Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SWEET SMACKDOWN

A small shiver hit me today at work, when word came down that Cory Monteith died of a heroin overdose. Of course he did, I said to myself, because say what you will about the use and misuse of drugs, there are few things that will kill you faster that heroin. All it takes is one bogus bindle, one bad shot, and bing — the hoped-for nods end up being your ugly swan song.

I've been aware of drugs for most of my life; you can't really grow up in L.A. without understanding that drugs, both legal and illicit, make much of the world go 'round. And it's never been a secret that I know my way around a few substances. It's the gonzo in me.

What was a secret, for the better part of 20 years, was my affection for that one particular pleasure. It helped me sleep and took away a lot of the bad dreams that have bothered me for much of my adult life. I never viewed it as an addiction (stupid) and I always figured I had it under control (also stupid). As long as I didn't use a needle I figured I wasn't a junky, and after I descended to that level I convinced myself it was simply a better delivery system — which it was, but Jesus, even typing that excuse makes me cringe. Shameful. Stupid.

It was a solitary vice, something I hid and did to escape. I kept it mostly to myself because even my fellow party pals would have frowned on it — it's one thing to do a little something of this, a little bit of that, but smack is where most users draw the line, no pun intended.

I gave it up with a lot of relief and without a blink of regret a couple years ago — proof that love indeed can conquer anything — then fell back into black days and ways when the world turned dark. There were a few times then that I thought I would wake up dead. I'm glad I didn't.

I'm clean now. I intend to die clean. Truth: I sometimes miss it, and it's still a struggle, but I have a powerful motivator: I keep in mind how much of my life was ruined by a corrosive habit that never fueled my creativity. I never wrote anything worth a damn while strung out. I only fucked up a lot of good and great things that could have been. My large regret: not making better choices in the first place. My small consolation: I won't do that again.

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