"WHOOO, WHOOO!" I could barely make out the distant sounds of the ambulance as it drove in my direction. I was dripping wet with sweat and my whole body ached. "Lord, please don't let me die," I whispered in prayer. That was the first prayer I had managed to get out since I had left home 1 week earlier. My eyes fluttered shut. I could feel my eyelashes brush against the skin below my eyes as I faded into the darkness.
Suddenly, I lurched awake from a deep sleep, wincing at the pain that shot through my body as I tried to sit up. Realizing I am in a hospital bed with tubes running in and out of my body everywhere. I had a breathing tube shoved down my throat, the uncomfortable sensation caused me to reflexively gag on the thing. I looked down at my arms and noticed the black and blue skin that laced them. I clenched my teeth as I looked over at my right arm and saw that the Doctor had made a two-inch incision in the crease of my elbow where I clearly had an abscess. The hole was packed tightly with gauze to soak up the fluids that were seeping out of my arm. My head fell back against the bed as I shut my eyes and drifted back into oblivion.
I found myself back there again where everything began one week earlier. I'm driving to my friend's house all the way across town. I was on one hell of a mission and no amount of reason could rescue me from my desperate self. "Come on!" I yelled at the slow-moving vehicle in front of me as they took their time pulling into Walmart. I stepped on the gas pedal, going 13 miles over the speed limit. I didn't care at that moment if I got pulled over or not. I needed this, but I really didn't know why I was putting myself in this situation. However, I just knew it had to be done. I would never be able to stop thinking about it if I didn't at least try to go there and see if it was possible. I turned left off of Broadway Street making my way into the neighborhood my friends lived in.
I find myself parked in their driveway as I glance in the rearview mirror, my eyes hollow and bloodshot. I put the car in park and made my way around back to the porch door. I checked the handle questioning whether or not it would be unlocked but deep down I already knew it would be. I opened the door walking up to the door that sat inside of the porch to the left. I paused, what if they don't live here anymore, I wondered. Anybody could live here now for all I know. I sighed, only one way to find out.
"KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCKATY, KNOCK, KNOCK!" I hit my fist against the smooth maple door as the knocks rang out inside of my head. I stood really still, waiting and listening for the usual response from inside the house. "Who is it!" I heard a male and female voice yell through the door in unison. "It's Wendy!" I yelled back at them. I was happy that it was them answering the door and not some stranger that had moved into the house at some point. "Come in!" I heard Grace respond in her high-pitched voice. I wrapped my hand around the antique doorknob, the metal sent a shiver down my spine from how cold it was to the touch. I stepped into the house; their dark-lit hallway greeted me like it had a thousand times before.
I took a deep breath, turning to my left; a thick white sheet stood before me and my prize. I pushed the sheet aside and turned the corner. The light was especially bright after standing in that dark hallway, I walked into the room and my eyes met the gaze of Jack and Grace sitting on the sofa that lined the back wall of their bedroom. "Hey you, how have you been? It's been so long since we've seen you?" Grace smiled showing her broken teeth as her lips split open from ear to ear. I smiled back at her and said, "well, some days are easier than others." I shrugged as I looked toward the flatscreen TV they had hanging on the wall across from them. I turned back around and I noticed Grace's smile had left her face as she glanced down at her hands neatly intertwined in her lap.
Jack grunted, "We haven't seen you in forever girl, you sure you should be here?" He said through bites of Cheerios, as I watched milk dribble down his chin. I laughed and said, "Oh, I'm supposed to be here alright." I raised my eyebrows being overly exaggerated. "Well, if you want to know yes I have it," he said, winking at me. "You need some extra equipment? Or are you already packing?" he asked, squinting his eyes trying to make himself look very suspicious. I giggled and rolled my eyes. "Uh yeah, I'm going to need some extra equipment," I responded still amused.
"Alrighty then," Grace said while slapping both of her thighs as she stood up. She stopped dead in her tracks and said, "are you sure?" I looked up at her worried face and shook my head yes. Finally giving in to the monster that had followed me around for 5 years straight. She nodded back at me, clearly empathetic towards me because she knew the game of tug of war I was playing at that time. And then she walked out of the room, gesturing for me to follow right behind her. I started after her, as she made her way down the long hallway to the open living room. She held out her hand and pointed towards the big leather couch that I'd sat on many times before today.
