19 Jun Addict ___ by Grace (age 16)
A cacophony of sound clouded my senses as I awoke strapped to a thin bed in the back of a van. The beeps of equipment and the sirens above echoed as I lay, barely alive. Medical supplies strapped to the metal walls of the vehicle shifted as we drove and a man hovered in-front of my vision, fiddling with something penetrating the skin of my inner arm. The needle was a familiar feeling, I took comfort in it.
I longed for the feeling of death to abstain from being so immanent, allowing my heavy eyelids to close and enjoying the gentle sway of the ambulance as we pushed impatiently through traffic and swung around corners. A sudden image of my parents’ sorrowful faces flashed in my mind and my eyes stung with tears as I envisioned their disappointed faces looking down on me with tears of their own rolling down their cheeks.
I had done it again. I had submitted to the little voice in my head screaming at me that if I just shot up one more time I would be ok. I would be free. Free from the black and white mundanity of everyday life. Free from becoming another mindless drone travelling from home to work and back again, someone who just goes through the motions of going to school, getting a good job so you can support your kids so that they can go to school and get a good job. That one dose of heroin would allow me to see the world in technicolour so I could tramp a new pathway, a journey toward happiness, peace and freedom. Freedom from that endless, meaningless cycle.
Of course that little voice was wrong, as it so often is. That one dose of heroin that was supposed to bring freedom had only brought me face to face with the grim reaper as I choked on my own vomit.
The next time I opened my eyes I was being carted through sterilised hallways that seemed to stretch on forever and found myself counting the lights above me as I passed them. About a thousand thoughts bounced around the inside of my head and I couldn’t help myself from lingering on the image of my parents, the thought that hurt the most.
They had sacrificed so much for me to go to a good school and live a decent life but they never understood, could never understand the black void living inside me. No amount of money or education could fill that bottomless pit that was only satiated by freedom and every morning when I waved goodbye to them, I could see the hopelessness in their eyes.
They had known I was a drug addict since I had come home one night throwing up violently and they took me to the hospital and found out what the problem was. At first they tried everything, rehabilitation programs, support groups, sponsors etc. They were so supportive but with each day of sobriety the void inside grew inch by inch, eating up rational thoughts that helped me look forward to the little moments and not dwell on the all-consuming thought that freedom is impossible. Each time that I inevitably resorted back to the drug to plaster over the black hole in my chest, my parents fell further and further into despair. It tore me apart to see my mum and dad in such pain but I couldn’t give it up. The first time I tried heroin, I was the happiest and closest to freedom I’ve ever been in my life, the time after that didn’t match up so I upped the dosage. Soon that wouldn’t be enough. It was only later that I found out that this was how it worked, the drug depletes your natural levels of dopamine so you need more and more of it to feel the same high as before. What a ruthless cycle.
As I lay pathetically in the hospital bed with the smell of disinfectant in my nose and the digital sound of my heartbeat beating beside me I made a pact with myself. This is it, I cannot go through this again, I cannot put my parents through this again. I am going to have to learn to live like everyone else.
Through the course of the next couple of days doctors and nurses filtered in and out of the room, performing various tests, writing notes, bringing food and heading off to the next patient. My parents never came to see me, maybe they didn’t know I was here or maybe this was just the last straw. It was ok though because this is the last time.
“What happened to you”
I twisted my neck and my eyes fell upon a man, older than me, maybe in his 30s. He was staring at the ceiling, I would not have known he was talking to me if we weren’t the only two people in the room.
The man shifted uncomfortably. “Sorry”
“It’s all good,” I said. “I’m never touching the stuff again.”
He didn’t respond so I assumed he went to sleep. I rolled over onto my side and promptly fell asleep myself, trying to convince myself that I wasn’t lying when I said that I was never going to touch it again.
The next morning I woke to the scuffling of feet around my bed and found the doctor standing with her chart. Upon discovering I was awake she started going through the process of admitting me into a new rehabilitation program and I was allowed to go home.
It has been ten months since I last felt the exquisite freedom heroin provides. I should be feeling better about everything but I can’t keep living like this… the black and white is closing in on me making it hard to breath. If I can just get high one more time I’ll be ok… I’ll be free… just one more time.