"Rock on--gold dust woman
Take your silver spoon,
And dig your grave"
I was fifteen years old and hanging out with two of my closest friends - *Sarah and Sandy. We'd just smoked some weed and they'd gone off to the bathroom while I listened to music.
I didn't think anything of it - maybe they'd had something to discuss. We were, as usual, in a house full of friends, so needing privacy wasn't unusual.
I was a needy, emotional fifteen-year old who longed to be needed - I lived to be part of something. They accepted me, they loved me, so being included in their weekly sleepovers was enough for me.
Sandy emerged from bathroom a few minutes later and asked me to join her. We filed back into the bathroom.
Sandy said, "We were talking it, trying to decide if we should include you. We decided we wouldn't want to share this with anyone but you. If you don't want to, that's fine, but we thought we'd offer."
The decision was up to me, but I knew that whatever it was, if I did it, I was in. They wanted me to be their third, a best friend! Sarah laid some stuff out on the bathroom counter, then moved.
I don't think I hesitated.
I thought "Well, hell, coke seems to be a high class drug of choice. Whitney Houston does it." (Which, in hindsight, is RIDICULOUS).
I replied, "Sure, I'll try it. I mean, you guys'll look out for me, right?" They said they would, so Sarah cut lines for us. Up the nose they went.
I was hooked.
I was a new person. I lit up. Sarah and Sandy hugged me as we re-joined the party.
I was different. I was outgoing. I was sexy. I was alluring. I got hit on all night - it was FANTASTIC. Sarah and Sandy seemed so PROUD of me: I belonged. We ended the night by streaking down Sarah's road at 4:30 AM. Glorious.
We did coke again, first thing the next morning. I felt more awake and productive than ever.
At first, I only used cocaine with them - a few times a month. Whenever we partied without cocaine, I wondered, "When do we get more? How do we get more?" When we did get more, it was gone too soon.
Then, I got my heart broken by the guy I'd given my virginity to. I wanted something, anything, to mask the hurt. Sarah gave me cocaine - my own eighth of a gram. I stretched it out for a week and half. Then it was gone and I had to feel again. Sarah and Sandy didn't want me to use coke to fix things, and since they were the only people I knew who did coke, and they'd stopped, I quit.
My junior year rolled around and they relaxed once I got into another serious relationship. We got together with our boyfriends one weekend and sat around getting drunk, stoned, and tweaked out of our minds.
Then Sandy dropped out.
Then Sarah dropped out and stopped using.
Eight or nine months went by - I didn't touch coke. I thought about it. I wished for it. But Sarah and Sandy had gone their own ways so I rarely saw them. Suddenly, I was the head of our group of friends.
I started senior year, promising myself that I'd stay away from coke. I knew I enjoyed it too much - I didn't want to become an addict.
I miscarried that night.
She supplied me with small doses during school. After school, we'd go to her house and spend hours getting stoned and sneaking into her bathroom to do lines. I knew she had sex with the dealers for free coke, but I didn't care.
Don't believe me? Let me tell you how a normal day would work for me:
"Wake up in the morning
See your sunrise - loves - to go down"
I'd wake at 6:30 for school and do a line of coke to help me wake up. I'd get ready, put on giant sunglasses to hide my eyes from my mom and she'd drop me off at school.
Every other morning, I worked at a church day care for my child development class. I'd be sure to do extra lines those mornings so I wouldn't have to sneak to the bathroom while watching the kids.
On the days I didn't work at the daycare, I'd go to the bathroom halfway through first period for a line. Every two hours, I'd be back in the bathroom. My teachers knew I had gallbladder issues, I never had to ask permission - I could get up and go, which made using during school a hell of a lot easier.
I'd leave school between 1:30 and 2 and go to Ann's house for coke. Slowly, that stopped. She'd bring me my coke and I'd go straight home to be alone, use and not worry about anyone for hours. By the beginning of October, I resented having to share my coke.
December rolled around. I'd missed too much school; I wasn't going to graduate. Oddly, in spite of my drug abuse, I was still a good student. My grades suffered because of my health issues.
