"...the piece I was
By Tyfanny S., Baltimore, MD
I started using heroin in a typical way: with friends, at social gatherings, trying to be cool. I was never abused, neglected, or beaten growing up; in fact, I had a perfect childhood, and when I say perfect, I mean textbook perfect. Mom and Dad still married; one boy and one girl, in a brick house with a white picket fence. Yeah, a white picket fence. Through all the rehabs, therapy, groups and counseling I have been through I've searched for a deeper reason for why I got high. I wanted something to blame it on, some significant moment in my life that fucked me up so bad that I was subconsciously hurting and needing to kill that pain by using.
But there wasn’t one—I just liked using H, and that caused me to have a really hard time staying off of it.
I have always been the kind of person that if you show me how to do something, I can do it. From sports, to art, to cooking, to math. Anything. Show me, give me a little time, and I will do it, and do it well.
Yet, I couldn’t kick dope.
I have always been the person with all the friends. I have never had an enemy. I get along with older people, younger people, rich people, poor people—doesn’t matter. I have the kind of personality that lights up a room. Everybody loves me. But I didn’t fit in with the people in NA. I love to write. Give me an assignment in school and it was often used as an example. I write stories, poetry, songs. But trying to do steps with a sponsor? It was like pulling teeth. I drew blanks.
Through all of my ups and downs, ins and outs with using; no matter how sick I was, how broke I was, I always said that I would be OK. I wrecked my car, I robbed my parents, I dropped out of college, and I got locked up. But I told myself that I would grow out of it and move on to a normal life—that I'd be OK, when I was ready. The problem was, I was never ready. I always wanted one more.
I went to rehab, and to counseling, and then to outpatient—and then to jail. Not ready yet. I went to rehab again, to counseling, to outpatient, and then to jail—again. Nope, still not ready. I was 24, an intelligent, fairly good-looking girl with nothing to show for myself but a felony criminal record and some track marks. I was broke and sick and lonely, and I still wanted just one more, because: "Everything was going to be OK."
When I was 25, I was sitting in my car with all the H I could ask for. My rent was paid, thanks to me lying to my parents, and I had money in my pocket to keep me high for days. I had everything a junkie could ask for that day. But then it hit me: I'm miserable. I'm lonely. And I'm sad.
Sure I had felt all this before—all addicts have—but this was different.
For some reason I had lost that little glimmer of hope that, "Everything was going to be OK." I had drugs, money, and a place to live. I even had a car. Yet I was crying, trying desperately to convince myself that I'd be fine. Thing was, I wasn’t buying it anymore.
I think I turned on myself that day—the day I stopped buying the con. Later, God intervened: he sent the wonderful people of the Anne Arundel County Police Department. And after one more trip to jail and rehab, I got it.
Somehow I was able to fit into the NA meetings, and I made friends with wonderful people who held my hand and helped me through my roughest days. I got a sponsor—and I worked the steps. The pain and sorrow poured out of me onto paper as I emptied my soul.
And—I was able to stop using heroin.
I hear people share what their rock bottoms were overdosing, losing jobs, losing family, going broke. I had been through all of that—and the misery still wasn’t enough for me to stay clean. I had to feel misery in my own way. When I thought I had everything that I wanted and realized that I didn’t, I had to get honest with myself and call it: I wasn’t going to be OK.
These days, my life is in no way perfect. I hate when I hear people say that their worst day sober is better than their best day high—because honestly, that's not always the case. Thing is, I never stopped liking getting high. I stopped liking how I felt about myself though, how I viewed my future, and how I was living my life. Most of all, I hated the consequences that getting high created. See, I'm slightly lazy, and court dates, probation appointments, and pre-trial check-ins are just not part of my dream agenda.
But just because I stopped using didn't mean I stopped having consequences.
When I stopped running from my life, my life caught up to me. And that's something I have to deal with on an almost daily basis. I still have pre-trial, probation, and court dates, and I may quite possibly be doing some jail time for the first time in my life sober. And while I had the typical addict thinking, "What's the point of staying clean if I'm going to jail anyway," I realized that once I clean up my messes, and pay my debt to society, I never have to do this again. With the help and support of a lot of great people, I face my court dates with the attitude of giving it to God; I have done the best I can to mend my life, the rest is up to Him.
Today, my mantra is still: "It's going to be OK," but with one small addition. I believe that everything really is going to be OK, as long as I don't shoot up. Maybe that was the piece I was always missing.—T.S.