Monday, June 24, 2013




On our very first date at the Suns game, we watched very little of the game because we talked about our whole lives the entire time. When I was asking Blake about what he did for work, he seemed to have a pretty large gap between one thing he did and his current business. I asked him why that was.
He took a deep breath and explained to me that he went to rehab.

On our first date? He was telling me all about how he went to rehab? Really? 

He explained that he got into an accident, was prescribed pain killers, and then got hooked. He explained how his life spiraled downward from that point on. He was surrounded by bad influences, felt alone, felt desperate, and didn't like who he had become. Finally after realizing how far his casual second income, pain relief, and partying habit had come, he agreed to go to rehab to get his life back.

I had two choices at that point: I could smile, thank him politely for a nice night and scurry back to California or I could continue this date with the guy who just revealed more skeletons than I've ever seen in anyone's closet. I didn't know whether to run away or admire him for his honesty. I chose to do the latter.

Maybe that makes me crazy, but I saw something in him that night. I saw a man that just wanted a new start. I watched him explain what he learned, what he wanted for himself, and his determination to become the person that he always knew he was capable of becoming. I looked in his eyes and I felt something powerful. I knew I'd be missing out on something amazing if I walked away. So I stayed.


When his mom told me he had an overdose, I assumed it was from pain killers because that's all I ever knew that he did. I had to call her back and check it wasn't some crazy rumor. When his friend said he couldn't believe it was heroin, I snapped back that it wasn't! Blake never did heroin! Who started that rumor? But sure enough, it was. 


Heroin to me always seemed like THE WORST drug you could ever do. Only a homeless person would even consider doing heroin. If you did heroin, you must LOOK like you did heroin. I'm not sure what that "look" would be, but I knew it was probably distinct. The idea that Blake, my charming, sweet, preppy boyfriend ever touched heroin was ridiculous. But when I found out he did, my world crumbled. I dated a person who did heroin. What did that say about me? Am I a horrible judge of character?

I've had a lot of people from all different places contact me about the note I posted on Facebook. Two weeks ago I had my first heroin user contact me. I used this as an opportunity to learn more about it.  This man explained heroin in a way that finally humanized Blake for me.

He explained that heroin was basically the same thing as Oxycotin, only much cheaper and more accessible. He said that if you don't have a prescription for it, each pill could cost $40-60, while a balloon of heroin (which contained roughly the same as two pills) was only around $20. When you're addicted enough to pain killers or running low on money (or both) heroin was not only an option, but actually an inevitable one. 


So now, instead of thinking Blake was evil or I was an idiot, I immediately started to feel awful for him. Of course he turned to heroin, it completely made sense. How awful. What started out as a doctor prescribed and suggested form of rehabilitation from an injury eventually sent him on this path. The combination of the accessibility due to his prescription, the extremely addictive nature of Oxycontin, and his addictive personality, created a perfect storm. Couple that with being in college and living a party lifestyle... my heart breaks for him.

I know he was not completely powerless in all of this. He definitely made choices that got him to that point. But were the choices ever really his? Is addiction so strong that even your conscious choices aren't really yours anymore?

All I know is that I will never again assume anything about drugs and the people that use them. I will never understand the true power of an addiction and how it renders people completely helpless. It is only when the person acknowledges that he or she is helpless that any progress can be made. How much pride must you swallow to admit you're helpless? It's amazing to me what a person has to go through to get out from under something like that. 

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