Editor Feb 04 : 11:18
The first time I used, I guess I was about 7 or 8yrs old.
The first time I used, I guess I was about 7 or 8yrs old. I was just stealing a sip of my mothers "soda" which she totally forbid because it was Seagram's VO. I remember it because I used to see it in the cabinet all the time. At first it used to burn my mouth, my brother and sister tried it once and didn't like it. I continued doing it whenever it was available. Some time later, I stole a cigarette from my mother and I would hide and try to smoke them, I couldn't really inhale so I just stopped doing it.
By 1990, I had just come home from the army and one night, around Valentines Day I went out to a bar and met a girl. We began hanging out everyday, neither of us were working. All we did was drink and party. Shortly thereafter I began secretly sniffing heroin. The scary thing to me, even to this day is that, unlike all the other drugs I had done in my life, I cannot remember the first time I used it. This is probably because I was so high off marijuana and alcohol at the time. Anyway I started out doing it after I would first get high from alcohol and marijuana. I always needed someone to go with me to get it for me and to share the bag with me. I do however remember the first time I decided to go get a bag by myself. It was a lot like the first time I decided to go get some marijuana by myself in high school. I just woke and thought I really would like some and went and got it.
By now my live- in girlfriend, Maria, knew I was sniffing heroin. She caught me nodding in and out of consciousness and confronted me. I tried to deny it as long as I could, but the progression and consequences began to increase. I lost my job at the Post Office where I was temping, my reputation for hanging out in drug infested areas helped in my being fired. By the next year we broke up and Maria was met and invited to church. In my efforts to get her back I started going to this church, I was going to CR as well but I was still using. So after a few weeks of seeing that she was serious about this church thing and being challenged in group I decided that I wanted to keep getting high. At this point I was still sniffing heroin but now I was using daily and it was hard to come up with the money everyday. I was living back at home with my parents, and working at a department store. To support my habit after I blew my checks I would take drug dealers to New York. One day after bringing some drug dealers to my mothers house my father confronted me right in front of them about my drug use and we got into a fist fight. He then kicked me out of the house. By the following week I was fired from my job for not coming to work.
Once again I decided to quit the heroin only, and go to school, I was living with my younger brother and his wife. Just asking him for help was so humiliating, he didn't give me my own key, I had to wait until he got home each day. Several times I broke in through the window to get in. I began going to school at night. At this time my heroin use was off and on and although I had been using for about a year and half, I had never experienced heroin sickness (withdrawal pains) yet.
This one night I will never forget. I had vowed never to touch heroin again and it was the second day without using. I was in school and I wasn't feeling too good, I stuck it out and that night I went to some new corner burger joint. After that I went to my brothers house and fell asleep on the couch only to be violently woken out of my sleep by the most painful stomach cramps I had ever felt. As soon as I stood up, I ran to the bathroom vomiting. At one point I was suffering from diarrhea and vomiting at the same time. I had to sit on the toilet with a bucket in front of me while still having these terrible stomach cramps. This went on all night!
The next day, thinking it was food poisoning from the new burger joint I went there screaming and yelling, threatening to sue them. My mother called my brothers house after hearing I was sick and suggested I go buy some Pepto-Bismol. While at the store right across the street from one of my cop spots, I decided to go get a bag of heroin. Still not realizing it was the heroin causing all this until I opened the bag and the smell of the heroin made my stomach turn more violently but once I inhaled it the pain was gone and I felt much better.
The realization hit me hard, I had a heroin habit. I was sad and scared. Somehow I finished school even though I was still using. My ex-girlfriend called me and told me she had left the church and asked if I wanted to come back and live with her. My life is finally coming together, I thought. I got job at a hospital as a medical assistant, still making plans to get off heroin only. About a year later I was still using and working at the hospital. One day I went out to get some heroin on my lunch-break. I was so high that my supervisor, the head nurse had me take a urine test. They offered me the option of going to rehab or losing my job. Of course I went to rehab, only to be fired a year later for another positive urinalysis. I had gotten by that year because I was in charge of doing the drug screenings. I would simply switch the test. There were times when I was walking around with other peoples urine in my pocket. But I had finally been caught.
