Thankfully I'm not a complete moron and God was probably on my side, looking out for me and my boyfriend. Because I did save his life, three times. Yeah, yeah.....why, given my history, would I date someone who has the same problems as me? Well, I really never seem to click romantically with men who haven't had some sort of addiction because I always feel like I'm misunderstood by them. I feel more comfortable when my partner knows what I've been through in my life and can sympathize. Maybe it helps to not judge me as much if you know that he wants to be clean. He was in fact clean for three years until over the holidays this past winter we both relapsed together. I suppose it was set in motion because of the stress we were under and then all it takes is events to converge in a way that makes it really hard to turn down using. Like having someone use right in front of us and offer it to us even knowing that they shouldn't and they were doing us a serious disservice. I've noticed that it is all too true, however, that misery loves company. And it seems that addicts especially don't like to go down alone. They feel less guilt about breaking down and getting high themselves if they can look next to them and say to themselves, "Oh well, so and so is high now too. I'm not the only weak one so it's not that bad".
So yeah, I'm with another addict struggling with recovery. But I still love him and feel happier than I have in a long time. I think despite some of the struggles we've been through that we can still have the possibility of a good future. Since the last OD he has gotten into a suboxone clinic and is trying really hard to make that the only opiate he uses. Sure, we have our days when we break down and getting high seems like the only way to relax, to ease our minds. Especially living in Worcester and having drugs so readily available. Anyhow, I could go on and on trying to justify my choices to people I hardly know. But it comes to to the fact that they are MY choices. And I have to live with them, no one else. And I am happy with the choices I have made. The real point of this post is to share my experience so other addicts can be more informed when it comes to having a friend or loved one OD. I wish I had read more about overdoses before this happened to me. I wish I had been more prepared and I could have spared myself quite a bit of grief.
So.....we had just begun to dabble in heroin again. Both of us at one point in our pasts had used huge amounts of dope, but not recently. He had been completely clean for many months and aside from a relapse here and there, three years had passed without more than a night or two of using small amounts. As far as myself, I had switched from methadone to suboxone over the summer and it had been working for me. The only issue I was having was that it was an expensive habit to maintain and sometimes I couldn't find it when I needed it. That was the problem which led me to seek out an alternative to begin with. The thing is that with suboxone a person still gets sick, just as if they were out of heroin. So I needed to find something to not be sick and dope was the best option, especially in the mind of an addict. And once the wheels are in motion it's SO hard to turn back. So we began to use here and there. Some days taking the suboxone, others seeking out dope.
The day the overdose happened, the first overdose, the one that scared me the most because I had never seen anything like it, we had obviously been getting high for a few days. But by the time we shot up on this particular afternoon it had been quite a while since our last shot and we were not feeling well. We were pretty sick and could have, should have, just taken our suboxone. But instead we had been holding out, hoping we could find a way to get high instead. It was late in the afternoon, maybe four o'clock and we had just bought two half grams, one for each of us. I did a little over half of my bag, not sure how strong it was I was trying to be careful. I didn't watch him to see how much he did, not realizing yet how susceptible to overdosing he is. I later realized he didn't do that much more than me. He is always faster than me at shooting himself up. I'm generally still putting some sort of tie around my arm and searching for a vein and he's all done. And this day was no different. So as I was busy looking at my own arm and not worrying about him he was slowly fading right next to me. It took until I finished shooting my own before I looked up and noticed something was horribly wrong. His eyes were rolled back in his head and he was lightly convulsing. The worst was that his breathing came in these spastic wheezes, obviously his lungs were not working right. And his lips were an unnatural shade of blue. I panicked.
I have never taken any type of emergency first aid class. But I wished now at that moment that I knew something, anything at all, about emergency resuscitation. I smacked him in the face, hard, a couple times.....nothing, no response, no change. I pummeled his chest with my fists hoping this would shock his heart into beating again, although I know now that it never actually stopped. It's the lungs that shut down first. I began to drive. I thought about calling an ambulance but I couldn't find a phone and he was in the car already.....oh, yeah, we were staying at his uncle's house at the time and we didn't want to have to go there to get high because we obviously didn't want anyone to know what we were up to. Oh boy, living with his uncle is a whole book in and of itself. The uncle is a quadriplegic and spends his days in his wheelchair which enables him to move about his small apartment pretty well leaving us no place for privacy of any sort. So we were parked in a parking lot not far from his house. Normally I really prefer to get high in the comfort of my own home but beggars can't be choosers, no? So here we were. I couldn't find my phone in my state of panic. I felt like I could barely see or breathe myself. My mind didn't want to work, my thoughts were racing, my skin was hot I was cold but sweating. I thought he was going to die right next to me, in my car. I would lose my best friend and lover and probably go to jail for involuntary manslaughter I'm thinking...."Oh my God!"
I hauled ass out of that parking lot. I was speeding through traffic. Still not that familiar with the streets of Worcester at that point, I knew the hospital was quite close but I had to think fast which roads would get me there the fastest. I think my subconscious mind took over because I don't remember making the choices to turn here or there but I know we made it there and fast. They said when they examined him that five more minutes and it might have been too late. Thank God I acted fast. I was throwing icy water in his face as I was racing through traffic, passing people and blowing red lights.
That was probably not the smartest thing to do. In driving him myself, I avoided the police,but I could have gotten us both killed. I realize after two consecutive OD's in which I did call 911 that avoiding the police is absolutely desirable. Even though in Worcester they are not supposed to make arrests on and OD call, they still harass you and try to get you to react so they can arrest you. I have some crazy tales about the way the police acted on the subsequent calls...but that's a tale or two for another day.