Epidemic- Chapter 37
Time has slipped away from me again, as I have been in and out of nods. I am out of heroin and the onset of dope sickness is kicking in. My father and Colleen, confirm that I have been accepted into the Narconon program. I snicker with a, duh, response. It is difficult for me to acknowledge them, as I am in pain and need a fix. My dad wants me to confirm that I am sincere with my desire to get on the plane before committing to purchasing the plane ticket. In an irritated, bitchy tone, I snap that I am serious and express my desire for him to leave me be. I awaken from a restless snooze on the couch. It feels like my dad and Colleen are whispering and tip toeing around me. Natalia is coloring on the coffee table beside me and lights up when she realizes that I am awake again. My father asks her to go into the other room with grandma for a minute while him and I talk. He has secured a plane ticket and I am on my way to California in the morning. This is all happening so fast and I am not prepared to pack. My head hurts, my joints ache and I have zero energy to hustle up the cash I need to get well so that I can actually pack and prepare for my trip.
I can see the hesitance on my father’s face before he asks me what it would cost me to get well enough to get up shower, pack, go to the store for things I need and spend one last semi-productive night with my family before going away for several months. My mind immediately realizes that my dad has no understanding at all about the cost of heroin or my tolerance, habit or needs. I could tell him I needed a hundred dollars to get well and he would probably give it to me without questioning the legitimacy of the number. Quickly, I dismiss that thought. I am not going to hustle my dad. I am done. All I need is $40 to get me through tonight and get me up in the morning to get on the plane.
My dad opens his wallet and sighs. He has exactly $40 and comments that it was like I knew what he had before I asked. Of course, I don’t confess that I nearly attempted to scam him for a much bigger payout. He doesn’t hand the cash to me. There are tears in his eyes, as he drops it to the table and asks me to hurry up and get back here so that I can get ready to go and actually get well. I still have Johnny’s number, (the guy I met at the casino) and I text him hoping to connect locally. Success. He is in town and willing to meet me in 15 minutes in the Safeway parking lot 10 minutes from here.
Of course, he wants to hang out and I lie and tell him that’s a possibility, but it will have to be later tonight because I am spending time with my daughter. Once he arrives, I hop into his truck. He hasn’t weighed out a bag for me yet and pulls a scale out in front of me. I suggest that he should hook me up with a 1/2 gram and that I will give him the extra cash later tonight when we hook up. To my surprise, he doesn’t even question it and weighs out a 1/2 gram for me. He doesn’t know where my house is. He knows nothing more about me, other than my first name and a phone number that I am disconnecting tomorrow. I have no intention of meeting up with him or paying him back. This reality, reminds me of how far I have truly fallen from God’s moral compass. We part ways and I am right by my old house. My sister isn’t home and I need to bang this shit. The idea of sticking a needle in my arm at my dad’s house is too humiliating. I text Travis to tell him I have some dope. I can’t stay, but I want to drop off a get well shot. He is leaving for rehab too and I know he is hurting badly. He doesn’t respond. I will call him before I head back to my dad’s house; however, for now, I want to enjoy my last dope cooking ritual.
I collect my junkie kit and a glass of water. My spoon is seasoned and I relish its sight. This dope tastes like fir,e (good) so I decide to do a tester shot before hitting with my normal dose. It hits me hard, but I know I can handle more. I wave my Bic back and forth under my spoon and watch the heroin pool for me one last time. Once the cotton absorbs my poison, I take the tip of the needle to its center and slowly pull the demon into my barrel. It is mesmerizing. I’m already feeling better from the tester shot. It is amazing how quickly you can go from near death agonizing pain to energized and ready to take on the day.
I don’t know if God is rewarding my decision to get clean, or if I’m just fucking lucky today, but I am having no trouble hitting. Maybe the devil is making it easier, in an attempt to tempt me to stay out here a little longer? Who knows? Old reliable is always my favorite hit, but she has been out of commission for awhile. There is a lump of thick scar tissue surrounding her, but I want in. My rig is new and sharp and just might puncture through that shit with minimal pain. It does. Dark, red blood pours into the barrel. Watching it mix with the heroin is intoxicating in and of itself. My lips tremble with the anticipation of tasting it in the back of my throat. Slowly, I push the plunger of my rig. Instantly, I can taste the dope and feel the euphoric rush of opiates coursing through my veins. I pull the needle from old reliable and embrace this orgasmic sensation. My phone rings and I assume it is my father questioning my whereabouts. To my relief, it is Travis. He is less than a minute drive from here and I tell him to meet me in the parking lot of his apartment complex and I’ll break him off a shot. He got me well, it is the right thing to do. Truthfully, not only did he get me well, but he was there for me emotionally and I really needed that.
