I walked across a dark street near in East New York Brooklyn. It was cold and the night hours were close to the transition of morning. I could feel the heavy thump from my heart beating inside my chest, and there was no end to the needy whispers that screamed inside of my ears.
My jaw was clenched and my nerves were frayed like an old rope. The last of my wealth was spent and my last few pieces of treasure were about to be smoked in a broken glass pipe.
This is the crash everyone warned me about, but I suppose I had to feel it for myself.
This is where crack-head junkies will do anything to kill the horrible adrenaline of an incredible need. This is when people steal. This is when people sell their bodies, or worse, this is when people infected by the drug will trade their soul for nothing more than one tiny piece of white rock.
I pulled out one of my last few vials. We called them caps, or depending on the color of the tops, we would call them something like red tops, because the vial was plugged with a red plastic top.
I pinched the top with my teeth to remove the plug. Almost instantly, I tasted the bitter numbness that comes with flavor of cocaine. The vials themselves were not large, but the size of its effects were certainly incredible.
Pouring the contents of tiny white boulders into my pipe, I looked around to make sure no one could see me. Then I placed my thumb over the mouth of the pipe to insure the pieces would not spill.
I ducked behind a payphone, looked around, and then I retrieved my lighter from my inside coat pocket.
First, I slid my thumb over the roller to strike the flint and then my lighter took flame. Next, I put the flame to the sides of my pipe until its contents began to sizzle. This is when I put the other end into my mouth; this is when I placed the flame into the front of the pipe and sucked the thick white smoke into my lungs.
At first, I could hear tiny sirens screaming in my ears. And for that moment, the need was cured and the screaming whispers were fixed.
However, the rush leaves nearly as quickly as it comes. And every move thereafter is made only to reach that first high.
I used to call my first hit “Ear ringers,” because that was the first sign of euphoria.
I felt an overall numbness.
As soon as the task sped the drumbeat in my chest; I felt an incredible sensation of weightlessness. I felt the pulsations of my heartbeat, which I contributed to the chemical that moved throughout my system.
There was no pain; there was no fear or regret. There was nothing else but euphoria.
In a word, I felt untouchable.
In those short, but intense minutes, I felt nothing.
There was no emotion or hatred. Even the paranoia would quiet, but like everything else, all good things must come to an end. And at the end, I felt myself spiraling downward.
I felt the return of emotion. I felt fear and regret. The paranoid whispers returned, only now, they were much louder and more fierce.
Towards the end of my stash, I felt like an hourglass and my white sands were about to run out. Each minute closer to the last vial, I felt an outrage of growing anxiety. I felt the insanity taking hold and there was no turning back.
There was nothing I could do but give in.
This is perhaps the most degrading aspect of drug addiction.
I found myself crawling on my hands and knees, scouring the filthiest grounds imaginable, and looking around with hopes that I might have dropped something.
But I never found anything.
The image I was sold was fake.
There was nothing glamorous about cocaine or its grip.
There was nothing good about it at all.
There was only the first hit. After that, everything else was just an effort to reach the unreachable.
After that first hit, everything I did was to keep from the crash, but the crash builds momentum, and it is that momentum that created the depths of my insanity.
That’s why they say, “The first hit is always free,” because people will pay anything for that minute of mental perfection.
I watched people sell their most valuable possessions. I have seen people lose their families, overdose, and yet still, they maintain their sickness.
To say this disease is new would be inaccurate. However, I do submit this sickness has changed. I say the vehicles (or drugs of choice) may differ, but the destination is the same, and so is the reasoning behind it.
That reason is called weightlessness.
That reason is called emotional suspension.
This is why people get high. The worse someone feels, the more deliberate they may be to counteract themselves and unfortunately land in the arms of addiction.
Like any disease; this one mutates. The disease of addiction changes its face; it has communication skills, which reach to the needy ears.
Our children may not recognize these faces or understand its language.
I know I didn’t.
I didn’t know until it was too late. I didn’t know until I was in places like East New York Brooklyn, or sitting in the back of a stolen Trans-Am with a pistol in my face.
I didn’t know until I was locked in a small cage. I didn’t know until I sat on a hard bench across from a stainless steel toilet, which was also a water fountain, and listened to another man scream at his cellmate, “From now on, you sit down when you pee. I don’t want to see you standing up again.”
I am fortunately sober.
But there is bitterness to my fortune because not everyone chooses sobriety.
Understand something; addiction does not care about age, education, class, color, or wealth.
Even if you do care….addiction doesn’t.
So educate yourself