It starts with alcohol. A person hits a point where life isn’t worth living sober. After night after night of drunken binge. It’s not enough. So he moves on to weed. It’s new. It’s different. Most importantly, it’s an escape.


My name is Travis. And I am an addict.


It started with alcohol…


I was grabbing coffee with my girl and she said she needed to talk. I wasn’t the one for her. Not the “perfect partner” for her. Now, to me that’s bullshit. Not a real reason. But reason was never her strong suit. I stared at my coffee for a long time before I realized she was gone. I stepped outside and lit up a cigarette. I didn’t know what to do. The coffeeshop was closing and my boy was working. I finished my third cigarette when he came out and asked if I wanted to hit the bar. I did. Desperately.


I dropped back a half pitcher of PBR. Followed by a few shots of whiskey. Obviously, I had to wash those down with another half pitcher. By the time I was finished, the bar was closing. First time closing her down of many to come. The next night I went for more.


After that, it was all a blur. I can’t pretend to remember how long this cycle went on for. But, I do remember this… I moved on to weed.


It was a late night at work. We were understaffed and oddly busy for a Monday. We got out late. I needed a drink. So did everyone else. So we hit the bar. A couple beers and a few shots later, I asked one of them if they had some weed. Of course they did.


We went back to his place and we got crossfaded. I almost fell asleep. I was thinking about nothing. For once. It was great. Then, every time we worked together, we would get high and I would go out and drink afterwards. The feeling was incomparable. Thinking about nothing. Caring about nothing. A radical change. A good change. I ate it up.


Obviously, accompanying all of this were numerous nights of sexcapades. Different night. Different girl. I had it all figured out: smoke, drink, fuck. Repeat. Life felt good. That doesn’t mean it was good, but it felt damn good. That time in my life was all a blur. The chicks, the booze, the dope. None of it remains very clear in my mind. But, I vividly remember the day that everything really changed. It’s weird. I don’t know why I do. But I do.


I woke up and took a drag off last night’s cigarette, still smoldering in the ashtray. Then, I went to grab some coffee. I sat down in my chair and lit up my bowl. This was some gas. It slowed everything down. I grabbed another cigarette and lit it up. The flint of my Zippo sparked and I got a whiff of the fluid catching fire. Then the sound of the flame lighting the paper and the sizzle of the tobacco. That first drag tasted like honey. I smoked that cigarette for what felt like hours. Ten minutes after lighting my cigarette, I put it out and went to make breakfast. I was hungry. I laid down 5 strips of bacon and cracked 4 eggs. I poured some milk. I ate it all. Bacon tastes great when you’re high.


Work dragged on. The plus of that is that I can keep up with orders pretty easily. I feel like I’m moving slow, so I push myself harder and work faster. It was an average day for business. I finished my shift and we all smoked again. I hit the bar. The ten minute drive was more pleasant than usual. My tunes were so good, I sat in my car for another 15 minutes to listen to a few more. I walked in the bar and they handed me my half pitcher. They knew. I wandered out back and lit up another cigarette. Chugged my beer. Got another. Went back outside and pulled out my stash. I rolled my j one-handed and downed my beer again. I went into the alley and lit up. I felt that release, but differently. Not as intense. Months of the same routine left me stale. So, I wandered the city.


Now, you guys now what the city is like. Users at almost every turn. Especially at 1 am. I rounded the corner and stood face-to-face with one of them. He was zoned. His cheek bones looked like they were fighting to stay inside his flesh. Whatever teeth he had were unrecognizable in the dark. He smiled. You wanna get high. He wasn’t asking. He was telling. And he was right. We walked to the end of the alley and took up shop behind the dumpster. It was a cold night. His shaky hands placed some powder into an old spoon. He ran his lighter under it until it bubbled up and melted. He pulled out a syringe and I watched as it sucked up the liquid. He handed it to me to hold. He took off his tie and placed it on his arm. I looked around at the alley. It was dirty, of course. Boxes and clothes and half-eaten food lining the ground. I think he lived there. He grabbed the syringe from my hand. I was distracted. The night was dancing in a little taunt. Like it knew what I was before I did.


After I decided the taunt was sufficient, I looked over and saw my new friend. He had slid over and looked pretty damn happy. I took the half-empty syringe out of his arm. Pulled the tie loose. Placed it around my bicep and pulled it tight. I have had my blood drawn enough to know how to do this. I have heart problems and got a lot of bloodwork done for it. I tapped the nook of my elbow a few times until I could see the veins pop. I flicked the syringe a little. Inserted it into the biggest vein. I could feel it slide into my skin. I was nervous, yeah. I was also still really fucked up. I pushed down the head of the syringe and felt the horse gallop through my veins. It was warm all of a sudden. I felt like I was safe. I felt like I was happy again. But, only for a little bit. I blacked out.


I woke up. It was 7 days later. I had OD’d. But not that night. No. I had 6 more days of use that I couldn’t account for. The doctor told me I was lucky to have survived. I had used enough heroin to kill even a hardcore user. I didn’t remember it. He told me about this group. So, now I’m here. Trying to figure out where I went wrong. And why. It’s a struggle. To not use. But, I need it. I need to be clean.


My name’s Travis. And I am 4 days sober.

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