Almost everything encompassing my character has been dissonant, but I never thought I’d be an addiction counselor addicted to heroin.
I’m a smart, educated girl brimming with potential; how could I turn out to be a junkie? I was both. You can lead the double life for a while, but eventually the discord within you becomes unmanageable. The opposed traits in your character cannot converge, and eventually you choose which label defines you.
Heroin helped make the choices for me, but I refuse to anthropomorphize a powder. Dope is genderless; it’s not my friend, enemy or love. It just is.
It makes you feel euphoric, and each time you engage in this notoriously wicked and scandalous vice, you incur emotional and physical debt known as the withdrawal process. You can only escape the debt by continuing, and the longer you run from it, the worse it becomes.
I seemed all set, though. Enough money and connects who were basically down my street. That other part of myself, the smart, reasonable girl with potential assured me that snorting it’s different. I’m not sticking a needle up my arm, at least not yet. It’s chemically similar to prescription opiates, so why the stigma if I’m basically just messing around with a script? Most of us did it with Adderall in college, and that was nothing. I’ll just taper when I’m done I said, I’ll avoid withdrawals. But it’s a slippery slope and you’re never done.
It’s important to note that when you’re leading the double life, your reasoning becomes fallacious and eventually favors one of the clashing forces within you.
Soon it was reasonable to shoot up, because you save money and use less. It’s just economical. I’ll always do a little or test shot first so I won’t OD. I’ll conceal my tracks with cardigans; people are always on me at work to be less revealing. I’ll get high before work to kick start my morning, but just enough to not seem fucked up. I had a good thing going for a while, but after I couldn’t get through the first 24 hours of intentionally stopping, I realized there was a problem. The other me can figure it out later.
When the dual life inevitably ends, it isn’t always you who’s choosing. Nothing will bring you to your knees until you’re lucky enough to face true addiction.
It’s not until you find yourself desperate enough to squeeze out tiny cotton balls you once used to filter your dope, in the hopes that whatever might have been left behind could add up to a worthy shot to further delay that debt. I was indirectly stealing, pawning, constantly thinking about my next high. The choice had been made. I was lying to everyone, including myself. I lost myself.
I got myself back through detox and programs, blah, blah, blah. I had a good run, and a true addict will always look back on their glory days fondly. But I had a taste of something I was never meant to have. Unlimited euphoria, escape from monotony and an interesting life, all while continuing to fulfill my duties as friend, colleague, daughter, etc.
Most people still don’t know, and they never will. Innocent me? She could never.
But I did, and it was tantalizing. However, one cannot live off of the forbidden fruit indefinitely. It isn’t until you truly lose yourself that you realize how important it is to be a real person. When you’ve drowned yourself in a fantasy, you will try ruthlessly to get that other, real person back. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out this way. Those of us who chose to gamble with our lives can’t all win.