I used to think AA was an acronym for “AlcoholicAddicts,” and it still could be; for me they are one in the same.
There was a functional level of resistance I had against drinking, which did not exist when it came to nose candy. If an environment wasn’t a designated, “get wasted,” zone, I may have mentally declared everyone lame, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Drinking and not having blow, however, equaled catastrophic desperation, and desperation is something alcoholics and addicts all know about.
This morning a man (we’ll call him G) who was hooked on heroin told me how he’d inject a needle “this long” into his groin, because he had no usable veins left.
“You know, I was a doctor, so I could do these things.” He said with humor.
I laughed. Somehow it’s okay in AA to laugh at collapsed veins and desolation, maybe because we speak the same fucked up language. At the same time, stories like his sometimes make me feel ridiculous for identifying myself as an addict. My story doesn’t sound as severe, there are no needles, and I didn’t have a $300-a-day heroin habit. Coke wasn’t even in my daily diet, but I know the desperation he spoke of.
Picture Gollum holding a bag of blow instead of the ring…you now have an accurate portrayal of who I was as an addict. Splitting a bag with me was a big mistake. Nine times out of ten the goods “fell on the floor,” “fell in the toilet,” or “I accidentally sneezed all the lines away and this is all that’s left.” My mind cannot comprehend how people share booger sugar; sharing wasn’t an option, it was an obstacle. Somehow I had to hoard the precious baggie all night. Of course if anyone ever hoarded something from me, they were on my shit-list. Just because I had a zero tolerance policy for sharing didn’t mean anyone else could.
If someone weren’t giving their coke away like pixie powder, I’d follow him or her around like a pathetic pleading drunk puppy dog. It was very important to keep tabs on this person, whether at a house, club, party, sporting event, you name it. My entire night (or day) revolved around a sick version of Where’s Waldo.
A girl at a party one time literally turned around and berated me for pestering her about the blow in her purse. I saw nothing wrong with that picture, besides the fact that she was a bitch. There was nothing wrong with missing my friend’s entire graduation party, either, because I had more important things to do, like sit in a parking lot for 3 hours waiting for my hookup in a ghetto of central California. The Where’s Waldo game felt fine in Italy, when I insisted that a friend of a friend of a friend equip the night with party favors.
“It’ll take a few hours, and it’s insanely expensive.” My friend’s friend told me in the middle of a crowded street in Rome.
“Done, I don’t care.”
Funds were limited on that trip and my best friends had already been spotting me, but for coke there was always money in the bank. The night was spent blowing lines on my passport, rejecting my best friend’s request for just a bump. “I know you have more,” she’d say. I lied through my coked out teeth all night.
These instances barely scratch the hideous surface of the fiend I became in the name of cocaine. Everyone I cared for went to the wayside so I could guiltlessly indulge in my addiction. There are gonna be a whole lotta amends at Step 9.
To reach Step 9 I have to religiously remember Step 1; we admitted that we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.
An extended version of the list above is what I pull out every time “just one” beer sounds good. Just one beer would be the fast track to a rock bottom lower than my first. Just one beer would lead to two beers, two beers would lead me to an eight ball, and before you could say relapse I’d be a worse version of who I was, and I don’t want to lose everything that’s been gained. If I made it back to the rooms it’d probably be as a heroin addict.
I don’t know if alcoholics are addicts, or addicts are alcoholics, or if we’re all in the AlcoholicAddicts group together, but we all know the fiending, the pleading, and I bet we can all relate to Gollum.