The Last Time
Prelude to The Last Time
I wrote this about a month ago. I know, premature celebration. For some reason, when I wrote this, the last time I had used was crystal clear. Both the high and the low was bright, front and center.
Not like those moments of clarity you can get when you are on a bender. Not those moments of knowing you are failing everyone and everything you love. I don’t miss those.
This was something different. I was suspended over that time. I followed myself through each day of the last time. Each moment and inflection of the full dose of reality coming down on me. The last time was an ‘oh fuck’ moment.
It wasn’t a sudden awakening of light. I knew I was an addict. I didn’t realize how much. The way I quit was little promise every day to myself. That after years in a haze, I would see the other side.
It didn’t how much I wanted to stop, the lure was too great. I succumbed to every single rationalization I could think of. It was the true voice of my beast, my demon. At that moment, somehow, despite having given in, I needed to say no.
In my memory, I watched myself walk down a Phoenix Street. I see the pain in that shamble, but I see a hint of resolve, too. I watch as I round the corner to walk back to the hotel. I was crying. I was done.
The Last Time
Today is two years since I last took an opiate of any kind. The last six months of use are still fresh in my mind. I was titrating off for the whole time. Slowly decreasing my dose until I could just walk away.
The thing is, I didn’t want to walk away. With my tolerance decreasing, I could get high again. I knew that overdose was a possibility, but I didn’t care. I was going through physical withdrawal every day. Stuff was coming out of my body on both ends. I was granted a little four-hour reprieve every day.
I often wrote of my highs in great detail. Dosages, times, and feelings. I go through those notes today and cringe. Here is one example from about four months before I quit:
Omg. I haven’t had an opiate high in ages. I do love this. I got high before coming down, but supplemented it with some Percocet at the hospital. I have one forty milligram morphine and two Lortab onboard. I do love this high. Good thing I have managed to keep my tolerance low lately. I won’t be able to do this much longer once I go off the morphine Enjoy it while I can I guess.
I am feeling better than I have in months it feels like. It is certainly keeping my mind off of the other stuff going on. Well, not really, but it is relieving my anxiety quite a bit.
I know, ultimately, I am avoiding my feelings. And this is a relapse. Big time. You can cover for it, but here you are, lying by omission, to Diane.
Now you feel like shit, don’t you?
Then, there was the last week that I used. I made it through three days opiate free. It started with a plane flight. Opiates or no, I do have chronic pain. Planes irritate my pain to no end. I had not yet been diagnosed with occipital neuropathy or trigeminal neuralgia (that would come later) but I was miserable.
I begged a ten milligram Lortab off of Diane. I washed it down with a Bloody Mary and convinced myself it was just to get through the flight. I tried to ignore the Demon that is a product of the opium poppy, but it taunted me.
The next day at a meet and greet dinner, I begged for another one, this time washing it down with two glasses of wine. Again, I convinced myself that I was just taking it to relieve my anxiety, but the Demon Opium said, enjoy this. Doesn’t this feel so good? You totally have this, the Demon told me.
Primed, the next day I stole two Lortab from Diane. I will never forget Diane’s voice when I told her. It wasn’t anger. It wasn’t even a concern. It was a resignation. She had accepted that my addiction to the Demon was complete and it would probably kill me. Diane let me know, without saying it, that she wasn’t going down with my sinking ship.
I walked around downtown Phoenix, still high, but not really. I knew Diane was right. It was going to kill me if it didn’t make me homeless first. Deep in my bones, I knew Diane was right. I was a sinking ship and Diane deserved better. I stood on the precipice of losing everything. Losing the only thing that was left. It was the most important thing. Diane.
That was my last opiate high. I am still in a lot of physical pain, but I am rarely in emotional pain. It’s a trade I am willing to make. I am still building back trust with Diane and many others I had plowed over in my quest for the Demon. I am not asking for forgiveness. I know what I did wrong and I have to live with it. No sense in making others live with it still.
I can honestly say that I hardly ever have the urge to talk to the Demon. It does happen, but I will always remember that last day. When everyone I knew had written me off because of my thrall to the Demon Opium, I will always remember that. I still feel shitty about the whole thing. It’s just today I don’t need to hide on that seductive puffy cloud for one that Demon Opium provides.
Demon Opium will always hover over my shoulder. I know that, but the farther I get from the last day, the quieter the Demon gets. It’s easier to ignore a whisper than screaming. Today, I want to be there, for myself, for my family and most of all, for Diane. So far, I have.