To live under the inexplicably heavy cloak of addiction is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. While I’ve never experienced it first hand and won’t pretend that I ever have, I’ve fought along side of someone who has for many years. It is obvious that it is a battle, day in and day out. Every morning, every moment, is a fight as to whether or not you will supply your body with the very thing it has become dependent on to survive.
For you, heroin was air.
We don’t think twice about breathing. Our brains have deemed it necessary because it satisfies a need. Immediately following our entrance into this world our tiny bodies searched for an element we didn’t yet know existed. We stumbled upon our first breath of oxygen in an attempt to let out a scream, and noticed an instant, overwhelming attraction to this feeling of being oxygenated. Our brains were rewired in the blink of an eye and from this moment forward, we knew what we had to do to survive. If we had tried to fight the next breath that followed, our bodies would immediately recognize the agony we would experience as every cell in our body would be deprived of a substance it quickly became dependent on, and we would succumb to this natural instinct— to inhale.
Just like that, in attempt to let out a scream and calm the multitudes of anxieties within your soul, you stumbled upon heroin. Not knowing that genetics weren’t in your favor, you happened to find an attraction to this substance a little more so than the next guy. Within moments, just like when you took your first breath, dopamine flooded your body signaling to your brain that this stuff- this stuff was good. It satisfied a need. From then on, every moment of every day, your body knew what it needed in order to avoid the possible agony that would again, just like with air, follow without it. So, you inhaled. Over and over again.
The point is no longer whether or not the decision you made to quiet a scream was right or wrong. It happened, you’re human. There’s no going back, no undoing it. All that mattered now, was when you would take your next breath.
Looking back, the irony of the situation is painful. Unknowingly, the last decision you made wasn’t to feed your body’s desire for oxygen, but for heroin. Overtime, the two had become synonymous, making it difficult to decipher which was more necessary in the moments of your body’s intense hunger. As it pulsed through your veins, your breaths became shallow, and you stopped yearning for the very air that was truly vital for your survival. This time, the high was so great that it reminded you of your very first breath, only to rob you of your next.
In loving memory of William Jared Harrison 10/11/1987 – 06/23/2017