Travis is sick. I’ve already portioned off a small shot for him. I asked for that extra point from Johnny, with Travis in mind. I wish I could give him more, but this is enough for him to feel alright and I have to make sure that I have enough to get well before hopping on my plane tomorrow. He understands and appreciates that I would break him off at all. It is time for me to get back to my dad’s house and get shit ready. Before Travis steps out of the car, I lean in and tell him that I love him and give him a kiss goodbye. While I have every intention of writing him and keeping in touch, deep down, I know this is the last time I am ever going to see him. He returns a response of love and tells me he is proud of me and that if anyone was ever strong enough to kick this shit, it is me.
My dad looks relieved, when I walk through the door. I’m not sure that him and Colleen believe that I am seriously done and want help. Of course, I can’t blame them for not trusting me. Natty runs to me and I pick her up and give her kisses. I love her so much. She is my biggest motivation for getting clean. The guilt of what I have already done to her young, impressionable mind, eats at me. The pain I have already caused her precious, little heart to ache, torments my own. I’ve missed her so much. It feels amazing to still have her love after all the things I have put her through. Still, in the back of my mind, I know one day I may be subject to her reminding me and acting up to punish me for the abandonment issues. I can only hope a successful recovery will deter that from becoming our reality.
Colleen is going to take me tomorrow, to get whatever I need and encourages me to make a list. A swimsuit, notebook, toiletries and other hygiene products are necessities. In addition, I need cigarettes and some clothes. My dad promised that if I went he would supply my cigarettes. He doesn’t want to of course, but it was one of the two conditions I put on getting on the airplane. The other condition was medical detox with Suboxone. There was no way I was going to go someplace and sweat it out cold turkey. If it were that easy, I wouldn’t have a fucking need to go anywhere, I would just do it at home. I’ve proven time and time again, that I am not strong enough to quit that way.
Colleen has prepared a delicious dinner and we sit together as a family. Natty is nearly sitting on top of me and can’t wait until bed time so that we can cuddle. The desire to nod is hitting me and I must confess, I too, can’t wait to go cuddle my love bug. This will be the last night I get to hold her for at least 90 days. As much as I would love for her to see me off tomorrow, it is best not to break her from her routine and allow for her to go to school as planned. Besides, saying goodbye to me in the airport might prove extremely difficult for her. I know it would be very painful for me. Before bed, my dad and Colleen ask if I am planning on going anywhere tonight. I assure them I am not leaving and that I am getting on the plane. Natty drifts off to sleep in my arms and my mind wanders to the thought of doing more dope. I need it for my wake up call, so I opt not to touch it and just enjoy smelling Natalia’s hair through the night. My arms hug her tightly, as I realize that I am not as powerless to my addiction as I had once believed I was. I have the ability to ration my dope and save it for the morning, so that I can get on the plane and get clean. My heart smiles at this realization.
My eyes are heavy and I drift off to sleep. About an hour into the night, my phone beeps and stirs me awake. Angie has sent a text message. She has dope and has invited me over. Of course, I know that she needs something to be offering free dope. It is only a half an hour drive away. Johnny has text me and invited me out for the night. Another chance to score more dope. My daughter’s precious snore interrupts my thought and I choose her and fall back asleep. A loud ringing causes me to sit up in bed. It is my phone. I have missed a few text messages and I am uncertain as to who is calling me. I don’t recognize the number. I open the text messages to see who they are from. It is Eric. Eric is calling me! He is out of jail and begging me to come see him. He alleges he is on his way to Marysville to find me. He declares that he loves me more than anything in the world and that he has felt near death without me. My heart races and I feel wide awake now. My eyes stare at the screen of my iPhone, until it goes dark and locks. My feet hit the ground on the side of the bed and I unlock the screen. Can I have one more night of free heroin, sex and fun.
