Merijane muses: Love the addict, hate the addiction

By Merijane BureauA salty Maine chick’s musings on life’s joys, heartbreaks & curveballsThis week in the news, we saw yet another talented stage & screen actor taken too soon by the life-destroying drug called Heroin. But this blog post isn’t about Philip Seymour Hoffman, or Corey Monteith, or any other famous person who died too soon.  It’s about the anonymous Heroin addicts right here in our beloved State of Maine, who aren’t going to make it as far into their hopes and dreams as Philip Seymour Hoffman did.  All because of Heroin Addiction.

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“At some point, there is typically a breaking point where the amount of money one needs to be able to maintain staving off withdrawal symptoms requires a tremendous amount of assets and juggling.  It’s an eventuality that, at some point, that’s not going to be working anymore.”

 ~ Guy Cousins, Director of the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

(source: Bangor Daily News article, “A Growing Addiction: Heroin overdoses on the rise in Maine” 6/23/13)

Heroin is a ruthless predator, a deadly snake hiding in the grass, waiting for you to come a little too close so it can coil itself around you, strangling the life out of everything you’ve worked for, hoped for, dreamed of.

Heroin is a greedy robber with no conscience.  It will steal your rent money, your food, your heat, your lights and your grandmother’s jewelry without blinking an eye.  It will kidnap your soul, taking you away from your family, even when you’re in the same room.  Heroin addiction will lead you to do unspeakable things that you’ll be ashamed of.  It will turn you into someone you barely recognize anymore, someone you despise.

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Deaths from Heroin overdoses rose 45% between 2006 and 2010 in this country.  In this state, Heroin was to blame for the loss of at least six lives between 2010 and 2011.  That number jumped to 21 deaths in 2012, and the numbers are still climbing higher.  The MDEA reports 99 heroin busts in the first five months of 2013. Heroin use is getting more dangerous, more prevalent, and more deadly every year.  There is no such thing as a “good batch” of Heroin.

 “What’s It Like To Be You?”

My Interview with a DEA Agent…

 Me: “What’s the best part of the job?”

DEA Agent:  “The freedom, and the people I work with.”

Me:  “What’s the worst part of your job?”

DEA Agent:  “Seeing how drugs and welfare abuse are ruining our young kids; seeing the nasty environment these kids grow up in.”

Me: “What’s your dream job?”

DEA Agent:  “a well-paid hunting & fishing guide.”

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My Interview with a recovering heroin addict…

Me:  “What made you start using heroin?”

Former Heroin User:  “I was addicted to Oxy’s, and they’re a lot more expensive than heroin.  My tolerance started to grow, and I needed more to get high.  I couldn’t afford it, so I started using heroin instead.”

Me:  “What made you quit?”
Former Heroin User:  “Seeing what it was doing to my partner, my kids, my body, my whole life.  I was watching all the money I worked so hard for go to drugs, seeing it getting worse, not better.”

Me: “What’s the hardest part of going through withdrawals?”

Former Heroin User“Not being able to sleep for weeks; feeling like you’re crawling out of your skin all the time, the nausea, the flood of emotions.  During withdrawals, you’re ‘starving the beast,’ so to speak, and he’s pissed about it.  So it’s not fun, but it gets easier every day. Surround yourself with supportive people.  You’ll start noticing you have money again, reasons to laugh again.  You’ll start hating yourself a little less, feeling hope again.  So just don’t give up on the hard days.  It’s definitely worth it.”

Me: “What is your dream job?”

Former Heroin User: “A Fish & Game Warden.”

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I find it ironic that the DEA Agent and the Former Heroin User have very similar dream jobs, don’t you?  They both care about kids.  They both think Heroin is a terrible drug.  We have so much in common with each other.  We need to work together to get rid of this awful problem for our children.  Heroin itself is the true criminal here.  If only we could put IT on trial and give IT the death sentence.

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If you think your Heroin addiction won’t hurt your loved ones, you are wrong.  Your family and friends have a ringside seat to the cruelty and damage this drug causes, as they stand by helplessly, unable to “save” you from its powerful grip.

 Loving a person who is addicted to Heroin feels a lot like being a passenger in a car that is careening out of control, and the addict is in the driver’s seat.  You want to help steer back onto the right course, but you cannot reach the wheel; only they can.

Supporting a loved one through rehab and recovery doesn’t mean fixing their problems for them.  It means holding their hand, loving them unconditionally as they deal with the problem and choose to move forward.  If you think you can do it for them, you are wrong.

If you think Heroin will take away your pain, you are wrong.  It will only add new problems to your life to deal with, and it will soon tower above any problem you thought you had.

As far as healing emotionals scars and wounds is concerned…you’ve gotta feel it to heal itbut you can do it. 

You are much stronger than you think.

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A special thank you to both the DEA Agent and the Former Heroin User for taking the time to talk to me about such a topic.  Much appreciated.