September 2009—Later That Day…
As my eyes gaze down at the bright, hypnotic flame I produce, the pyromaniac living inside me awakens with devilish delight. The bright orange glow of the flame reminds me of the passion for music that had possessed me in my late teens. With my band taking a needed breather off to the side, I’d be up on stage, alone. With sticks in hand, pounding away on a ten-piece drum kit, I’d see a hundred eyes in the crowd, wide and unblinking as if I had set the stage ablaze. Today, at the end of the most dreadful day of my life, that passion is nowhere to be found. It has been replaced by another terror: The dream-killer that’s taken away many gifted and talented lives—artists, musicians, famous and unknown.
I scorch the dry, Hawaiian meadow packed in my Mother’s glass pipe. The dusty pollen of THC ignites like wildfire over dry California-raised grass. The billowy smoke is warm and thick as it replenishes all worries and concerns with stoned apathy.
Smoking pot used to be an anticipated pastime: saving lunch money to buy a bag every Friday to last through the weekend. It wasn’t long before it became an everyday treat—or better, a needed escape. Unlike my peers, it had actually motivated me to pay attention in class, believe it or not. When I was high, I wanted to learn everything. The whole world fascinated me—whether it be nature, the galaxy, or anything in the cosmos. Not even television could distract me from my search for knowledge, being all about watching documentaries and the Discovery Channel.
Nevertheless, as much as I enjoyed it, I had to hangup my hat and clock-out, putting my smoking career on hiatus. Becoming such a burnout—wearing t-shirts with a giant pot leaf on the front—my parents’ suspicions had grown to their breaking point. And out came the drug tests. With that, I was in for it; but, I tried to lessen their reprimands with tasteful reassurance: “At least I’m becoming smarter.”
“Yeah, more of a smart ass,” my Mom would reply.
After almost a month of testing, and passing each test, they stopped. In a celebratory manner, what did I do?
I started back up again.
Though, the high wasn’t what I had remembered. The quest and love for learning wasn’t there anymore. It seemed as if that particular bag had been laced with generous doses of uneasiness and insecurity.
The high rushed straight to my head; however, instead of being relaxed and sinking into the couch, I was wide-eyed, sitting up straight like there was a yardstick up my ass. I was already a quiet guy, but now my lips were glued shut. It was all quiet on the outer front, but inside, there was mania. I was over-analyzing every situation and idea that crept up, which eventually turned into a worry of what others were thinking, particularly of myself.
Were they thinking about me? Judging me because I’m not talking?
That stoned, inferiority nightmare had lasted hours. I tried smoking again the next day, but the same thing happened. Same with next, and the next. Until, I had to quit forever.
People tend to call marijuana a “gateway” drug; however, in my life, rehab was the gate, with alcohol laying the red carpet out that led to it; only to have the party crashed by heroin, which had locked the gate behind me.
Forever frozen in a state of absolute agony.
Locked-up in a painful prison; except in this internal dungeon, parole was not an option.
I floated to the kitchen of my Mom’s apartment, still in mild shock—the real pain and heartache hadn’t kicked in yet. I reach into one of the wooden, cream-colored cabinets in the kitchen and grab a glass. As I fill it with water, my nerves shake in anticipation of the inevitable dope sickness—heroin withdrawal that’s sure to make its presence at any moment. I down the glass quickly then refill it again.
I need to be as hydrated as possible.
Whenever I take a drink of water, this feeling of pure revitalization comes over me. I take another gulp and finish it. The feeling comes again as if my body is thanking me. It’s grateful for giving it something it needs, instead of the black tar it’s been obligated to endure.
The human body is made mostly of water, as is the world, but more so, therefore, everything comes to us in waves—the highs, lows, sickness, drugs, luck, pain, anger, anxiety, etc. But I wasn’t ready for my addiction to come at me in a massive, unexpected tidal wave, while I merely stood there, and allowed it to destroy every part of me.
I allowed my body to be infiltrated.
To be possessed by a demon.
In my pathetic world, full of constant pain and confusion, heroin runs the streets.
Like a malevolent master, heroin, with her gritty hooks has complete control of me, pulling the strings of her new puppet to do anything to destroy myself, as well as others around. They aren’t hooks though, she uses needles. Poking thousands of tiny holes in me until I’m shaking, covered in my own blood. It’s like experiencing a horror movie that you can’t turn off. You’re the star of the movie, but you’re not guaranteed to survive. According to statistics, death is more than likely, with 60 percent* of junkies overdosing and not making it.
*As I write this in 2018, it’s gone up to 80%.
I remember growing up, having a fear of needles. If only that wasn’t another wave that had changed my fear of needles into a fear of not having them, I would have been afraid the first one entered my body. But my compliant mind had already been intoxicated with an even more persuasive, stronger substance: Love.