My Piece of the Puzzle
By Tenacious C aka Kelly BSE Cookson
This is a question I've been asking myself a lot lately. Where do I fit into this 30,000 piece nightmare of a puzzle that is addiction?
I know my piece is there, spread out somewhere on the table waiting to be put in it's place.
It doesn't belong in the recovery club, I'm just a "normie". It doesn't fit into that space, that horrible space, with the grieving families who lost their loved one. I don't have fans, my story isn't as "interesting" as some (though far more than many probably realize). I don't have a book or a clothing line. I don't know how to change policies and laws.
So where does my piece belong?
Because it does belong, this I know. It came out of the same big box with a picture of pills, needles, pipes and pain.
I didn't ask for this. This came to me. All of it.
My story begins after my daughter's, who is now in recovery. Mine started with a tingle that something wasn't quite right. A weird gut feeling when I would see her that she was using something, but I had no idea what was to come.
Then my dad sent me an article that made headlines in our local paper, that article would change my world forever. Ava's boyfriend's picture was staring at me with the title of "Local Man Arrested for Possession of Assault Rifle". As I scrolled down the page, one small sentence at the very bottom is what was life-changing. Just a few little words is all it takes; possession of small amount of heroin. Oh fuck....
I had no idea she had a habit like this. If I did, I did an amazing job at the game of denial. Even for a short time after that I fooled myself into believing "well, maybe it was for someone else" and even worse "maybe her boyfriend just deals". I know those are horrible better case scenarios, and in hindsight ridiculous, but the power of not wanting to believe what's right in front of your face is strong!
That didn't last long. Reality hit me full force several months later when he went to jail and the very broken, shell of my first true love, my sunshine covered in the clouds of a serious drug problem, moved in.
The next year is a blur really. I lost so much during this time. I lost the blissful ignorance of a life without heroin and crack addiction. I saw horrifying milestones no parent should see; their baby's first time nodding out, their baby's first cold turkey detox, their baby's first needles, their baby's first time in jail, getting those pleading calls to bail them out and you can't because you know they will disappear back into the abyss. And the worst one of all, baby's first OD.
I lost countless material belongings despite every effort to protect myself from the "zombie" my daughter had become. I lost my fiancé, my soulmate. I lost my health. I lost myself.
I won't go through every detox, every rehab, every arrest. This is a story everyone who's been through addiction on any level knows too well. What I will tell you about though is the pain of watching your child dying before your eyes and the utter helplessness you feel. I felt like I was stuck in a nightmare on repeat where she was falling off a cliff, just hanging on to one of my hands, and every time my hand would slip and I would watch her fall into a gaping black hole. Only I couldn't wake up. It wasn't a dream. It was my new fucking reality. Until one day, it wasn't anymore.
Now I know what I am. I am a warrior. I fought like I never knew I could to help save my daughter. I took matters into my own hands after conventional methods didn't work for her for over a year. I lost everything and came out reborn on the other side as someone completely new. Someone fierce, a fighter, someone tenacious. I'm a piece of the puzzle that needs to be here because now my eyes are wide open.
I see you now. I see worth you don't see in yourself. I hear you. I hear things you don't know you're even saying because I'm paying attention to all of you. I listen to you tell me things you've done for your drug and I hurt for you the same as I did for my daughter when she was dark and lost. I smell the fear. My heart breaks when you aren't ready to overcome it yet and start that climb up the mountain to stake your claim to your life. Most of all, I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel waiting for you.
So for you, perhaps the biggest underdogs of all, I will stand by you. I'll fight like hell to show you the tunnel, and guide you in enough so you can follow the light to the other side and watch you put that flag on your mountain.
That's my piece. That's where I belong.
Right beside you.