Once I moved in with Katie, life was just one big heroin blur.
With little structure other than having to show up for our serving shifts, we were free to smoke and waste our lives away all the time. I don’t know how she managed it, but Katie always made it to work, no matter how high she was. I started missing shifts because I was asleep, or coming down, or so out of it, I didn’t even know what day it was, much less when I was supposed to be at work.
One night, Katie came home and said, “The manager told me to tell you that you’re fired. She says you’ve missed too many shifts and they can’t count on you. You’re out.”
I moved to hug Katie, to tell her I would get another job, that we would be fine, but all she said was, “Did you hear me? You’re out. Out of the restaurant, out of my life.”
I was so confused. “What are you talking about?” I asked. “Don’t you care about me at all?”
“Look, we had some fun, and I don’t know what kind of arrangement you had with your fancy little ex-girlfriend, but I do not have some dude without a job freeloading off me and smoking all my stuff. So get out.”
And just that like that, I lost both my job and a place to live, right on the heels of losing the girlfriend I had moved overseas for.
I was standing outside holding a bag of my stuff, with literally nowhere to go and no idea what to do next. I wanted to go home to Poland but didn’t have the money for a plane ticket. Plus, I knew it had been a few hours since I had last used, and the cravings were going to kick in soon. Katie was my only connection to heroin, and without her, I didn’t even know where to get it.
I was at rock bottom. I didn’t particularly want to get sober, but I knew I had no other choice if I wanted to move forward.
I walked to the nearest gas station and asked to use the phone. The cashier eyed me dubiously but allowed it. I must have looked very suspicious; a strung-out foreigner with a huge bag. I asked for a phone directory, and she just laughed, saying nobody used them anymore and she didn’t have one. She asked if she could look up a number for me, and when I said I wanted the nearest rehab facility, she acted differently towards me.
She looked up several numbers of places for me to call, and gave me a soda and some snacks while I used the phone. I could see the pity in her eyes and later wondered if she or someone in her life had struggled with addiction before because she was so kind to me.
Keep reading to learn about my rehab experience, and where I am now.