The ride home from Chicago that day was spent in a mixture of stunned silence, fear, unbelief, and withdraw. I had just been jacked for the second time in as many days. In full blown withdraw, my mind raced. Bouncing my life around in my head, and reflecting on the past couple days led me to a conclusion: it was time to stop. There is no possible way that my friend would ever believe this one. I would once again have to come back, empty handed. She was not happy. Neither of us were-with our current situation, or with life in general. The dope game was starting to take its toll on us. It had long ago been taking its toll on our families. Now it was our turn to start to feel some pain. We had been so sick and struggling, because we had blown through my friend’s state tax return in one day. Which wasn’t much, but the amount of heroin we had gone through in such a short span of time would have killed several people several times over. We had heavy and expensive habits. And now we were paying for it. More wreckage. After a lengthy talk and weighty emotional pain, we decided that we were done. Through. We were falling apart, in every sense of the term, and it was getting worse by the day. Even if we had money, we no longer had a dealer to go to, and after the last two days I would not be willing to just pull up on any ol’ corner man and trust that what I would be getting to be good. But, we had no money. Not until her federal tax return hit her account, which wouldn’t be for at least a few days. And we had no one else to borrow from. The dope sickness had sucked all the life out of us, so any chances of trying to hustle up some dough were gone. On we drove. Toward home. Valpo. Sick and reeling from the impact of the lives we were living. So alone, but together.
That night, as we squirmed, sweated, and ached our way through the night, we decided what we were going to do. We were going to the methadone clinic in lake station/miller. The place opened up at 5, and we had to be there then. We would have to go through a screening process, and get our first dose. A process that would take nearly 6 hours. 4:00 a.m. showed up and it was time to start moving. I look outside, and wouldn’t you know it? Roughly a foot of snow had fallen over night and the car was completely covered. I would now have to go outside and dig this machine out of the snow, 3 days dope sick. This was a great start to a day that, by end, I wish I could soon forget. After about an hour of digging and rolling around in the snow, The car was free and warmed up. We left my friend’s daughter back at home with my Dad and started our trek toward highway 20. The clinic was slammed. People were everywhere. People waiting in a line that started at the dose counter, and made it’s way out the door, and about 50 feet down the sidewalk. The sidewalk was full of the suffering, sick, and impatient souls hoping to get what they came for as quickly as possible. Legalized heroin. Opiate replacement. We finally get inside and start our paper work, begin seeing “doctors” and counselors, and our process had begun. We continued this ordeal for these people for several hours, until at last, we had a number and were ready to dose. They started both of us out on 35 Mg. Methadone, which was a joke to me. I don’t know how informed about Methadone you are, but believe me, when someone has a dope habit like I had, 35 Mg. ain’t shit. It was an insult. While we were sitting in the waiting room, I noticed another young couple sitting and feeling the same way I was across the room. We got to talking. They were in the same boat I was in, sick, desperate and hurting. I could see it on their faces. Their pupils. Their hollow eyes. The fear was evident on their faces. They did’t even have a ride home, and they lived in the next county over. Someone was actually in worse shape than we were. Poor kids. So we agreed we would give them a ride home, once all four of us were dosed.
Once we all had taken our dose, we piled into the car. We would be heading for Kingsford Heights, a town in Laporte county, about 45 minutes away. Along the drive, we decided, on a very small outside chance that my friend’s money would have hit her account, to stop by her bank and get a balance. And wouldn’t you know it? Over 3,000 dollars was just sitting in her account since the bank started their business that morning. We withdrew 500 dollars, and turned the car back toward the way we came. Toward Chicago. The money hitting was not a good thing, although it would provide a very brief respite from our current onslaught of dope sickness.
We no longer had a dealer, so we decided to go to our new friends’ guy off of St. Lawrence, on the south side of Chicago. We purchased 400 dollars worth of heroin and 100 dollars worth of crack. We shot up immediately, and smoked the whole way back to northwest Indiana. With our sickness at bay, we very happily made our way into Laporte county. After saying our thank you’s and goodbyes to our new friends, we started back for Valpo. Life didn’t seem too terribly bad, now that we had some dope pumping through our systems. We would not be returning to the clinic anymore. Why would we? We arrive home, and hurridly walk into the house. We had only one thing on our minds, the next shot. My friend checks on her daughter, who was safely watching T.V with my dad, and we made our way back toward my room. After closing the door and taking our coats off, so that we had access to our veins, we prepared to do a shot. I had a small closet off the side of my room, which had folding doors shutting it off, and a small Dora the Explorer picnic table, which we used as our lab. In this room, we smoked, sniffed, and shot our way to oblivion. She went first, while I made sure no one came in to disturb us. After about 5 minutes, she returned to the room, and I took my place at the small table in the closet. I took a hit, and settled down to cook my shot. I took my belt off and wrapped it around my arm. I heard the door to my room open, but since I didn’t hear any words, I figured it was just my friend going out to other parts of the house. It wasn’t. The needle did its job, and so did the heroin. And I nodded slightly. There was a knock on the folding doors to the closet, and I froze. “Yeah?” It was my friend’s daughter. “Steve?” “Are you in there?” “Yeah baby, I’m in here, just give me a minute, I’m just changing.” “My Mommy’s lips are blue.” And again, time stopped.