I've Seen the Needle

by Alexandra Fish, , April 21, 2009

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After a being in rehab, the strangest things can evoke that horrible itch to get high. And by itch, I mean quite literally an itch inside of you, like an uncontrollable urge that you just can't handle. It can come in the form of insecurities, bad moods or the good moods of others who want to pass along the wonderful feelings that a needle and its contents can bring.

A few days ago I was looking for my light blue Philosophy notebook in my twin brother's bedroom. I was looking in his desk because I assumed he borrowed it to study with. He never seems to do his own work but I, and my new-found sense of freedom from my former captive, happened to love accomplishment. While I was digging through the mess that he called a desk, I couldn't find it. Crumpled paper with doodles, broken bus-yellow pencils, crumbs, dust and hair shed off from his golden brown hair; but no light-blue notebook. After thirty seconds of real hard searching and a silver glint caught my eye: a syringe.

The second I saw it, I froze. My feet seemed to melt into the floor and my face started to tingle. I looked down and my black Converses had sunk into the floor. I officially was at the beck and call of this syringe. I closed my eyes and imagined all the fun times I've had while being on drugs. A smile crept onto my face. My hands started to shake and my knees got weak. The pink nail polish on my fingers burned and I ran my fingers through my short dark hair. I wasn't who I had worked so hard to be. This physical transformation snapped me into reality.

I opened my eyes quickly and fell into his bed. I knew this would happen if I was ever reminded of my drug-fueled past. My drug counselor had told me exactly the feelings I would get. She didn't know me though. Being naïve and confident after successfully completing a stint in a rehabilitation facility, I thought I would be able to walk away. I was better than the institution that held me. They didn't know my thoughts, my feelings or me. I was better than that sterile, uncaring place.

The image of this syringe would not leave my head. I had the knowledge and tools, taught by my peers and drug counselors, to overcome these physical and emotional blocks, but I couldn't. And better yet I didn't want to because deep down I loved the connection I had to my addiction. I missed it and I once again craved it. I licked my lips and sighed. The comfort of addiction had risen up me like a warm shower on a cold day.
But then I started to wonder; why did my brother have this in his desk? He was always clean and always encouraged me to be clean as well. I started to panic because I never wanted him to get involved in this mess. I opened the drawer and snatched the needle. I ran into my room and made that tragic phone call. While I was on the phone I made sure that my dealer would never talk to my brother again. If I could sacrifice my weak body, I could save his.

I, after all, know I will always be weak. For some girls my age, weakness means drunk dialing an ex-boyfriend, puking on top of a bar or getting turned away from a bar because of an under-age identification. Not me, I was trapped by chains, which had been loosened by rehab, but not broken. I would be letting my parents down, but I'm old enough to make my own decisions. They made their decisions when my father walked out and then came home crying to my mother, claiming temporary insanity. I wanted to tell him that insanity isn't temporary. I know this better than anyone.

So I shoot up. I watch the tiny pool of blood where the needle once hung. I un-strap the belt. My thoughts become clearly unclear. I run my fingers along my face and I feel beautiful. I'm strong. Confident. Smart. I rule the world. I won't trade this feeling for anything. I stand up and walk across the carpet that has felt the steps of my multiple personalities and stare into the mirror. I am so pale, I can almost see my veins. My hair looks like it needs to be washed. Purple circles under my eyes seem to form under my once alive brown eyes. The tears come. I lean over the old dresser that I inherited from my parents' first years of marriage, and stare at the feelings coming out of my face. Drugs: my confidante, my best friend, my worst enemy, and above all, the only thing that has always been there for me.


As I write this from my tiny bed in a rehab facility, those feelings and emotions I got because I laid my eyes on one tiny little object still overcome me. Looking back to that day, I can't understand that things that drove me to shoot up again. I am clear once more, at least for the time being. I am just waiting for the monster that lives inside me to wake up and breath is delicious fire on me again. I should be in class right now at the community college that participates with my drug counseling. Twenty years old and two years clean isn't exactly the best start to a prosperous life. But that is what I had to work with so I worked as hard as I could. Finally, I was proud of something. I was almost finished and I had started to think about applying to get my bachelor's degree. But instead, here I am; in rehab, sitting in my room, thinking about the choice I made, all because I found that syringe in a desk drawer.

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