A Day in the Life of a Heroin Addict

A Fictional Account of Opioid Dependence

Alone in the Dark

Ouch. I'm woken by the unmistakable feeling of a stomach cramp. It's like a kick in the guts. I'm feeling sick, but I've got to act quickly, as it will only get worse the longer I leave it. And I have no heroin left.

Briefly, I think of that methadone program my pal signed up for a couple of months ago. He seems to be doing really well, but I don't know if could deal with quitting heroin right now.

I'll think about it later. Right now, I need to find some H.

It's still pretty cold outside and the sun isn't up yet. I head to the park. Crap. I don't have any cash. And I'm feeling worse. I stop by the convenience store and the kid at the cash register startles awake. I ask for the cigarettes on the bottom shelf, then when he has opened the cash register, I change my mind, and ask for the cigarettes on the top shelf. As he turns and reaches up, my hand darts forward and I grab from the part of the till I know hold the $20s. I make sure to leave one behind. I've pulled off this trick many times, but it still shakes me up to do it. I hand over one of the notes, and try to look calm as he slowly counts out the change. I head straight to the park.

There are no drug dealers around, but there are a couple of guys I know who usually have H. I buy a bag and share a smoke with them right away. The calm, peaceful sensation washes over me, my stomach settles, I feel OK again.

Phew, that was close.

The puff I had won't last long, and I have to score again, soon. But for now, I head home. I can relax until my dealer is up.

I do nothing until it's light outside and the sound of the traffic tells me the day has begun. I rest a bit longer. Then I head back to the park. I can score enough to last me a few days with the money I stole this morning, but then will I even last that long?

In the end, I don't care. If I need more, I'll find a way to score. I get a great deal, and I go home for another toot. That's better. I hide the rest under a floorboard and nod out for the rest of the afternoon.

As I shift back into consciousness, I wonder how I got into this. I wanted so much more from life, and now I seem to just go from day to day, back and forth between intense discomfort, and feeling just OK, only occasionally having a really great heroin high. I've lost weight, and not in a good way -- regular meals are incompatable with the stomach problems that go along with taking heroin every day. I might have some soup later, but not yet. I don't want to throw up.

My mind wanders to people I used to hang out with, and my family. None of them cared about me. None of them would even care how I've ended up. They would probably laugh at me and think I deserve it. Maybe I do -- I certainly don't feel proud of what I did this morning. That kid could lose his job, like the one before him and the girl before that. The guilt starts to crowd out my consciousness. I should have knocked off a bigger store, but the risk of getting caught is so much higher. But that kid didn't deserve to get fired.

Maybe my parents and teachers were right about me, I'm just a bad person. I don't deserve to live. And there's just one way I know to take care of that problem. More heroin. I lift the floorboard and reach in.

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