Not many people can imagine waking up to your best friend next to you, dead. I don’t have to imagine, for, it is on the front lines of my memory.
It was a traumatic morning I shall never forget.
I became a child that day. A hopeless boy and an ill-fated friend. It was as if my imaginary friend, who followed me everywhere, and came into this world solely for me, had left forever.
Much of my faith has dissipated, though I still hope Heaven is true. For there she would be, waiting to hold me in her arms again, convincing me not to give up on hope.
This is the anticipated encore I have been longing for. However, in this reappearance, there would be no booze; no drugs; no addiction; no pain.
I'm an alcoholic, a drug addict, and a chronic relapser. I've unintentionally allowed my body to be infiltrated, possessed by a demon.
Thus, in my cold world, full of constant heartache, heroin runs these lonesome streets.
With her gritty hooks, she has seized control like a malevolent master pulling the strings on his powerless puppet.
People who don't understand this world often blame marijuana as being the culprit. A gateway drug that opens one up into a new world of harder drugs. This wasn't the whole truth for me.
Nonetheless, weed could be the gate, but alcohol is what opened it. Heroin is what locked it behind me. A lengthy lock-up in the prisoned world of an abhorrent addiction.
Forever frozen in a state of absolute agony.
One loaded gun, a fatal, laced shot, or a handful of pills would unlock the chains to the freedom I desire.
I'm stuck, floating through life with a dark cloud of gloom hovering over me, as my mother drives my torn self to my new drug and grief counselor. She is Ms.
Gail Hilsner, Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, a.k.a. my shrink… my lifeline.
I am going to be compelled to tell her about my past. Every new doctor, therapist, or counselor I see, has the lucky opportunity to hear about it.
It's always an awkward time—I bleed my heart out and they stare. I speak about hope and they cry. They want to help and I want to hang myself.
I wouldn't have such a problem if I were sharing it with another addict. They could hear something that might ‘click’ with them. Something they could relate to, which helps them in a way.
I can remember almost everything in my life.
Although, once heroin enters the picture, a smoky mist envelopes my memory, but it does come back if I blow the smoke away by focusing hard enough.
One thing I will never forget is that sad, ugly morning, with my beautiful Brianna.
Brianna had something about her. It was something I had wanted. Everywhere we went, she was a warm, glowing beauty. Always having a good time, no matter where she was or what she was doing.
I had wanted that. However, she had something else about her. Something underneath that she hid from the world, but all of it had been dolled-up with glam and make-up.
She, my best friend in the whole world, had passed away in her sleep from a drug overdose, while I slept right next to her.
I remember waking up with her cold, lifeless body lying next to mine. My feelings were drowning in a flood of remorse because… she was gone. There were two bodies, but only one heartbeat.
If I close my eyes, I can sense if someone is present. But when I had closed them that morning, I felt nothing. That still sends chills down my back.
It's an eerie feeling when someone is lying right next to you and you can't feel their presence.
I knew this had been my wake up call. It was time to quit with the heroin. But it doesn't work like that.
The evil thing about it is when you can quit, you don't want to, and when you want to, you can't.
This is one of the first things I tell Gail—she told me to call her. I'm sitting on a purple couch placed across from her.
She sits at her desk with an old-school, 90s iMac computer, in her tidy, square office. She is wearing a bright pink pantsuit that matches the dull, pink walls.
It reminds me of one of those Old Navy commercials. Gross.
There are a few pictures on each wall.
But only one catches my attention: An alluring lotus flower floating in a black, sodden swamp with a luminous ray of light protruding through a dark cloud obscuring the gladdened sun.
I guess to resemble hope—that beautiful things can come from the dark.
That is what I hope is true, for I can no longer live in the darkness.
*This was 8 years ago. After 5 rehabs and numerous relapses, today I am now 3 years off drugs and haven’t had alcohol in over a year. For more of my memoir, go to jaallison.blog