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Drug Addiction...15 Years of Life Essay
Dear Mr. Epp,
I was a student of yours about 15 years ago. I hope you remember me. I was the quiet one, sitting in the back corner seemingly oblivious and, perhaps, you may be have believed that I had been disregarding your teachings. However, in my own solitarily quaint way, I was always attentive as to the meanings behind every task given at hand. I was fragile, but inside I was perhaps one of the most strong willed people there (at least I like to believe... ha-ha).
Anyways, I wish you could see me now. I have had a long, but meaningful and insightful life full of twists and turns beyond what I had ever imagined possible. The first few years out of high school were rough. I lived with my parents for a few months, until I (as I always did) relapsed on ecstasy. Of course, having an addicted mind, I tried strenuously to keep my second life from being unearthed, but with no avail what-so-ever. And the short months that followed my parents evicting me were nothing but nightmarish. Beyond even that in which my words can describe.
I remember the countless nights sleeping under stairs, and in the crooks and crannies of downtown Saskatoon. Hidden and sleeping with one eye open, sometimes both, in fear of being stabbed or mugged or worse. The people I met were not of the living kind, however they walked amongst the living every day. My street friend, Carissa (C-ta, as well called her) was the only person in whom I could trust to have my back against any threat. However, there was nobody who could protect me against her rage when she was out of a bag or was feinding to find her next fix. In those moments, I was completely and truly alone.
My darkest times started in the early morning of May 14th, 2015, around 2 or 3am. I was trudging along 19th street. My tattered backpack strung over my right shoulder. I trudged with purpose (yes, you can trudge with purpose). I was going to meet a few guys who were buying a 40 of dope off God (that was our dealers’ street name. Ironically he held the power in which could take peoples’ lives). Anyways, I was delivering for God, he couldn`t be bothered with such small deliveries and I’d been promised 5 blue-stars (ecstasy) off him on my return with the money. I turned left and made my way up the small steps of the shattered run-down house, knocked twice on the screen door, said `From God` and entered.
A few guys sat around a coffee table, and C-ta was passed out in the hard rocking chair, needle still stuck in flesh on the inside of her fragile bony arm. I believe it was the fact that I only did ecstasy those past years that I was able to realize that something was severely wrong. The guys didn`t seem to notice or if they did then they didn`t care. I dropped my bag and ran to her side. I remember saying `C-ta, C-ta, wake up girl! ` And her not replying. My body started to tremble and tears strode down my cheeks as I checked her pulse. There was none. It wasn`t so much her death that bothered me, it was what I participated in afterwards, or more what I allowed to have happen. As I sat in that room, the boys stood and one of them threw her awkwardly over his back, in piggy-back stance. If it wasn`t for the yellowish blue hues in her face, she could have passed as sleeping. They walked out of the house with her body secured tightly to the first guys’ scrawny back. That was the last time I saw her.
I sat in that house all morning. I didn`t move, didn`t eat, didn`t talk. I didn`t want to. I was alone again. She abandoned me. She stuck that needle in her arm, knowing that it could be the one that took her life. And therefore, she knowingly took the chance of leaving me alone forever. I hated the jib. I hated it. I hated her using it. I hated myself for letting her. Hours later, one of the guys came back with a woman who looked to be in her thirties, only later did I found out she was just 24.
They sat across from me on the cracked hardwood flooring and started to cook their dope in their spoon. First heating it up, I watched it melt slowly into a little pool. I watched the guy reveal his syringe and skilfully suck up the liquid. I watch, all the time wondering how this man, the same man who only this morning carried away my dead friend, could be sitting here now, in that corner shooting up the same thing that murdered C-ta. I did not understand needle users. Yet, I found myself standing now only a foot away from that man and the words seemed to fall out from my mouth. `I want some of that`` I told him. And I offered my arm.
You see Mr.Epp, I was not an uncaring, heartless young woman. But at that time in my life, my body was vacant of my soul. So without my soul controlling my body, I was lost and I could not help myself even if I had wanted to, and believe me... i wanted to. My body seemed to crave it, and I was stuck along for the entire ride, wherever that ended me was of no concern. I did not exist anymore so was unable to protest.
