This Is The Last TIme I Get High

January 22, 2015 — 333 Comments

heroin 2

I snapped a picture of my surroundings and sent it to him, so somebody would know where I was.

“Pretty,” he said. “Where is that?”

“Downtown Newark.”

Downtown Newark, New Jersey is anything but pretty, but nighttime hides a multitude of sins.

“Are you going to score?”

“Yes” I  texted.

“Don’t be a dumbass” he responded.

“If you don’t hear from me in an hour-there’s a problem.”

 

An hour later, I was laying in front of a magical Christmas fireplace with the whole family I never had.

The most magnificent church bells rang in my soul.

My brain was massaged by Kafka and Burroughs,

as I bathed in the warm golden sunshine of a perfect life.

 

I squinted at my cell phone at 7:45 the next morning. My cell phone alarm had been beeping for 45 minutes.

7:45? Fuck. I usually am up at 6:30. Get my kid up at 7.

My heart, thudding in my chest, slowed a bit when I recognized the reassuring sounds of his spoon clinking against his bowl of cereal.

I splashed cold water on my face. I was pale except the dark purple circles under my eyes. My hair was matted to my head from sweating profusely. I had a set of scratches on both arms.

I looked like a junkie.

If the shoe fits…

My kid was sitting at the table, dressed and ready for school, eating his breakfast and looking at his tablet. I’ve taught him to be independent in the morning. But not so I can sleep off a dope nod.

“Baby, why didn’t you get me up?”

He shrugged. “Don’t sweat it. Can you make my lunch?”

He didn’t say anything about me wearing yesterday’s clothes. He couldn’t smell the dried vomit on my shirt. I opened the refrigerator door and the light hurt my eyes. Slowly, with shaky hands, I made his lunch.

Mother of the year

This is the last time I get high.

—-

NYC, April 1995

“Where have you been?” I looked up sleepily at Debby. It was 5 am and she had just let herself back into my apartment.

“I couldn’t sleep. I went to cop. You want me to fix you?”

“What day is it?” I looked at the calendar. “No. It’s Tuesday, right? I work today.”

I watched her prep her fix. I loved watching her beautiful, delicate hands do this. Her skilled fingers, the neat flick of her wrist – raised prepping a dope fix to an art form.

“Frenchie just got this in. This shit is supposed to be fire.” She dumped the contents of her packet into a spoon, flicking at the small plastic packet until all the power tumbled out.

“You went to the Laundromat? Why didn’t you go to Clinton Street? If you get busted standing on line outside that stupid place, I’m not bailing you out again.” Now I was annoyed.

“There was no line at this hour. And Frenchie got some really good shit.”

“His stuff is not that good. It’s fent heavy, and cut with too much filler.”

“Samara, this is brand new. It’s called Red Rum.”

Debby added a small amount of water to the dope; the right amount to make it the perfect consistency. She held a lighter to the bottom of the spoon, cooking the mixture to the optimum temperature. She always got it right – hot enough to burn off some of the cut in the dope – but never so hot that it damaged the heroin.

She twisted the cotton off the end of a Q- tip into a tic-tac sized ball. She dropped the tiny puff into the heroin and it swelled up like a sponge. She pushed the tip of the syringe into the center of the cotton, which filtered out impurities.

Slowly, she retracted the plunger until all of the heroin was sucked in.

Using her index and middle fingers she gently slapped a vein right above the crook of her elbow. She never had to pull back the plunger, like most junkies did, to draw blood up the syringe and make sure she was in a vein.

She never missed.

I watched her eyes take on that faraway look of exquisite pleasure, as her brain rode the waves of that first rush. Her facial muscles slackened, her body swayed. She looked at me and smiled.

“I’m…so…high…”

Those were her last words.

 

Her eyes rolled back in her head. She slumped to the floor. Her lips turned blue, then purple.

All in slow motion.

I did nothing. I was paralyzed with fear. I could not bring myself to touch her. I called 911 and babbled hysterically.