She made her way to the kitchen and grabbed a glass of water and she came back in and sat down next to me. She reached under the coffee table for her purse and she pulled out a small orange and clear plastic bag. She held it out to me and I grabbed the slender syringe from it, cradling it in my hands. My heart began to thump rapidly inside my chest, I took a deep breath and waited for her to make her hit and I carefully and skillfully made my own. "Do you need help?" she asked me, looking down at my arms. "Um no, I can handle it," I responded, swallowing the saliva that began pooling into my mouth. Trying not to choke on it as I wrapped the band around my upper arm, pulling it as tight as was comfortable.
I watched as my veins began to pop out of my skin like river beds overflowing from unexpected torrential rainfall. My blood flowed like the Nile curving this way and that way down my arm. "I think I have at least one more go in this one here," I said, pointing to the far left of the crease of my elbow. I flicked the syringe full of crystal meth that was dissolved in just a splash of water. I pushed the plunger up so the liquid was all the way at the top with no air bubbles to be found. I took my index finger and touched my blue-colored vein that was bulging so much you'd think it might actually burst and spray blood everywhere.
I made sure I was in the right spot and stuck the needle into my skin and punctured through the fleshy tube that housed my flowing bloodstream. Dark scarlet clots sprung forth into the syringe as I pulled back the plunger to see if I had hit gold or not. I sighed and let out a big breath I didn't realize I had been holding in for far too long. Then I pushed the plunger in and the ice made its way up my arm and across my throat, making its way down to my heart then toward my belly and down along both of my legs and finally to my feet and back up again. I pulled the needle out of my arm and quickly unwrapped the band that was stopping the drug from completely making its rounds through my veins.
I sighed, plopping back onto the comfy couch. Just enjoying the warmth like the sun that I could feel swimming inside of me and the surge of immediate energy I received from the shot. Grace was still trying to hit the right spot and I paused and said, "Ya know, I knew I would come back here eventually." I said as I glanced at her face as she scrunched her face in concentration when she was finally able to push the plunger in and feel heaven come from a syringe. "You do eventually." She responded holding her arm to keep it from spilling blood.
"I need 3 balls for $360," I said as I reached into my pants pocket, grabbing the cash I had brought with me. I handed it to her and she nodded. "Okay we have that for sure," she said. I smiled and said, "Cool, that's great." I knew there was no turning back now, it only takes one hit and then you're hooked. I knew I would be shooting up dope for the next week or so. But a part of me was really worried and there was a frantic small voice in the back of my head screaming at me to just go home and keep the money. But I shook it off and ignored it.
I was hovering above my body again like I had been many other times. It's disassociation on a whole other level. Something just takes over me and then there I am again up above myself looking down watching me make mistake after mistake and watching myself put my life in jeopardy. But I couldn't do anything to stop myself from moving forward with each bad decision that I made that day. Because I wasn't in control of my actions at that point.
I roll my head from side to side as I come to, the images flashing through my mind as I lay here. It doesn't matter what happens, it always pulls me back in somehow. Meth addiction is considered to be one of the worst addictions a person can endure. I know that to be a fact of the matter. Whatever is in this drug consumes you, like you're given your very own personal demon that latches on to you as soon as you take that first drag, or that first shot, snort, or hot rail. It takes over your mind and your flesh. And the flesh only wants sin to satisfy its own pleasure.
I opened my eyes and without notice, I found myself face to face with my husband. Creases were etched into his forehead from his constant worry over my foolish and selfish self. I took one look at him, gazing into those very familiar green eyes and then I squeezed my eyes shut. Tears threatened to spill over my eyelids as they stung the corners of them. He grabbed my left hand that was sitting in reach in front of him. "I'm so glad we found you, and that you're going to be okay," he said, his voice cracking as he fought back the urge to break down.
I winced at his words, and my heart began to ache and palpitate at the pain in his voice. The pain that I caused him, just like every other time I've gone missing to relapse back into that dope stupor. I didn't want to hurt him, I really didn't. But he more than likely didn't know that to be true. To him and everyone around us they most likely think I just don't care about how he and my son feel. But that isn't true, I do care. I care a lot, but it's not that simple and easy to just rely on your love for your family to keep you from using drugs again and again.
