By: Marc McMahon
I want to tell you about something that happened some years ago. A night that changed my life forever… An evening that occurred in the beginning of January 1996. My best friend was coming over for our usual after-work activity of a case of beer and a barbeque full of burned bratwurst that we had soaked in beer and onions all day long.
To this day I couldn’t tell you what an unburnt brat tastes like because we always got too drunk and would forget to pull them off in time. It was like the smell of flaming bratwurst was our timer. That is the only reason we would ever remember to pull them off is that we would smell them burning.
Often when my buddy and I would hang out every night we would sit around the kitchen table and play card games like rummy or cribbage and drink, smoke our weed, and unwind from long ass days working on a couple of the area’s local farms. And that is exactly what we were doing on this night when half buzzed my buddy pulls out a little baggy from his pocket and says hey you wanna do a line of coke? I had done coke back when I was 18 and never had no trouble.
So now at age 26 not having done any in 8 years and half-drunk I smiled and said ok.
I snorted that line off of my dining room table and I got this rush, this warm, confident, strong, I finally feel like I belong, I can do this feeling that just about blew my mind so to speak. I snorted the line, wiped my nose, and with a deep breath, I said “This is the way I should always feel” I finally felt complete. For the first time in my 26 years on this planet, I felt totally complete, lacking nothing.
It was the most amazing feeling I have ever had. One I will never feel again, that feeling is only available to you that one time. The rest of the time is spent getting high because you want to recreate that feeling. That is why they call it chasing the dragon. Trying to re-create the high you felt the first time you used.
That right there my friends was the most significant, the most tragic decision I have ever made. That innocent decision changed my life profoundly and not for the better. Let me try to explain.
So for the next 12 years, I was assed out homeless being crack cocaine’s little bitch as I lied, stole, and manipulated things to get as much of that shit as possible. I cannot believe I made it out alive I am so serious. Me being here today is truly a blessing from God because I did not deserve to make it out of that shithole life. It was well suited for my sideways-ass drug-seeking behavior. But I thank God that I did.
In that 12 years, I went to 9 inpatient treatment programs. Three of the 28 or 30-day traditional treatment centers that you expect when you go to treatment. Four of the 90-day to 6-month treatment centers and finally two-year-long hardcore behavioral modification programs which were really intense, to say the least. I spent 2.5 years incarcerated during that 12 years and tried committing suicide 3x to no avail thank God!
Reliving that memory put my stomach right in the middle of my throat, as sweat beads on my brow.
Six months after the fateful decision to do that line I was in my first 28-day inpatient treatment program for Cocaine addiction/abuse. I completed treatment and stayed clean for a whole two weeks and then it all started again. After that started again my wife who I had been with since I was 14 years old left with my son who was just 9 months old. I still feel bad for her that she had to make that decision and move away from me. The saddest thing about it is that she wasn’t leaving me because she didn’t love me.
She was leaving because I didn’t love myself enough to find a way to quit and save our family.
That one still brings a tear to my eye when I have to say that fuck what a fucking puke, I was for that. The shit people had to go through because of my selfish ass addiction, especially my wife and son holy shit. I’ve said I am sorry a million times no point in that anymore and forgiving yourself for shit like that takes a long time if you ever can. I did, forgave myself but I will never forget what I have done. Looking back, I just can’t believe that was me. But anyways I quit my job of 6.5 years so I could pursue my newfound coke habit full time. The thing is that didn’t work out so well.
I thought I will just quit my job, take my last paycheck, and invest it all into the stable market of cocaine so I could put myself into a position where I could sell the shit and use it for free, right, lol? Well, we know how that worked out, not well. Again I find myself strung out, homeless, cold, and hungry.
I’m laying under a tree in a city park wrapped in the garbage can liner from the 33-gallon trash can I emptied so I could dump the trash out of it and use the liner like a sleeping bag. I was shivering cold and only half a mile from the warmth of my mom’s home. The thing is I couldn’t go there because she could not trust me to not steal her purse and take off. So outside I shivered all by my own doing.
That is how this whole nightmare began and it’s 27 years later and I am still tying up loose ends from this disease that has persistently hindered me over the years. But you know what I’m older, wiser, and making things better by sweeping up the remnants that are left of that nightmare and putting them in the trash for safe keeping, from me.
The cool thing about all this though, God is using the experiences I have gained from going through my own battle with drug addiction/life to help others try and avoid many of the pitfalls I encountered. It’s been a journey to hell, farther into hell, and finally back. A journey the majority don’t make and although it almost killed me more than once I made it through.
Even with all that I’ll still come out blessed, highly favored, and deserving of all good things, and so are you. Don’t be afraid to tell your story. Sharing our story takes away some of the power it holds over us. By sharing your story you are without even knowing it throwing a life preserver to another addict whos struggling and wondering if there’s still a way out! Stay blessed my friends, I love you all.
About The Author: Marc is a 53-year-old Author, Speaker, and Soldier in a war to loosen the grasp that Substance Abuse has on our society. He is a Father, Son, and friend to all those seeking refuge from this incorrigible disease. Marc resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where he enjoys writing, hiking, and kicking the disease of addiction in the teeth every chance he gets. As Marc always likes to say, be blessed, my friends.