Lorelie Rozzano is a guest blogger for Vertava Health.
From dope-fiend to hope-fiend. (The road I never wanted to travel)
It was late afternoon and almost dark. I felt sick and empty, as I threw my crack pipe off the third floor balcony. It hit with a thud, landing against the privacy fence enclosing the apartment building, where we lived. Taking a mental snapshot, I spun on my heels and glared at my partner. “Are you happy now?” My partner had the misfortune of walking in on me, winding down from a three day bender. While he’d been away working, I’d been… smoking. He was furious. I’d spent all our money, again. He’d just given me an ultimatum – him or the crack pipe – and to show my good intentions, I chucked my pipe away vowing never to do it, again. Of course he didn’t know I’d taken note of where it landed, or that I was only minutes away from retrieving it. Without it, I felt naked. My crack pipe was a constant companion. Even when I couldn’t find crack (which was seldom) I could always count on scrapping the little bowl, if I was desperate enough. By now, I was so hooked, the thought of going straight, or not having crack, or pain pills, or something, terrified me.
If you’ve never been addicted, it’s hard to understand. Imagine yourself running out of air. It’s sort of like that.
After our argument, my partner said he needed a shower. While he was scrubbing up, I was skulking in the back alley looking for my crack pipe. I found it, kissed it, and stuffed it into my bra. I felt better, just having it on me. I’d like to tell you I learned from that night, but I didn’t. I repeated the scenario many times and finally, I repeated it one too many. By now my phone and electricity were cut off and my partner was gone. He’d left me enough money to pay the next month’s rent. Which of course, I didn’t pay. Instead, I went on another binge. I didn’t think about paying the rent. There was only now and a handful of money and all the drugs it could buy. Later hadn’t happened yet and when it did, I’d figure it out. My figuring usually went something like this: Mom/Dad/Honey, my purse was stolen and I lost all my money. Or my boss hasn’t paid me, he’s such a jerk, or I lent my money to so and so and they haven’t paid me back, or I got mugged, or… I had a million excuses, and they always worked; only this time, they didn’t!
For the first time ever, no one was buying my lies.
The landlord taped an eviction notice on my door. I hid behind closed curtains, in the dark, as he banged over and over, on the door. He was fed up with my excuses and he knew, I was avoiding him. Yelling through the closed door he informed me, the police were on their way. I was stunned. I was out of food, money, dope and options. Rolling up my sleeping bag, I stuffed some clothes into a plastic bag and grabbed my pillow. I crept out of the apartment complex praying I didn’t run into him. There was no back-up plan. I didn’t know where I was going. I walked around for awhile. It was dark and cold. I was dope-sick, hurting and scared. In an alley-way I found a cement ramp, where trucks off-loaded furniture. A tiny, dry cubby-hole underneath the ramp, looked promising. My new dwelling stank. I unrolled my sleeping bag breathing through my mouth, and settled in for the night. I re-lit my crack pipe over and over until anything that had been crack, was gone. Misery such as I’d never known before, engulfed me. Although I’d been addicted for some time, it had never been a problem, until now. As long as I had someone to bail me out, I never had to face, what I’d become.
I was a drug addict.
The clarity with which I understood this, was terrifying. I rocked back and forth in that tiny enclosure all night long. I cried, and begged and talked to God. I pleaded for another chance. I asked him to make my family come back, to pay my rent, and to help me. I felt so helpless. I couldn’t escape my situation. Sober, I was forced to see everything I’d been avoiding. God never spoke to me that night. I didn’t have a spiritual awakening; and no one came to my rescue. Instead, I lay in my sleeping bag on the freezing cold cement, shivering, and hungry. The night seemed to take forever, to pass. Not a fan of morning, I couldn’t wait for it to arrive. And when it did, I crawled out of my hole broken, but victorious. I was willing to do whatever it took, to never spend another night like that one, again.
A miracle happened for me inside that tiny space. With no one to manipulate, or comfort me – I surrendered.
I didn’t know it then, but the road I never wanted to travel, had just taken a giant U-turn. I was heading for a brand new start. This hopeless dope-fiend, is no longer. Today, I have hope. If you or someone you know needs help, please call this confidential support line for assistance. 888-601-8693.