It was a Spring afternoon and I picked her up at a convenience store in the heart of downtown. She got in the front seat and said “I need to go west and then all the way back east. I hope that is okay?” I said “You’re the boss.” We headed up Speer Blvd, which was going at the pace of a checkout lane at King Soopers on a holiday weekend. She was getting visibly agitated and out of nowhere said, “I have to get to my needle exchange program.” We were half way there when she asked, “Can we turn around? I have to be back at my hotel in Stapleton in 45 minutes.” I said, “Sure” and I made the next u-turn and headed towards E. Colfax. “I guess you figured out I am a heroin addict?” she queried. “Well, I sort of put two and two together.” “I have enough clean needles for another day. I will take care of it tomorrow.”
We got to Colfax and headed east. On impulse I asked as we neared Taco Bell, “Can I treat you to some food, no strings attached.? “I haven’t had Taco Bell in a year.” We went to the drive through and I said “Get whatever you want.” She ordered $10.75 worth. For those of you who haven’t been there lately that could feed a family of four. We got the two bags of food and a giant drink. “Why did you do this?” she inquired. “I just wanted you to feel special.” “Ha, I am special alright, I spend my life either doing tricks for money or meeting my dealer.” She then held up her phone, and laughingly said “Oh yeah and Lyfting to and from.”
The conversation really opened up and I shared that I am in recovery. “Have you ever thought about treatment?” She began to tell her story and tears streamed down her face. Out of the blue she said, “My two kids, I lost my kids.” Then she shut down like a bank vault door. Nothing, absolutely nothing was said for 10 minutes. Then out of nowhere she said, “I want out but I am in so deep. Please drive me to the back side of the hotel, I don’t like drawing attention to my coming and going.” We arrived and she gathered her things. She looked me in the eyes and said “Thank you.” I said, “You are welcome, please know I will be lifting you up from this day on.” The truth is I have. I often think of her and the spark of light I saw in her face when she talked of her kids. Addiction is the essence of evil. It pretends to connect us while making us its slave. I know there is a way out; it will cost each one of us everything we trust more than the truth.
Onward and Upward,