The death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman has brought a lot of attention to addiction as a whole. For me, it took me back 6 years ago, to a person that only exist in my memory, and the junkies I had surrounded myself with. One day in particular stands out for me.
September 23, 2007, I wake up from my dreamless sleep, I feel my body starting to ache from head to toe, I had passed out on my couch in my shitty slum of an apartment. The electricity had been shut off the week before, and I was stealing electricity from an extension cord going to an exterior outlet on the building. I had another notice saying they were going to shut off my gas at the end of the month.
Dried blood was stuck to my t-shirt sleeves. When you are all fucked up on dope it is a little hard to hit the right vein. I started trembling terribly. I was out of dope. I grab my spoon, I put a couple of drops of water in it to get the rinse of what ever was left of the oxy out of the spoon. That was the last time I shot up.
I sat there on my couch, and thought about how I was going to get more dope. I had no money, I had sold EVERYTHING of value that I had. How was I going to get my next fix, I needed to figure this out. I was losing it quickly.
I sat there on my couch for a minute contemplating what I could do, who I could lie to, who I could convince to help me get another dose. Who could HELP me get another dose.
I had gone down this spiral for a while before this moment, but at this particular time, the well had finally run dry. I had no more schemes, or possesions to sell. It was done.
Finally the crazy set in. My first thought was, I need to rob a gas station. I sat there long and hard and try to convince myself that I don't actually need a gun to rob a gas station, and that the clerk would just for over the cash. I may have been spun out on drugs, but even that sounded far from a plan that even had a 50/50 shot of actually working.
I sat there a little bit longer on my couch, the shaking becoming more violent, my eyes in the mirror had long since changed from the green/blue to this terrible grey color, a bright soulless grey.
My next plan, was not any better if not worse. I wanted to just kill myself. I sat there in my obsessed trance teetering between wanting to die, and finding any other solution to get my next fix. I paced around my apartment for a while, I was fully agitated. And then a very strange thought entered my mind.
What if I got sober?! It had taken me hours to come to this realization. My mind was so wired on scoring dope, it had not even been a thought to get sober!
I went to an AA meeting that day. I met a man who stayed with me most of the night at my apartment helping to make sure I would make it through the night. He showed up again the next morning, by which time I was completely sick, throwing up, hot and cold flashes that I can not describe, racing thoughts, and of course the terrible shaking.
I spent the rest of the week pretty much in the same shape, well it was more like 4 or 5 days but, I will never forget it. I ate maybe only 4 times that week, I was so sick I kept on retching everything back up. When I was done finally from being sick, that same addict/alcoholic, gave me a job doing remodeling for his little company until I could find my own way.
I am still good friends with that same man today. I do not attend AA anymore, I do like drinking, and smoking pot. I am forever grateful to him though for helping me get off the fucking junk, and I have not felt it necassary to stick a needle in my arm since that day either.
I have had people ask me how I have been so successful kicking the dope, and I can only think of one answer: It was that week that I got clean cold turkey. That living hell. Helpless as a newborn and finally letting my body get as sick as I had become in my head. I didn't take any methadone. I didn't have one more hit to take the easy way out. I just fucking held on. I held on because, the only other option was to just fucking finish this thing called life up right now.
You could not offer me anything to go through that week ever again.