If that's all it took nobody would relapse, everyone would be capable of not only getting sober but maintaining their sobriety and maintaining it well. But addiction is a disease of the ability to make choices, which leads to bad decisions and uncontrollable urges to use that are just too much to bear and to be able to get by without falling back into that messy trap. Most addicts relapse multiple times while trying to stay clean, it's inevitable.
I squeezed my husband's hand and opened my eyes glancing at him, my eyes heavy from all the medication in my system for pain and discomfort. I peered through my thick eyelashes at him and I realized that the breathing tube had been removed. I can speak, I thought to myself. I cleared my throat, and sharp pains shot through my whole throat where the breathing tube had scrapped the inside of my esophagus on the way in. I repositioned myself and said, "I can't believe I did this again. I want to tell you I'm sorry but that's what I always say and I always end up messing up again so the sorry isn't genuine." I sighed and looked up at the ceiling. He squeezed my hand in response and he stroked his fingers across the top of my hand, tracing the tattoos on my fingers as he began to talk.
"I know you can't control yourself sometimes, and that you really don't want to keep living this way. Maybe you just need some time to recover. Maybe almost dying for the first time might actually strike some fear in you to make you stop," he said blowing air through his pierced lips, as he sat back in his chair still holding my hand in his. "But what if it doesn't?" I asked, a lump developing in the back of my throat I struggled to swallow it down so I wouldn't become hysterical. "Then we'll deal with whatever comes our way. You're my wife and I love you so much, and I will be here even if you wind up back in this hospital bed 5 years from now, I can't imagine just leaving you to yourself. And I don't want anyone else but you, I need you just like you feel like you need dope. I need you, babe," he said, while he lowered his chin to his chest, tears welling up in his eyes.
I burst into tears as I started to hyperventilate. I was sucking in air at a crazy speed, my chest hitching and caving in so much so that I thought I was going to die. He stood and leaned over me and pulled me close to him. "Just breath." He whispered softly. I took a deep breath and blew it out slowly over and over again. He rubbed the back of my head with his left hand and grasped my side with the other hand, as I started to recall what really had happened when I was on my drug binge.
I was staying inside my car in different areas of the city that were secluded and away from prying eyes. I hadn't eaten in over 3 days and only managed to get a whole 5 hours of sleep within that time period. I had been using dope nonstop practically since the moment I arrived at my friend's house. I knew my family would be out searching for me like they always did but I couldn't think about them right now. I was trying to shoot up in my right arm in the crease of my elbow but I accidentally ended up missing the whole shot. Pain seared inside my skin as the meth bubbled up underneath it. "Nooo!" I yelled in frustration.
I couldn't believe I actually missed; how foolish I thought as I let out a sigh. My arm throbbed in protest at the liquid pooled up under my skin. I knew it would probably get infected as it tends to sometimes. But I didn't care, I loaded another shot and was able to go in my left hand. That very familiar feeling flooded my body overwhelming my senses. My heart began to pound in my chest and a cold sweat fell over top of me soaking me in my own perspiration. I hurried up and looked in the mirror, my pupils were only the size of pinpoints which told me that I was overdosing. I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911. "911, what's your emergency?" a lady asked in a monotone voice. "Um I think I'm overdosing on meth; I shot up and I think I did too much," I said through strained breaths. It feels like my heart is going to explode." I cried. "Okay, where are you right now?" she asked, concerned bleeding over into the phone. "Um, I'm at Bay View Park, I'm parked inside my car at the top of the ridge. I'm in a black ford mustang." I let out right before I began to fade. "Lord, please don't let me die." I prayed.
I hadn't prayed in so long and I know that's one of my problems. "I don't seek you, Lord," I said as I began to calm down from my panic attack. "At least you're praying," my husband said brushing my bangs out of my eyes. "That's all that matters." he smiled. And I smiled at him and I knew that I would fight harder and try harder to keep my promises. I've broken so many I've lost count. But I'm going to start counting how many times I keep a promise from now on.