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Bewitched By The Needle


There have been untold numbers of articles written about how using drugs intravenously can cause an addiction to go from bad to worse, and I can definitely attest to that.  However, I experienced something much more than a full-blown drug addiction when I started shooting up at the age of seventeen.  Being introduced to the world of needles caused an intense mental addiction to the act of putting a needle in my veins, no matter what substance was in the syringe itself.

My drug addiction started quite early and I was on and running from the start. I was fourteen years-old when I had my first drug experience with cocaine, which I kept in my Catholic High School locker room and snorted with a peer.  A couple of skeletal lines and my addiction was on fast forward – there was no pause or stop button available.  From the start I used cocaine daily, stealing money out of my father’s wallet and classmates’ backpacks to support my habit.  After a while, stealing was not enough and I began to sell cocaine at school, with all profits finding their way up my left nostril.

After abusing cocaine for a couple months, I was introduced to an assortment of drugs- marijuana, LSD, mushrooms, ecstasy, methamphetamine, DMT… you name it, I took it, whether it meant snorting it, smoking it, or eating it.  I would do almost anything to get high.

However, I promised myself that I would never stoop as low as sticking a needle in my arm.  I was not a drug addict; people who used intravenously were.  Well, when you are in the midst of a serious drug addiction and in extreme denial, your values and morals go out the window one-by-one.  By the age of seventeen, I was doing things I promised myself I would never do as a result of my addiction.  One of those things was using drugs intravenously.

I was introduced to the needle through an older friend who had convinced me to try heroin.  He insisted, however, that smoking or snorting heroin was a joke – it would not get me high because I had already smoked opium a plentiful number of times.  To experience the magical high that came from heroin, I would have to shoot it.  I trusted this guy, so I made an impulsive decision (the only type of decision I knew how to make at the time), lit up a blunt, and focused intently as my friend taught me how to cook up a shot, find a vein, and make sure the blood registered in the syringe so I wouldn’t muscle the shot.  I was mesmerized by the scene.  I didn’t even acknowledge the burning roach in between my pointer and thumb fingers until he made a snide remark.

After watching him shoot up, it was my turn.  He guided me through the process and after a couple of trial pokes I watched the blood register in the syringe and pushed down on the plunger slowly.  He pulled the tourniquet off my upper arm and the rig out of my forearm.  I then held my finger over the microscopic hole and pumped my arm back and forth like he had instructed me to.  Immediately, I felt a surge of warmth, tingling, and tranquility start in my forearms and travel throughout my whole body.  I became dizzy and nauseated, vomited all over the floor, and then giggled in sheer delight as I experienced my first high on heroin.  It was love at first shot.

I will never forget that summer day when my addiction morphed from bad to absolutely unmanageable.  If I had known what I was getting myself into, I would have never agreed to become one with heroin in that form.  Not only was I a full-blown junkie but I was also obsessed with the act of shooting up.  I would need my heroin fix every hour in order to stay “well,” but I needed to feel the needle in my arm every twenty minutes – at least.

The needle took over my life.  It was the only thing I could ever think about.  The last two years of my addiction, I opted for the intravenous method when it came to using all drugs (with the exception of marijuana).  When the drugs were long gone, I would resort to shooting up any liquid I could get my hands on, be it toilet water or cheap vodka.  I needed to feel the needle in my veins in order to stay sane.

Today, I am 76 days clean and sober.  It has been a grueling process, to put it lightly.  The first three weeks were hell on earth.  I honestly would rather die than go through it again.  With the help of intensive treatment around my multiple addictions and incorporating the 12 steps of the Narcotics Anonymous program into my life, I can honestly say today that the needle is not my ruler.  I have been taught a multitude of healthy coping skills and tools in order to deal with life on life’s terms.

Although my urges to use drugs and the needle are not completely gone, I now know how to refrain from my old behavior and have gained the strength and courage to face the world without any type of crutch.  At the very least, I’ve been able to do so for 76 days and counting.

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Filed under: Addiction, Recovery, Substance Abuse · Tags: 12-steps, addict, Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs, clean and sober, cocaine, DMT, drug addict, drug habit, drug use, ecstasy, Heroin, intravenous drug use, junkie, LSD, marijuana, methamphetamine, mushrooms, NA, narcotics anonymous, substance abuse, syringe

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