The Junkie Stories: The Night I Scratched the Surface

I suppose what happens is we grow tired of waiting for change. Perhaps this is why we remain the same. Maybe this is where the internal conflict begins. Maybe? Who knows?

Maybe I just wanted to feel something. Maybe I wanted to find something that could speak for me without even saying a word. Or, maybe none of this was so deep or difficult. Maybe I just wanted to feel something good and that’s all there was to it. Perhaps there was nowhere else to go at the time. Aside from where we’ve been, there was no place else to go. For example, maybe this is why our view is limited. Maybe we only know what we see and therefore, all we know is what we’ve experienced. Or, maybe I was blind or missing something. Or again, maybe none of this was so deep or systematic.

But either way, there’s a great big world out there. There is more to the eye than the corner of Merrick and Front Street. I say this because this is where I began. This was me before I learned to open my eyes or stand on my own two feet. This is where my circle of influence began. This is where my love started. Love for what? I don’t know. Besides, what is love anyway? Aside from a tit in a bra or a brief episode under the stairs in some girl’s basement, is there such a thing?

I had no idea. Besides, the heart and love is not hinged upon thought or fact. It’s separate. It’s irrational (and so was I, by the way). Love is emotion without better judgement or perhaps it’s blind. Maybe it’s deaf to any warning and blind to any sign that says, “Be careful, danger is coming.” Love is blind to anything we might see, it moves constantly, flowing and regardless. So does desire. So does drive. And so does the need to find something, like a fix for the broken pieces in our mind, body and soul. Maybe I was lost. Maybe I was confused. Or, maybe I never thought I would find the answers I was looking for, which is why I became so willing to make a trade. Or, again, maybe it’s not so deep and difficult. Maybe I just wanted to get high.

I remember the first time, which wasn’t really the first time. This was only a new first which triggered something I could have never expected. This was more like a dare. A group of us were gathered in a circle in a vacant lot. I had some mescaline in me, which had yet to make the stage. But still, this was not my reason for the circle. I can remember the little mirror. I can remember the crystal like white lines on a tiny mirror and each of us were long-haired, rebellious and looking to dare the lines of life and sanity.

It was nighttime in the summer of early purgatory. We sat around a small fire that was surrounded by a swarm of bushes, so no one could see us. I can remember the straw. I can remember seeing my shimmering reflection on the small, handheld mirror. The orange glow bounced across my face from the small fire at mid-circle. Marlboro were the cigarettes of choice. There was a joint being passed around. In fact, and to be honest, I had yet to sprout hairs on my lower body. This is how young I was. Maybe I was 14. Yeah, that sounds about right. There were beers in the circle and a few warnings to be careful not to blow any of the “Blow” from the mirror.

There was no going back now. Whether I was scared to go forward, which I was, or if I wanted to pass on the option was a question for me. I was at bat. It was my turn and there was no turning back. 

The mescaline had been in my system for a while but the euphoria had yet to hit my pleasure systems. And now to add to the impact, the cocaine was about to trigger a much different adventure. I remember the quick sting and the resulting numbness that changed the inside of my nostrils. I remember a quick thought, which was like, “Okay, so what happens now?” And then I found out.

I remember looking around and at the small group of my so-called friends. We were the town’s refuse. We were the troubled kids. We were the young teens with intentional scars on our body, looking to score, looking to be more than what we were, like little grade-school gangsters, so anxious to pull the trigger but yet, too young and stupid to understand the meaning of life. Yeah. That was us. I had scars. I had little cuts that dared the line between life and thereafter. I was on a mission, for sure. I was smaller than everyone else but I would swallow more doses to prove my point.

What I remember most about this event is that although we were in the height of the “Just say no,” era, and although I knew stories about the downfalls of drugs, I knew about the effects of cocaine, and I knew that drugs were killing people. Yes, I knew this could quite possibly kill me; still, I went forward. I remember thinking how nothing would ever be the same again. Besides, those stories about drugs. They only happen to other people. Not me.

Once you feel something, it’s not like you can unfeel. You can’t forget it. Once, you experience lift-off and once you soar high, once you hit the sky and once you feel a perfect form of weightlessness; it’s not something you forget.
I was suspended, nothing hurt, nothing bothered me and for the moment, I was in a state of total contentment. I wasn’t afraid nor was I thinking about my wide range of insecurity. There was nothing pressing and no worries. However, in fairness, I do admit there was an underlying sense of concern or better yet, I confirmed there was a loss of innocence.

I came to the perfect understanding of Pandora and the box. I understood the story about Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. I understood why people lost themselves. I knew why people warned me about this and said, “If you do it once, you’re going to want to do it again.” They were right. Once you know, you can’t unknow. This is how they get you to try. It’s too tempting not to. It’s glorified by every horror story and every casualty. It must be that good if people are willing to risk their life for it. Right? Besides those tragedies are things that happen to other people…right?
Wrong . . .

