I haven't been completely honest.
Yes, I feel stupid.
I keep remembering one moment. My first methadone reduction, when I was less than 3 months addicted. Early morning, a small group slouched in chairs as the nurse outlined the process. I was charming him, teacher's pet. He had too much hope in me from the begining. So did I. No doubt it would be breeze, no backwards glances, no reverb.
"Some of you may start using coke. Be careful" He warned. He was a know-it-all, who knew the words, but not the feelings. Later, often refusing to believe I could feel something that wasn't listed on his print-out. "Especially intravenous users, who may be hooked on the needle itself." I was staring at his T shirt, rasta-ish, cheesy. He was a self-righteous do-gooder, like one of those scary hip christians, who listen to christian rock, throwing in wierdo slang like groovy. Supicious. The type to turn on you. Get your secrets out and then nail your coffin shut with them. The coke comment- not applicable to me. Boring. I fucking hated the coke-effect. Egoistic, paranoid, blathering incessently, gaunt and chemical filled. Like skipping cds. I could smell them a mile off. That drug tears your body apart, it isn't like heroin, although cut with crap essentially a plant, natural, beautiful, kind to your body in every way but addiction.
He continued. "You get into that, just even start- you talk to us. There's no drug to help you get off coke. You'll find yourself in a hell a millions times worse than you are now." And that was that.
A year and half later now. But still, I remember the slant of his body, the dead eyes of the boys in rags, half the room asleep. Sure, one in ten succeeds in this program. It's the first thing they tell you. Drilled in, so that you don't even care each week when you tell them you've screwed up, yes you pretend to look like you do, but they've already ticked that box, like filling in your name. If they lied, and said it was 9 out of ten who fucking aced it, don't they realise how much easier it would be? Blind faith. A little lie to ignore the cravings, deny them as something else, rather than feeling sick and icky, right on schedule, failing, right on schedule, wasting time and having constant mysterious appointments to explain to work.
But that's a tangent.
I was saying, I remember that moment of coke-hell warning, an exclamation point in my mind. And my relief in a way- well fuck, maybe things aren't that bad. Never could coke seduce me.
As clearly as I remember that 8am moment, probably the only 8am clear moment of my life- I have a corresponding hole, scissored out of time, concerning one particular moment- now, maybe 2 months ago.
The moment I tripped out of my dealer's car, that always moment, skiittering on heels to the closest bathroom, cooked my heroin, shot it and then opened a bag of coke I can't remember buying, or why it even would occur to me, and shot that too.
For the first two weeks it was every few days, a treat, on top of heroin. One bag, 5 shots.
I can't feel heroin much anymore, because my methadone dose has been hiked so high (for that exact purpose) so the rush was a surprise, I actually hadn't realised how little I feel heroin now- how 95% of the pleasure is just in the comfort action. My mind tricking me. I also hadn't noticed how much heroin had changed me. Room-loving, too-loud music on headphones, alone alone alone. Excited plans to go out, that the day of would never happen. Any excuse. Friends on permanent call waiting.
Ringing phones ignored. Cocooned. Safe.
That one, first shot of coke changed all that. I had done it a bit last summer, but got bored of it, scared at the intenseness and freakish cartoons my friends became. i didn't want to be like that. Chewing my fucking face off. Seething with that restless pacing energy. I like calm. And heroin was bountiful and loving, my tolerance low, I had found my match and I couldn't be bothered flirting. Friends tried to convince me. Nah. And if and when I did, I stopped on little amounts, weekend nights only, sensible stuff.
So now, that shot. I put down the syringe and called the friends I had pushed away. Non-judgemental, I have good friends, they made it clear, unspoken, but very clear, each in different ways, that it was up to me. The friendship. It would be there, but for me to re-ignite. All busy people, and me too. They knew I was unchangeable, so they just told me they loved me and the unanswered phone calls and constantly rain-checked catch-ups dried up.
My veins buzzing with charm and energy, I searched my phone book for links and called them all, over the next few days. The world had opened its petals, I felt like I was me again, for the first time realising I had been gone. I could have been a professional soirée-attendee, in the past. Out every night, living off conversation, fascinating people, vodka, wine, lustful eyes, being envied by women and hated, collecting hearts. University was a like a vague hobby, to keep my brain moving.