What am I doing? Why am I even contemplating this? Eric is a world class douche bag and if I leave tonight, I will end up on another week long binge, miss my flight and screw my family again. I can’t do it. My daughter’s mini snore surfaces again. Her arm extends over to where I was laying beside her and I watch her feel around for me. Without a second thought, I turn my phone off and crawl back under the covers to hold her through the night.
Morning comes early. Natty is excited that I am still with her and asks me if I want some dinosaur egg oatmeal. I politely decline the oatmeal, but get up to see her off to school. This is the last face to face conversation I will have with her for months. It is very difficult to fight back tears, but I have to be strong for her. She understands that I am going to California, but I am not certain as to her understanding of the concept of time involved with the trip. I promise to call her, once I am there, everyday! This seems to be enough for her and she goes off to school with a big smile on her face.
My dad is relieved I am here. Apparently my phone woke Colleen up in the middle of the night and they were not sure if I had taken off. The Narconon dude warned them I might be a flight risk. I smile and remind him that I am here and wanting to get help. This isn’t a case of intervention. No one needs to intervene on my behalf. I’m done. Of course, I leave out the part where I seriously contemplated one more night of fun. Colleen is ready to take me around to gather the things I need for my trip. First, I sneak off to the garage and smoke a little tar, so that I can function. I am careful to save enough for one, final shot. The idea of the last time I ever get to experience heroin being, smoking it off of foil, doesn’t appeal to the junkie inside me. It is crucial, that I get to indulge in one last dope cooking ritual. Before we head out, I turn my iPhone back on. It begins beeping with over thirty text messages and voice mails I missed throughout the night. The majority of them came from Eric. Without acknowledging them, I toss my phone into my purse.
Colleen and I hit the outlet mall in search for a swimsuit or two. The idea of sitting on a beach all day and calling it recovery, has me chomping at the bit. It is September, so swimsuits are out of season. However, we locate a few clearance suits and I grab a couple for the trip. In addition, I grab some size zero shorts and a sun dress. Truth is, I have lost so much weight and had everything stolen from me, so I need more clothing. After we get the clothes I need, we grab all the toiletries and a couple cartons of smokes. My phone rings. It is a number I don’t recognize and I answer it. It’s Eric. He is whimpering with a facade of fake tears and whiny proclamations. Colleen can hear him because he is being obnoxiously loud and I can see the disgust on her face. He begs me to let him see me before I leave. Apparently he had come down to Marysville looking for me last night. Of course, he didn’t know where my father lives and so he couldn’t find me. Colleen is talking over him and telling me to hang up the phone. I explain that I am leaving in two hours to go to Sea-Tac airport and then, California. There is no time for us to say goodbye. He doesn’t want me to go. He swears he is clean and wants us to get clean together. The thing is, when you are a junkie, you can tell when someone is using. The tone in his voice and desperation in his plea, tells me he used last night as soon as he got out of jail.
At first he denies my inquiry, but when I call him on his bullshit and threaten to hang up the phone because I know he is lying, he confesses he used. He has the audacity to blame me for his relapse. He alleges he was so distraught over my not responding to his calls and text messages, that I forced him into a state of depression that ultimately was responsible for his decision to plug a vein last night. This mother fucker! The absolute nerve of this guy! Are you kidding me right now? Are you fucking kidding me! Why did I ever put up with this bullshit? He hasn’t changed. Not one bit. I am not even with him, and yet, he still has managed to take his situation and place the blame on me. The guilt trip and manipulative technique is lost on me. I hang up the phone and silence it. Colleen smiles. Once back at the house, I begin packing. The entire living room is tore up with my suitcases and crap is spread out everywhere. As I fold my clothes and place them into the suitcase, my mind is racing wild with thoughts concerning my ability to quit. I’ve heard only one percent of intravenous heroin users successfully quit heroin. Can I really see myself in that one percent? Realistically, the odds are stacked against me. The only solace I take away from this statistic, is my dad’s skepticism concerning statistics. In this case, I hope he is right and the numbers are skewed.