I'd have gallbladder attacks in the middle of the night, so I'd spend the night in the ER, where I'd get a shot of painkiller and go home. When I didn't sleep the following day away, I dragged myself to school and tried. But I was exhausted - I'd fall asleep in class the days I didn't use. Soon, I started picking classes to sleep through.
I knew I was going to drop out of school.
Christmas break began. I spent the first night celebrating with Ann doing an inordinate amount of coke Two, maybe three, eight balls? I don't remember. She talked me into snorting meth, but I puked and told her to keep it - I'd rather have coke.
That night's a blur. We kept using - eventually, I remember saying "I don't feel right" and...nothing.
Three minutes later, I came to, Ann's sister was doing CPR on me. My heart had stopped - I was dead for a full three minutes.
I sobered up and thought "Ann'll probably call an ambulance; I should sit up and let her know I'm okay."
I turned my head and there was Ann, on the bed...doing more blow. I felt like I'd been punched. We broke up that night, I stormed out and went home.
We haven't spoken since.
I told my mom that I wasn't going to be graduating. She agreed that high school wasn't a good idea. If I wasn't going to graduate, I wanted out. When school resumed, I dropped out.
I spent the next few months getting clean and sober. I applied to the Gateway to College program, was accepted, and started in the fall of 2007. I began dating my girlfriend, Amber.
Things were pretty fucking great.
Within weeks of starting the program, I met another contact and was using again. But I maintained an A/B honor roll, notoriously hard to achieve. I had perfect attendance.
In November of 2007, Amber was in a car accident and died at the scene. I was supposed to be with her that day, but had overslept after a four-day long coke binge. My boyfriend, a mutual friend, called with the news.
I was shattered. When I'd woken up, she was signed onto AIM, and two hours later, I learned she was gone. Forever. I broke. My dad said I was screaming, loud, wordless screams. My mom called it "keening."
I don't remember.
After her death, I was sick for days. I missed her funeral. I couldn't keep anything down so I couldn't use and numb myself. My perfect attendance was shot.
I got back to school and immediately threw myself into two things: drugs and school. If my drug use had been frequent, it had become obsessive. Every twenty minutes, I hiked off to the bathroom for bigger and bigger lines. Anything to not feel. Anything to function.
I finished the semester with a 2.5 GPA and one hell of an addiction. Over Christmas break, I met my (sexually abusive and now ex-) boyfriend. I told him flat-out that I used coke and didn't intend to stop. He still asked me out.
I told him, hanging out at his apartment, that I intended to use. He had a choice - I'd do it in front of him or go to the bathroom. He let me do it in front of him. During spring break, we took a vacation, and I got him to try coke. I used hardcore until my contact and I had a falling out. So I quit coke. I puked and cried and shook. It was terrible.
I graduated Gateway in August of 2008, with nearly a 3.0 GPA.
I started using again. From September to December, I used every day - every fifteen minutes. I slept in my parent's car, then on the floor at my grandmother's house. I weighed maybe 100 pounds - I never ate. I was self-destructing.
On Christmas Day of 2008, my friend and I had just done some coke. An absolute certainty hit me: if I didn't stop - stop right now, tonight - I would die.
It wasn't "You MIGHT die, or you might go to jail, or you might get sick or robbed or stabbed." No.
It was You Will Die.
I went back to my grandmother's house, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried. I was terrified.
I quit cocaine.
So far it's been "for good." December 25, 2011 marked three years of sobriety. I still say it's the best Christmas present I've ever gotten. (Coming in a CLOSE second is my fiance, who helps me through it all)
I still call myself an addict. I still identify myself as an addict. I am a RECOVERING addict, but an addict all the same. If I ever, for a second, start believing that I am no longer an addict, I know that I will relapse...and I will die.
So I soldier on, I fight the cravings, and I talk about it. I talk about it a lot. I admit that I am an addict. I came clean to my mother in 2010. Since then, it's been public knowledge.
It's time to make it more public.
My name is Ali.
I was once the Gold Dust Woman Stevie Nicks sang about. I am a recovering addict.
But I am recovering.
"Did she make you cry?
Make you break down?
Shatter your illusions of love?
Is it over now? Do you know how?
Pick up the pieces and go home?"12 Comments