Waking up as an addict is much like waking up as a “normal” person, but only for a brief second. I see my beautiful wife next to me. With a good morning kiss on her cheek, I immediately start thinking of getting high. I feel a rush of anxiety. Do I have a wake up hit? Where did I hide it?

A number of thoughts run through my head. I start to sweat. I feel sick. As I run through my options of how to get money to get high, I start to panic. The torture begins. All the guilt that I carry every day is on my mind, in my body, causing me pain. I need money!

I will target friends and family first. If that doesn’t work, I will resort to other things, more dangerous. I know I will have to face the consequences later. I’ll have to face my family and apologize, like I have a million times before. But I am sick. I have to get the money. I need it!

Now that I have my dope money in hand, I have to find a dealer. One that has the best stuff and will not try to rip me off. Sometimes, I have to play middle man. I try to pinch my stash, here and there, to control my hunger, to relieve my obsession.

Having my drugs in my hands is so exciting. A little relief starts to set in and I can hardly wait to get home. Sometimes, most times, I don’t make it home. I’ll find an empty parking place or a spot behind a building to fix my drugs. I see everyday people working and doing their thing and I envy and hate them at the same time.

Preparing it and taking the first hit is like heaven. I am once again reunited with a lover, one that seems to warm my veins and tells me everything is OK. She lies. I love her, but she doesn’t love me back. That feeling that took so long to get is now quickly gone, replaced by that empty, sick feeling. I need more, but I have to save a little. I’ll need it soon enough, but I need it NOW. Hours pass. I need to go home and explain where I have been, and what took me there.

The fear of running into the enemy is always a worry. I’ll be ready. Fighting and violence becomes normal, and replaces the gentle bear of a man my family loved. With bloody knuckles and death and destruction in my heart, I try to embrace what numbness I have left. I cry on the inside. I want to die. I’m alone once again, and sick, because I know I have to do it all over again tomorrow. The torment. The anguish. The suffering in one day for an addict is enough to last a lifetime.

Jason is my friend and “brother”, we served on the same department. Today, he is drug free, taking one day at a time. Please do not judge him unless you have walked a day in his boots. Say a prayer instead.
~ Peggy Sweeney
National Outreach Coordinator
Station House Retreat

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