Sometimes I Forget


I've been meeting a lot of new people, making a lot of new friends recently.

I forget though, of these people, only about seven of them knew me during my 'heavy' years, my fall asleep during conversation or ring them at three am asking to pop over and borrow a lighter or forget to turn up to my own birthday days.

…And these new friends know me differently...they know me as who I am now, clean, (somewhat) punctual, (mostly) functional and (far more) predictable.

So we’re sitting in the pub discussing suicide (the concept and as a theme within 20th century literature) and we get off topic and they start discussing means. One of my new friends says:

 ‘Heroin...Its painless’

So I say:

‘Nah, a few of my ODs were pretty horrific’

…And four faces turn to me, wide eyed.

One guy says ‘What? You’ve done heroin?’

And I reply ‘Yeah, in the past’

And eventually the subject moves on.

We become desensitized, used to those words. We’re no longer at our first NA meeting (us junkies) over analyzing what it means to admit ‘sure, I’m an addict’. In fact, eventually we say it as easily as stating what colour shoes we’re wearing. And with it, we forget what it is like, both to struggle to say those words and to understand why it shocks people to hear them.

I’m at that point in my sobriety that I can joke about it, that most my friends can say ‘Remember when you were on heroin and you fell asleep on that rollercoaster’ and we can laugh. Heroin is no longer a taboo, a word that must be avoided at all costs, lest it should awaken some monster urge in me to go stick pins in my arms.

So I forget, not that I’m an addict, but:

1# That being clean means people who meet me now have no idea that I am an addict.

2# That being an addict shocks people.

And I see all these new friends looking at me like they thought they knew me, but that how can they…like the fact I used to use heroin makes me somebody entirely different. I’m suddenly not the things they thought, the woman, the student, the writer, the graduate etc…I’m ‘the junkie’. And unlike being a woman, which does not exclude also being a daughter, an employee etc, but rather to some extend demands it; you can't just be a mother, being a junkie always seems to exclude or negate all other roles or labels…like that is all you are, all you can be. Because everybody knows a junkie can’t be a mum or an employee or a friend…because you're just a junkie, y’know.

 And that’s when I remember…when I get that feeling like my first NA meeting or those moments when I’d think ‘****, I’m an addict’.

It’s a weird feeling. I used to think it’d get less foreign, less strange, but it is actually the opposite…

The longer I’m clean the more people seem shocked to know I’m an addict.

Sometimes I think ‘but AM I an addict now? I don’t use heroin, or hang with junkies or live that lifestyle…’ And then I wake up after eight hours dreaming about scoring or I’m having sex and I’m thinking about heroin or I the nurse takes a blood sample and I shudder and she says ‘Sorry, it’ll be over in a moment’ and I’m actually shuddering with what Freud called the uncanny –the familiar, yet strange.

…and then I remember…yeah, I’m still an addict.

I’m still an addict because I’m irritated by the friends who still can’t say ‘the H word’ around me out of some fear or idea it’ll trigger some compulsion in me to go out and score, yet –if I am entirely honest- I know that, while I can resist looking for heroin, that if it found me, if I walked into a room and someone was cooking up I wouldn’t be able to leave. Unlike a non-addict, my disgust or shock or awkwardness wouldn’t make me want to leave the room or ask the person what the hell they’re doing…disgusted or not, I’d beg on my knees if it meant they’d tick me a shot…even now…because…

I’m LS, and I’m a heroin addict.


LickingStamps LickingStamps
26-30, F
11 Responses Oct 27, 2009

Thanks to everyone who's commented - ain't written much in a long while, but still listening and grateful to the time you've all given to stop by, read and reply. Cheers and best to y'all - and thank you.

Yeah you stick with it and the cynics do their worst,
Send you all my best wishes for the future, i know because i myself was there on the gear and clear for now and just baby crawls to be honest but it is small blessings and all that.
great story and thank you!

3+ Years clean here from the black. I stopped counting lest I (personally) would think about it daily. It invades my thoughts often enough to not add another instance.

So rare is it to find people who have beat it, being supreme of all demons it seems. I too share your experience, having sat at a table of coworkers and somehow the subject of 'chivas' (mexican slang for tar) was brought up. I couldn't hide the familiarity in my eyes as I spoke of it and in an instant, I was outed.

For the most part I am viewed the same, except as you mention, I detect a bit of 'walking on eggshells' when the subject of drugs arises.

Cheers to sobriety, for being awake :)

wow, your sanity and self awareness has brought with it sober thoughts who all non heroin users are all too aware of, the fear of the first time,,,, When you abuse that, cross the line and enter another world of sustained self abuse ,whoever crosses that line has it all to do. once I tried to find absolute peace in abstinence then i fail. I admit I miss Heroin and the highs ,even the lows although few 'n' far between. I love my life now. As mundane as its become, I will live it free from the all consuming day to day of a Heroin addict.....

great story

I know exactly how you feel. I'm quite easy going in my confession of being a herion addict. It freaks people sometimes.

Exactly and it makes me sad because some people can enjoy it once in a while and not become a craving lunatic. I wish I had friends that have enough control to share the experience with me and not have it ruin their lives. 3 years I was dependent on it, now I can enjoy it and stop. Just wish the scars would go away.

I dont know what to say but I will leave with this..your writing is magnificent

Cheers guys...and wow, impressive childoftheland! Hell, ninetine years...that's, well, its effing amazing. Respect, mate.

Powerful story. Very well written! <br />
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Unfortunately, society puts such a "stigma" on addicts. A recovering addict is probably one of the more healthy people in our universe. They are given tools (the steps) to deal with life's everyday and not so everday problems. The "normies" have fewer tools in which to deal. <br />
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When chosen, the spiritual path that recovery from addict addiction brings is phenominal. Some of the most brilliant, grounded, loving, spritual people I have ever met are recovering addicts.<br />
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Thank you for sharing LS.<br />
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19 years, 6 months and 23 days - clean and serene - a celebration of life, and it just keeps getting better :)

Well i'm not a heroin addict but i've been feeling the need for acid for a while... like whenever i do something exciting or good or anything i don't enjoy it completely because "if i were on acid it would be much better"... Though i try to live as if i were on acid.<br />
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You're right when people realize that i do drugs it's like anything else i am doesn't matter that much. This apply to "normal" people that get to know me, excluding people in here and my friends who also do drugs.<br />
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Excellent story. Thanks for sharing.