On that very same night my girlfriend was in a car accident and was in the hospital for a few weeks. In that time period, I spent all the rent money, food money and utility money getting high. When my girlfriend got out of the hospital she decided that she was going back to church and commit her life to God. I was sad, but also happy for her. I did love her, just not more than heroin.
I moved back home with my parents again and I vowed once more never to use heroin again. I started going back to the same church, studying the bible and I'm back in CR again. Now its 1993. I stopped using heroin just long enough to find a job at another hospital. Shortly after getting the job, I stopped studying the bible. On my 89th day of a 90day probation period I was fired. I remember leaving the hospital with my paycheck in my pocket thinking that's it - I'm giving up trying and I'm going to do whatever I want to do. My drug abuse skyrocketed I no longer cared about anything. I was no longer interested in trying to keep up any kind of normal appearance, I was hanging on street corners, selling drugs and shoplifting.
My mother suggested I move to Maryland with my younger brother (yes, the same one). So I went to Maryland but I was still coming home every weekend to pick-up my unemployment checks. Finally I came home one weekend and never went back. I knew I couldn't go back to my parents house. So at this point I'm homeless, living in someone's basement and hustling everyday to get my fix. This went on for about a year and a half.
Finally in April of 1996 on my daughters birthday I was so sad to the point that I just lay in the basement crying until my throat hurt. I hadn't seen her in about 2 years. Calling her had become too painful. The only way I knew how to deal with it was to sniff as much heroin as I could. But this particular day I couldn't even muster up enough strength to get up and go get
It took me about a minute to make up my mind to go upstairs and face her. She demanded that I meet her at her old house which was empty because she was in the process of selling. Anyway I had to get a fix before going down there and after getting high I didn't even show up. She came back and got me later. She and my dad had made this big dinner; fish, shrimp baked potatoes and the works. I had barely spoken to my father since the fight a couple of
After eating, my mother gave me some money to get a haircut and dropped me off at the barbershop. As soon as she left I dashed out to go get high. There I got a bag of heroin and sat to talk with the guy I had bought the heroin from. I also knew him from high school. As we sat on a parked car and talked, a feeling of urgency came over me, that I should leave. So I immediately told him, I had to go, right in the middle of our conversation. Now I'm hiding out from my mother until I can get the money to really get a haircut. So finally I get the money to get a haircut and go back to barber shop. The next day to find out that my friend, who I had bought the heroin from, was shot and killed minutes after I left, in the very spot we were standing.
That Sunday afternoon my mother left to go back to Maryland. They stopped and let me out of the car, as I was walking away I never felt so alone and sad. That Monday I got on my knees on a wet, cold basement floor and prayed a desperate but sincere prayer. I said to God. "You said that if I ask you for help you would help me" then I promised to commit my life to him if he could just help me. I got up I went to a pay phone called a detox. They told me to call back tomorrow, so I did and they took me in on the third day of calling.
After getting out of detox, I just happened to run into Maria. I told her the good news and that I was going to rehab (she didn't believe me). Then I watched her drive off. I went into a liquor store and called her. We talked for a few minutes and I don't remember anything about the conversation except this one thing she said " It would be so terrible to go through all the horrible things you've been through and then die and go to hell". I was speechless as I stood in that store holding the phone to my ear for, I don't know how long, feeling really foolish but inspired. And knowing that though I had about ten days clean, the battle was far from over.
I was referred to a rehab after another few days of calling. The name of the Rehab was Turning Point. Once I saw the name on the side of the building I knew God was working. I completed the 28 day program and went to a halfway house in Jersey City. There I began studying the Bible and was baptized on September 5th 1996. I graduated CR in December, and began training to lead a CR group myself.
By the following summer Maria and I were dating steady and on May 20th, 1998, we were married. It was the second best day of my life, the first being my baptism into Christ. We have been happily married for 2 years and 9 months. I am currently going to college to pursue my goal to become a drug and alcohol counselor. I have recently gotten a full time job as a vocational educational counselor in a drug rehab for parolees.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!