It started with a handful of pills.
I waited, crying, chain smoking, absorbing every ounce of euphoria into my essence, begging, praying that it would stay. Stay with me for 30 days. I didn’t want to use. I didn’t want to be sober. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to live.
It ended with a handful of pills.
I left my body behind as the ghost of me stumbled, shaking, through the doors, blasted by sterility, the sharp aroma of clean. Did they do that on purpose? Make the place I had to stay smell “clean” while I got “clean?” To this day that smell triggers me to the core.
For 30 days, I hovered in the ethereal, watching as my specter endured a foreign, aseptic world. Words, readings, meetings, force feedings. Wandering halls to rooms filled with strangers, impelled to speak words that were hollow and insignificant. Forced into accord with constructs that I could not comprehend. Just follow.
How was I to adhere to a new doctrine in absentia? Without my lifeline? Promises of a brilliant tomorrow, blind faith my only savior. I offered myself as a sacred communion to a future I could not envision, an immobilizing prospect of possibility.
Marking my time. The sermons preached daily. The deity I must follow. Slowly fill the empty places, fighting to stake claim amongst the pain, fear, guilt and sorrow.
They took away my shield, my only defender. Unable to fathom the strength of my demons. They forgot the parasites living within me, are immune to surrender.
What had I become? Clean? Sober? Saved? Words spoken in another time and space, the disconnect a chasm in my head. I am completely full. I am completely empty. Powerless. Less. An addict. Say it. Believe it. I laugh at the skinny girl as she announces her new self. You are already dead.
Shiny coins and paper congratulations tell the world I’ve earned a new place. I walk out the door. And step into the inferno.
“Hi, I’m an addict.”
In hell, the bible’s words blur, ashes smudge the verses I trust. Codes impossible to decipher outside the sanctuary. I am an infant, birthed too soon. Thrust into the cold. Too much light, too much noise, too much pain. Snatched from mother’s breast and left screaming in the night. I search the coins and papers, desperate for light.
And fall to my knees.