Some of this is from a book I started a decade ago called Dancing with the Devil, I wrote about six pages before I decided I’d rather shoot dope than write about it. Maybe one day I’ll finish but for now enjoy glimpses of my story.
July 2008. Cold turkey detox.
There are days when everything feels like it’s too much, when getting up doesn’t seem possible, when all I want is to lie in bed and let sleep caste itself over me, erasing the long hours ahead. On these days I force myself up, though I move rather reluctantly. My body feels tense, anxious – there is a sensation similar to having bugs crawl beneath the surface of my skin, but I know there are no bugs, I know it is only me crawling through myself.
I want with everything in me to face the day, but the discomfort surging through my body makes any effort seem almost pointless; still I try to gather myself. I watch the time inch by ever slowly, I try my own little pep talks, “you can do it, you are better than this,” or sometimes more bluntly, “get the fuck up.”
I spend a good portion of my day in the fetal position shaking myself in an attempt to generate a rocking feeling – it reminds me of having someone hold me like when I was a child. The rocking doesn’t make the pain go away or stop the cravings but it seems to take my mind away from them for a little, offering a small amount of comfort which is all I can ask for when I feel completely out of place. All I want is for someone to hold me and say it will all be okay, and for me to actually believe it.
I am rarely hungry – my appetite has practically diminished and the little weight I did have on me escapes with each meal I skip. On the rare occasion I do feel a pang of hunger, it is not food I ache for; food nauseates me the minute it touches my lips. The hunger seems to be a craving I can only fix with a few bags of golden brown, a taste I will attempt to fast from for the rest of my life. I know I have to eat; I force feed myself breakfast and dinner, though not in very large portions – a small bowl of cereal has become a challenge for me to finish. Out of all the things in the world that could possibly defeat me, I never thought a simple bowl of corn pops would be one of them, but they do each and every morning as I watch the remains of my half eaten cereal wash down the drain.
I sit at the kitchen table and stare out the window, it’s a beautiful summer day, the sun shining and here I am, casually dying and fucking miserable.
I did this to myself. I know I did. But no one told me. Sure I’d done DARE, had a family history of addiction, but no one really explains to a ten year old what heroin detox is like. Also, NO ONE TELLS YOU THAT DRUGS FEEL FUCKING AMAZING (at first and let’s be honest sometimes for a while after). Most people just tell you to stay away from them, which is fine but for some of us, like myself, that doesn’t fucking work.
I started with cocaine at a party – I was 18 and terrified, (a story for another day), but once I tried it, it seemed harmless – it kept me up, helped me get shit done, it numbed my nose. BIG DEAL. That’s when the dabbling began, when I assumed the drugs weren’t as bad as I was told, so I tried others – ecstasy, LSD, crack, IV coke, and then the big no no – heroin.
The first time I used dope, I snorted half a bag – I was scared to overdose – you always hear really awful things about heroin, but curiosity got the best of me, and I had to try it. How bad could it be? It wasn’t bad, not at all, in fact it was fucking amazing. I basically melted into the couch, my body cloaked in warmth. This was utopia, this was what I’d been in search of my whole life, the missing piece – with heroin I am whole.
I used for 8 weeks straight, with no real concept of what I was putting in my body. It felt good, really fucking good and that was enough for me.
I remember waking one morning after an intense binge with my boyfriend – I didn’t feel good, I was nauseous, I hadn’t really eaten in a few days, save for a late night slushie from Sonic – I threw up pure bile. I told him I felt like shit, “yea you’re getting sick,” he said, “you just have to do more.” I didn’t understand what he meant – sick? I didn’t feel this way after any other drug, what did he mean?
I didn’t bother to find out – I had money and an ever growing habit I was still able to support.
As my habit increased, I started to lose my mind, like I said I had no concept of what was going in my body. I liked the initial rush when you shot it – even if I was high out of my mind, I’d sometimes still shoot one after the other, or better yet 2 or 3 at a time just to fall out into oblivion. I built a two bundle a day habit ridiculously quick out of pure ignorance. (that’s 24-28 bags a day)
I also go into a drug induced psychosis. I begin to hear and see things, like scary things as in ghosts and demons and what have you (pause, maybe this sounds crazy but my boyfriend at the time also heard this voice thing in our house that screamed at us to get out so it was totally real and you can suck it if you don’t believe me). I lose my mind. I unravel, convinced there is some sort of evil coming for me (it talks to me through my laptop.. a lot of times on AIM .. 🤣🤣😭) by all accounts I am dancing with the devil, and he’s taken the lead. I know I have to stop or this wont end well.