I could actually see a faint pulse throbbing irregularly in her throat. Her breathing was shallow. Her skin was the yellow color of cafeteria cheese.

She was dying.

She was dying, and I couldn’t bear to watch it.

I ran out of my apartment and stumbled out onto the street. I had on no coat or shoes, and even though it was mid-April, it was only a raw, cold 40 degrees. I ran through the streets barefoot, wild and desperate, going nowhere.

The police and EMT workers arrived 11 minutes after I called 911. The 5th precinct was only 8 short city blocks away. But an overdose, on the Lower East Side? That’s how you clean up the streets. Human pesticide, as far as the police were concerned.

By the time we all got inside my apartment, Debby was dead.

 

A memorial service was held for Debby at St. Marks Church in the Bowery, the second oldest church in New York and a legendary performance space. Debby knew everyone, and everyone knew Debby.

Her memorial service was standing room only. They allowed acoustic music, and several of NYC’s leading punk musicians unplugged and performed.

Debby had introduced me to rock stars and gangsters, and heroin and lesbianism. She was the first and only woman I ever fell deeply in love with.

I wrote a spoken word poem, dedicated to her memory, and performed it at her memorial service.

It was the last time I ever performed spoken word in front of a live audience.

 

After the service I copped several dime bags of smack down on Clinton Street.

My boyfriend’s face, when he saw them, darkened with rage. He snatched the packets off the table.

“What?!” I demanded. “WHAT?? This is the last time I get high!”

Apparently not. He flushed the drugs down the toilet. He snapped my works in half and threw the pieces out of the window.

I kicked heroin cold turkey. There was no money for fancy rehab. My family knew nothing of my addiction, and even if they had, they could never afford to send me to some posh Bahamian recovery ranch.

The plan was simple. My boyfriend would not let me leave the house.

The withdrawal was not so simple.

I had excruciating pain in every muscle of my body. For three days, I threw up violently, and had horrible bouts of diarrhea. I was weak and dehydrated but couldn’t keep food down. I suffered with severe flu-like symptoms; sneezing and sniffling and dizziness and fever. Sweat poured off of me constantly; I was dangerously dehydrated. Sleep would have been a welcome relief, but there was no way I could fall asleep. I had frightening visual and auditory hallucinations.

I was in agony, and clearly belonged in a hospital. But we were terrified of any possible legal consequences. A woman had just died in my apartment. Could they press charges against me for possession?

By the second day, my boyfriend had to call both his brother and his cousin – who played in a band with him – for reinforcements. It took THREE GROWN MEN to keep me inside that apartment and away from my dealers.

I turned into a snarling, cursing beast. In between raging bouts of excruciating pain and illness, I fought them with the strength of 10 men.

My boyfriend’s brother was a recovered heroin addict. I sobbed uncontrollably to him and said,
”This is what it feels like to DIE.”

He answered, “NO. This is what it feels like to LIVE.”

 

By the third night I was drained and exhausted, and managed to fall asleep at dawn for a few hours.

I awoke Sunday morning. My muscles had stopped spasming in pain.

My boyfriend pulled back the shades that had been drawn for days.
“Let’s get some air in here,” he said.

He opened the large casement windows. Just then, in the distance, church bells began to chime.

It sounded like life.

It was Easter Sunday morning. And like Jesus, I had risen from the dead.

All these years later, and nothing in my life is certain – but my mind craves certainty. And because of this, my day to day existence is one of constant anxiety.

Everything in my life has been questioned and found to be hollow.

There is a price to pay for feeling broken.

Sadness throbs through my body.

I’m aware of how I’m perceived, but I can’t feel it.

Heroin renders me immortal. I am LOVE. I am what all humans seek through religion and spirituality.

On heroin, I am my vision of myself.

I’m the friend who doesn’t disappear, wallowing in her own self-indulgence.

I’m the writer who inspires, rather than constantly crawling through the wreckage of her squandered life, allowing readers to feast on the carnage.

I’m a woman capable of love; of intimacy and relationships. Not someone determined to spend the rest of her life alone.

