The world is hard on an addict. Like when you’ve lost it all and you find yourself stranded in the middle of the road with cops on each side and guns up.
They see you at your lowest of lows.
It’s not the first time they’ve run across you, so this time, you’re going in and you know. As you stare at the flashing lights, more humiliated than you’ve been in your entire life, all you can think about are the things they don’t know.
They don’t know that the last time you were in the middle of the road, his hands were around your neck. They don’t know that you have a daughter. She’s not even one. If she was on your hip, would they still have their guns up? They don’t know how much of her life you’ve already missed.
They don’t know who you were five years ago or what life is like when you close your eyes. They don’t know you have Bipolar Disorder and every single day, you fight for your life.
But when the cold metal cuffs hit your wrists and officers take all you have left — your soul — and after you sit at their dinner table and piss in their toilets for nearly a month, as you fight your own demons with chills, suicidal thoughts, and the little bit of faith you have left …
Trust me they know.
You sit in the cold. Everyone knows you’re alone.
You count the days until they can finally let you go back to your own darkness. Because at least it wasn’t splattered all over the front page.
And you swear, you pray, you vow every day,
This time it won’t be the same.
You barely hold on, but somehow, you hold on, counting the days,
1, 2, 3, 4… I can’t do this!
But you do it for 26 days.
Just outside, the thunder rages and the rain beats down. You close your eyes and begin to count,
1, 2, 3, 4… Just four more days and I get to go home. This time it will be different I know!
The clock strikes midnight, and you’re about to drift off to sleep, when the cell door opens and the guard let’s you go home.
3 feet outside the front door, all alone in the storm and the cold, with not one friend or family member within 100 miles, no money, no jacket, missing the warm hands of your child… Home.
What would you do? Where would you go? Almost sober, almost proud of yourself, almost safe, but alone. You go the only place that you know. You go for broke.
No one can say they didn’t know.
It’s easy to blame mental health for addiction. Just like it’s easy to blame an addict. It’s also really easy to overlook our role. You’d get high too, if it happened to you.