We can’t choose who we fall in love with. Three years ago, I knew nothing about addiction, even though I was suffering from alcohol addiction myself, it just hadn’t been brought to light quite yet. I definitely knew nothing about heroin addiction, and would never think to associate myself with a heroin addict or anyone who was into hard drugs like that.
Him and I met through mutual friends in recovery, which is a large scene in South Florida. I remember seeing him on the beach one of the times our group got together and having an undeniable attraction to him. He apparently was in love with me the moment he first saw me – I had no idea.
We Met in Recovery in South Florida
A few months went by and we became closer, eventually going on our first date, which led to many dates, which led to us becoming a couple. His spirit matched my own and every time I looked into his eyes I felt a reflection of myself in a way I had never experienced before. We knew all about each other’s screwed up history – nothing was left in the dark between us.
Since coming to South Florida for addiction recovery, I had met my share of drug addicts, and seen relapses and ODs left and right – the first couple of times I was shocked and sad and tried to help each person, but after the 4th, 5th, 10th time – you are forced to turn a blind eye, tell the people close to you how much you love them, and hope for the best. It isn’t fun – it’s gut wrenching, heartbreaking, and my facebook feed turned into something more like an obituary of friends in recovery who lost their battle.
He was different. The closeness we shared and still do was like nothing I had ever experienced before. So when he overdosed and nearly died, I was in shock, I was mad, I was terrified. I was lost. We had recently decided to move in together and ended up in a horrible flop house in Delray Beach. We were told by a “friend” that it was a solid halfway that we could live in as a couple while we looked for an apartment of our own.
A Halfway House Gone Bad
The first few days were fine, but by the end of the first weekend there were fights in the middle of the night, an overdose, and we realized the houses next door to us were all huge drug dealers. We lived with a padlock on our bedroom door, and there were nights I was so scared about what was going on beyond our door that I didn’t sleep for more than a few minutes.
I knew seeing the drugs and being close to all of that was tough for him. I always knew I would be ok but my worry for him was all consuming. We moved out of that house as soon as we could, and to a friend’s house while we apartment hunted and finally found the perfect place for us and signed the lease.
The Heroin Overdose I didn’t Expect
I thought we were in the clear. I thought things were looking up. So when I was calling him one afternoon and didn’t hear anything from him for over an hour, I was slightly concerned because it was unusual but I wasn’t freaking out – I went back into work and figured I would hear back from him soon. I walked out of a meeting and checked my phone and had missed calls from a mutual friend, and a text that simply said, “Did you know what happened? If not call me ASAP.”
He had taken a huge dose of heroin and was found unresponsive, dead for all intents and purposes. The next hour or so was a blur, I felt every emotion in the book. I confirmed that he was breathing and alive when the ambulance took him away, but that’s all I knew. I drove to three separate hospitals looking for him, calling my best friends and screaming because I wanted to scream at him but I couldn’t reach him.
The only place I stopped was Walgreens to get cigarettes because my mind was a mess, I broke down crying and shaking to the lady at the counter who tried to get me to stay and not drive because I was such a wreck but I had to find him.
I found him at a hospital in Boca Raton. He survived. It wasn’t his time to go. I brought him home and held him all night, and he doesn’t remember a thing from that day. All he could say for himself was that it all got to be too much, seeing everyone using at the halfway, knowing I was unhappy with all the moving around we were doing, and some personal things he had going on. It was going to be his last “hoorah” before we moved into the apt the following weekend. That last hoorah almost killed him.
We moved into our apartment. Things are great, we’re both so happy. I’d love to say my fear of another overdose is gone, but it’s still very prevalent. My heart jumps into my throat every time I get a call from a number I don’t recognize, or if I don’t hear from him for an unusually long time. I have him on a short leash, and I don’t care if anyone else thinks I’m being needy or annoying, all I want is for him to live because he’s the most amazing soul I’ve ever met. I only want good things for him.
Living with and loving a recovering heroin addict is not easy. As I said in the beginning of this article, we can’t choose the ones we love. I will not leave him, I won’t give up on him, and he’s doing well. I am grateful for every single positive moment we have together, and look forward to all the rest that we have in front of us.