Loving a heroin addict puts you in an impossible situation. It’s an emotional roller coaster with sudden, 180-degree swings between feelings of love and hate, joy and rage, and everything in between. Reality gets fuzzy. Sometimes you don’t know what to feel. You can lose your identity — or even your mind. It’ll bring you to your knees and take you to the swampland of your soul.
I know. I’ve been there. When you’re in this situation you get sucked into things. Dangerous and bizarre things. And the next thing you know you’re at the McDonald’s drive thru with her shooting a Molly/heroin speedball beside you while waiting for her Oreo McFlurry. Or you’re being detained by the cops at 2 a.m. on Easter Sunday as they threaten to call in drug-sniffing dogs because you’ve refused to consent to a search.
These are just a few of my experiences. I have many more — some harrowing, some funny in their absurdity. I ran the gauntlet, getting peppered by every feeling on the human spectrum. By the time it was over I’d been sliced up, diced up, and stomped into atoms — a cardboard cutout of a man. But I survived.
How did I get here? I’m a hobo piano player who’s never done hard drugs and never been involved with the law. I enjoy a Chivas or two on the rocks. I quit smoking pot because of crippling anxiety attacks it caused and wouldn’t know cocaine from the King Arthur Flour in my mom’s cupboard.
But I spent two years in the bowels of Central New York’s opioid epidemic in an attempt to help a woman I love get clean. I became a poster child for enabling, bringing food to her in roach-infested trap houses and cheap motels in Syracuse’s worst neighborhoods. I watched her and others inject heroin and smoke crack cocaine. I provided money and bought her syringes and her favorite gummy worms.
My 2006 Hyundai Sonata became the drug bus, going on opiate runs in the dead of night to the city’s northside. There were stray needles and burnt spoons under the seats, and I once found a bag of fentanyl that had fallen out of her jacket pocket.
I met dealers, sugar daddies, strippers and prostitutes. I’ve talked to bail bondsmen and visited jails in three counties for weekly visits when she was serving a nine-month sentence for a possession charge.
There were frantic trips to the emergency room — with an infection in her leg so severe she could barely walk. Another visit ended in a crash and snapped axle when she lunged for the steering wheel as we sped into the parking lot, plunging the car into a curb. She darted off with security guards chasing her.
There were numerous court dates, where she was high, having injected herself minutes before.
Hope was forever around the corner. Rehab was always a week away. She went three times, but it never changed anything. It was a gut-wrenching, two-year saga. I felt with every cell in my body that I could help her change. But how do you help someone who isn’t ready?
Her addiction was laser-like in focus and ferocious in intensity. I developed an addiction of my own. Heroin might be the emperor of all drugs. But love is an even stronger narcotic.
**This story was originally published on https://gogonzojournal.com/blog/2021/05/04/loving-a-heroin-addict-confessions-of-a-chronic-enabler/
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