13 days ago I had, what is hopefully, my last hit of drugs.
It’s been a tough week though. I want to stay clean more than I want to use, but I am still feeling the effects – well, damage – from my last binge. Takes forever to fall asleep and can barely get up in the morning. I’m sluggish. Forgetful. And, while one might think you’d feel great after you stop shooting poison into your body, there are still withdrawal symptoms. But more than that there is a whisper in the back of my mind, “one more time. Just once more.”
After I destroyed my family in October of 2016 by admitting I had relapsed and was secretly using opiates, a few things happened. First, I was told I had to leave the house – smart move on my wife’s part. I said I wanted to get clean and for the first few days I truly meant it. I needed to get into a rehab or detox facility as kicking opiates cold turkey wasn’t something I could do on my own. I started to look into provincially funded rehabs and learned it would be 6-8 weeks before I could get into one. Outwardly I expressed frustration and despair at having to wait so long. But inside I was relieved; I could keep using! The crazy thing was a day earlier when I said I wanted to get clean I really did. But as soon as I heard I had to wait, a switch flipped and my addiction was in full control.
My wife reached out and said she’d pay for me to go to a private rehab but I said No, I need to do this on my own (i.e. keep using). After 3 weeks of going further into debt with my bank and credit cards I went to visit her and my (step)son who was devastated I hadn’t been home. He only knew that I was sick and needed to go to a special hospital. He couldn’t understand why it was taking so long. Why mommy couldn’t help make me better.
On Nov 12th I went for the aforementioned visit to see them. I was trying to pretend we were a normal family but it was anything but normal. First of all, I hadn’t showered in 10 days and had been living in my truck. Not great, right? It gets better. Right before the visit I was at a truck-stop waiting to get more dope and started having mild withdrawal symptoms. The mild discomfort I could deal with. It was the explosive diarrhea that was less fun. I ran to the washroom but didn’t make it. So I went into the bathroom, took off my underwear and cleaned myself up. But for some reason I bundled up my drawers and stashed them under the seat of my truck. Which my wife found 8 months later when she was cleaning out the truck so it could be sold.
So that’s how I showed up to visit with my family.
We picked up my son from school and he was happy to see me. We stopped to get some takeout on the way home and I was given $20 to run in and get it. When I came out with the food my poor little son was standing outside the car with his mom, a panicked look on his face. He was worried I might run away..
After dinner I went to the bathroom to get my fix as I was starting to jones. I did the last of my dope and it turns out it was a bit too much. I suggested we all watch a movie in bed. As soon as the movie started I nodded off. My son offered to rub my feet – something he had started doing with his mom – for a dollar a foot. I don’t remember this but I’m told as he started rubbing my feet he said, “Mom, his feet stink so much!”
She told him he could stop but he said, “No, I said I’d do each foot for 5 minutes so can you just cover my face with your hand?”
I woke up after he had gone to bed. It was around 11pm and I was starting to jones again. I made all the calls I could but nobody had any opiates. I told my wife I was going to get really sick if I didn’t get dope. I pleaded with her for $100 so I could go score. She looked torn and said “I really don’t think I should”. After an hour of pleading she said, “Nick, they’re still holding a bed for you at the private treatment centre. Do you want to go?” I didn’t. But I was starting to hurt a lot. I said ok and we made a call to the intake person. He said I could come first thing in the morning. Could I get any painkillers to stave off the withdrawals?
He spoke to my wife and told her even sleeping pills would help me get through the night. Opiate withdrawal is so brutal which is why most people don’t get through it cold turkey. My wife called a few friends and said she could get me something. A friend of her’s dropped off a couple pills and she said, “I got you some oxycontin.” Thank God!! I went in the bathroom with my needle and spoon to crush and cook it…only to discover it was 2 percocet pills. At that time I was doing 160mg of oxycontin per fix. To stave off withdrawals I occasionally used percocet but needed 8 every 3 hours just not to get sick. I was horrified but took the 2 percocet and a sleeping pill and managed to pass out in bed.
The next morning I woke up at 8:30am, drank some water and then projective omitted all over the bedroom floor and walls. My wife helped get me cleaned up, threw a bunch of my clothes in a suitcase and got me into the car to drive me to rehab which was an hour away. I apologized for barfing everywhere and she said that it wasn’t as bad as the fact that I had shat myself in the bed during the night. Who says drugs aren’t sexy?
I spent 40 days there and got out at the end of December. The rehab was fine but I didn’t do any of the work that I needed to do. I just kept letting everyone know that “I had 14 years of sobriety” and was basically unteachable. And when I got out I didn’t do anything except sit around and watch Netflix. For an addict like me I can’t just not use. I go crazy. I always have. I always felt restless. Like I was in the wrong place and if I could just get to THAT place, or get THAT thing, or THAT girl I’d be ok. Nothing ever worked. Until I discovered drugs. That worked. That made me feel ok. The thing is I’m incapable of moderation. My real drug is MORE. Especially when it means more drugs.
6 weeks after rehab my wife and son were away for the weekend and I decided to get some cocaine, telling myself “just one last time”. That was 5 months ago. It’s been a lot of “one last times”.
So now I’m 13 days clean and trying to stay that way. But this weekend is going to be particularly hard. My wife and son have to go out of town to a family function (her family is, understandably, not so keen on me these days). So I’m home alone for a couple days. I am at war with myself as the addict in me is screaming “This is it! It’s our chance to use. She’s away. She’ll never know. You’re not even 2 weeks clean so do it once more then start again.” The other part, that I have to believe is my true self, says, “Fuck you junkie brain. We are going to do this because if I do I will not just stay clean but have managed for the first time, in almost 2 years, NOT to give in to that insane thinking.”
This morning, before they left, my wife and son sat me down and she said, “We have something we’d like to do. Can you roll up your sleeves?” I did so with trepidation as I still have track marks and didn’t like anyone to see them. But I did as asked and my son took a sharpie and wrote on my arms, right across my bruised veins, “I LOVE YOU XOXO”
I teared up. My wife said, “I know this isn’t a guarantee, but maybe it will help if you’re struggling and want to use to remember that there’s a little boy who loves you very much and doesn’t want you to die”.
So, today I’m finishing this article, going to see some recovery friends and, if I’m honest, will probably eat a quart of Haagen-Dazs and binge watch Luke Cage on Netflix. I’ve gained 15lbs in 2 weeks and have to go up a pant size. But, on the upside, as of this diary entry I have not used any cocaine, or shat myself so that’s a plus.