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It’s wasn’t a crack house, it was my home. It was a Monday morning, no wait, it was a Friday! Slumped over a kitchen sink on my birthday with a needle hanging out of my own arm, swept well and truly off my feet, to cavort with the hero of the underworld on the dark side of the spoon.
Never had the term happy birthday been said with such decadence, as I slumped like a frightened and frightening little child, into a slothful repose. The dose lit up in heart ache, of my eyes. Dripping with sweat, staring at the blood daubed walls on a cold, damp floor strewn with empty vodka bottles, rolling papers, needles and powder-covered spoons.
When I used, I lost all perception of reality and something different happened to me that does not happen to regular people. The mental aspect of my disease is that I think differently, I'm obsessive, I’m compulsive, and the spiritual part is my total self centeredness. I would not have even consider someone else; they would not even exist in my world when I am using- it was me, myself and I.
For too long during addiction and even before I was in its grips, I had been at war and I had known loss. Loss of myself esteem, my self respect, my past. I’d loathed myself, tried numerous suicide attempts, put cigarettes out on myself, i’d stolen, known suffering, abuse and dispossession.
I danced for the devil when I used my body like a voodoo doll but most importantly I lied to myself to the point that I had lost my true self.
Through recovery I have learned to forgive myself which has been a major part of my healing journey. When I surrendered to my addiction I felt like the lion who decided to roll over during a fight to save himself a savaging. Just because he rolled over and surrendered to the physical fight it doesn’t mean he does not know how to roar.
Recovery has taught me there is no one better to understand the attraction of the life of an addict than an addict in recovery? In recovery I have formed close bonds, made friends, heard others’ worst secrets. I was carried through the early stages of recovery when I was first finding my feet and most importantly I was given something I had been deprived of for too long- love.
When I went into recovery I was told ‘Get a good set of tidy clothes because there will be funerals ahead and if it’s yours we’ll have something nice to bury you in’. Just as in active using people come in and out of our lives, some without saying hello, never mind saying goodbye. Some I’ve seen others never again, but not a day in my heart goes by when I don’t think about them.
Already I have seen people who don't make it back. Life for some is just too difficult. Some overdose, some just don’t want it enough, and i’ve asked myself 'why them and not me, and if I had known their pain could I have done more’?
I was just under six months clean when I had a knock on the door. A good friend of mine came to my flat to tell me my ex boyfriend had overdosed and died. I screamed his name as I dropped into a heap on the floor. I was desolate for weeks after I was told of his passing.
The last time I saw him was a week before his death, and I knew it wouldn't be long. I will always remember how he looked. He was sat in the corner of the room, he was the guy on fire, terrified and terrifying. His sleeves rolled up, his beautiful blonde hair a mess. His eyes, so sad and so descriptive, and all I saw was him, and I was frightened. He was refusing help and facing another lonely 3am withdraw sat at the hands of Satan and his destruction itself.
It’s been sometime since his death, and I am feeling as though I am reliving it all over again in slow motion as I watch my beloved close friend play with fire. I stand powerless on the sidelines, watching him smash between worlds of love and hate, light and dark, heaven and hell as he swings like a speeding wrecking ball in the grips of addiction. There is always the question will he or won’t he make it back? I am faced with, maybe my friend also won’t!
My ex may not be close enough to evoke his presence like he used to, but the love I felt the last time I saw him was the same as the love I felt the first time I ever saw him and i've kept that love.
We each come from a different space and time to one person may not be time to someone else. I still have my time and I have made the choice to live. Maybe there will be another man for me to love and maybe the moment that person shows they care, could be the moment I open up. At the end of the day, I always have hope.
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