I’m the mother my child deserves, not the one who’s exhausted and impatient and irritable.
Not the selfish bitch who risked her life to get a fucking fix.

 

This is the LAST time I get high.

This IS the last time I get high.

THIS. Is the last time I get high.

 

 What is, or was, your drug of choice? What finally made you stop?
Did you ever write a post you just weren’t sure you should write, but you did anyway?
Are you tired of your problems? Are you tired of mine?

Talk to me. I’m listening.

This is the most simple, most perfect, most beautiful song about heroin addiction ever.

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333 responses to This Is The Last TIme I Get High

  1. 

    Really interesting to hear people stories, thank you everybody for sharing yours…

  2. 

    Very motivational posts. Ive also dabbled with natures temptations. The most destructable drug to mankind, I feel, is nicotine. Ive never found any chemical so difficult to stop. I want to start a blog specifically about smoking. It was a tough battle as I hated cigarettes, but I also LOOOVED them! Everywhere you go, people are smoking. There are butts all over our streets and in public ashtrays. How do you get away from it? If you quit cocaine, for instance, you’re not tempted by little bits of coke layin’ around everywhere. I’ve been jonesin’ so bad I’ve contemplated rollin’ up a few butts from the ground. Thankfully, I never went that far. “Y’got an extra smoke there, bud?” That’s how easy it is to get nicotine. Sssighhh.

  3. 

    All I have to say is good on you. Not many people can kick the habit cold turkey. it took my partner 8 months to finally stop. Thank you for sharing.

  4. 

    Hey, Samara 🙂 Thanks for posting such a brave, honest account of your addiction & how it made you feel. No preaching, no “shoulda woulda, coulda”, no judgment…just raw truth. My reasons for using were similar to yours…it made me into who I truly was, how I envisioned my perfect self to be. I could be capable, resilient, dedicated, altruistic, compassionate, loving, strong, full of passion, creativity, plans, dreams, responsibilities…all of it without burning out, feeling pain or feeling overwhelmed. I was a “functioning addict”, I was “Super Me.” As long as I wasn’t “sick”. And since I worked 2 jobs & budgeted my money accordingly, I rarely had to be “sick.” I’d probably still be using if it weren’t for the legal & societal risks of copping, which were devastating to my family, and the loss of my brother which was opiate-related, & devastating to my parents. Been on Suboxone since 2010, which I have no desire to wean off of but my doctor is dead-set against staying on any “drug.” (Although he is more than eager to prescribe psych meds.) I didn’t plan to write all this revealing stuff, but your “real talk” was so brutally honest, I felt compelled to be transparent in my response. Maybe we can chat privately sometime. For now, I am just taking it all one day at a time, as it is far too overwhelming to think about being Suboxone-free and opiate-free forever/for the rest of my life. But like you said in a similar comment, today I feel good about things. Or at least “okay” anyway Thanks again for your post!!! I thought I was the only one with those “reasons” for using

  5. 

    Reblogged this on LiveLaughLove Blog and commented:
    A raw, honest account of addiction by a brave woman whom I admire greatly. Thanks Samara!!!

  6. 

    Reblogged this on keezmasterflex and commented:
    I get it

  7. 

    Buick in the land of Lexus was why I was drawn to your article. I’m glad I was, I couldn’t stop reading. Fantastic read, thanks for sharing.

  8. 

    Beautifully written. I don’t know any addicts who could provide prospective from inside of their addiction quite in this way. Thank you for sharing, this will stay with me.

  9. 

    Pure and honest. Keep telling your truth.

  10. 
    Writer Of The Universe February 16, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    And in answer to your question; did I ever write a post I wasn’t sure I should write? The answer is yes, in form of that comment I most recently posted. I mistakenly thought the post was finished when I had only read half of your story. So yes, you did answer my question and you are no longer a junkie. Congratulations.

    You chose life and in return were given a voice. A voice that speaks through pen/paper/keyboard/computer. A voice that inspires and motivates those touched by your light to choose life, too. I like your voice.

