What do I remember of being a drug addict?
I remember parties and friends, sleeping in strange places, places I would never go to now, men with guns and women, fighting, dark alleys and projects, dirty, rat infested apartments, sex with men I barely knew, laughing, road trips, drug runs, scoping out cars to steal, smoking cigarettes, being high for days at a time, not going home, cops, drug dealers and being arrested.
I walked into dark alleys and got into strangers cars, smiling and being paranoid. Paranoid that the cops weren’t far behind or possibly in the car with you. Do they have a gun? Is this when I will be raped and murdered? Will they take me and use me to sell to others for sex? These thoughts would cross my mind every time I met someone new, but I would be comforted by the sight of bags of pot, alcohol and cocaine all over the table.
We would drive from gas station to gas station looking for the tiny plastic roses in glass tubes or cigars encased in glass, not plastic. The items thrown on the counter was a bottle of rubbing alcohol, chore and a rose. Sometimes I would swear up and down that they knew what I was doing and just didn’t care. Other times, I would think they had no clue. Maybe I’m a clean freak that wants to buy myself a rose because I’m a lonely soul. Having no idea what they saw when they looked at me; Ninety pounds with blackened thumbs and fingertips, dried, cracked, blistered lips, dark circles outlining my eyes and skin so pale you would swear I was a ghost. I guess that’s what I was.
I was proud of who I was and what I did. I was always the youngest one in the group and a lot of times the only female. I felt special. More special than I had ever felt anywhere else. I was very well taken care of, as much as you can be living this lifestyle. I was looked out for and protected. People gave me drugs. I was like a little sister to most. No one hit me or berated me. No one made me feel like I was worthless. Besides, in my mind I wasn’t that bad. It’s not like I was shooting dope or handing out blowjobs for a fix.
But, this was not the normal life of a teenager. I sometimes wondered what would become of me. Would I ever be a lawyer or an architect? Would I eventually change my mind about living this way. Was it possible for me to be a woman of respect and dignity? I would wonder these things while I was snorting lines of cocaine in an apartment with mattresses on the floor and dirty dishes strewn about the place, smelling of piss, cigarettes and sex. Holes in the walls and the only thing in the fridge were drugs and an old bottle of ketchup. I always wondered about that; people could have nothing but there always seemed to be a bottle of crusted old ketchup in the fridge if nothing else.
Sometimes I just wanted to erase everything and be someone else. I wanted to be the sweet, popular girl with the great stylish clothes and good grades. I wanted the teachers to like me. I wanted my family to like me. I wanted to be loved and understood, encouraged and supported. I wanted to be allowed to be on sports teams again, because I was a great athlete. But I was no longer welcome because for the first time I was attending a school that would count you out if your conduct was off hand, regardless of your grades, which were all right at the time. So I was left with no outlet and nothing to fill my free time. I could no longer hang out with the jocks because I wasn’t a part of a team. I wanted to be someone with a bright, successful future. I was having the time of my life, with no clue that I was my own worst enemy, destroying my soul.
This is who I was, I didn’t know how to be someone else. I would think that maybe God would send an angel in disguise to save me. I must be important to God, right? He knows my heart, I’ve been told. So where is he? I’m just a kid with no direction. I must be worth something to Him.