Let me tell you about my first love
I am a junky and I have been for my entire adult life. I don’t even know who I would be if I wasn’t that. I hardly even remember who I used to be. There are fragments. I was an introvert. I loved to read. I loved books more than people. Books were my friends. I remember hiding books in different places around the house. Sneaking into the bathroom to read because my family would not leave me alone when I tried to just sit in my room. My mom always wanted me to be more social. To have fun. Make friends. Go outside. I didn’t care. I just wanted to be left alone with my books. I used to scribble in journals. Besides reading, writing was my only passion. I was going to be a writer. But my mom told me that writing was a hobby and not a career. I was meant to be a doctor. I was the first in my family to go to college. I couldn’t wait. So I signed up for summer term and went off just 2 weeks after high school graduation. While my peers celebrated their freedom from mandatory education, I was being practical and getting a head start on my future. I got good grades. A scholarship. Honors. I was going to be a huge success. I was going to finally make my parents proud of me.
I’m not an alcoholic. So it was fine when I started drinking by myself every night. Shots of rum, vodka, or tequila purchased for me by some older man who wanted to get laid. Chased down with fruit juice because I don’t like soda. At parties I was a fun drunk. I’d make out with your girlfriend and show you my tits. I’d dance and sing and laugh. All my inhibitions gone. I was suddenly able to socialize. I couldn’t do that sober. So I drank more. Alone, I was the worst. I sunk so deep into depression. I cried. I broke things. But worst of all, I hurt myself. My first year as a legal adult, I spent my nights drinking alone, cutting myself (a habit I acquired during adolescence), and wondering where I went wrong.
Then I discovered pills. A better high and you don’t have to consume so much fluid. I stopped drinking. I stopped eating anything but pills. Diet pills because I was sick of being the fat girl. Pain killers because they made me feel invincible. Uppers to help me study. Downers to help me sleep. I had it all under control. My grades were good. I was good. Still on course. I learned that I could skip class and still maintain my 3.0+ gpa to keep my scholarship. I was brilliant. I was a genius. Nobody could touch me.
My sophomore year, I became friends with a gay heroin addict. I had always been active in the LGBTQ community and had always had a group of gay men around. What some may call a fag hag, though I find the phrase distasteful now. I consider myself pansexual and have done since right around the time I started university. I fell madly in love with a girl who broke my heart beyond repair. I thought I would never love again. Then I found heroin. And I fell in love hard.
You never forget your first time. How true that is. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. In fact, I remember that day more than I remember yesterday. Ask me what I did yesterday. I don’t know. Nothing of importance, anyway. But I remember the day my life changed. I remember my heart pounding. The excitement and anticipation as my friend showed me how to prepare a shot. Being afraid of needles. Her telling me not to look as she expertly probed my arm for a vein. Me looking anyway. Being mesmerized by the sight of the dark blood mixing with the brown liquid. The taste. Tasting it in every part of my being. I didn’t understand why the taste should even be. I didn’t understand how I could feel taste in my extremities. But I loved it. I love it to this day. That day and the days to follow would set the course for who I would become. Heroin would become my life. Junkie would become my official title. Hi, I’m Lee and I’m a junkie.
Why I fell in love with heroin was that she freed me. I stopped caring about how I looked and I started looking better. I stopped worrying about dieting and I lost weight. I stopped being depressed and I stopped cutting. I stopped concerning myself with how other people saw me and people gravitated towards me. I was a god. I used, abused, and disposed of people like they were nothing. I’m not proud of this. I was despicable. Selfish. Self-absorbed. Nobody mattered but me. Nothing mattered but my next fix. I could write so many stories about the people I hurt. Maybe one day I will. It’s my duty to face that part of myself. If for no other reason than to remind me how much I’ve changed. But this here is just my introduction and it’s already incredibly long. So I’ll cut to the point.
I relate my addiction to an abusive relationship. Heroin made me feel loved. She convinced me that I couldn’t live without her. She destroyed my life in such a way that I believed she was actually making it better. I was sure that this was what I was put on earth to do. I was born to be a junkie. Lying, stealing, sneaking around, and cheating were second nature to me. And those habits became handy throughout my addiction. I became skilled in the art of the con. I could take the last dollar from a man and he would thank me for taking it. I learned to use sex as a way to get what I want. I guess I was as much addicted to the power I felt as anything else. Ironically, heroin made me feel strong and powerful even as she stole my autonomy. My ability to make rational decisions. My very identity. She took away everything I had, was, and cared about. And she became the only thing that mattered. Did I want to be the first college graduate in my family? Not as much as I wanted to stick a needle In my arm. So I dropped out. Did I want to eat? Not as much as I wanted to get high. So I spent every penny on drugs and only ate if someone actually handed me food. Don’t give me money for food. Don’t even give me food stamps. Because I will sell them for drug money. Don’t leave me alone with your valuables or your sons. I’m not a good person. Despite over 10 years of fighting the very core of who I once was, I don’t deserve your respect. Or your attention. I don’t deserve praise for getting sober. Because I still want to get high. Every day. I wake up in the morning searching for the shot I prepared the night before. Then I remember where I am. I’m not dope sick and I don’t need to do it today. And I guess that I can’t promise more than that.
I didn’t get high today. I didn’t hurt anyone today. I was a mother to my child today. I did everything I was supposed to do. Tomorrow isn’t promised. Not to me. Not to you. So I can only speak for today. And today I’m sober. But don’t praise me for that. Because I plan to get high tomorrow.