window. “Girl”, “Red tops”, “Boy”, “Yellow tops”, “Nickles”, “What you need?”. I was shocked and a little frightened. I had never seen anything like this before. J pointed to a guy he recognized and asked, “What you give me for $200? I want girl.” At the time these apartments had nickels so the dude gave us 45 red top vials. He went back to my house and snorted coke all night.
This continued for about a few weeks going in town three to four times a week. One time, he got six boys (dope). After we had been doing coke all night, J asked me if I wanted some of the dope. He told me it would help me to come down off of the coke. I was hesitant. I knew that he had just cam home from jail on theft charges that he never would gotten if he didnt need the money for the heroin. I went into my 14 year old sister’s room. She had two of her friends over. “Have you all ever done dope?,” I asked them. “Oh yeah. A bunch of times,” they all answered in unison. “How bad could it be if a bunch of 13 and 14 year olds are doing it?” I thought to myself.
I marched back into my bedroom and told J that I did in fact want some. He broke some out for me. “This ain’t coke, girl. Don’t be doing no big ass coke lines. It will kill your this shit’s a lot stronger. You just take little bumps.” So that is what I did. Little bumps.
I felt drunk. Dizzy. A little sick. I never threw up, but I cam really fucking close. He had to go home, but I was way too fucked up to drive. He drove to his house and I spent the night. My skin felt like it was being attacked by swarms of fire ants. We made a bed on his floor and laid there all night. Watching tv and scratching each others backs. I didn’t sleep at all. I couldn’t. Between the nausea, the feeling like I had been lit on fire, and feeling drunk and dizzy, there was no way that I was going to sleep. I had never felt anything like this. I had energy, but I was relaxed an serene. I was giggly and happy.
This became a new habit, getting dope to come down off of the coke at the end of the night. Soon the pendulum started to shift, however and we started to get more and more dope until the order was mostly dope and just a little coke.
“They used to call us track stars/ Before they even stopped/ We ran to them cars.” – Young Jeezy. This describes to a T what it was like when my silver Cavalier pulled up to the apartments. They had so many dealers back there. So much competition, and they knew that we spent money, thqt we weren’t knockers. They all ran at the car before we had even stopped, twenty sets of arms in the windows shouting for you to but from them.
I was still so very green at that time. I had never been pulled over in the city. I knew nothing about lying police and racial profiling. I had yet to discover that we would be pulled over just because we were white. One night we were coming back from the apartments. It was a Saturday night at about two am. It was me, J and one of our friends in the car. We were coming down the one way street to turn on to Edmonson Avenue to go home. That night however, the police had set up a sobriety check piont. You HAD to go throughout the parking lot of the village center because the road was blocked. J had his left hand filled with vials, and was driving with his right hand. We pulled up to the check point. An officer shined a flashlight into the car and asked J if he had been drinking at all. “No sir,” J said. “Okay,” the officer replied, “Take this pamphlet about drinking and driving.” Since J’s left hand was over flowing with vials he has to awkwardly reach across the steering wheel with his right hand to grab the pamphlet. “Have a nice night and be careful,” the cop told us. “You too,” we replied. As we pulled off, J and our friend were freaking out. “Do you have any idea how fucking close that was?” They asked me. I mean of course I knew that we had drugs and that they were illegal, but I didn’t really grasp what a fucking close call that was. I didn’t think about how lucky we were that he didn’t ask what three white people were doing coming from an all black, notorious drug area at two in the morning.
For the next few months J and I were getting high almost everyday. He also taught me hustle that I did on and off for years to come. One day it was J’s birthday. While he went out to dinner with his mother, I went out and boosted the items that we sold to the corner store downtown. I picked him up at 8:30 pm. We had to make it to the store in Baltimore before it closed at 9 pm. It was about 25 minutes away. Problem was sometimes the store was known to close early. J drive and was speedimg in order to ensure that we made it. On the school down the street from his house, a cop was shooting radar. As soon as we drive by, the lights switched on. “Shit!” J exclaimed. We were short on time and ahas a back seat full of stolen gods. They took J’s license to run, they walked back to the car and asked him to step out of the vehicle. He had three warrants for his arrest. He had violated his probation. One of the warrants had no bail, so he sat in the Baltimore County Detention Center for about four months.
When he was locked up, I decided to chill with the drugs for a bit. I couldn’t sleep. My back ached. I swore that I needed a new mattress. It wasn’t until I got a REAL, REAL habit that I realized that I was going through a very minor form of withdrawls.
One day J’s brother-in-law called needing a ride in town to cop. J and I had given him a ride a few times before. I explained that J was locked up and was denied bail so it would be impossible for the two of us to give him a ride. “Why don’t you just come get me? My treat.” I hesitated, he had been really cool the times that J and I had given him a ride, but he was hammered the first time that I met him and a total asshole. Eventually, he talked me into picking him up. Over and over again, he would convince me.
One night after we went in town we decided to hang out with some friends and get some vodka. Before I knew it, we were drunk and having sex. We started hanging out everyday, and long story short, we are married to this day with two wonderful children.
Almost every event in my life goes back, one way or another to that first night that I tried dope. A lot of shit that I went through because of heroin was terrible. Jail, arrests, overdoses, sickness, losing more friends and family then I care to remember. But it made me who I am. Aaron and I had met, but as I previously stated, I hated him. We got close because of the drugs. Usually couples that get high together fail, but we are soul mates. I have two beautiful children who would not exist if I were not giving my future husbands rides in town. Most importantly, I am proud of my scars.mi have huge, physical scars on my forearms, and shins from abscesses and infections. They serve as a reminder for all the internal scars that you can not see. I have been to hell and back. I survived and am stronger due to the journey. I am not hear to scare anyone or to say how wonderful you will feel on heroin. Honestly, it feels great, but that feeling wears off. What you are left with is a whole in your soul that you continually fill with a drug that is ripping it open wider and wider every time you use it to fill the whole up. Every addict remembers their first time. I choose to remember mine, but I am sure that play the movie all the way through. I don’t hit pause when it is still fun.