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The clock reads two in the morning. I'm sitting against the wall in my room with the picture of him hanging above me; arm outstretched, cloth tied tight, needle in hand. I'm ready. I haven’t done this for two years now, but tonight this is for him. They say nothing good happens after 2 A.M. Let’s see if they’re correct.
Just as the needle is about to break the skin, I think back to the night. It was 2 years ago exactly. The reason I remember that is because it was my 19th birthday: the celebration of me living on my own for a year after being kicked out of my parents’ house, and also the first day of the rest of my life. I promised myself that I would live my life perfectly for a year to see if I ended up happy. I didn’t. So that night started my pursuit of happiness.
The day started off normal. I got up, went to the café on the corner for my usual morning chat with Gregg, and went to my job at the Bar. I was the person who got ready for the five o’clock rush of middle-aged guys too depressed to go home to their wife and children. It was almost sad to see them there everyday knowing someone at home was missing them, while all they were missing was the latest news on ESPN. I promised myself I would never get married just for the simple fact that I wouldn’t be able to live knowing my husband was one of those guys. The only reason I worked at the Bar was because of Gregg. He saw how I was struggling to have a home; and since his best friend owned the Bar, he got me the job. I don’t think I ever thanked him enough for the job, or for keeping me alive.
The night 3 years ago started my new life. I wasn’t just living; I was living on the edge. To say I handed myself over to it is an overstatement. I was more… brought into it. His name was D. I knew something was going to happen when he stepped in the door. He wasn’t the regular middle-aged customer. He was tall, about 6’3’’, with a well defined body, and dark brown, mysterious eyes. I guess I looked pretty out of place as well because when he walked up to me he asked if I was lost, I replied no, that I worked there, and it all started then.
Pretty soon I found myself opening up to him: a stranger who just happened to cross my path that night. I felt so at ease talking to him, like he actually cared what I had to say about my parents and all the hurt I had been through. It was like he knew exactly where I was coming from. I trusted him, and he trusted me too. But I soon realized that trusting him was the last thing I wanted him to do.
I literally trusted him with my life. That night he took me out behind the Bar after my shift and showed me things I never thought I wanted to see. He had every kind of street drug possible. It was like a candy store, except it wasn’t the kind of candy I wanted. He said he’d been coming into the bar regularly, but I’d never even noticed him. I got a strange feeling inside me like he was keeping tabs on me, and suddenly I didn’t want to be there anymore. I tried to turn away and walk back to see Gregg, he lived on top of the café, but D grabbed my arm so tight I knew right then that it would leave a bruise. All I could think was what I had just gotten myself into, and I didn’t want to know the answer.
He started me off slow with the easy drugs, and then hit me with stronger stuff. After a few months I had done everything from weed to acid to heroin, and I felt like a new person. In a matter of hours of knowing this guy I had changed from depressing me into someone happier. But why was I happier? I sure wasn’t better off, but I didn’t feel alone anymore. I felt like he actually cared about me and wanted me to feel better, and that’s why I did these things with him. We were connected by out tragic pasts, and all I wanted was to feel close to someone.
The clock reads three in the morning. I instantly regret my decision to shoot up one more time. I don’t know why I thought I would be fine after this; they say that one time could reopen my addiction. It’s open. I don’t want to walk through that door again, but I feel as if I have no choice now. It’s just a little too late.
Gregg noticed the change in me before I noticed it in myself. He saw that I wasn’t as happy as I used to be, but I felt better. I didn’t understand it; I knew what was happening but I couldn’t stop. When I thought of my pursuit of happiness, drugs hadn’t even crossed my mind. I was thinking more, “Oh I can find a nice guy to take care of me,” not, “I can find a nice guy to get me messed up.” Gregg is a nice guy. At least he tried to save me.
He walked in my apartment one day after I left the café because of an argument we had; an argument about how I wasn’t eating and how I looked like I was sick. I didn’t want him pressing into my life like it was any of his business. It wasn’t. I stormed out of there so fast I was on the street before I could think of what to do next. I didn’t want to go to the Bar because I knew D would be there waiting for me. He was a bad influence on me, and I knew that. I was going to stop associating myself with him, and get my life on the right path.
That day I didn’t go to work. Instead I went home to try and make myself feel better, the only way I knew how to. Gregg walked in a found me lying on the floor. I overdosed and almost died. Without him, I would have died. The only thing I remember was being taken in his car to the hospital and waking up hours later confused. Then I was angry. I was angry at Gregg for catching me, I was mad at D for luring me into the alley that night, and I was mad at myself for being such a naïve girl desperate for happiness.
I didn’t find happiness in those nights I spent D. I did at the time, but not anymore. After being shut up in hell for a year I had forgotten everything that happened between him and me. Until he died.
The clock reads four in the morning. I think I’ve finally figured it out. He’s gone and he’s not coming back. He’s gone and I don’t want him to come back. He’s gone and who I was is gone with him. I'm not longer going to be the girl he made me into. This was my last time, forever. I'm strong, and I can pick myself back up from this. All I have to do is walk out my door and go back through the gates of hell for a few more months. But I know this is the only way I’ll be able to get better. The only way I’ll be able to live.
Live with all the wrongs in my past. Live knowing I will one day be okay. Live with the same happiness I had when I was put on this earth. Live with the life I have.
That’s my addiction.