Over the weekend, two ‘tragedies’ occurred. The most shocking tragedy was the death of 76 people in Norway at the hand of a suspected madman. The horror that unfolded that day is unimaginable. There really are no words to describe what the survivors, and the families of the deceased must be feeling now. There is global grief and support for Norway, and the victims and their families are in the prayers of many around the world.
The other tragedy, unfortunately, was not so shocking. To be honest, the fact that no one was particularly surprised, is indeed the real tragedy. Singer, and serial ‘train-wreck’ Amy Winehouse, died from suspected drug overdose at the age of 27. I only had to read my ‘news feed’ on facebook, to see the broad spectrum of feelings towards her death. I read many debates, on whether a ‘drug addict’ deserves sympathy upon passing, or whether they simply ‘had it coming’. Comparisons between the death of many innocent people in Norway, and the death of someone who possibly brought it upon herself. Where do I stand on this subject? I believe they are both tragedies. Because, although I can not even begin to imagine the nightmare of what occurred in Norway, I can, unfortunately, imagine the nightmare of drug addiction. So I thought it might be timely to share another chapter in my life.
Think about someone that you love, be it a partner, or a friend. What would you do if they turned to you, tomorrow, and told you that they were a heroin addict? Could you walk away, or would you stay, and try to help them, to save them even? I don’t know what the right answer to that question is. I can only tell you what I did, when that exact thing happened to me, about 4 years ago. The man I loved, the man I had just moved in with, told me he was a heroin addict. I probably should have known, I probably should have seen the signs. I knew he had been, 10 years before I met him. As far as I knew though, he had hit rock bottom, been to rehab, and was now ‘cured’. How naive I was. I knew nothing about ‘hard’ drugs. I had smoked dope a few times, in my teens, and that was it. I was very ‘anti’ drugs. I had no idea the nightmare I was in for. I don’t think I can even put into words, so many of the things I experienced during that time.
I would take his money, take his eftpos card, take his car. Cut all means he had to ‘score’. I would come home, after 12 hour days working 2 jobs, to find him naked on our couch, crying. He’s been ‘hanging’ out all day, he was physically ill. He would vomit, sweat, shake, appeared to be in agony. And then he would beg. Beg me to give him money, so he could score. I would refuse. I had seen ‘Dr Phil’, I would not enable him. He would cry some more. Then he would get angry, threaten me. Throw chairs in a rage, tear up the house to try and find where I’d hidden the bank cards. “No, no no!” Back to begging, crying. Usually by about 2 -3 am, it was me begging. “Please stop”. “Please don’t make me do this”. That’s when he knew he was close. He would follow me to the bedroom, where I would desperately be trying to sleep, I had to start work at 7am. We both knew where this would end. The only way this would stop, the only way I could make it to morning, and get up and go to work again, was if I gave in.
So eventually I would. By this stage he was so physically ill, he couldn’t drive. So I would get in the car, and drive him, to whatever seedy place he arranged to pick up from. He could never even make it home. After we ‘scored’, I would have to pull into a side street. I would get out of the car, as the sight of him hitting up made me physically ill. I would wait, away from the car, until he was finished, then get back in and drive us home. By now, he was full of remorse, “I’m sorry baby”, “I didn’t mean it” “Tomorrow I’ll be better”. We’d go home, I’d get up at 6, go to work, get home at 7pm, and the whole charade would start again.
Eventually I worked out a system. He started on a program, (similar to methodone) where he went to the chemist each day, and got a dose of a drug that would stave of his withdrawals. He would still beg for money, so when I got paid, I would pay any bills that day, then put the rest of the money on those Coles ‘wishcards’. We could use them to buy groceries, smokes and alcohol, but not drugs, obviously. So I didn’t have the money to give him, and there was no point him begging, as the money was already gone on the cards. We lived like this for quite a few months. I thought I was so clever. Didn’t matter that I couldn’t go anywhere, buy anything for myself, not even a coffee, because all my money was on these damn wishcards. It was worth it, I thought, to keep him clean. To me, he was worth it.
I had only intended this to be one post when I started, but there is so much more to this story, I will make it a two-parter.
TO BE CONTINUED… Part Two