Everything is packed up and I am ready to cook my last shot. It is humiliating, but I am sick and the dope always wins. My father and Colleen are in their bedroom, and I sneak off into the garage. Quickly, I take the last couple points of dope I will ever experience and toss it into my spoon. I’d already put some water into the syringe and I douse the tar with it. My Bic sways back and forth under the spoon and I watch my poison pool before throwing the cotton in. Normally, I would take more time enjoying each element of this ritual. However, my father and Colleen are in the other room and I feel rushed to do this before either of them walk in. Shame begins to gnaw at me and I race to pull the dope into the barrel of my rig. Unfortunately, this rig is dull and I am having a difficult time hitting a vein. Panic begins to course throughout me. Oh my fucking God, all the heroin I have left in the world is melted down into this shot and I can’t hit a fucking vein! NO! This cannot be happening. I glance at the time on my cell phone. We need to leave the house in ten minutes. Shit! Fuck! My heart is racing. My hands are trembling. Frustration has overcome me and I fight back tears of agony. I tell myself not to panic. After all, if worse comes to worse, I will tilt my head back and snort this shit. But, I have to have one final shot.
I set the rig on my knee for a minute, in an attempt to calm my agitated nerves. The sun peaks in briefly through the garage door windows. For a brief second, the barrel of my rig is fully illuminated and it’s as if an angel has shone it’s white light on it, blessing me, with my conflicted heavenish hell, one final time. I lift the rig from my knee, as the sun disappears behind the clouds. Without a second thought to the excruciating pain that will follow, I jam the needle through the scar tissue surrounding old reliable and successfully hit. The footsteps in the hall cause me to become overzealous with my push however, and my vein rolls, causing me to waste half of my last shot. Fuck! The garage door does not open behind me and I realize I had more time than I initially believed.
You have got to be kidding me right now. Anger takes over and I stab my arm repeatedly. It hurts and I miss several times before finally connecting to my demon’s portal. I push the remaining dope into its home and lick my lips, as the taste hits the back of my throat. This euphoria is short lived, as my father opens the door behind me and asks if I am ready to go. There’s that shame again. My back is to him and I quickly pull the needle from my arm and attempt to conceal it from his sight. He is walking towards me and I toss it in the kit on my lap, zip the pouch and walk over to the garbage can. He asks what I am doing and I tell him I am throwing it away. There is no need for it anymore.
He is reluctant about having this contraband in his garbage can, but where the fuck else is it going to go? He walks out of the garage and I revisit the kit quickly. I bust all the needle tips off, toss the tips in the barrel, before recapping them and tossing them back in the kit, zipping the bag and tossing it back into the trash. I wouldn’t want anyone to inadvertently stab themselves with one of my rigs. My phone has been blowing up. My father loads my suitcases into the car, while I smoke a cigarette and listen to voice mails. Eric’s voice mails have ranged from whiny pleas to see me for a proper goodbye, to angry, vindictive threats about stealing my old Cadillac from my mother’s house. This Cadillac no longer runs, but a new battery is likely all it needs. At one point, my mom told him he could have it. She just wanted it off her property. I agreed that I did not care if he fixed it, he could have it. However, these were obviously plans made months ago when we were a couple. The fucking nerve of this douche. Does he honestly think my mother is going to hand over the keys now? Not now that she knows he helped stick the fucking needle in my arm! Anger is coursing through my veins, as we make our way to Sea-Tac airport.
Every time the phone buzzes with another call, I send it to voice mail. It is too late. I am on my way to get help and I don’t have time for his bull shit anymore. The car ride is an awkward mix of silence and random inquiries from my father. However, I am occupied with my phone. I send a text to Eric and tell him if he gives a shit, he can prove it in correspondence and give him the address to the rehab I am going to. Of course, I know that I will never see a single piece of mail from him. In addition, I visit my Facebook page and spat some random posting about being a pathetic junkie in my car for the last several months. I angrily insist that if anyone gives a shit, they can mail me and I drop Narconon’s address on my page before closing the app out. I haven’t been on Facebook for months and was irritated I didn’t have a single notification or message from my 500 friends wondering where the fuck my once, very active Facebook using ass had been.
My head is heavy with nods and I fight to stay awake. We have arrived and it is nearly time for me to get on the plane. My father unloads the suitcases from the trunk and I light a final cigarette before I am forced into a nonsmoking environment. There is one more thing I have yet to discuss with my father, however. My heart is heavy with a confession I need to make, as I reach into my wallet to retrieve the evidence.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.