remembering where I came from

It amazes me how one could get away from their madness and then return as if they never left.
This is what happens in a relapse.
As a recovering addict and alcoholic, I am aware of one truth above all else and that is I cannot and will not ever test the waters. And by testing the waters, I mean entertain the ideas of, “Maybe I can have just one,” or think that my years away from active addiction means I could probably, “Handle it.”

I have seen people go backwards and fall worse than what they were.
So why tests it?
Why give away the one true thing I can hold on to as an accomplishment?
I will not say the ideas never come to me, or that I am never tested. In fact, I am tested and the tests come often.
This is when my demon speaks.
He speaks softly, like an old friend whispering a kind welcome in my ear. Over the years the demon and I have learned to disagree, but over the years, the demon has learned to change languages to keep me guessing and win my trust.

However, in my defense, I am fortunate to remember exactly what I was . . .

One night, I set up inside the mouth of a large sewer tunnel at the bottom of a local sump. The sump was a collection resource for the towns rainwater and runoffs. It was a large pit with a yellowish sandy bottom, and small bushes and half-sized trees, which was like poor form of an oasis in front of the sewer’s tunnel.

The tunnel was tall enough for me to stand and move around. I chose this place because it was away from the crowds. It was easy to slip into the darkness and hide should someone arrive.
The only problem was the wind, which made it hard to keep cigarette lighter going long enough to cook the ingredients inside my bent-up spoon. So in order to keep from the wind, I had to move deeper into the blackness of the concrete tunnel.

I loved the process that came along with my fix . . . it began with spilling an accurate mixture of cocaine, baking soda, and the right amount of water or ammonia into my spoon. I preferred ammonia, but ammonia cost money and water was always free.
In worst cases, such as this case, I would use the water in the basin of the sewer-pipe to cook with; and why not? It’s not like I cared if I lived or died, and dirty water worked just as well as clean.
So long as I had all three parts mixed properly, I could cook the batch by placing a flame beneath the spoon, heating it, and within seconds, the contents bubbled until it perfectly crystalized into white flakes.

After the batch was made, I loaded my pipe. I looked around with the fiendish eyes; they were the kind of eyes that come with terrible paranoia.
My heart pounded with anticipation, my mouth dried, my blood pushed through my veins, and I lit the flame to satisfy my horrible need.
I was on my way after the contents in my glass-tubed pipe began to sizzle from the flame. To me, the sound of this meant my fix was about to begin. Then I placed the pipe in my mouth and I inhaled as much smoke as my lungs could take.
I held the smoke inside my chest and felt the bitter numbness coat the inside of my mouth and down my throat into my lungs. In seconds, I entered into the brief but beautiful state of synthetic paradise . . .  and its chaos was beautiful.

My heartbeat sped up quickly, as did my breathing, and I was numbed to everyone and everything. There was nothing pressing on me and there were no walls closing in. I felt the absence of emotional gravity and the avoidance of pain. I was momentarily purified and yet perfectly contaminated at the same time.
My ears rang and my mind was weightless. But these beautiful minutes seemed to dwindle in seconds, and the crash after each trip became consecutively worse.
All I could do to keep from the insanity was repeat the same process and pray for different results.

It was wintertime. The sky was clear and the moonlight shined an almost bluish light across bottom of the sump.  Above me was my neighborhood. The suburban streets moved as they always did without care or knowledge of the drug epidemic that was on its approach.
Away from the sewer tunnel was life, but I was not living. Instead, I was dying alive and sinking into my sickness.
The trees and bushes outside the tunnel were bare and their twigs and branches were like gnarled black fingers, pointing to the sky, and waving from the cold February winds.
I sat inside the tunnel, just outside the range of moonlight. I hid in the darkness of the sewer, to keep from the winds, and other than the flickering spark from my lighter or the orange glow from the lit end of my cigarette, I was otherwise invisible.

After I set up . . . I was like a machine.
I kept trying to reach that perfect high, but each hit signified that I was one step closer to the end of my supply.
And the closer I came to that end, the more I felt frantic and destroyed.

I cooked the last batch and loaded the entire spoon into my pipe. I was two 8-balls down.
(An 8-ball is 3.5 grams or an eighth of an ounce of cocaine. One 8-ball was supposed to go to someone else. Instead, I took it. But that’s a different story for a different time)

I tried to justify my loneliness because I saw it as necessary. This way, there was no one around for me to impress and there was around to see my ugliness. There was no one around to listen to me decipher the voices in my head, or watch my jaw grind and swing from left to right. There was no one to look at me, or point.
I was alone, and in my loneliness, I admit to feeling regret. In the depths of my horrible crash, I admit to the desperate emotions and the guilt. This is when the demon spoke best. This is when he teased me; he poked at me, and his whispers were loud and excruciating.

But heroine helped . . .

I chose dope to help me keep from the demon’s voices. I used it to stop the static in my head and slowly withdraw from this thing they call life.
“Take this,” someone told me.
“This will help you come down,” they said.
“It will help you sleep,” they told me.
And from one chaos, I fell in love with another.
But at least the demon was quiet. He softly nodded into his warm cocoon, and he slipped away until sunrise.

Strange though; when I woke up, I wasn’t sure if I pissed my pants or my pants were wet because I passed out in a tiny stream of sewer water in the tunnel
Make no mistake; there is nothing romantic or glamorous about drug addiction.

Yet somehow, even after years away from their madness, people forget where they came from . . .

But I won’t

I can guarantee it


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