One day I had finally had enough of the heroin-chic lifestyle. I had had enough of waking up sick every day, sweating yet freezing, skin crawling off, stomach in knots, yawning excessively, eyes watering, feeling like I had the bubonic plaque. I had had enough of spending my life waiting; waiting to get money, waiting for my dealer to come through, waiting to get home to do the dope, waiting for my ritual to be over, waiting for it to hit me, waiting for the sickness to come on again and do it all over. I had had enough of it all.
So I decided to get on methadone. Methadone is a medication used for heroin users to help them get off heroin. It’s an opiate as well, but it’s given under the care of a doctor and helps to relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings. If handled the right way, it can be a lifesaver.
I went to the clinic and they drug tested me and I tested positive, and they went about their business of getting me on methadone. I took my first dose and would like to say I got my life together, but that wouldn’t be very interesting.
Jack didn’t get on methadone until a week after me, so I still copped and used for the first week. Around the same time I got on methadone, my dad decided he had had enough of me living in his house for free without paying the bills, so he kicked me out (even though he still wasn’t living there). Jack and I moved in with my mom.
And everything seemed to be looking up. I got two jobs and Jack got a job and I started doing my artwork. I would make sculpture-like pieces out of found items, like a cat out of car parts. I gained weight and weighed in at the most ever in my entire life – 122 pounds. I started getting my portrait painted by a local artist and actually left the house every day. It was summer and things were wonderful.
Methadone, however, wasn’t so wonderful. Looking back, I know it saved my life, but I know now that I got a little high from it. Every day I would have to go to the clinic in Atlantic City and wait in line with a million other cranky addicts to get my dose. I had to take random drug tests and attend group once a week. It wasn’t easy.
Jack and I weren’t doing so well. We started drifting apart. I wanted to do things and he didn’t; I wanted to live our lives and he wanted to stay at home; I felt I wasn’t getting enough attention and he thought he was giving plenty. In August when I was twenty-two, I broke up with him.
It wasn’t a clean, mutual breakup. He was devastated. He cried, I cried.
But he didn’t have anywhere to go, so he continued to live with me. Which may seem weird to those on the outside, but we remained best friends (and continued to have sex) so it was pretty normal for us.
Nate and I had stopped sleeping together when Jack and I got together. But that didn’t stop Nikki from resenting him for it, among other things, and ultimately breaking up with him the summer I was still on heroin and living in Mays Landing. He made some advances but overall we just stayed friends. He dated some other people and I was (mostly) happy with Jack. But once Jack and I broke up, Nate and I found our way back to each other.
That was in August. I found out I was pregnant in November.
Pregnancy was not good to me. I had morning sickness all day, every day. I got stretch marks and had phantom pains. But I loved it – I loved every second of growing a human being inside of my body.