He plunged the needle through my septum, a brief moment of pain as my friends waited outside. After getting the small ring in, I stood up, gleefully looking in the mirror at my new adornment.
“I have a question…” I looked over at him hesitantly. “Yes?” he replied.
“Um. So… what do I do when I do coke with a new septum piercing?”
“Stick the straw further up your nose,” his nonchalant response came.
He asked how often I did it, and I told him – as if it was nothing – every day. Then he told me not to over clean the piercing, but cleaning it with a q-tip and normal water more regularly after snorting that beautiful white powder wasn’t a bad idea.
I didn’t want to ruin my new piercing or cause infection. But stop coke while it healed? Ha! Out of the question!
It had been some time since the cocaine had taken full control. It was not I who decided I would do coke on a given day. Rather, it dragged me to my dealer. Without a thought in my mind, I’d hand over the money, and return 20 minutes later to a bag of powder. Just a small white bag. How harmless it appeared!
The moment it entered my possession I’d hurry back to my temporary Mexican home, desperate to immediately open the bag. It was not unlike running towards the arms of a loved one you haven’t seen in years, needing to reach them as fast as possible. The love of my life was just one slice of a knife away from being open, one pour away from lying out on my notebook.
It was then time to meticulously divide up the lines. I always varied the sizes. Some small lines for when I wanted a little boost shortly after the previous line. Mostly average sized ones. And then that giant, glory line: the last line of the night had to be a good one.
If it was a day I had to wait longer than usual for it, the process would be more frantic, perhaps while shaking just a little bit. I had to line it all up. I had to know precisely how many lines I had for the night. But I was so desperate to grab that straw and snort the first one into my system. Never once did I allow myself before it was all prepared, though. That was the treat at the end of the process. It had to be done right. The routine had to remain the same.
While it all started with one sweet line a year ago, it became daily four months ago. I didn’t want to quit. Why would I? I was even more productive than normal. I adored my lonesome quiet nights, lying awake in a hammock in the darkness, no one to bother me. It was so peaceful. Sometimes I’d just listen to music, while other times I desperately needed to keep busy. I’d always find something to work on.
I generally awoke from minimal sleep the next morning feeling fine. My heart never pounded from the cocaine. It didn’t cause anxiety. What reason had I to quit? We were in love, enamored, in a seemingly permanent honeymoon phase.
Until one night. It was around 4 am. What switched in my brain, I’m not quite sure. But it clicked. Suddenly I realized I was no longer behind the wheel. The coke was. It had full control of me, and I had no say in the situation. I began bawling. I couldn’t stop. I spoke to an old friend as he was the only person online at that hour. We hadn’t spoken in some time, but I knew I could tell him. I’m addicted. It was no longer something I did because I wanted to. I had to.
That’s when I quit. I mean, I finished what I had the next night, one last hoorah for me and my beloved.
Eight days. That’s how long it took for the coke to seep into my brain, whispering that I’d been off it for a week, what was the harm in one night? Clearly I could stop, albeit not without difficulty and determination.
Eight whole days.
I would repeat the process, in love with the white powder again, only to feel betrayed and taken over once more. I quit again.
For eight days.
By the time I indulged again, it was done. I knew I couldn’t quit. I accepted my fate. It wasn’t so bad, anyways, right? It was damaging my finances, but in every other respect things were absolutely fine. I kept up on work, and did more on my website than ever before. I signed up for an online university. Things were fine. Fine. THEY WERE FUCKING FINE!
My brain screamed lies. By this time I’d told close friends of my addiction during my brief two stints quitting. They were worried yet proud I was quitting. Only to have me betray their pride and return to it.
“You’re using again?” “Yeah, but I mean, it’s all good. I don’t have any negative side effects. It’s just money. Who cares? Nothing else is wrong.”
Danie had left the building. Cocaine had taken the reigns, and the bitch wasn’t letting go. My decision making and focus deteriorated, despite my knowledge of it happening. My soul and better judgement were caged somewhere deep within. It was the white powder’s turn at the wheel.
One night I was up late, as usual, snorting line after line. Someone left the key lying by my cage. Carefully and cautiously picking it up, I turned the lock. Click.
I booked a flight out of my beloved Mexico, to the freezing land from whence I came. A place I never went in the wintertime. Winter was not for me. But I had to stop the bitch. I had to somehow gain control again. I had to leave.
I made a plan. I knew how I would rid myself of the coke forever, a hard battle lying ahead of me. But having freed myself from the cage, I knew I had the power to do it. I knew I’d need some help. I couldn’t do it alone.
And the rest…
The rest is yet to come, that day three weeks from now that I hop on that plane, saying goodbye forever to her.
For now she has placed me back in my cage. She caught me. She found me outside, witnessing me as I booked the flight. She was horrified as I clicked the submit button, knowing I would get on the flight despite her hold on me.
But there was no way in hell she was letting me go before that day. She would have every last minute she could.
Up until that moment I step foot on the plane to carry me away from her shrieking cries.
The day my life begins again, and I tear down my cage with all my force.
She thinks she is winning. But she only has me for a little more time. For now, I’ll allow her to think she has the power. She may steer. But her time left in this soul is limited.
I will rise again.