I stopped at my local Christian bookstore this evening to say hello. The owner knows I am a Christian in recovery and that I am preparing for a career as an addictions counselor, so she handed me a photocopy of “I Need to Get High,” by an anonymous drug addict. I find it to be sad, haunting, and very revealing. As you read it, think of how easy it can be for a loved one to enable the addict. The two become enmeshed.
I am not your child or spouse or friend. I’ve changed. I don’t belong to you anymore. I don’t care about you. Not in the way you want me to. I care only about getting high. I want to get high. I will do anything to get high. I love getting high. I need to get high, and I will step over you to do it. When I look at you, I don’t see you. I see a means to an end. You have money. I want it. End of story. I don’t care if you can’t pay the rent. I don’t care if you need groceries. I don’t care if you promised you wouldn’t give me money again. I don’t care if you lie to Dad. I don’t care if you’re broke. Sell your rings, take a loan, sell your electronics, max out your credit cards, borrow the money from someone else. If you don’t, I will steal it. I will find a way to get high.
You think you can change me or save me. You are wrong! Something cold and dead slithers within me. I no longer respond to love or truth. You can cry all you want. I don’t care. I have no integrity or values. My morals are a thing of the past. I will say anything, do anything, and hurt anyone to get my next fix. Although I may play the game with you, make no mistake. I don’t play it because I love you. I play it because I want my dope. I will say whatever you want to hear. I will promise you the world. I will look you in the eye and I will break your heart. Over and over again. I don’t have a heart anymore.
I have a hunger. It’s calculating and manipulative, and it owns me. In a strange way I am thankful for this hunger, because when I feel it coming on I find you quick. Then, when I’ve gotten what I want from you, I leave. You’re anxious without me. You offer to buy my food and pay my rent. I can’t stay sick without you. You can’t breathe without me. You think you’re helping me. You believe you’re making a difference, but what you’re really helping is my addiction.
I won’t tell you this, but you know it deep down. If we keep going like this, one or both of us will die; me from an overdose which you paid for, and you from a heart attack or stroke. You’ll wait years for me to change, or, you’ll see the light, and I will take full advantage of this for as long as possible. You keep my secrets and protect my lies. You clean up my messes and bail me out. You love me to the exclusion of everyone else. You are bitter and resentful. You hide from your friends and isolate. You hate. Your world revolves around one thing only. Me.
But will your love ever become greater than your fear? Will you be strong enough to reach out for help? Will you learn to say no? Will you allow me to experience the consequences of my actions? Will you love me enough to feel your own discomfort and stop enabling my addiction? I lay trapped within the confines of this cold, dark addiction, and I am dying.