The first time I ever did heroin I was nineteen years old. I was living in a house with my boyfriend and his band and all the band members significant others. I believe there were eleven of us in a 5-bedroom house. It was a blast! We had parties we had shows and we had drugs. At one point the drummer of the band allowed a homeless man to sleep on our couch in exchange for little baggies of China White heroin. I was appalled at the idea of this. However, not too appalled to avoid trying it. The first time I snorted a line I remember laying down on my bed afterwards. I felt like a frog slowly swimming through warm water. I felt like I could do anything and everything all at once while doing nothing at all. I snorted a couple lines here and there for about two weeks. One day my boyfriend at the time and I decided to flush all that we had left down the toilet. We did not want to get addicted. That was the first time I did heroin.
The second time was nearly ten years later…in rehab. A friend of mine snuck black tar heroin up onto the mountain where our treatment center was. She taught me how to smoke it off of tin foil with a pen and a lighter. I wasn’t very good at it and she was a bit frustrated; I kept on sucking it up into the pen. However, the effect was the same and I knew I liked it.
A couple months later when I was at sober living with many peers I had met through treatment (my friends and roommates). A group of them relapsed on heroin. Although I didn’t want to do it I felt like I should want to do it because after all, I’m an addict. It’s hard to explain and I know it sounds crazy. I bullied them into sharing with me. I smoked heroin with my friend for about a week and a half. One day my boyfriend at the time, who I had met in treatment, had called me and told me he knew what I was doing and to pick some up for him. He was very aggressive. I was almost scared. He talked me through how to purchase needles at a drugstore. And he yelled at me when I tried to back out. So, I did what he asked. I never wanted to disappoint him. If I am being honest, I would have disappointed myself-I knew I wanted to try it probably as much as he wanted to do it again. That night my boyfriend, my friend and I all gathered in his truck and he shot me up for my first time. I immediately leaned out of the car and vomited. And this proceeded for the next nine hours. I was puking uncontrollably. My friend and my boyfriend were fine and actually did two more shots each. I, however, was so sick. The crux of the situation is, between puking, I was super stretchy. I could do the splits for the first time since I was 10. I could do a back walkover for the first time since the fire. I felt Euphoria between the nausea. And although I hated the puking, I loved the high.
The next morning, however, boyfriend and I knew we had made a mistake. We met in his truck at 6 a.m. to go throw the rest of our dope into the ocean. When we got there he said he wanted to just do one more shot because he felt sick. And the thought of doing one more shot made me sick so, I left and set up on the beach. He was supposed to be right behind me but didn’t show up. I started to get angry and when I called he wasn’t answering his phone. I angrily started storming back to his truck. When I got to him I opened the passenger door and saw that he was blue. He was covered in sweat but wasn’t sweating anymore. His eyes were wide open but he wasn’t blinking. And his chest was not moving. I started screaming for help. Immediately, I called 911. They directed me to pull him out the side of the truck and lay him flat and then walked me through CPR. It was not easy for me to pull the six-foot-one, 140 lb man out of a truck. But I don’t even remember struggling with it. I was sobbing as I performed CPR waiting for the paramedics to arrive. Eventually one of the people JUST STANDING BY WATCHING walked up and put his hand on my back and told me to calm down and to just let go. Luckily, I didn’t. Paramedics showed up and resuscitated him with a Narcan shot. I rode in the front seat of the ambulance where I was met with hostility and cruelty I didn’t understand at the time. Now I regrettably can not fault them for it. We addicts are, as I’ve said before, heartbreaking people. I stayed with him at the hospital. I had to call his mother and tell her what had happened. The fear in her voice scared me more than the overdose itself. It was so raw. A few hours later he went to jail.
One would think this would be enough to stop me. I thought it would be enough to stop me. But, 60 days later he got kicked out of his house (he had moved back in with his parents after the overdose). They had found out he had relapsed again. I was at his house when this was happening and I tried to convince him to go to a meeting with me. I tried to bully him into not picking up again. I threatened that I would leave him, I threatened to that I would never speak to him again, I threatened to call the cops on him. He didn’tcare. Rather than be alone and sober I chose to use with him that night. I used it as an excuse to call my disease out of hiding.
I got kicked out of my sober living the very next morning. The two of us got a room at the seediest, shadiest, dirtiest motel in Costa Mesa, California. He and I ended up finding a small room to rent with a crazy family and were living together for nine months. At one point he convinced me to start stealing from my work. At first I was scared and thought it was a terrible idea. Eventually I felt like I had to…for us. We were too sick to work without it and had to pay for rent and, drugs…some food. I supported the two of us that whole nine months while he stole from me and spent my money on heroin. And I let him. The money that I actually earned and money that I stole all went to drugs. About $1 400 a week.
It was a toxic love. He would cry and yell at me in order to get to me to lie to his parents. Lying to my parents, for some reason, seemed simple. Lying to his, for some reason, seemed like the worst thing in the world to do.
One morning he stole everything we had left and went to work; I tried to chase him down in his truck. That same day when I was on my way to work my cat died. I immediately went and got more drugs. And instead of staying home and comforting me that night he left me to go get drugs of his own.
Most of that nine months we were telling our parents we were clean. Occasionally our parents would speak to each other and we would do the best we could to cover our tracks. Eventually, he ended up having to go back to rehab or go to jail for the arrest due to his overdose. At this point, although I was sad to see him go, I was so relieved. He had started to take Ambien and drive on it. He had started to threaten to kill himself. On top of the heroin. On top of stealing from me.
There were many nights when we would hold each other and cry ourselves to sleep so desperate to stop. I was covered in track marks and my hands were swollen up like I had been attacked by a swarm of bees.
Although he may sound like a terrible person-he wasn’t. He was so sick. WE were SO sick. Not just physically but, mentally and spiritually. In all earnestness, I am the reason we kept using. We would have both sought help long before we did if it wasn’t for me. I enabled him more than I enabled myself. I almost killed him with my enabling.
Which is exactly what our families do. His parents kicking him out was incredibly brave and led to his eventual desperation. As was the case for me. Every time people try and help us with money or a roof over our head, we will usually take advantage of it. It will usually make us much worse. Dip us down deeper into the darkness.
That boyfriend has been clean and sober now for almost SIX years!! And I made an amends to the job I stole from-I told them everything and asked them how to make it right. And they were more gracious and forgiving than I deserved. I even received a long hug. I also made amends to that boyfriends parents. He and I are bonded for life and though we have been broken up for nearly a year and a half (after years of trying to make it work and my relapses) he is one of my best friends. For life. We had to nearly die together in order to live separately.
Our parents were willing to do whatever it took to save us. Even if it broke their hearts.