The problem with heroin is when you can stop, when its all romantic and edgy and Hollywood glamour esq, you don’t want to, and when you want to stop, you can’t.
The realization that I cant, the lack of control over my body, frightens me. So I do what children do, I seek reprieve at the mercy of my father.
I stay the night sometime in July, I am not myself, I feel like I’ve disassociated from the world. (Also I am super paranoid about the ghost that’s stalking me through my computer cause he apparently followed me to my dads house). The next morning I don’t want to leave, my dad can tell somethings wrong, I can’t stop myself from crying, I don’t want to disappoint him, the words just come out, he barely has to push me. I’m sorry, I’m using heroin, I need help.
As my father, as my protector, he wraps me up in his arms, tears in his eyes and vows to help me quit.
NOW. This is the summer of 2008, right before the “miracle drug” suboxone started making its way onto the big pharma scene. Its methadone or cold turkey, and I don’t know, methadone requires a clinic or a detox and both of those seem pretty under the bridge junkie esq and that’s not me. Back then I’m a college student from the suburbs where you don’t do heroin and you sure as shit don’t go to rehab.. at least not publicly.
We sort of plan out our own little home detox – I’m not sure what I’m in for, neither is my father. It’s the blind leading the blind. I go to my PCP who god love her, has no clue about heroin – writes me a script for Xanax (taken as prescribed & distributed by my dad), and a script for ambien to help me sleep. Also, I don’t give a fuck what anyone says cause neither one of those drugs helped my detox at all so I still count this as cold turkey.
Back to the detox plan.
Like any good father, my dad googles and scours WebMD for little tips and tricks on how to detox from heroin. Which according to his research go as follows:
– LOTS of Gatorade – orange preferably, I don’t know why maybe cause its got some extra vitamin C in there like orange juice who the fuck knows
– JACCUZI – he says I can use the jets in the hot tub outside
– Rockband, like the game, to keep my mind busy, focused (also helps with some restlessness)
– Do not leave the house
– Lay on the couch and die
I think that’s it, we have a shit plan.
Which brings us back to the beginning.
The days are long, painful. For seven days straight, I sweat heroin from my pores – its this weird sweet yeast like scent, I don’t know how else to describe it. I smell it everywhere. I want to rip my soul from beneath my flesh and hang it out to dry. I’m cold, I’m hot, my legs are restless – I lay on the couch and kick relentlessly.
Now imagine feeling this way and knowing you could just do a one little bag and be better again – a quick simple solution, BUT you have to WILL yourself not to. Major Mind Fuck.
The first 3 days are the worst, I know if I can get through them, I can manage the rest.
The Xanax does nothing, it calms me down for maybe an hour – I get one 2mg Xanax a day, so obviously I still have another 23 hours to get through. The ambien sucks, it knocks me out for like 2 hours and then I’m wide awake at 2am. I watch movies on a mattress on the floor of my sisters room, she has no idea what’s going on, my family is good at pretending everything is A-Okay. I try not to be a nuisance, to be quiet so she can sleep but its so hard, I cant stay still. Sometimes I find a way to sleep a little longer. Other times I just lay there kicking, tossing, turning, wondering why did I do this to myself. I swear up and down I will NEVER use again. This hurts too bad.
Somehow I make it through on sheer willpower.
I go back to my house convinced I will be fine but willpower alone will not suffice. Within 4 hours of being home, my running buddies are calling, and I’m on my way back down the Boulevard.
And that’s the nature of addiction, the insidiousness, how it grabs ahold of your soul and morphs the pain of a month or even a week ago into a distant memory in the blink of an eye.
That was the first time I tried to quit.
My names lex and I’m an addict.
LOVE AND LIGHT AND SCUMBAG NONSENSE<3
(^ This was when heroin felt romantic – michael, pictured, died a few years later, so much for Hollywood glamour).
(This is when I was a few DAYS into shooting dope , take note of the black eye from getting punched by some angry pregnant dope fiend. Red flag central but ya know it was so edgy and cool).