I knew all about my craft. I am was in total control. How was this any different from a dietitian modifying their intake or a trainer using his background to sculpt his body? “I’m doing this under the safest of conditions”, was my maxim. “If I just stick with clean supplies and remember to use sterile technique then I’ll be just fine.” These were the thoughts echoing through my opiate addled mind as I propped myself up between the toilet and the sink in the single occupancy bathroom that I had turned into my own personal opium den.
I loved everything about it. The ritual always culminated in a wave of feel-good euphoria as I drifted further into the warm embrace of my drugs. And it was any drug. Anything I could get my hands on was sufficient after my initial sample platter of experimentation. I wasn’t picky. I was an unlikely mix of anxious and groggy but I wasn’t picky. I’d show up to any case any time and I’d definitely stay late! As a matter of fact I’d dread vacations. A time to enjoy my family and friends and to relax was spent withdrawing in misery.
I was always managing. For a type A personality like me, whether I created the chaos or not, I got a kick out of solving things. The craving and using cycle could be quite painful but at some level it was an end in and of itself. To slyly divert a drug, steal off into the bowls of the hospital and untangle all the knots in my stomach was a thrilling ride. It created a solvable problem that I could manage quite adeptly. There was something sexy about anesthetizing a patient only minutes after tying off my foot with a tourniquet and injecting myself with drugs. After the injection I would quickly remove the tourniquet and from my thrown on the bathroom floor raise my foot in the air as if to salute the drug as gravity hastened it’s journey to my heart.
My heart often skipped a beat. Whether it was when the warmth of the drug hit my chest or when I almost got caught injecting while crouching beneath the surgical table pretending I was checking my various monitoring equipment. However, like Icarus, you can only fly that close to the sun for so long before you come crashing down.
My run at juggling addiction and medicine didn’t last very long. In fact, the last day that I worked I knew it was the day that I would get caught. I had a very good idea of what was to come in the form of lost licenses, court dates, and unemployment but I couldn’t stop myself. This is what addiction looks like but there is always hope. The journey to put the pieces back together is far from over but it helps me to revisit these memories. Not as a euphoric recall but as a warning of where I’ve been and where I can easily go again...