The tiny evil pills were tricky things.
I believe I was addicted after the first one. My husband woke me up in the middle of the night, having just come from God knows where, and handed it to me with a glass of water.
“Trust me,” he said. “Just take it.”
I didn’t even hesitate, popping it into my mouth without a second thought. My life was so miserable that the thought of something making me feel better was welcome. After about 15 minutes, I felt like I was flying and running and free. I sat on the living room floor in amazement that something so small could feel so wonderful.
I wanted to feel that way all the time, and I wanted another one right away.
The problem was they weren’t easy to come by. There were one or two people in our neighborhood who sold them, but they always ran out or moved away or something else that stopped me from getting one. Near tears, I’d beg my husband to try harder, telling him I couldn’t be without them.
I was past the point of caring if it was illegal. The pills were life to me, and nothing mattered if I didn’t have them. I’d lost so much of myself in my marriage already.
After taking them for months, I was desperate not to feel the horrifying withdrawal when I didn’t get one. The pain came swift and searing throughout my body, and my muscles and joints seized and cramped so much it made me weep. My stomach would retch so furiously that I couldn’t keep food down. I’d call in sick to work, unable to get out of bed or calm down.
The Guy Who Controlled My Life
My husband always came to the rescue, producing a little pill just when I couldn’t take it anymore. When I asked him where he found it, he’d always say the same thing.
“There’s a guy I know.”
My questions would stop as soon as the opiate was spreading through my system. What did it matter, really? The nameless guy was a hero as far as I was concerned. He saved me from suffering even if I couldn’t thank him.
“Stop asking so much,” my husband warned. “This guy only has so much, and you can’t have all of them.”
I nodded my head in agreement. The last thing I wanted was the guy to cut me off completely. The problem was my need was growing stronger every day. After a while, one pill wasn’t giving me the same feeling as it did before. I always needed more.
“Why do you have to be such a disgusting drug addict?” My husband asked this question often. I never had an answer for him.
“You’re going to ruin everything,” he told me. “You don’t see me taking pills all the time. I know when to stop.”
That may have been true, but I had no such knowledge. I could only go by the way I felt without them, and that wasn’t any kind of life I wanted to live.
“What if I paid him more?” I offered this as a solution. It was at the point where most of my paycheck went to the drugs. Since I was working and my husband wasn’t, I was putting our livelihood in danger by spending so much money to get high. He reminded me of it on a daily basis.
Still, I had no intention of slowing down, even when my husband told me the guy wasn’t willing to sell to me anymore.
“He said he needs some for himself,” he explained. “He just can’t sell you every pill he has.”
I pleaded hysterically after that. “Maybe just half a pill? Why don’t you let me talk to him? I’ll make him understand.”
“No, you can’t. You’re never going to meet him, so put that thought right out of your head. Why can’t you stop taking them for a few days? I haven’t had any and I’m fine.”
An unknown drug dealer controlled my life, and I was at his mercy every hour of every day. Sometimes he was generous, selling me one or two pills at a time. He’d even let me pay him back if my check was a few days away. Other times, he would refuse and tell my husband to make me stop bothering him.
I Had To Make A Choice
Rent was due in a few days with the money already spent. Without a pill, I couldn’t get out of bed to brush my teeth much less go to work and make rent. My days were spent sobbing into my pillow in tremendous pain physically and mentally.
My husband told me a story of an old friend of his who sold his truck for twenty pills. I could imagine the desperation and understood it better than I wanted to believe. There wasn’t anything I could think of that I wouldn’t do for them. They had a choke-hold on my very existence, and I was forever their slave.
Things were tense around the apartment after the pills were gone. My husband said the dealer was completely out and wouldn’t be getting any for at least a week. There was no way I would be able to ride it out without becoming violently ill. I’d never been so afraid of my body and mind turning against me, but he just shrugged his shoulders and told me I’d have to wait.
There was still something left of me deep down. There was a person who wanted to live and not with pills making every choice for me. I knew being an addict was a matter of life and death, and I wasn’t ready to die just yet. It was time to leave my husband and get healthy again no matter how painful it was.
I left him on a Saturday while he was riding his bike to the store. Grabbing a suitcase, I packed it with everything I could fit, mostly clothes and makeup, and hurried away before he could come home. I drove to the house of a friend and begged her to take me in for just a few days. Together, we found a halfway house where I could detox and have a safe place to stay.
I once believed the pills would save my life, but now it was time for me to save myself. Full withdrawal was the scariest thing I’d ever been through, but instead of a pill coming to my rescue, I had the support of the women in my new house and meetings every day to help me through.
My husband called and told me I could come pick up the rest of my stuff. At first I hesitated, but in my haste I left behind important papers and my father’s ashes, and I didn’t want those things in my husband’s hands to carelessly lose or deliberately throw away.
He watched in silence as I gathered my things, his eyes narrowing as if he was ready to strike at any moment. I worked swiftly, not wanting to spend any more time there than I had to. When I loaded up the last box in my car, he followed me out to the parking lot.
“You think you know so much,” he sneered. “You think you’re so much better than me. I got those pills fair and square.”
I paused for a moment to look at him, his arms crossed as if he was giving me a lecture.
“I had every right to take those pills,” he continued. “My doctor prescribed them to me for my bad hip. Do you actually think I’d mess around with a drug dealer? I kept the bottle in a P.O. box because I knew I couldn’t trust you with them. You bought it hook, line and sinker.”
Standing opposite him, I finally saw the whole picture.
My husband, who was supposed to love me and take care of me, invented a fake drug dealer to trick me. He was the one who had the pills all along, and he was getting them legally. I shelled out hundreds of dollars to a “guy” who never existed, and he pocketed the money and made me beg for more drugs every single day.
I never questioned it once. I believed every word he said. Was it possible I was really that stupid? I’d cried like a baby and crawled on my hands and knees for those pills he was handing out like candy. He called me a disgusting drug addict when he was just as addicted as I was. He told me to control myself when he was the one out of control. I wasn’t only hooked by his story; I was hooked on the drugs he provided to keep me sick.
I could tell he was waiting for me to respond, to get angry and scream or hit him so he could prove I was out of control. Instead, I got into my car and rolled down my window with him still standing there. My eyes were burning and wet, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing me fall apart, not ever again.
“I don’t know you,” I finally said as I backed out and drove away.
The Struggle To Stay Clean
I wish I could say that was the end, and I never spoke to him again. I did my best to stay clean, but sometimes the pull of knowing he had the pills was too strong to resist. By then, my eyes were wide open. I used him the way he’d used me, and trust between us was broken. I wasn’t looking for love anymore. I just wanted to get my fix.
A couple of years passed where I had long periods of clean time mixed with succumbing to the weight of the drugs, and every time I went back things got a little worse. When I left my husband for the last time, I said goodbye to our sham of a marriage and goodbye forever to the tiny pills that stole huge chunks of my life. I didn’t miss either of them.
My husband died a few years ago in an accident. He was trying to jump on a train and was hit and died instantly. He was still drinking and drugging when he died, and if I’d stayed with him I’d probably also be dead. I blame the drugs for his death more than the train. They are life-ruiners that take and take until you have nothing left to give.
I thank the little spot in my heart, whether it’s God or love or grace, for giving me the push to choose my life over certain death. I’m not mad at my husband anymore either. I had to forgive him to move on and be as happy as I am today.
Today, I am grateful, and I am free.