No more than a few years later, however, is when I started the trip back into the real, living world that you know yourself. I was laying in yet another hospital bed. IV drips, heart monitors, and the whole nine-yards. This was normal for me. I knew what was going to happen here before it even happened. I would stay part of the day, possibly the night, getting my system flushed and pumped full of fluids. I`d have a dreamless sleep full of nothingness and I would awake in time for my release. Upon release, I would trudge (this time without as much purpose in each step) across the bridge to downtown. I would find somebody who had a fix and would go back to my unsuccessful, meaningless death of searching and finding and using and searching and finding and using until I’d either wind up dead, or worse- back in the hospital.
I was wrong though. This time the nurse came in and said (to my shock) `You have a visitor`. Now if I had the ability at that time to be confused, I would have been. I did not get visitors. I did not have friends to come and say hello every time I missed or every time I OD`d. And, Mr. Epp, guess who the person was that walked through that door... it was my own mother.
I did not say anything, I didn`t know how to react so I had no reaction at all. I had forgotten how to feel, I did not understand the meaning behind the word emotion`, so I had nothing to do but stare. She stood there a moment, seemed like eternity. She slowly walked towards me, her reddened, sunken eyes fixed on mine. She held a picture frame in her hand, but I could not lift my head enough to see what the picture was of. She stopped suddenly, beside the head of my bed. And then she brought up her right hand and placed it gently against my cheek. Slowly, as if memorizing my body, she washed her hand over all the split ends in my hair, the bones protruding through my chest, over the punctures in my arms, down to lay her hand caressingly over top of my own. Her fingers weaved their way through mine as she held my fragile, ice cold hand in hers.
She gazed lovingly and selflessly into my eyes. I met her gaze and I studied her eyes. They were sunken, lined from stress and blackened from lack of sleep. She looked older then her age. She looked sad, like a woman who had been damaged beyond repair. And I knew why. She started by saying to me Ì Love You`.
That was February 9th, 2019. I have been clean ever since. I have my family back; I visit my mother and father weekly, if not more. My brother, Brian (I believe he was a student of yours as well), he is in his 11th year working as a (Get this...) RCMP police officer in the town of Warman, SK! He was always a good kid.
I`ve finished my 2year diploma at Siast here in Saskatoon, and received my Youth Care Worker Diploma. I worked alongside with the students at EGADS downtown with their own drug addictions. Often lending a good ear and, on occasion, putting my foot down and putting them in their place. I find it so humorous that which each youth I work with, I happen to find a little bit of myself. (In some of them a whole lot more than others). And I laugh because I know what it was like to be stubborn and rebellious and self-pitying. Sometimes I wonder if imp helping any of these kids or if I’m just a dumping station for them to dump all of their crap onto so that they can lighten their burden only to go out again and get high or drunk or even involve themselves in crime. Only a month ago one of the young women I worked with died. The obituary in the paper stated `Died Suddenly and Tragically`. That`s how every parent puts the death of a loved one who has been murdered by an addiction. It`s better than admitting to the public `Died of a Drug Overdose`. How often I have seen those headlines and still it always tears a piece from my heart. If only the public knew how often these young addicts die, maybe they`d realize the problem and attempt to help more. But that day is yet to be seen, however I have hope that it will come one day.
I know my work is doing something though. Not that long ago, one of the young guys I worked with also made it into the paper. However, his was more to rejoice over. His picture was one which most people would glance over and think nothing about. However, the picture of him standing amongst his teammates, that gold medal hanging from his neck on top of his soccer jersey is enough to make a thousand years of work worthwhile, for I know where he came from and how much he has achieved.
I worked part time at the Larson House Detox for a few years but have recently changed my career plans back to my original goal as to owning a therapeutic horse ranch just outside of Saskatoon. I have met MANY wonderful and bright people that I have had the honour to work along beside and to call my true friends.
As for my therapeutic ranch, it is yet on its way to becoming the dream that I once thought it would be. Today, I am living on a farm east of Saskatoon, with 7 horses, 3 dogs, several cats, and one annoying overweight llama (don`t ask). I am living life to its fullest. I will soon be enjoying the company of my old friends, Krissy and her husband, Darrel, who are flying in for a visit tomorrow from the Dominican.
I myself am married to a wonderful man by the name of Jacque, a hot French model from France. We have two wonderful children, Dominick (3) and Rian (pronounced Rye-in) (she`s only a year and a half.)
Well, I hope all has been well with you and I want to thank you for all the years you taught me. You taught more with your heart and, for that, I am grateful.