Heroin was my first love. Heroin is what I did. It’s what I know. Regret doesn’t capture my feelings about my addiction. Shame neither. But truth is a fitting emotion.
I wasn’t too old or too young when I began using. I think I was in my early 20s. I won’t make excuses, but I think my addiction stemmed from the abuse I suffered as a child. The abuse that led to prostitution.
I try not to think about my past. The things I did and didn’t do in service to my love. Heroin loved me more than anything I ever knew. It loved me more than the streets that I called home. It loved me more than the pimps and “bottom bitches” I worked for. It loved me more than the men that used me and threw me aside like trash.
I was trash. But heroin made me feel like a Queen. With heroin, I could be myself. It was okay to be weak. Heroin doesn’t enjoy the company of the strong-willed.
The gritty world from which I came is unlike the lives of today’s heroin addicts. Heroin is making a frightening comeback in the suburbs. Once considered a black perversion, heroin is now found in white upper-middle-class homes. Heroin knows no color. But it knows its victims.
It’s victims are scared, alone, and vulnerable.
I kicked my addiction over a decade ago, but the urge still haunts me. After I divorced her, heroin tried everything in her power to get me back. She tempted me with thoughts of serenity. Recovery wasn’t blissful. Withdrawals. Mood swings. Bills. Life without her was hard.
She loved me for my weakness, and that’s what she used to tempt me. She figured I wasn’t ready to face reality. She was right before. Many a’time, I ran back to her with open arms. But not this time. This time, I walked away and never looked back.
Today, I write this note from a computer in my apartment, and the words feel surreal. This netherworld of sobriety still has its challenges, but every day, it gets better. I look at my children, in all their innocence, and I am scared. I don’t know how to tell them about their mother and her past. I don’t know how to protect them (if I even can) from the horrors of my first love.
Being a heroin addict means that I only live for today. Today, I deny heroin. Yesterday, I denied it. Tomorrow, I hope to deny it again. When I go to bed, I silently celebrate my daily accomplishment, but feel lingering guilt that this celebration is still necessary.