A gorgeous Spring day is shining through the slightly open window in my kitchen as the light breeze brushes my bare legs. There’s an iced coffee to my right as I type listening to hits from the ’60s and ’70s. I’m getting that right Sh-boom as the coffee kicks in to take you into the next portion of my story. There is plenty to tell you, so I want to set the scene:

I had just arrived at an apartment in Gramercy, an east side neighborhood in Manhattan. There was a decision in front of me. I was so angry and resentful at my boyfriend Collin. I was going to use drugs to get even with him. I wanted him to feel my pain and understand what I was going through, and I thought that harming myself even further was the solution. There was a pipe in front of me held by a very handsome man. I was going to shower where I would decide whether to use the drug that had proved to destroy me in the past.

“Wanna hit this first?” he asked. 

“I was gonna rinse off first, if that’s okay.”

“This’ll help,” he responded temptingly.

Boom! One hit and I was back in it. I showered and made myself ready for the rollercoaster ahead. I rinsed away my six months of sobriety and as it went down the drain, I could only think about how free my first few moments of being high again felt. 

I emerged from the bathroom with the intent to use more and get more guys over. I was on a mission. I felt a false sense of being powerful. The host was so kind, offering everything often to me and folding to my will. I’d smoke cigarettes out the window and jump into the sex here and there. And like always, it wasn’t enough. I was bored quickly and wanted to move on to hotter guys and a newer apartment, so that’s exactly what I did.

There were people contacting me every step of the way. People were asking if I was okay. I wasn’t and as much as I tried convincing myself that I was, I felt otherwise. 

At the next place, the guys were even sexier and I was in still trying to convince myself this is what I wanted to be doing. I had hot guys around me, but none of them really cared about me. I can’t say I really cared about them either. I only cared about what they could provide for me. So when we had enough people there and really started to use drugs harder, they decided that I should do the drugs a certain way. And moments after I did, I felt sick. I hadn’t used drugs in a while and my tolerance was lower, but I need that amount to feel anything. It was all catching up to me. 

I ended up in the bathroom vomiting and feeling incredibly ill. When I came to, I showered and brushed my teeth then gargled with mouth wash. Then as if nothing happened, I continued using every drug these guys had. 

Then I was back to where I was before I stopped using meth in 2014. There was paranoia, remorse, and guilt. What was I doing? I kept checking the peep hole on the door to see if people were coming. I heard sirens that weren’t there, and when there were, I assumed they were coming for me. I was talking nonsense, and it came to the point where the guys I was with thought it was a good idea that I left.

I asked if I could pee before leaving, and as I tried, I felt scared. Collin had been calling and trying to reach me, knowing what I was doing. He was upset that I would give up my sobriety, but I felt like he was guilting me for not being the perfect person he thought I imagined myself. I was trying to urinate, but nothing was happening. I was in the bathroom for an hour trying to pee. I was ignoring texts and phone calls. My thoughts were in a million places. I wanted to stay where I was instead of going out into the day where people could see me. 

I had one of two choices at that point: I could go home or I could choose to go use more. Something outside of myself guided me home where I would order Chinese food and watch “First Wives Club” on repeat until I could fall asleep. 

I would wake here and there and feel lost, but the trouble with using drugs is that I still had to show up for work at that gym and try, to appear like I was totally okay. Luckily I had a friend there who was also sober. He told me to stop acting crazy and go do my job. I was hearing voices and thought everyone was out to get me. I just had to get through the day to get to my next meeting. Everything was going to fall apart unless I picked myself back up.

It wasn’t helpful or productive for me to focus on the relationship. Instead, I just had to take myself to that meeting to sit between two people I trusted. That’s exactly what I did next, and when I raised my hand to share, I began to weep. I was mortified. I was terrified. I was stuck in incomprehensible demoralization. I didn’t want to use drugs because I loved my sober life. I just didn’t like the situation I was in. 

While everyone who was sober in my life showed compassion toward me, I went back to Collin to get emotionally abused and put down for relapsing. He made everything so conditional, and for the first time I really started to contemplate whether this was ever going to be a good relationship for me. I started to look at him as someone hindering me and holding me back, but I was the one staying with him. I still had a few more lessons to learn about manipulation.