I have made it known, some people tell me far too well known, that I am an addict. A heroin addict at that. Yeah, I cop to that one. I have stated before that giving up coke wasn’t particularly hard for me. By the time I gave it up, it wasn’t all that fun anyway. Actually, the moment of impact was the only enjoyable point. The reverse drinking of that bitter taste. Those few seconds of euphoria was followed by thirty to forty minutes of straight hell. Coke is also easier to quit, at least for me, because it is a mental only addiction. You do not physically withdrawl of of coke. You may crave it, but you are not throwing up layer upon layer of stomach bile, sweating cold sweats, shivering in 100 degree weather as you are with heroin. If there is a monkey on your back with coke, it is a Pygmy marmoset, while heroin is a hundred pound gorilla.
When I got clean for the first time, I painfully discovered that it was not just the heroin that I was addicted to. I discovered all sorts of hidden little addictions, or habits I suppose that I had picked up along the way. Each one of these makes it that much harder to stay clean. It is one thing to crave one thing. Each little additional proclivity just compounds the situation in an exponential form.
One extra little quirk of mine is what they call needle fixation. This happens to be true for many IV drug users. Yes, I am very aware of jus hoe fucking sick and disturbing it is to state that you are addicted to needles, but it is true. This causes me to want to shoot up my methadone. You can do this. I have. Not since I have been on methadone this go round, but long time ago. If my husband and I only had say one bottle to share, we would shoot it to make it go farther, hit harder.
Really, in all honesty, I should hate needles. My veins are shot. It would often take upwards of an hour to two to hit. By the time I found a vein, I had wasted half of the shot, thus not getting much of a rush. There would be a veritable blood bath. We always joke that if you luminal-ed the room of any of us current or former junkies, it would look like there had been a massacre in there. The tools often clog with coagulated blood. You have to apply so many PSIs of pressure to unclog it, that when it finally budged there is blood and dope all over the ceiling. I would have to shoot in my legs, feet, hands, fingers, armpits, breasts, stomach, back, you name it. I did never go in my neck, I was too afraid. I have been clean for years and still, I have awful looking scars on my arms. Infections that bubbled from the inside out pulling and stretching the skin to the max until finally the pressure is to much and it pops, mixtures of blood, dope, and puss oozing out for days or weeks. My legs constantly itch and feel like they are on fire from collapsing veins in my legs. And my hands, they got fucked the worst. I don’t have enough veins left to properly circulate the blood, so I have loss of circulation far too often. My hands “go to sleep” way too easily. One finger that had a particularly nasty abscess that required hospitalization, still has no feeling. I was hospitalized over eight years ago.
So, yeah this is all from IV drug use. Why do I desire the needle and the spoon? Who knows. I quests I am a sick fucked up person. When I decided that I wanted to stay clean, for real, I took all of my needles, cookers, ties, all of it and put it my truck. I drove down to the gas station and threw that shit away. Having needled in the house is a trigger. Get that shit the fuck away from me.
I miss the city of Baltimore. The ghetto ass parts that I have no good reason to go to anymore. I miss the community. I miss how friendly everyone always was. I especially miss Baltimore in the summer. I miss the house on Ashburton Street, behind the Westside Shopping Center where we hung out/lived. It was so great in the summer. It was a shit hole, but I would walk from there through the shopping center, talking to everyone as I walked. Stopping in the Shoe City to check out/cop the latest kicks. Buying little trinkets for the kids at the Dollar Store. Getting a Buford from Checkers. There really is no where like Baltimore in the summer. Most people have no ac, so everyone is outside on their porch in the hot months. I miss it. I can’t go though. I have no reason. I fear myself far too much, I never lived there sober. I was there to buy drugs, to get high, to hustle off shit. So I stay away. I just have my memories.
A couple of months ago, I spoke of the dangers of boredom. For me at least, that was a huge trigger. I am much better now. I am a lot more comfortable in my skin. I can be content at the house with my husband and kids and dogs. (Actually, the dogs have been a bit of a life saver.) Boredom was the reason that relapsed after like five days the first time that I tried to get clean. I was used to ripping and running all day long. I couldn’t just sit at home. This was multiplied by the fact that being out all day was how we made our money. We needed money. Yeah, I was looking for work, but even in the best of situations that will take a couple of days. I needed money faster than that. I was driving back and forth to my outpatient rehab, twenty minutes each way for one. Who was going to pay for the gas? Plus I needed money for shit to do, like the movies, shopping, going out to dinner, whatever. I needed something to do to get my mind off of wanting to get high. What is the saying idle hands are the devils playthings, or something like that. The ironic circle-fuck was that to go out to get our minds off of drugs, we had to go out hustling, cashing in right near our copping spots. Of course since we were down there… And round and round we go.
NA tells you to “change your people, places, and things”. You loose a lot of your friends,or associates at the very least. This can be lonely, alienating, depressing. You are dealing with a lot of shit, and you are doing it alone. A lot of addicts get somewhat addicted to the “party” atmosphere. You go from being around people, getting high, boosting, copping, living in groups. I lived in hotels for months. Technically, it was just three of us living there, but there was usually any where from two to six extra people sleeping there. On chairs, on the floor, wherever they could fit. To go from that to alone with your thoughts, your urges for the very thing that was killing you, can be a shock to the senses to say the least.
See this is the dirty little secret that no one wants to talk about. Getting clean only is the tip of the iceberg. Obviously, you know that it is not going to be easy to stay clean, but what it is almost impossible to prepare for is how many things you get addicted to. It is a life style. This is why people relapse on methadone or suboxone, because by cutting out the drugs you cut out all kinds of shit that you never even knew that you liked.