Katherine's Drug Addiction Story: How My Boyfriend's Addiction to Heroin Almost Destroyed Me
Most ‘straight’ people don’t fall in love with drug addicts or if they do, are wise enough not to pursue their passion.
It took me a year to reassess my life after he fled overseas, leaving me to live as he put it, “without his monkey on my back,” but it’s been the most nourishing one yet.
Two years ago I celebrated my 37th birthday by starting an underpaid job, which most people would probably see as punishment. But most people didn’t spend their 36th birthday in prison after a policeman had arrested my boyfriend and I after finding traces of Heroin in my car.
Bits of my once-adventurous soul reappear like excerpts from a forgotten movie, and the days when I’m not dogged by panic attacks I find joy in the simplest pleasures.
I was a goner the moment I met him. Philosophical, cool, with an enigmatic energy and eyes that penetrated my soul. The entry in my diary the day I decided to sub-let my house to him read: “Just the kind of guy who could break my heart.”
I dubbed him Fire Horse because of his Chinese and Western Astrological signs. Our meeting led to a lunch invitation, then to impromptu discussions about life and even a midnight trip to a festival. A musician of sorts, he said he was on his way to New York to make it big in music.
In those early, idealistic months, I thought his weekend chase of the dragon (heroin smoked on tin foil bought from merchants who delivered to our door) was merely recreational, until occasional hits to ‘enhance creativity’ turned into daily must-haves and money started disappearing fast.
Weeks turned into months, his productivity decreased as his senses dulled. So we moved to another City where he felt he could make more money. It was here that I realised the extent of his addiction. He literally couldn’t function without it and would lie writhing in pain when he had no fix.
When money didn’t come in and his absences grew longer, followed by self destructive rages, threats of suicide and night-long crack binges, my survival instincts kicked in and I dropped him at his parents place.
Toxic psychosis was where he was at; a puppet on a string, he was performing for the god of crack – which he took to counter the lethargic effect of heroin.
After a year apart, in which he spent time at a notorious rehab centre (known for their extreme methods), he resolved to stay clean and I agreed to move in with him on that condition. But this rehab had only increased his angst – he told me they’d beaten him up for challenging their belief in God – and it didn’t take him long to hit the H again,
which he had started injecting.
I had vowed I would never let him use my salary for drugs but I was weak. I pawned my computer to pay the rent and eventually lost my
Six months down the line, my life was spinning out of control. I rationalised that his drug-taking wasn’t so bad if it could be moderated. I handled the finances. I even envied his ability to slip into euphoric states wile maintaining a sane façade.
We found an idyllic cottage with a peaceful air. But our seedy neighbourhood, protected by its cartel of drug lords, was far too close for comfort.
Our house became a stopover for all manner of junkies, from once-successful businessmen to gentle souls who hated their lives
but were powerless to the lure of heroin and crack. Fire Horse became Saviour of the Junkies. Perhaps his big, sensitive heart was his biggest downfall.
After being driven to shoplifting (to bail a fellow junkie out of jail), Fire Horse did another stint in rehab and tried to quit by using methadone, a medicinal heroin replacement. In vain. We were thrown out of our cottage when the landlady found a child playing with a syringe.
He found a rent-free squat next door to a bunch of junkies. I had stuck by him for so long, and convinced my family that we were getting somewhere, that there was no way I could admit defeat now.
Despite daily raging rows, I still believed that things could change and that I could not live without him. With the new accommodation
came the inhabitants and the endless quest for the next fix. There were constant arguments about who had stolen whose smack, as well as endless quest for veins, which start to disappear after a couple of years’ usage.
Needless for ankles, necks, groins, were stashed with ragged tourniquets fashioned from scarves, shoelaces, anything available, in ‘first aid’ boxes made from spectacle cases or tobacco pouches.
