My nose dripped red snot. I blew it and groaned. My nasal cavity was worn to a thin, wet, bloody lining. I was 98 pounds of bad ass! I thought I looked hot. But in reality, I was a skeleton with hollowed out eyes and sunken cheekbones. My cocaine-opioid habit had caught up with me. I was in Detox and not happy about it. As I looked around, I couldn’t believe it. Me, in detox! Seriously! I wasn’t like the other junkies here.
When the cocaine wore off, I was starving. I scarfed down a meal, gorging until I couldn’t eat another bite. I never worried about my weight. The Jenny crack diet is certain to make those stubborn pounds melt away. Besides, crack and food don’t go together very well. I wasn’t hungry on cocaine, opiate diet and had to force myself to eat something – usually a hard boiled egg – every other day. I hadn’t slept in days. I was woozy with weary. Barely able to keep my eyes open, I found my bed and crawled into it.
Afternoon slipped into evening, evening to morning, morning to mid afternoon. As I lay snoozing on my second day in detox, a nasty staff member named Betty shook me awake. Betty was a bossy old woman. And she was in my face. Betty insisted I get up. I told Betty to fuck off, but it didn’t seem to faze her. She just shrugged as if to say, that all you got? and yanked the covers from me. I was pissed. Honestly, I could have slept a few more days.
Cold and miserable, I got out of bed on shaky legs. My body didn’t function well without drugs. I needed a cigarette in the worst way. I would have killed for a tablet of Percocet or a line of coke.
Betty steered me outside to the smoking area. That was when I first set eyes on him. Tall, lean, blonde, green eyes and gorgeous! Mr. Hot Stuff was clad in jeans and a big, white-toothed smile.
Who’s he? I asked Betty, pointing at the man responsible for my racing heart.
Trouble, she replied.
Betty left me there smoking with instructions to behave.
My pulse kicked it up another notch as I stared at him. My cheeks warmed. My aches and pains were forgotten. I experienced a rush of euphoria. My heart punded as if I had just done a line of cocaine.
He caught me staring and grinned. Then he asked, `Do you work here?’
Seriously! That was all I needed.
We must have smoked a whole pack of cigarettes out there. Just the two of us, chain smoking one after another. We had an instant connection. We were kindred souls. Before long, more than chain smoking was taking place.
He was due to leave the next day. I still had a week to go. Only I never made the week. I left the next day with him. Me and the love of my life walked out the door together, hand in hand, despite all the cautionary warnings.
Party-poopers! Hell, what did they know?
Um… Apparently, a lot more than we did.
Things started going wrong, fast!
He was detoxing from heroin. I`d missed the messy bits but I was about to get a preview. We were a shit-storm together. The two of us were broken ends, looking for salvation in one another.
Just to re-cap, I left detox and moved in with a complete stranger. It all happened within a matter of days. My stranger was physically gorgeous and emotionally damaged. Damaged, beyond anything I’d ever seen before.
Reality check. Even without drugs, I wasn’t thinking straight. I’d acted impulsively and made a horrible, horrible, mistake.
Our relationship was intense. It was bloody (mine) abusive (both) and we relapsed immediately. On my own I was a shipwreck. Together, we were the titanic. We dragged ourselves, our kids and our parents, through hell. 18 months later, after an ugly fight and visit to the emergency ward (me with a concussion, black eye and fractured cheekbone and him in handcuffs) a restraining order ended it. A kindly police officer escorted me and my two kids to a woman’s shelter. It was a safe place for us to start over. Three years later, I got clean and sober.
My detox love never did get clean and one day I got the call. As I listened, I grew numb. My mind replayed our time together. He told me he’d do it. I never really believed him. We say stupid shit when we’re high. But deep down I knew he was tormented in ways I wasn’t. The voice on the other end of the phone said he had taken his life. He had given up. He was tired of trying and failing. He hated hurting his family. And he wanted peace…
It is so sad.
And I was the lucky one.
Our time together in detox wasn’t his first kick at the can. He’d gone many times before that. Back then we didn’t have as many options as we do today.
Many years later, I work in the field of Mental Health and Addiction. Had he gone to a dual diagnosis treatment center he would have been diagnosed bi-polar and put on mood stabilising medication. Unfortunately, there weren’t any co-occurring rehab facilities back then. For him it was multiple detox attempts, failure and hopelessness, until he couldn’t take it any more.
My detox love left behind two beautiful children and a loving family. It’s still hard to believe he is gone. He was more alive than anyone I’d ever met. He had the highest, highs and the lowest, lows. Stoned, we were invincible. On top of the world we soared. But the crash was inevitable. Then reality intervened. We were just two lost souls who were really messed up.
I like to think if he had found the right help, he would have made it. And if he did, he might tell you this…
If you’re new in rehab, detox or recovery, what ever you do DON’T HOOK UP! What you’re experiencing isn’t love, it’s dopamine. In other words, you’re getting high. Real love doesn’t end in relapse, addiction does. Nothing good comes from two messed up people starting a relationship. Sick plus sick doesn’t equal well. It equals terminal.
To my detox love, I make a final amend. You are not forgotten. I tell this story in hopes that someone reading it will make better choices than we did and be spared the hopelessness that drove you to end your life. I pray you find in heaven what you missed here on earth.
Rest in peace my friend.