Coke-filled, I enjoyed that sort of thing again. Not hesitating to turn up alone at an event or party. I felt free. This city is small. I was welcomed back smoothly. Although, I'm sure they noticed that I liked the bathroom, flitting to it half hourly, at least.
My boyfriend wasn't impressed. He stayed away. More a fiend than I, afraid it would tempt him. And then one day, a week or two of warnings from him later, he asked for a bit in his spoon. That was, looking back, a clear, sharp fork in the road.
I asked him if he was sure. Pretending I could make a difference. That was that. The same with heroin. I don't think he slept for a week. He shifts a lot on it. Too too much, is probably why. I'm sure he's lying about however much he takes. It's just an automatic reaction with him. Lies, like some people giggle, bursting out, hard to stifle, and always one leading to another.
A partner in crime is always fun. And depending on the crime- often, not a good idea. We did a lot. Until my mid-arms were so swollen I could barely feel a thing, still shooting, once it took an hour and a half. Tears and blood dripping over my purse, staining my thighs and feet, smudges on my forehead. Those are the lowest moments. When all syringe-rationale "efficient, precise, clean, effective, cost-smart" are stained.
Tall, I've found long sleeves a rare and elusive purchase. Just past three quarters is my usual length. Not enough anymore. Cradling my arms, gentle, careful movements. Wrist to bicep, plump with swelling and patterned with bruising. Hillier over my favourite veins. Violet, yellow, blue, pink. Delicate and light, my veins rarely complain after heroin, never bruising. Never anything like this. It's a combination of the amount of shots needed and the vile toxicity of coke. If a little splash of heroin spills from my vein it is absorbed quickly by my body. I'll feel the effects, although no rush. Cocaine, ack, so different. Poison. If anyone sane saw my arms right now, they would lock me in a room, and call white coats.
But something incredible has happened. Heroin, like a light beer versus a tequila shot, plus three times as expensive, has been overshadowed. Listen to this: I can't remember the last time I did heroin. A switch has been flicked. Everything's different. I have to keep up with my methadone, or I would be violently ill, but I've lost the lust. I've never ever enjoyed methadone, I can't wait to get off it. Finally now, the doctors will start weaning me off. I should be ecstatic. It's been two weeks at least. Cravings gone.
That's what I've avoided mentioning, or even thinking. I hate this. Me. I hate not being able to trust myself. Desperately sure of something one day, not at all, the next. How certain is certain? I don't want to be a sucker for believing in myself. Do I have to fight myself every step of the way? Again. The same huge mistake. I'd comforted myself before, trying to gloss my initial retardedness, maintaining any mistake is acceptable if you learn from it.
But I just learnt how to do it all over again, with heightened efficiency.
I have been scared. Very scared. But two days ago, something changed. Seeing my arms, as if violently beaten, pushing needles through swelling, always searching for the vein less mutilated, to mush it more, the initial walking-on-clouds feeling replaced by irritation, I couldn't tie a pretty bow around this one. This drug is not kind, it's not a pure heroin-style emotional hug, it's chemically, sickly. Ragged teeth eating my health. An enemy I have invited inside. Like an exquisitely gorgeous person with foul breath and genitals. Wrong, all wrong. The way after the first month with a new lover, their skin and lines and shapes have become different to you. Inside-out. Beautiful personality and character is by far the best plastic surgery. For me, the initial prettiness of cocaine didn't take long to rot. Chemicals slinking through my blood, inky bitterness in the back of my throat. Lips numb from holding the syringe, from an unnoticed tiny droplet's kiss. Sour and cruel. I know this is my enemy, in satin dress, big eyes from under hooded lids. Sleeping baby with forked tongue.
I just have to sneak up on it, before it sneaks up on me. Cut it out like a cancerous mole. Keep looking over my shoulder. I've always loved scary movies, the scarier the better. I'm sure you all know the dark, windy night scene, before the terror starts, that camera shot that rests a moment too long on the knife-block, big chef knives just so, all in place, tense and silent. Foreshadowing. Waiting breathlessly for the killer's hand. Itching to reveal a knife-less gap. An empty, screaming space.
This time, I'll be at the knife-block waiting for him. It's time to be tough.