Free From Heroin: A Daily Fight

I have been drug and alcohol free now for almost 15 years. Does the heroin still call to me? To be honest, at times it does. As a matter of fact, after almost four years clean, I relapsed and used heroin for another year and two months. An eternity in hell.

How did that happen? Basically, I was not faithful to my own value system. In the context of a relationship I tried to be what she wanted me to be and, when the true me had disappeared, vanished under the constant battering of a stronger, abusive personality, I picked up heroin as a substitute for death. Heroin and death are soul- sisters.

My relapse did not happen overnight. First, any spirituality, the positive feelings about myself, life and God, began to erode. My thought patterns moved into the realm of the negative. The first substance I picked up was a cigarette. At the time of my relapse I was keeping a journal. I remember writing, near the physical relapse, that “I have already relapsed. Now it is only a question of when I put the drugs into my body.”

On the night I made the decision to return to the abusive relationship of addiction, I had left I raided the house I was staying in for drugs. In one of the rooms I found narcotics. I proceeded to take them and a year and two months of hell began for me. It is only by the Grace of a God of my own understanding that I was able to survive and return to recovery.

Today I live in a recovery community in Gloucester called Moore’s Way. I still attend support groups regularly. After all, I attended the dope man regularly in the past.

Is it possible for me to relapse again into the hell of active addiction? For this addict, it is always a possibility. That is why, today, I surround myself with people who are positive, people who love and nurture me, people who believe in me and who help me to believe in myself.

And I, in turn, help others who think, as I once did, that their addiction is a hopeless condition. I stay clean myself and I reach out to others. Just like me, some of them ‘Come to believe’ and stay clean and help others to stay clean.

An acquaintance of mine in the poetry scene said, “the one reason I never tried heroin is that my friends whom I did other drugs with like heroin better than anything else. They seemed to like it more than life itself.”

Most of my friends from high school whom I started shooting dope with are dead today. I am one of the few heroin survivors. I am in the process of recovering my life. For me, it is a daily event.

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

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