November 1, 2009
By , Moonstone, CA
H, Dope, Junk, Smack, Horse, White Girl, Hero, Lady, Goods, Fix.

Whichever term you use, Heroin takes no prisoners and has no mercy. I had to be taught this the hard way,
A path nobody would ever wish to take,
And one who’s journey never parts with you.

When you start chasing the dragon, there are only three places you can end up: in rehab, in prison, or dead. I was prosperous enough to have avoided being locked behind those metal bars (for what would have been an eternity), and to have escaped what almost was my death.

I lucked out; most don’t get that chance, and even for the few who do,
Don’t think for a second that rehab is a simple walk through the park.
It’s a never ending war; a continuous endeavor.
From that first time you choose to take a chance, until the very day you lay to rest,
That want…that craving…that dynamic desire…
Will forever carry on inside your very being.

Before going away, my life was completely out of control. I was doing things I could never have imagined before, and I justified all my iniquities at the time. I had gone crazy, in the most literal sense.
Skipping school, staying out all night, both doing and dealing drugs, stealing money and belongings of others, pawning jewelry, selling anything of value that I could get my hands on, getting into fights, going to raves, and disrespecting everyone around me, including myself. I didn’t care about anything exclusive of my love affair with drugs. I did all sorts of unimaginable things; sublime selfishness and stupidity. I was wild and rebellious, seemingly beyond any repair. Rehab…the only speck of hope anyone still held onto for me.

I dawn on the essence of my own self, what this world has made me into, or maybe, what I have made the world into.
The devil child…with two saints for sisters.
Looking back, I wonder…how did it all happen so quickly? My first time…forever a vivid memory in the depth of my mind. Subsequently…all one flashback mixed together from many recollections.
An innocent little girl; an experimenting curious child.
In the blink of an eye…
A thief, a cheater, a user, a liar, a loser, dumb, dense, miserable, wretch.
All that I became; all that I was.

For such a long time, I didn’t even wish to change; I just did what was expected of me in order to leave, so that I could go back to my old ways as soon as possible. I knew nothing else; no other way of life. I attempted to ignore the things I was being taught while there. I listened to give off the impression that I was progressing, when in reality, I wasn’t absorbing a word of it.
Words of wisdom…trying to bring change; they try to install hope.
In one ear and out the other.
Fierce words with no intended meaning, blowing by like the piercing wind.
Was I oblivious to their message? Or was that what I wanted myself to believe?

Eventually, our groups became much more intense than ever before. It made unwanted tears flow from people’s eyes. It made refusing patients begin attending, and willing participants have to leave. I couldn’t ignore them any longer. No matter how much I wanted to, or how much easier it would have been to run away, I stayed put. It was as if a huge monster was staring straight at me; like coming face to face with my greatest fear. I was more frightened than I could tell you, but I had no other choice but to stand my ground. Contrary to what I believed at the time, it WAS a life or death circumstance. I started to take in what was being said. I began to finally hear the words, even though I didn’t want to due to the fact that I was used to living my life in denial. I protested behind the walls of my own world. A long and deadly battle, but I was eventually defeated. I was conquered by what, I came to conceive, were angels.
Get me out of here. Too long, it’s been too long. I feel your tight grasp around my neck.
My throat closes. No air, gasping for breath.

Finally, after being sent to a second rehab center in New York, I came to realize that something needed to change; I needed to change. I now understood that I was not as happy as I believed I was. My mind had been playing tricks on me. There was something else inside me; something I had no control over at that point…I had a problem.
Drug cliché number one, admitting you have a problem. Check. A breakthrough.

Dear Disease,
You numbed all my pain away, but caused me more in the end.
You brought me way up high, but then struck me down so remarkably hard.
You let me have fun for a while, but gave me problems to last me a lifetime.
But I want to thank you.

I was in the cafeteria for lunch one afternoon while the adult patients, who were detoxing at the time, sat at the tables near me and the rest of the kids. I remember seeing them fighting, whining, and just wholeheartedly acting like children. It mirrored the way the teenagers in rehab acted, but they were adults. It seemed as if they sincerely thought like little kids. It made me grasp how when someone starts doing drugs so heavily…they almost get stuck at the age they began at. Their minds get locked up since all the drug use blocked its growth. They never grew up.
Why don’t you act your age?
If I was blind, I would assume you were five.
How old are you?

It was in that moment that something clicked in my head. I knew then that I never wanted to be one of them. I couldn’t imagine having to live in a drug rehab facility as an adult. Obviously something needed to be different. I could no longer get out of there and go back to the same old way of living life. I needed to start putting in an effort in order to change my habits around, but I knew it would be nearly impossible on my own.
Dear Disease,
You tricked me, only to make me realize the truth.
You took away all my friends, only to show me who who’s real.
You took the life I knew away, only to bring me here to save me.
You locked me in you dream world, only to make me learn what reality is.
Thank you, for I am a stronger and better person now.

While at rehab I met some of the greatest people who helped me through so much. I had the most assisting and understanding counselors, case managers, group leaders and speakers. But I never thought when I finally reached out a hand that the people who would help me up were the ones in need of a hand themselves. I was fortunate enough to have made the best friends who all knew exactly what I was going through. Not only did they help me with the fact that I could no longer hide in the drugs, but they made it easier to be away from my family and not being able to go back to the same friends as I had before. And in time, when I was stable enough, I gave my needy hand to them. Together, we all learned how to deal with the emotions we had numbed. Mine were desensitized since I was eleven years old. I found a family; a family made up of people I didn’t even know existed a few weeks prior.
How could they be so selfless?
They were there for me, and they knew what it was like. It wasn’t like when someone else tries to tell you they understand when they actually have no idea…these people really knew.
We dragged each other through the struggle together.
My father always told me that when he was in Vietnam, the most important thing was the man standing next to him.
That’s how it was with us.
Their self-denying souls carried me the whole way through.

With so much help and support in staying strong along the way, I learned more than I could ever have imagined for entering this stage in my life. My new family gave me something to have loyalty to. I wanted them to stay proud of me, as they were from the start. I would do anything in my power to not disappoint them. In a way, each and everyone one of them took part in saving me. If it weren’t for them, unfortunately, I truly do not believe that I would still be here today.
“Some I’ve seen; some, never again.
But there isn’t a day my heart doesn’t find them.”

Saying the Serenity Prayer each night before bed with all my new friends gave me something to live by. This experience taught me that I must come to terms with what I can’t control about my life, to turn around what I am able to change, and to be able to tell the difference between the two. Drilling these life lessons into my head helped me to understand what they genuinely meant. Truly putting all that knowledge into action, has made such a drastic and positive switch of path for me; a turn for the best.
“Who woke us up this morning? God,
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”

Although I don’t regret the mistakes that I have made, since I eventually did learn from them, I never plan on going back and making them again. Even though it has not been easy…this day by day, and at times minute by minute, struggle is something I have learned I have the strength to overcome. It was an event that truly shaped my life, and one that I will forever keep in my heart.
I now live one day at a time,
And savor each moment as it comes.
I have accepted that catastrophe is a road to peace,
And continue to take this world as it is.

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