'I Wish I Hated It': A teen's story about addiction
For seven years, students at Scriber Lake High School in Edmonds have written honest accounts of their difficult life experiences. Led by educator Marjie Bowker, the school’s writing program aims to promote healing and literacy through personal storytelling. Seattle’s Child is honored to reprint three abridged versions of student essays from the 2019 collection "Listen: Young Writers Reflect on Chaos, Clarity, Action, Balance."
I Wish I Hated It
Yeah come through, my dealer’s text reads. I got that ice and brown. What do you need?
The usual, I got $50 on it, I respond. Excitement washes over my body as if I’m already high.
I’m driving with my co-worker, Brian next to me. It’s nighttime and both of us wear matching khaki pants and red-colored shirts with a Papa John’s logo on the front. We’re laughing at the fact that we almost just got hit by a hearse.
“If he would have hit us, we might have been riding in that,” Brian says. I see the QFC ahead — my dealer is standing by the entrance in front of a table.
“I’ll be right back. I owe my friend some money,” I say. I hate lying to mask my addiction, but after two and a half years of recovery and relapse, I only seem to be lying more each time I choose to get high.
I take a look around and throw my dealer a $50. Casually, he slides the bag of clear across the table. Two and a half years ago I would have never believed that “one time” would lead to this drug being the most important thing in my life.
“Jenay, let’s get high. Not no weed high or anything we usually do.” I pulled my hoodie over my head and listened closely for a reply from my best friend.
“My mom has some brown,” she said.
I couldn’t tell if the wind gust was creating chills down my spine or if it was the thought of December 7, 1999, the day my grandfather was released from jail. After a year and a half sentence he was given heroin laced with something that caused him to overdose and die just three hours into his freedom.
After he died, my mom sat in a depression for nine years, filling that void with painkillers. I’d spent 365 days of each of those nine years terrified that the same thing would happen to her. My mom is my best friend and number one support.
“Not funny. You know what happened to my grandpa,” I said. “That is one thing I told myself I would never touch.”
“Well, I know there’s clear, too. What’s wrong?”
What was wrong was that my heart had been completely torn open by someone I loved and I just needed something to ease the pain for a moment. I avoided her question. “Clear?” I asked. “What does that do?”
“Bri,” she said guiltily, “‘Clear’ is short for meth. It’s like a supercharged Adderall.”
I had started taking Adderall when I was fifteen. It gradually got worse; I went from doing it once or twice on the weekends to eventually every day.
She leaned toward me with the bubble, then stopped.“Bri, you have to promise me this is a one-time thing. I can’t be the reason you started doing this if you don’t stop.” I suddenly realized that she looked empty, as if the drug had already taken her a while ago. I never even knew she was doing meth at all.
I inhaled, then followed with an exhale that instantly filled my body with butterflies. I felt like Superman. I no longer felt pain; I felt pure love, better than ever. Better than the love I had lost.
Without one thought of anything or anyone I loved — my parents, my nieces, my family, friends, and, to say the least, myself — I had no care in the world unless it was more of this drug.
“Let’s go pick up more,” I said. My words came out so quickly I didn’t think she understood them.
“Bri, you said just this one time …”
“Fine, I’ll go get some myself somewhere,” I answered defensively, angry.
At a loss for words, she texted the dealer I didn’t know she had.
I can’t wait to get more, was the only thought that consumed me. As we began to leave, my phone vibrated. It was my mom.
Call me please.
But I never called. In that short amount of time, the drug had become more important than my mom.
I take a small piece of toilet paper and shake the bag of clear out. My heart skips a beat. I know I’m going to feel amazing. My mom thinks I’ve been sober for five months, but in reality I only remained sober for one week after my fourth rehab.
I’m doing everything in my power to hide my high; I’ve become an expert at it. I have to be, because I have two parents who have battled addictions themselves. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been blindsided for eight months before sending me to an adolescent lockdown treatment facility in Oregon. While I was there, I wrote my dad a letter telling him his drinking was bothering me.
“I’ll do what I can, I promise,” my dad had told me in response during one of their weekend visits. “But you have to promise me the same.” He overcame his addiction for me. Now I’m breaking my promise to him.
A tall man with a blue state patrol hat approached my car. I thought about all of the things in my car: meth, a torch, a bubble, an ounce of weed and a pipe. Plus, I was high. This could mean years in prison.
Six months and twenty-seven days clean all for nothing, only to relapse and arrive at another crucial moment.
I rolled down my window and put on my best sober face. “Hello. How are you doing tonight?” the officer said in a conversational tone. “Did you happen to know who was in the white vehicle behind you before I pulled you over?”
I realized a few of my friends had called the police because they knew I had relapsed and were worried about me.
“I pulled you over tonight because she called us and said you were drinking and driving.” I couldn’t help but chuckle out loud; I couldn’t believe they had lied. If they had told him I was on meth, the police would detain me and search my car.
“Absolutely not. I was just having a rough night and came down here to visit a friend. Now I’m headed home to Seattle.”
He flicked his big silver flashlight into my eyes. My pupils must have looked like they were going to pop out of my head. My life is over, I thought.
“Well, from what I can see, you do not appear impaired. So I have no probable cause to pull you out of the car. But I need to see your license, registration, and insurance.” No sobriety test? No breathalyzer?
All I could think about were my nieces, Amelie and Camilla. They had begged me not to leave, but I had chosen meth over them. They were only three and four years old. They were the most important people in my life and were a big reason I got sober in the first place. They were getting old enough to understand things.
In a few minutes, the cop returned and said, “Drive safe.” I looked to the left of me and saw them, my friends, parked right next to Wendy’s watching to see what happened. She knew I was twacked out, not drunk.
I didn’t know whether to be upset at them for calling, or grateful for the lie. Little did my friends know that the next trip to rehab would do nothing to change my life. I wished I hated this drug, but I loved it.
I look inside the baggie from my dealer and see that the clear that I’ve already taken from is coated with blackish residue. Heroin? Like my grandfather.
I ball up my fists in anger as I swallow the clear, not caring. There is no way I am throwing away my drug even if it is laced the drug I swore I would never do.
My family will remember me as a drug addict. I imagine my dad’s voice receiving the phone call telling him I’m gone, my nieces’ heartbroken faces, and the possibility of them following in my — and my grandfather’s — footsteps, my mom discovering my body and the words she has said to me so many times.
“If I lost you, I would have no reason to live.” I feel the sensation of my soul leaving my body.
I’m in a tunnel. Death is an existence, not a person. I can see it, and I’m about to touch it.
Brieaunna Dacruz began writing this during a period of active addiction. She now celebrates more than a year of sobriety.
Note: These essays have been edited for length. "Listen: Young Writers Reflect on Chaos, Clarity, Action, Balance" can be purchased at Edmonds Bookshop (111 Fifth Ave. S.) or on Amazon.com. All proceeds from book sales will support future student writing programs at Scriber Lake.