Misery loves company, and you can never trust an addict. These are two lessons I learned the hard way, lessons that were reinforced every day, when my mother served me breakfast in bed, on a plate of tin foil. She had come to live with my grandfather and me in Great Britain. I worked nights, and when she couldn't wait any longer, my mother took my debit card and mobile phone to score us a bag of heroin and a stone of crack each. For a junkie with no income, getting a score just for doing the legwork is as sweet a deal as one can get.
With a tin foil tube in my mouth, I followed the beatle of brown she burned, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, and felt the warm embrace of a morning fix. At that particularly shitty and desperately lonely time of my life, it was the closest thing I had to love. What needs to be clarified right now is that I never used to be an addict. I may have flown close to the sun, with wild parties, illicit drugs, and bad boys. But I never had an addictive nature. It wasn't until I made the catastrophic decision to fly across the Atlantic to Texas that my world fell apart. My seemingly chivalrous cowboy turned out to be a Nazi crystal meth addict.
After a coerced marriage, months of misery, and daily intravenous meth use, I returned to friends and family who disowned me. Only my mother and her dealers were there for me. Take two people, one an addict and one not. Put them in a bed and serve them daily meals of heroin for a year, and the result will be physical addiction to opiates, with withdrawal symptoms you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
I soon realized that I was a slave, working just to give my wages to my mother’s dealer. All possessions of value ended up pawned. Eventually I admitted to my granddad (the man who raised me) that I was a heroin addict. He banned my mother from the house and helped me get on methadone. I’m slowly rebuilding my life, but from time to time, I wake up expecting a breakfast of brown.
Sonia Kirpalani is the author of Fidelity. She can be found on Facebook.