Once the powder took my system, I was no longer innocent. I knew about the sin, like sex, only this was orgasmic in a different sense. The release was different. The sensation was different and the climax was certainly longer and came with less performance anxiety. There was no courtship or foreplay, No, here it is. And bam, there you go.

You didn’t have to be a good student for this to work. You didn’t have to be popular. You didn’t have to be good looking or smart or anything of the sort. No, you just had to be willing to accept the trade because understand something, the demons will take friendship from anyone. The beast is always willing to give credit or front you some product because this way, the math is simple. The beast knows you’ll be coming back. Besides, how else can you feel this way? How else can you cheat the work it takes to find a sense of personal ease? Isn’t this what drugs do?
Don’t they provide an emotional ease without the work it takes to find it on your own relief? Ah, but see, this is the truth. This is what drugs do. There is nothing in the contract that says the beast doesn’t charge interest. There is nothing in the contract that says this one lasts forever. In fact, the contact is simple. The beast knows you want to feel better. In fact, the beast knows us better than we know ourselves, which is why the beast always knows where to come from.

Do you want to know what drugs do?
They provide a temporary stay. They give a moment of reprieve to alleviate the tension and break up the boredom without having to work for the achievement. Basically, drugs are a cheat sheet. This is a brief intervention between life, reality and a momentary delay of all the impending worries that scramble the mind. 

Can’t relax? Can’t stop thinking? Can’t calm down or find a comfortable spot? Can’t cope or solve the problem?
Don’t worry. There’s always a mix. There’s always an elixir to cure-all and formulate the perfect quintessential absence of mind. There’s always something. Just remember to pay at the door, and oh, don’t forget the interest. There’s a price for everything. There’s always interest on the cost and this is exactly why the first hit is always free. The beast knows you’ll be back. This is why there’s a push to keep people from taking the first trip. Not even once. 

I remember the night when I met the cocaine gods. I remember the chemical reactions that surged through my body. I wasn’t cool. I wasn’t well liked. I wasn’t popular or successful but either way, the beast accepts contracts from all kinds of people. He doesn’t care where you come from or what you look like.

Every so often, I am asked if I think I was just a kid looking for attention or an addict. I’m asked if I could try a drink or two. I am asked what would happen and if I really believe in things like addiction, alcoholism, substance or alcohol abuse disorder. I can only say this ….

I’ve been clean and away from the criminal world for a very long time and yet, I still find myself wiping my fingerprints off things that I’ve touched. I can still remember the sounds and the smells and the remnants of what was left behind. I have my old battle scars. I have wounds that act up when times are tough. I remember the beast very well. He sends postcards on a regular basis, just to let me know that my seat has always been kept warm, just in case I choose to come back.

I don’t have to sign that contract ever again. I don’t have to cheat to find my emotional cocoon. I don’t have to fit inside one of those long suspended nods, to trade myself, or find the right kind of high to cut the boredom or loosen the pain. I came to an understanding that my addiction was not about the substances at all. No, my addiction was because I used external remedies to solve my internal problems. Put simply, I used external resources to solve internal dilemmas. This was my addiction.

I was just trying to find balance. I was just trying to balance the scales in my life but this is what no one explains. The beast says nothing about laws of diminishing returns. He even warns you the trick doesn’t last but I suppose it feels so good that no one cares about what comes next. The high is continuously cut in half, consecutively, so nothing is as good as the first hit. Nothing lasts as long and eventually, you’re not even high anymore. It’s a job. It’s just a way to keep from feeling like shit. So, what do you do? You keep going. You keep looking for that external source to solve that internal dilemma. You look for the balance which always seems to go off-sides.

By the way, my recovery is the exact opposite. I don’t have to use an external source to resolve my internal dilemmas anymore. My recovery is the ability to achieve balance without using an outside source. This doesn’t mean there aren’t days when we don’t feel off-kilter. Instead, this means there are other ways to balance ourselves without cheating or running to the beast. 

So, back to the question if I think I could drink again or if I could use other recreational products.
Of course I could.
As I said before, the beast doesn’t judge. He doesn’t mind if we have no loyalty to ourselves or to anyone else. He’s a gun for hire at any amount. And since I know this is true, then why would I ever want to trade my value?
Why would I want to give up something so costly, so worthy and so important to me?

I’ve seen both sides. I understand the reasons why people get high. I suppose the reason I stay the way I am is because I don’t ever want to sign up again and feel so unworthy that drugs are the only way I can feel better. 

Don’t worry, says the beast.
There’s always someone out there, looking to make a deal.

But I’ll be here if you need me.

Thanks beast. But I think I’ll stay where I am.

Goodbye.

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