Dancing with Deception - Part 3

How many times can one dance with Danger? Perhaps, dozens of times for some; maybe just once for others. I have been granted the miracle of today - to live, write and dream; addiction free. Today is a whole YEAR that I've been drug free! Honestly, there are times when I would give anything for just one more rush, but my logic screams Nonsense! Have you forgotten all that you know? There are memories that lurk in the shadows of my mind, about the games of addiction.

Here is a brief glimpse into my addict self. Some people like to snort Cocaine. I preferred to smoke it; also known as Crack. “WHY?” is usually the question. Well… there's just no sufficient description of that "high". It kind of feels like falling off a cliff, drowning in adrenaline, and feeling so brilliantly alive that it quite literally takes your breath away. You want more, the high lessens, but the hunger for it intensifies. Over time the effects of this drug can seriously unhinge a person. It's a really powerful rush, but it can trigger paranoia and psychosis.

I had met a guy, who I shall call Derek. I didn't know him very well; but he was bragging about knowing how to get the best Coke in town. My mouth watered and went dry all at once, and my palms got all sweaty. I felt the familiar ache of desperation; just the mention of this drug made my body react with anticipation.

We did smoke some one evening, but the evening was not as great as I'd hoped for. The Coke was good, really good - too good in fact. In under an hour I saw Derek transform; having drug psychosis, and it was terrifying. We were sitting in a locked bedroom and he had been digging around in a junk drawer. He found a long, thin yellow rope; totally absorbed in it. He was tying and untying knots over and over, and he had become very quiet. I was enjoying my glow so much, feeling alive and detached from everything, that I didn't even clue in at first.

Slowly it dawned on me that he was contemplating on strangling me with that rope!! Derek was not sitting with me; this was something untouchable and shrouded with nothing good. I could see in his demeanor the battle that he was facing, hovering on the edge of insanity. I remember there was some abstract picture on the wall and him saying, "Take a look at that painting. Take a really good look. What do you see?" His voice was menacing and it struck fear to my core. Would that be the last picture I got to see? It killed my high to say the least.

The next couple of hours are hazy, but I remember crying and begging for him to drive me home. I remember thinking that I was going to die and him yelling, telling me to shut up so he could think. I shrank into the couch, trying to keep calm and will myself to disappear. I found myself praying to God, begging Him to let me live; that I'd never touch drugs again. About an hour later, Derek quietly told me that he'd take me home. I was silent as I climbed into his truck and I shook the whole way home. He did apologize, saying that smoking that stuff makes him crazy. I said, "I don't ever to feel like this ever again. I'm done with drugs and all this sh*t". He replied, "I hope for your sake, that you really mean that".

I'd like to say that that night was my rock bottom, but it wasn't.  There were countless other dangerous people and places I've put myself. The strangest thing is that I wouldn't change any of it. Drugs gave me the illusion of feeling alive, but in reality - it's a living death. I have so much compassion for those who still struggle. I really understand addiction, the desperation to escape life, and the exhilaration of control. I get the "need for more", despite any level of consequence or danger.

I also understand how crazy it is, trying to explain to someone who’s never been addicted is as hard as trying to convince someone to stop using drugs! I have learned first hand the insanity and can now fully appreciate when they say drugs/alcohol are "Cunning, Baffling, and Powerful".  (AA/NA Big Book Chapter 5)

When I did finally quit using there wasn't an epic happening. I just got sick of getting ripped off and being dealt garbage. I was sick of being a joke and being broke. I got clean by making a Choice. I made a CHOICE to do something different. I began to focus on what I could do right, instead of everything that was wrong. I went to rehab, went to meetings, deleted a lot of phone numbers, and learned to reach out to people and tell them when I was feeling ugly inside.

I have some amazing people who care about me and helped me to believe in myself. I threw myself into music and writing and worked hard on learning new ways to cope with life. I had to get used to how boring life gets. When the party's over, it gets awful quiet. I have learned to embrace that quiet and nurture it, until it became peace (that I know cherish). Eventually the days turned into months and voila! I am ever grateful for my life and the gifts I have such as writing, to help me overcome and hopefully help others. The ability to be HONEST with myself and others, has seen me through the charade of addiction.

 If you're someone who is still using and struggling to stop, just Keep Trying! When you get clean it's really hard at first, but it Does get better. I promise. In fact, it's a whole lot better. :) 


~ Tina Thebeau