    I can’t imagine what it must have been like, to watch your friend die. There are no words for this experience. You expressed your story through raw, heartfelt, human emotion.

    You’re as deep as the ocean and you and I swim in the same sea. Good luck on your journey, sister X

  11. 

    Reblogged this on 1madlife and commented:
    Your boyfriend saved your life ..is he in your life today

  12. 

    God knows New Jersey is not an easy place to get and stay sober. You’re a strong one. Your post made my stomach knot up for a multitude of reasons that I’m sure you are very aware of. After a lengthy lock-up I am recently sober, trying hard to stay clear of horribly available heroin in the Cleveland area. Two things have really helped me: my wordpress blog (or writing in general) and kratom. If you don’t know about this relative to the coffee family and you still have urges I recommend you look into it. And just remember: one who never fears can never be brave. Your resistance to anxiety and fear proves your bravery.

  13. 

    Hi Samara!

    Steph from Human Parts here again 🙂 Was wondering if I could republish this one? I republished your piece about your son’s Aspergers a few months back. Let me know! Hope you’re doing well {{}}

  14. 

    This is such a powerful and haunting story. Amazing.

  15. 

    I admire your courage and your inner strength to fight and overcome that addiction. I respect your authenticity and your vulnerability. I have no doubt that you have inspired others to overcome addictions of their own.

  16. 

    Samara, this was a great step you took. Telling your story and sharing it is our way of starting to let go and know were you are heading. If you want to take your blog and make it into a money maker and healer together, message me back and I can show you how.

  17. 

    Reblogged this on leonardo7469 and commented:
    Hell yes

  18. 

    You are lucky you had such a caring boyfriend who was strong enough to keep you from going to get more while you were detoxing. How does a female help her male friend detox? He is physically stronger than I and I can’t stop him from leaving the house when he wants more. Anyone have suggestions?

  19. 

    Thank you for being strong enough to put your story out there to share with other people. Sorry to hear about your friend. I have recently come clean from my own addiction, a different type for sure, but I can’t help but to take in other peoples stories and experiences.

  20. 

    Samara, thank you for writing this blog. I’ve been in treatment for 7 months, and am just starting to feel normal. I know that one day, I will walk around and just enjoy life. Not even think about getting high. It’s comforting to hear from others, and learn from their experiences. Thank you.

  21. 

    Your post speaks to the soul. I work with addicts every day. I cry for them when they lose their children. Or end up dead.
    I cheer for them when they triumph.
    I have learned that as long as they are drawing breathe there is still hope for them.

  22. 

    being an addict sucks, sometimes i wonder what i could have done with my life if not. im sorry about your friend. my ex is a heroin addict and every day i wait for “that” call. good for you girl keep up the writing its great.

  23. 

    Reblogged this on Mental Health Support In Pregnancy & Motherhood and commented:
    Beautifully written blog post 🙂

  24. 

    its hard to see so many people suffering from addiction, you see them losing a part of themselves with every hit…. you can be proud beyond measure!!

  25. 

    Thank you for sharing your story. I know that wasn’t easy but you are very brave. I was never addicted to a drug but started drinking beer. Once In a while if with friends then it became a habit of every day until my daughter said mom are you an alcoholic? That opened my eyes. My father was an alcoholic but i never was a drinker. All of a sudden I’m drinking everyday. Then I just stopped. Now it’s more of a social thing. I only have a drink if I feel like it. I try to find healthier ways to destress myself. But I lived with an addict for years. Those were the scariest years of my life and that person is still dealing with his addiction years later. Bravo to you for taking the steps to getting yourself better.

  26. 
    leveritableamourxx April 23, 2015 at 2:25 am

    Reblogged this on My Universe.

  27. 

    Be strong, you can do it!

  28. 

    I am a current user and crave to feel life again without the need to be high. I’m on an amusement park ride I can’t get off of. Your story hits home for anyone that has been on that ride. I wish I could say your words inspired me enough to stop but the physical pain of not having keeps me coming back for more. I feel like no one ever hears me anymore I’ve lost my voice…

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