Drug Addiction - A Sublime Horror
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Drug Addiction - A Sublime Horror
Drug addiction, like any other disease, really doesn’t change who you are. It merely morphs you into a hideous version of your former self. If you were a loser prior to getting hooked on drugs, you’ll still be a loser. You’ll just be a stumbling-around-scamming-for-dope user. If you’re one of those rare people who stumble into great-paying jobs and always manage to have some kind of great idea—you’ll be a working, rich, idea-man user.
Life is very complex, and being hooked on any of the number of available substances available in our great country, breaks it down into a simpler form of hell. Pre-dope, you proudly paid your bills, dealt with a relationship, saw relatives you secretly loathed and dealt with your job like anyone else (pretended you loved it, but trashed your boss mercilessly to anyone you could.) Post-dope, things get infinitely more simple. Your bills are no longer important, your significant other is now someone else's significant other, relatives no longer come around and your job is either gone, or you’re so stoned you actually sail through each day, blissfully enjoying the days you used to dread.
Your REAL job is scoring.
In other words, walking the fine-line between “too fucked-up to function” and “just enough to go to work and not nod out mid-sentence.” Life becomes a precarious balancing and juggling act of chemicals. Your promises last roughly five seconds. Your word is as good as mud. But you become an "expert" at bargaining. Bargaining is key to the drug life. Bargaining with your boss, yourself and the most important bargain, with any number of shady dope-peddlers who become your real boss. Because when it comes right down to it, if Charles Manson dangled your drug of choice and beckoned you into a knife-filled-house, you’d follow like an eager puppy and not give it a second thought.
This is not to say dope-heads are not responsible, GOD no. Does the good junkie boil his toilet-water-and-black-tar-smuggled-in-someones-ass so it’s sterile? Of course! Does the crack addict make sure to burn the dangerous chemicals off the scrubby-pad before ingesting cocaine and god-knows what else into their lungs? YES! These insane acts actually are proud moments in the mind of a good, aware dope head.
Some people even manage to keep it secret. Crackheads? Not-so-much, so scratch them off the “secret user” list. One blast and they retreat to the nearest closet, only leaving if the carpet needs to be combed for rocks or they need more and have to haul the TV off to the dope man. But opiate addicts can usually manage to put on a good front for all and sundry, as long as they don’t get thrown into jail or OD. Like any good endeavor, heroin and OxyContin (aka champagne heroin) addicts always start off with rules:
1. I won’t get hooked.
2. I’ll never shoot it like “real addicts” do.
3. I will only use for “fun.”
But of course, opiates only get you high for so long and since OxyContin is infinitely more expensive than its weight in gold, both rules go down the shitter in no time.
After all, who wastes good money snorting or swallowing things in their body? It’s going to get into the blood stream one way or another, you might as well take the direct and quickest route. Shooting up is merely like couponing at the grocery mart, a nod to the all-mighty dollar and being a savvy-saver. But, like anything else in life that feels good or you enjoy, it comes at a price. The tag?
Any material possessions.
Your only-one-per-person life.
But these are merely blips on the radar of the full-blown dope head. After-all, those old fuddy-duddy friends you used to have were boring anyway. These new pals are interesting, "scintillating" company. If you can ignore body odor, roach-infested living conditions and the odd “friend” that will swipe your wallet in five seconds, basically they are good people. Salt of the earth. If they were actually on earth.
Your newfound buddies normally fall into three categories:
1. The asshole you have to engage with to get said drugs. And if he’s nowhere to be found;
2. The runners. Runners are some-time pals who always know where the dope is. And in exchange for their services, you get high with them. Always broke, they never pay for a thing, happy to enjoy the fruits of your labor, their company being their only real currency in life. Knowing they are getting free drugs, they will stroke your ego in the most seductive of ways.
3. The real friends? Those that can go the distance. Those that can run a 10-mile dope-a-thon with you, side-by-side and never out of breath. Those that have been in this life prior to you and are still alive. Sure, they are 10-teeth shy of a full set and resemble a rotting corpse, but they are the experts, the PHDs of the drug life. They can tell you things only known to the hardcore addict. Like:
How to inject safely.
How to separate fillers in pills.
How to utilize your neck when your arms and legs have no salvageable veins.
How to tell good dope from bad dope in a two-second glance.
Had these hard-core dopers not gone the way of death, they likely would have cured cancer. Or at least discovered some compound to go out in a peaceful, dignified way. And they always have stories. Stories of near-death. Stories of lost women. Stories of getting away from the cops that rival any movie plot. And since you have to endure their company, you nod and put the proper “wow, dude!” into the conversation. When you leave and go home, you thank God above you’ll never be that bad. Supreme in knowing that someone is way worse than you, you can be smug in that knowledge.
Until, of course, you are that guy. Or you go to jail. Or you run out of options. Or you run out of lives. Because the cliche is true. Bank on it. Jails. Rehab. Death. Hopefully, you’ll get lucky and pick the “jail” or “rehab” path. Because dying a junkie sucks. Of course your funeral will be nice. Respectable, even. The pamphlet mapping out your life/death won’t include “piece of shit junkie” underneath “Graduate of ___ ____ High School.” No one will speak about the manner in which you died at the funeral. They will expound upon the "you before your addiction," before you turned into that hideous version of your former self.
Before you became a monster.
Before you became an outcast.
Before you died.
Elizabeth is a mother of three children. She was born in Philadelphia and now lives in Orlando, Florida. She is currently working on a book.