It is not always easy to see that someone we love is an addict and needs help.
It may not be easy to see the signs of addiction. It would be far easier to understand that place a person gets to when they are using drugs if you could see what was actually going on in their lives. Here we take a small peek into a day in the life of an addict for just a glimpse of what drugs really do.
Jeremy – A Picture of an Addicts Life
Jeremy is 22 years old. He lives in an apartment he shares with two other friends in Las Vegas, Nevada. The apartment is just minutes from the Las Vegas strip, in a semi seedy neighborhood called “Burn City”. Jeremy used to share the place with his girlfriend, Claire and her friend Jenna. Recently, Claire has moved out after a fight that went way past midnight. Now, Jeremy lives with Jenna and her friend/ dealer Chaz in the dilapidated remains of a once happy home and a failed romance.
The breakup is one long series of emotional blast furnace, train wrecks that have left Jeremy scarred and depleted. He spends his days grinding away at life, trying to make up for his loss by romancing the finest street pharmaceuticals stolen money can buy. Jeremy is an addict. His favorite best friend is a grungy form of Mexican heroin called Black Tar. He supplements this with an even grungier form of speed called methamphetamine. Add to that a cornucopia of pills and alcohol and Jeremy is able to stay (for the most part) comfortably numb and smiling.
There are no typical days for Jeremy. This is due to the fact that it is impossible to describe the periods of dark/ light, up down, ecstatic misery that Jeremy dwells in as “days” or “nights”. That would require a common frame of reference such as a clock with 24 hours in it and agreed upon periods of sleep and wakefulness. Jeremy and his friends stopped keeping track of time a long time ago. Now they keep track of things like rigs, foil, lighters, dope, pipes, come ups and g-rides. Jeremy has no time for time. He just needs to avoid the cops long enough to get high-er and wage veritable denial of service warfare against his ex-girlfriend’s phone.
Jeremy tilts the ragged foil scrap over a flickering flame while trying to suck poisonous gasses through a straw. His phone lies next to him, redialing Claire’s number for the ten billionth time. If he could just talk to her, not her voice mail, maybe she would see that he really loves her. He didn’t mean to hurt her with the sneaking around, doing heroin in the bathroom, lying and constant verbal and physical abuse. That wasn’t him. Really. It was just that he couldn’t get a proper hit or a good enough bowl of meth to get him into the right frame of mind. He calls again, invigorated by the dope and his new found hope. Come on Claire, just this one time…
Jeremy’s Mom has been trying to call him all day. When Jeremy decides to plug his phone in and give the cellular harassment a break, His Mom finally gets through with a nerve shattering claxon of rings. Jeremy reluctantly picks up the phone, hits talk and says hello.
Mom- “Hello, Jeremy, my God! What in Heaven’s name is going on?
Jeremy- “Ah… Yeah, Mom… Hi, I guess.”
Mom- “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you all day! Do you know its three o’clock? You were supposed to come over and help me fix my tire this morning.”
Jeremy- “Mom? Was that today?”
Mom- “Yes it was today. How do you think I am supposed to go anywhere with a flat tire, Jeremy?”
Jeremy- “Mom, I’m sorry. I just… well, you see we ate at this hole in the wall Mexican joint last night and I must have eaten something bad. I’ve been feeling like Hell all day. Barely slept last night and I just managed to lie down for a while without puking.”
Mom- “Oh, Honey… I really needed your help. Can I trust you to come over at five? I’ll cook dinner.”
Jeremy- “Sure Mom. That sounds good. “
Jeremy drops the phone and falls back into bed. He never actually goes to his Mom’s place. It’s the same old thing.
It’s dark. There are voices and the incessant flick flick flick of lighters. Jeremy stumbles out of bed and walks into the living room to find a motley crew of refugees huddled around the coffee table. They flick lighters and take hits off of foil or glass pipes, turning the ambient air into a dull haze of bluish, blackish smog that you could lose a ship in. Jeremy’s roommate, Jenna motions for him to join her as she takes a hit from the foil.
Jenna- “Pfffffffft… Sup, Babe? C’mere and hit this. It’s bomb black from Darren.”
Jeremy saunters over and half collapses into the couch next to her. He likes Jenna. Really likes her. His thoughts are filled with fantasies about her and what they would do together…
Jenna- “Here, take it. You can finish that one and I’ll make another.”
Babe. She called me Babe, Jeremy thinks. That’s what Claire used to call him. Deep down inside Jeremy knows it’s a ruse. Jenna doesn’t really like him that way. She’s into dealers and fraud artists. Guys with neck tattoos and police scopes and deep faith in Hitler. Jenna loves her sociopaths, that’s for sure. Right now there are three of them sitting on Jeremy’s living room floor, smoking chemicals and belching toxic exhaust like old, worn out Chryslers.
One of the sociopaths, call him Deke, mentions something about this car that’s been sitting in the Green Valley Ranch parking lot for like four days now. It’s a Benz and he could see the stuff inside, just waiting to be had. They discuss possible ways to hijack the car for the next three hours while taking hit after hit, mixing meth and heroin into a venomous slurry of brain lubricating courage enhancer. Since Jeremy is the only one with a legal car, gas and a license, he is elected to drive them to the parking lot and follow them out once the Benz is hot wired and turned into a proper g-ride. That’s sociopath for stolen car.
Fourteen hours later (yeah, it took them that long to actually get out of the house) Jeremy is sitting in the detox tank at the Clark County Detention Center, awaiting further processing. He is accompanied by two filthy bums and another heroin addict who sits draped over a toilet bowl, constantly vomiting. Jeremy is deep in a swirling sickness, suffocating in the throes of Hellish withdrawal. His Mom doesn’t know where he is. He has no money for bail and the Mexicans here in the county jail don’t look to kindly on uptown white kids, sick from H. All Jeremy can think of is
“Why, Claire? Why did you have to leave me like this? Wait, where is Jenna? Oh, God…”
This is what a typical day looks like to someone who is lost in a sea of drugs and drug users. Once a person finds themselves in that crowd, all they see is antisocial, career criminals who really don’t care about anything. Even still, there actually is hope for Jeremy. Though thoroughly disappointed, his Mom loves him with all her heart. She just doesn’t understand what is going on with her son. She can’t fathom why he would hang out with people like this or do the things he does. Still, she desperately wants nothing more than to help him.
To all Moms and Dads out there, there is help. We can help.