27 days clean. I’ve got a very long list of things to do: Call a bankruptcy trustee to see if I have to declare bankruptcy, get my health looked after, go to more meetings and find a place to serve my 30 hours of community service. From my drug arrest and conviction.
In late October of 2016 I was in the throes of my addiction. I was shooting more and more dope each day and had to maintain or increase the amount to not get sick from withdrawals. The lies I had been telling myself – you can stop anytime, no need to tell anyone, it’s just a small blip in your overall recovery – were wearing thin. My wife, son and I were supposed to go to New York City for my wife’s birthday in a few weeks and I knew I’d either have to kick the drugs (no easy feat), bring enough with me not to get sick (smuggling drugs over the border was NOT an option) or tell her before we left.
None of those seemed like good options. I had one more lie left to tell myself and in October of 2016 is when I played out that lie.
My wife was away on a business trip for 5 days. I had enough dope to get me through the next 3-4 days. I also had some cocaine…just to take the edge off. I went to our cottage to – and this the lie – use one last time and then try to wean off the drugs over the next 5 days before the trip to NY.
The first night I was there I stayed up all night shooting dope and coke. I liked doing it at the cottage because I didn’t have to hide it or sneak around. I was alone. I could do it as I pleased. The coffee table in our family room looked like something out of Scarface. There was a mortar and pestle (for grinding up pills), a blackened spoon, a bunch of used needles, a pill bottle with oxycontin pills and another bottle with a half gram of cocaine in it. Around 6am I decided to call it a night.
At 11:30am I woke up to two police officers standing over my bed saying, “Nick? Nick are you ok?”. That is not the way anyone, let alone someone who’s been shooting drugs all night, wants to be woken up. I stammered, “Yeah? I don’t understand…”. “Your wife called us. She’s been calling you all morning and you haven’t answered and she was worried that you might be in a diabetic coma.”.
I should mention, if it’s not obvious, I’m a diabetic. Type 1 specifically. And a year earlier I almost did go into a coma while at the cottage and my wife had to call an ambulance to come and pump sugar into me. So the deal after that was that anytime I was alone at the cottage I had to have my ringer on, answer my phone, and check in regularly that I was alive and well. But being a junkie I tend to pass out and not hear my ringer. Hence the wake up call from the cops.
So as I’m assuring them that I’m okay, one of the cops looks out the bedroom door at the family room coffee table and says, “What are all those needles and that spoon?”. I say I’m a diabetic. He says, “Since we were asked to come into the house we can go look at that so I’m going to ask you to stay here while I investigate”.
5 minutes later I’m in handcuffs.
I remember once using with a guy I had previously sponsored. He was a chronic crack addict and I was at his house buying some coke. He was going to bed and I was crashing on his couch. Before he turned in he took out a towel and covered the table with all the drugs on it. I said, “Paranoid much?” He said, “That’s not paranoid, it’s just being smart.”
As the cops were going through all my drug stuff, asking me about the pills and the remnants on the spoon I told them the truth: That I had become addicted to pain killers and was up here to use one last time and try to wean myself off of them before my wife came back to town.
It was a strange arrest. Not just because of the completely random and accidental nature of it. But because before they read me my rights the senior officer said, “We don’t think you’re a bad guy Nick and know you have a problem.” But they still charged me. Then the cop said, “I understand what you wanted to do but you won’t be able to quit over the next few days. You’ll need help. There’s a methadone clinic in a town 45 minutes away – you want us to call them for you?”. Super supportive right? But they still arrested me. I was told I had to wait in the back of their cruiser while they finished collecting the evidence.
Meanwhile, my wife was calling the whole time. Just before they arrested me they said, “You should probably call your wife and let her know you’re alive”. I made the call and, while I think she was happy I wasn’t dead, she was hysterical after spending the last 2 hours thinking I was in a diabetic coma. I told her I was okay and must have just turned my ringer off. I did NOT mention that I was about to be arrested for possession (or that I had been using and lying to her for almost a year). Instead I said I had to go to finish up with the cops and fill out some paperwork for them. 30 minutes later she started calling again. But I was in the back of the cruiser and couldn’t answer. When the cop told me what he had found and the exact charges – 1 count of possession of a schedule 1 narcotic (dilaudid) and 1 count of possession of a schedule 1 narcotic (cocaine) – he said I could come with them to be finger-printed at the station or I could come back a few weeks later to do it. I needed to call my wife back so opted to get printed later.
Now, beyond the risk of going into severe withdrawals, I now had another reason I couldn’t go to NYC; I had a drug charge against me. I knew I was going to have to come clean. But was dreading it. The smart thing would have been to call the methadone clinic, or find one in the city, but as I said, that would have been the smart thing to do. Instead, out of drugs – well, mostly (they missed the other stash of oxycontin I had) I decided to go buy some cocaine and spend the rest of the weekend getting high so I could figure out a plan. Just a note: getting high on speedballs (cocaine and an opiate at the same time) is NOT the best way to come up with a plan for telling your wife you’d been lying to her for the last 10 months and had become addicted to pain killers, which you’re now injecting, and can’t go to New York with her and our son for her birthday weekend.
So how did I tell her the truth? I lied. Shocker. I was supposed to come home on a Monday night. But I said a car accidentally ran me off the road and I had damaged the wheel in my truck. Made up an elaborate story about how I had to get it to a mechanic in town, who a local friend had recommended. The next day I said he had to order a part and if it didn’t come in that afternoon I wouldn’t be able to get home until the next day. I did this to buy myself some more time. I was terrified of telling her the truth and knew there was no other way out. But my wife beat me to the punch. She texted my local friend, who knew nothing of the lie I had spun, and she called me that afternoon and said she’d just spoken to him. She wanted to know why I’d made up such an elaborate lie. What was I hiding? What did I do?? I broke down and told her the truth. She was devastated. She told me to get the fuck out of the cottage and that I’d never see our son again. I packed up my things, with her calling every 10 minutes to ask if I was out yet, and when I was finally done, I turned my phone off and drove 3 hours back to the city. Where I promptly bought more drugs and spent the night getting high.
You’d think that would have been my bottom. But you can always go deeper. Which is what I did. Because I wasn’t in control. And, as I’ve said before, once the secret was out I didn’t have to hide it anymore. My addiction was happy about this. I didn’t have to pretend. I didn’t have to try to be responsible around my wife and son anymore. Hell, I was out of the house so I didn’t have to be responsible for anything. I could use the way it wanted me to. Like a fucking junkie. Which is what I did for the next 3 weeks until I finally went to rehab. Which, sadly, wasn’t even the end. I thought the arrest was the worst thing that had happened but it wasn’t. Not by a long shot. Turns out my wife was pregnant. Which was something she, and I before the relapse, had wanted for the last 2 years. But now she was devastated and not even sure if she wanted to keep the baby. I wasn’t sure what we should do either.