There was a time in which I was naive enough to believe I was strong. Not just strong, but strong enough to laugh in the face of my demons. To dance with them and then leave them behind when enough was enough. They taught me enough was never enough. I have a niece that I love dearly and it is my hope to keep her off the path I ventured.
I sat in my car trying not to appear anxious as I waited for my friend, nicknamed Satan, to come out of the building. I tried to think of things to calm me but nothing was working. There was nothing that could make me feel better except what was in that building. I wished I could go back in time, back to when I was happy, back to when I had a future, but that was too distant a memory. It was easier and less depressing not to even think about. It would all be alright, I decided. Someday I’d get myself out of this cycle, someday. Just as my thoughts were about to overwhelm me, I saw Satan coming towards my car. Satan’s actual name is Damien, but with his shaved head, goatee, and reputation “Satan” just seemed more appropriate. He got in the car and his hand reached in his pocket. My attention was drawn away momentarily from the item he reached for to the tattoos on his neck and arms. His initials in Old English letters on his neck, and a tribal symbol covering the better part of his arm were just a small portion of his body’s artwork. The baggies he presented from his pocket brought my thoughts back to the happiness and adventures that awaited me that night. As I stared at the pills and the white powder, I felt that familiar dread and excitement running through my veins, and I wondered if I would live through the night.
The music was thumping loud and hard all around me while the lights flashed in rhythm. I sat back in the club as I waited for the ecstasy to take effect. I looked at Satan and could tell by the perspiration beaded on his face that his ecstasy had control of him. He felt at home here. He was one of the biggest dealers in town and this was his place of business. He saw me staring at him and started laughing. I noticed I was grinding my teeth as I was overwhelmed with the desire to tell Satan how much I loved him. I looked around and everyone seemed to move in perfect time with the music. Their bodies told a story with every movement while the lights blended in and out of reds, orange, purples, and greens, all seeming to streak across the room forming their own light show. I noticed a hand in front of me holding another pill. “Take this”, Satan advised. “No, I’m good”, I shouted over the music. “You’ll feel even better after you take this!”, was his rebuttal. “I’m going to die”, I thought to myself as I swallowed the pill.
I prayed quietly for God to not let me die and laughed to myself at the irony. I looked at Satan again (I promise, his nickname IS Satan!). He was covered in sweat and his eyes were only slits from where I sat. I felt panic spreading through my body as I noticed I could no longer focus on anyone. If I looked at anything longer than a second the object or person began to shake violently. I was aware of people coming up and talking to us, but when I tried to respond my mouth was dry and I was unable to utter anything coherent. I just wanted to get away from everyone. The music was no longer friendly, it attacked my heart and eardrums in such a way I was fearful not that not I, but the DJ had control over my body. “Get up and walk it off, get up and move around”, I thought to myself to keep from panicking further. I mumbled to Satan that I was going to the bathroom, but as I stood up I realized I couldn’t walk. I fell back on the sofa and Satan laughed saying, “Good shit, huh”?
As we left the club the chill in the air reminded me I was sober again and the other baggy came to mind. It was only three o’clock in the morning…the night was still young. As we entered my apartment I made sure I locked the door behind us and I pulled out my all too familiar mirror. This mirror had been a birthday gift and at the bottom of it were bold letters that read, “I LOVE ME”. The irony was not lost on me. I smiled as I dumped a portion of cocaine onto it, enjoying the acrid smell that rose from the pile. I scooped a little onto the edge of my credit card, closed one nostril and inhaled deeply through the other. It burned, but it was a familiar, welcome burn. I scooped up another mass,closed the other nostril and inhaled again. This time I could feel it go to my brain. I handed the credit card to Satan as I enjoyed the sensation filling my body. I suddenly felt energized, I wanted to talk non stop. I wanted to stay up all night and debate about presidents, lost loves, books, music and dead philosophers. I felt euphoric. If everyone could feel what I felt no one would question why people trade their family, friends, income, lives and future away for this drug. I began chopping out lines of cocaine so the feeling wouldn’t go away. I needed more.
The morning was wasted away as we snorted line after line changing the radio from station to station, playing video games, making plans for the future and always needing more lines.
By seven in the morning almost all the coke was gone, my nose burned, my body had all it could take, and I didn’t give a shit about past presidents or philosophers. Satan left to go home and I lay down to try to go to sleep. I knew there was no point in lying down. I wouldn’t be able to sleep, but I had started to freak out, thinking I was going to die again. My nose had started bleeding, my heart palpitating, and my arm felt numb. I felt scared and lost. How many nights had I wasted like this? Popping pills, snorting pills, snorting coke, all for a momentary bliss that brought entirely too much trouble and a depression I had never known. My soul felt drained. I lay in bed crying, thinking of my family and friends who still loved me, but had given up on me. I thought about what I was like before I had become an addict, before I had given up on myself, and I started crying even harder. My tears mixed with my bleeding nose was a truly horrific sight. What had I become? I began to pray. Maybe I could still do something with my life. Maybe I wasn’t condemned and could get off drugs for good. I couldn’t figure out why I was still alive, but I knew I couldn’t waste anymore time. I was serious; I really would get clean, no more drugs. This time it would be different. Wouldn’t it?