Grandiose criminal plots materialised into café raids of chocolate slabs – one intrepid junkie was bust with 50 in his trouser leg before being let off gently with six whips by an irate shop owner – because they were always too stoned to think further than the day’s requirements.
A vicious cycle of hands-to-vein subsistence interspersed with vague commitments to rehab before the drug killed them. One of the, an innocent-looking girl, joined an escort agency to pay for her habit.
I was living in a twilight zone, somewhere between wild nightmares of being tied down by addicts and paranoid reality – would they get bust, where would the next cent come from, would the drug lords to whom he owed money shoot him? How long could I live like this?
Eventually my car broke down and we pawned it. Fire Horse was forced to ask his parents for help, and went through rehab for the fourth time in two years. Staying with his parents, he was forced to be accountable, and I began to find my way again.
I got a good job and we rented a cottage on his parents’ premises, but the battle was only beginning. He hooked up with an old buddy of his, who had lost a successful business as well as his family through heroin addiction.
Though his drug use became more controlled and he was on the road most of the day, making legitimate money as an art dealer – he was down to $30 a day (a bag of Thai White and a rock of crack) instead of
$100 – it didn’t stop.
Three days before my 36th birthday, the walls came down. Accompanying him in the car to make sure his fix didn’t progress into a binge and that my new car stayed safe, I was also arrested.
The police would not believe I was innocent, despite being body searched and my plea to do a blood test. We spent a weekend in jail and were bailed out by our parents on my birthday. It was the turning point. An epiphany.
My life with Fire Horse flashed before my eyes. But still, I knew for him the main issue would be avoiding the pain of cold turkey and I spent the weekend trying to get out of the holding cell to make calls to get him heroin.
Lying on a thin piece of foam in the cell among petty thieves who told me ‘It’s all part of life’, I felt sick at the hypocrisy of it all. The real victims were his long suffering mother, his desperate dad, and my family and friends who were sick at the sight of what I had become.
And then there was my part in it all: lying to keep the peace, save my soul, protect his, hoping the lie would become the truth. When he got out, virtually unable to walk, he whispered ‘Je t’aime’ in lieu of a birthday wish. But the date signified the end of a chapter. The dream was over.
I’ve spoken to him a few times since he left. The third time, after no Christmas or New Year call, he phoned me from a London hospital with double pneumonia. He told me he’d nearly lost his life in the drug-wracked cold out there, and that he was going to rehab. He sounded old and sad, and wanted me to come to London.
Torn between my feelings and doing the responsible, necessary thing, I said I didn’t believe him and I knew he’d never be clean. For days after my body was wracked with pain, as if going cold turkey myself.
A year later, I still felt like half a person. Fire Horse was an all-consuming passion who filled a void. Perhaps I needed him to be my scapegoat for the demons I find difficult to deal with alone. Heroin kept him warm, and he kept me warm.
I refute any claims that heroin can be used constructively. Nearly all users become hoooked in six weeks of daily use. It starts out as a euphoric sensual adventure, but plays on vulnerabilities, deceives sensibilities and turns into the most destructive, manipulative mistress in the world. Anyone who shares a life with a heroin addict
will go down with them. I still have the scars.
It would be easy to say my world was shattered by a heroin addict. But instead he taught me how precious life is. Five years ago, I would have fought for freedom of choice and legalising heroin, for junkie rights and the jailing of fascist rehab owners.
Three years ago, I would’ve fought for a flight to London. Today I am fighting for me.
If you're in a relationship with a heroin or drug addict, Help Me! I'm in Love With an Addict
is worth taking a look at.
It will help you understand how best to deal with your addicted partner/spouse, provide you with strategies on how best to help him/her, and tell you exactly what you need to do to get your own life back on track again.
If you're at your wits end with your relationship and need answers fast, then this is a book that can help you. Coping with drug addiction is one of the most difficult things imaginable to have to deal with in a relationship, so Help Me! I'm in Love With an Addict
will help you navigate that journey and teach you how to come out the other side ... in one piece.