By Andrew Alexander
1. Death is the most important part of life.
I’ve been in the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous for some time now. And the one thing I hear over and over again is how users prayed for death, while simultaneously being afraid of it. Nobody thinks it’s going to be their last fix, that they are going to overdose; on the other hand, we often welcomed death. A junkie’s life is not all that great and most of us hold on to enough hope to not actually off ourselves (on purpose). But the accidental overdose doesn’t sound like a bad alternative to being dope-sick every goddamn day. And when death does show up for one of your friends, I can pretty much promise that the first thing you’re going to do is go through their pockets looking for the rest of their stash. Then maybe you’ll call an ambulance. Sound dark? It is dark. Death is part of life, but it’s really part of life when you’re using.
2. You can never, ever, ever go back.
Do you like to go out and party? Do you like to drink socially, maybe smoke a little bit of weed now and then? Well, that will never happen again if you start in on the hard stuff. If you’re using, then you’re constantly using and the word “social” is not part of your life. And if you’ve gotten clean, you know damn well that even one drink or smoke will eventually bring you right back to the thing that destroyed your life. I’m a recovering addict and I still love drugs. If I didn’t love drugs, I wouldn’t be in this position. I love drugs more than I love anything — well, fuck, I’m a drug addict. If you give me a taste of escape, even just a beer, my brain will tell me to knock it off with that pussy shit and give me the hard stuff. There is no such thing as “successfully using” for us.
3. It’s not a clean needle unless you’ve seen it in the wrapper.
They said it was a clean needle, and you’re either dope sick or high as a kite, so why not believe them? The truth is that if you share needles, you probably have Hep C. A careful addict makes sure to use their own rig (that’s a slang word for syringe) and only their own rig but when you start adding up how many times a day, a week, a month, a year you need to shoot up to maintain a consistent high, you start to realize that there is no way in hell that you’re using a clean needle every single time. With the exception of the mega-rich heroin user, any user has shared a needle at least once. Is it so crazy to put something that was inside someone else’s body inside yours? I think not! — says your brain on heroin.
4. Veins are not indestructible.
If you stick a needle into the same vein enough times, it will collapse. I’m no medical professional, but when you lose a vein, something bad is happening to that extremity. Your veins are no stronger than any other body tissue and they certainly are not made to have metal shoved into them on a daily basis. This is the insanity of addiction, as an addict actively using ignores the medical condition and continues to harm themselves seeking out their fix. Keep digging in and you might push it far enough to have the vein completely removed, though fear not, as other veins fatten up to take over for the lost blood flow putting them at risk in a whole new way.
5. Long-sleeve shirts are your friends.
Because they cover the marks on your arms. Duh.
6. Pooping is not a necessity.
That’s right! It’s pretty awesome how little you poop when you’re on dope. And by awesome, I mean terrifying. At some point you’ll come down from the high for a few minutes and think to yourself “I haven’t taken a shit in a week, I must be full of feces.” Then you get high again and couldn’t care less about it. It’s not like that causes colon cancer or anything…
7. How to burglarize.
Never thought you’d steal from someone? Well, you will, because a $500 a day habit doesn’t take care of itself. Think you’re a loyal friend? Not when your itching for a fix. Steal from your mom, your friends, random people on the street. Whatever it takes is whatever it takes.
8. There’s always one more thing that you can sell.
Eventually when using a substance that requires as much maintenance and continuous management as heroin, you WILL run out of money. There is no limit to how much you can use in one day except for the fact that one day you will use too much and die. Until that point is reached, your habit continues to grow, consuming every penny you have on a daily basis because there is no such thing as “planning for tomorrow”. Once the physical money is gone, it’s time to start selling your assets (I use this term loosely). First it’s your electronics. Then the less valuable things like clothes, furniture, household items, anything you can scrape five bucks out of to put together with something else you can scrape another five bucks out of to get high for a few minutes and not feel sick as a dog. Keep at it long enough and all you have left to sell is your body.
9. You don’t need a degree to give a shot.
As a kid you might think that only a medical professional should be jamming people with needles. But again, fear not because your brain on heroin will fill you with all sorts of confidence. Did you watch a Youtube video about it? Did you read something on Yahoo that you think taught you how to properly give an injection? Then go for it! What do you have to lose? I mean, you want to get high, right? The fact of the matter is that no matter how much practice you get, you’re still not doing it right. I’ve seen 10-year junkies who think they have nursing degrees fail to sterilize, miss a vein, bruise themselves, etc. Let’s be honest, you’re either doing the procedure high as balls or you’re shaking from withdrawal. This is not the best set up for success.
10. Drug dealers are never on time.
Well, maybe weed dealers are. But hard drug dealers could care less how sick you are or how long they make you wait. Because at the end of the day, you’re not leaving that spot on the couch until you get your shit. And they know it. You tend to hear “I’ll be there in an hour” often, only to have them show up six hours later. You’ll be pissed as hell the entire time you’re waiting. You may even want to hit them, but let’s be honest, you don’t have the strength for that and you’re going to kiss their feet when they do show up, even if they short you. ‘Cause now you can get high!
11. You think you’re good at hiding it, but you’re not.
Who wants to be friends with a heroin addict? Only other heroin addicts. And if you have “normal friends” then you better believe you’re going to try to hide your problem from them. So you go to the bathroom to use, you wear long sleeve shirts to cover up track marks, and you constantly say “damn I’m tired” because you’re always nodding off. But do you really think normal people go to the bathroom five times in a night, each time long enough to take a massive shit? Here’s the answer: they don’t. That combined with the fact that you LOOK like a junkie means that your secret is out. You’ve seen other heroin addicts looking awful, why do you think you look so goddamn good?
You don’t. Everyone knows you’re on dope.
Don’t worry, there is help if you want it.