(I, Susan, am sorry for the delay! My last post indicated that I would post this the following day, but the Life River was just roaring by too fast for me to find a rock to climb up on and take the time to put this up.) So, without further ado …
So it’s 18 months later and here I am, beginning IOP all over again.
For the third time.
Essentially, our dear revered Honorable Judge got sick of me dropping dirty for opiates on my drug tests and remanded me to the custody of the Talbert House.
Now, 104 days later, I’m clean and sober for the longest stretch of time since…well…oh, 2010 or so. I will never forget the fateful day around 4 years ago where I peered in the medicine cabinet at our house and perused the pharmaceuticals, pausing at the label which boldly proclaimed “HYDROCODONE/ACETAMINOPHEN 7.5/325.” I remember scrolling through Erowid.org posts singing its infinite praises, and I figured anything that commanded as much of an austere religiosity as a pill had to be worth checking out. I still wonder what made me pop 3 of them into my mouth, merrily guzzling down a glass of water and retreating to my room with my girlfriend.
Oh, what a night it was! I remember saying to her, “if there is a heaven, now I know what it feels like.” We watched movie after movie, although we were much too distracted to pay one second of attention to the screen. We had passionate, deep conversations, opened up more to each other than either of us had done with anyone in our entire lives. I felt no judgement from her, no shame, no pain, no guilt, no inherent feeling that there was something wrong with me. I breathed many sweet, slow sighs of relief that night. I was home. All the self-loathing and paroxysms of rage escaped out of my spirit that night in a cleansing that absolutely felt like the purest baptism the New Testament had to offer.
There are no visions driven by hyperbole in my accounts, no attempt to sweeten the other side of the grass or exaggerate what the drugs did for me. As soon as I experienced that particular high on that particular night, I was utterly hooked.
The remaining 20 or so in the bottle (from a leftover dental surgery) were gone within the next 24 hours, and from then on I purchased painkillers whenever I could. I would pay $1/mg for those little white and yellow pills, which meant oftentimes I would pay upwards of $80 to be high for 6 hours. They fulfilled my desires and needs instantaneously, wholly, magnificently. I would go weeks on end beaming from ear to ear, driven by the tantalizing promise of more painkillers.
Pills did to me something that I don’t think they do to everyone. They didn’t numb my emotions (at least, not at first). They didn’t disorient me. They didn’t even make me throw up (the #1 side effect of opiates). They made me feel emotions more strongly, like I was more connected to the universe around me than ever before. They made me notice the little, beautiful things in life, and with my newfound vision colors would actually look vibrant, sound held a mellifluous facet. It was like the world around me was opened up, and without the aid of anything messy like therapy, meditation or education I simply was flung into a gorgeous, boundless universe and instantly became the person I wanted to be. Opiates gave me energy and made me sociable. I was a better salesman, a better student, a better son. Eli 2.0 was born the night I swallowed those Vicodin for the first time.
A year went by and painkillers got too expensive. The $1/mg deal absolutely wrung me out like a dishcloth, but I wasn’t ready to give up the experience. Far from it. I didn’t know if I ever would be ready. Browsing the internet one day I found a forum where one could contact people in one’s area for connections to drugs. After several weeks of communication, I decided to meet up with someone in the inner city area to try some heroin, as it appeared to be much cheaper and, according the all-knowing internet, it was essentially the exact same thing that came in my little round tablets, only not regulated by the FDA (this wound up to be much more of a significant factor than I remembered).
I drove my parents’ minivan down the road to meet with someone I knew only online who called himself Devon (names changed). My friend Brad and I went, having no idea how dangerous of an idea it was to set up a heroin deal online with a stranger then pick them up in my parents’ car.
Unfortunately, the deal went swimmingly, without Michael Phelps anywhere in sight. Devon couldn’t have been nicer and all he asked was for a pack of cigarettes in exchange for getting me heroin. I let him leave the car with $200 and he came back with the drugs and two syringes, warning me about the dangers of shooting. I actually listened to him and gave the syringes back, we dropped him off and drove back to loveland. I felt proud I had rejected the needle (a “junkie” thing, it seemed to me) and I was just snorting my heroin.
Well, most people know the rest. As soon as that vinegar-tinted scent hit my nostrils I recoiled a bit but soldiered through, and barely 10 minutes later I was so high I couldn’t see straight.
I absolutely loved it.
The next year is a blur. I was high all the time and only avoided getting addicted to heroin physically by switching drugs every few days – heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and LSD was generally my weekly menu. The new world I stumbled into was glorious and I couldn’t get enough.
One night I snorted my third line of heroin and didn’t wake back up. My girlfriend at the time called the police and they brought me back with Narcan. I caught my first charge, a felony possession of heroin, in my boxers in my bedroom at home.
The next year was a mess of therapists, court, outpatient programs and failed attempts to get clean. Shortly after I turned 18 I got kicked out of my house, and since all my friends had either left me to my drug obsession or gone to prison or died, I lived in a hotel for several weeks where I stopped my heart again (doing too much heroin again), attempted a breaking and entering, and stayed drunk all day because my existence was too miserable to be sober. I was arrested for the first time at a Red Roof Inn in late August of 2014. This was when I got my first taste of jail.
If drugs were my newfound heaven, jail was my newfound hell. Sleeping on a bitterly cold concrete floor that threatened to sap every extra Fahrenheit out of my already frail body was beyond miserable. I ate and I slept and I waited to get out so i could go get high again.
Long story short, the narcotics I fell in love with destroyed everything about me, both internally and externally. I became selfish and self-centered, caring only about how those around me could benefit me or how I could squeeze more money out of them. Fed up with me, my family shipped me off to Houston where I spent 43 days struggling mightily to get a handle on my addiction before leaving early and getting high the first day i came back
I went though all kinds of shit because of drugs, enough to fit 10 blog posts. I am so happy I am free from them today. I work a program, as well as a job I absolutely love. I have community service, AA meetings, court classes, and court dates to stay on top of. I have recovering friends who all come from as crazy of background as I do. I’m having fun again, and my love for video games and passion for cinematography have returned in full force.
I’m planning on going back to school to start a career and learn about what I love. I have a huge buffer around me in the form of my family, friends and sponsor. I feel free for the first time since I took that first drug in 2011. It’s not always easy today, but today i don’t feel like I have to take that first drug. I’m not so enamored with the idealistic perception I had of opiates anymore because I’ve seen where they take me,and I don’t ever want to go back.
I’ll leave you with a before and after picture of myself. When my little brother saw these pictures of me looking absolutely withered, he ran to my mother to ask her to comfort me. Even he could see what misery was hidden behind my eyes. I’m glad I don’t have to take pictures like that anymore.
Here I am now: