Sad stories of heroin addiction

Another local teen bit the dust. One year out of high school. Her obituary stated cause of death as heroin overdose and was a long tribute to an obviously well-loved girl who dreamed of a future in science. A photo showed a girl with a gentle face and clear eyes. She appeared to be a good girl from a supportive family. What stories she could have lived! I could imagine the pain her parents went through trying to save her, and the neverending pain now. I thought of my own child during her troubled high school years, and how frightened I was that she would not make it through alive and unhurt by drugs (she did!). I remember a classmate she brought home one day, trying to keep him distracted from demons while he tried to kick heroin. One day wasn’t good enough.

Years ago, a PBS special on drugs made a big impression on me. Apparently doing heroin even once could open the door wide to addiction. Just once! That first-time rush of euphoria is so incredible that you want to keep chasing after it, and the end is torment and early death. Why would our kids choose that? And now we have an opioid epidemic, and heroin is cheaper than opioids once you run through your parents’ stash.

The below memoirs have received good reviews from recovering addicts (and addicts’ families) and end with hope. As with all addictions, recovery is an ongoing journey.

The Bitter Taste of Dying by Jason Smith –High school football player keeps his addiction through college and overseas, became a writer and journalist, married with kids.

The Big Fix: Hope After Heroin by Tracey Helton Mitchell – Studious good girl during high school falls for drugs during college, became a mother and an activist for recovery, 19 years free now. Tracey was featured in the 1999 documentary Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street.

April is National Poetry Month. Emotional pain inspires me to write poems, and so I wrote a poem for this girl and all the kids who have died from drugs. It’s written as song lyrics, and I am hoping somebody will put it to music and sing it out. Teens may not listen to grownups, but they do listen to music.

Can’t Let Go

You found me in the crowd, or I found you,
Seems so long ago, but that can’t be true
I can’t remember cuz my mind’s so blind
My night’s so dark, can’t find a light to shine
All I really know is that I can’t let go
I’m tired of crying, but I can’t let go
You whispered so softly in my ear,
I tried to resist but your voice so clear
I remember when my heart grew weak
The sound is fading, I can barely speak
All I know is that I can’t let go
I’m tired of crying, but I can’t let go
You called to me like you knew my need
You were everything I wanted you to be
You blew my mind and you held me right
Like no one else could in all my life
You were starburst in my atmosphere
Telling me there was nothing left to fear
(Nothing left to fear, nothing left to fear)
You told me lies but I didn’t see
Didn’t want to know where you were leading me
Remember my friends how they loved you, too
We were all like birds look how high we flew
I don’t ever want to let you go
I’m tired of crying, but I can’t let go
One day I’m going to break away
Leaving you cold while I hope and pray
Remembering when I once was strong
Now all I got is my sorry song
I gotta try hard to let you go
I’m tired of crying, but can I let you go
You called to me like you knew my need
You were everything I wanted you to be
But you blew my mind and I gave up the fight
And no one else could help me find my life
Where is the sun in my atmosphere
Telling me there was nothing left to fear
(I got everything, everything to fear)
Cuz I can’t . . ..let go
I can’t . . . let go

© Linda E. Austin 3/2017




About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
This entry was posted in book talk, death, overcoming, poems, raising kids and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Sad stories of heroin addiction

  1. Jane says:

    Always important to write about addiction. To remember those we’ve lost and those we almost lost. And those who are vulnerable, which is many more than we might thing.

  2. Jane says:

    The ones who write are the ones who have survived. Then there’s the silence of those who haven’t…..

  3. Jane says:

    Nice poem, by the way. I just did my own blog post on addiction. I had wanted to for a while and yours gave me the inspiration to do so. (Plus I’m on vacation so I had a little extra time….) Here it is, if you’re interested: I made a real mess out of the URL!

    • That’s a sad and eye-opening post, Jane. I’m sorry for your loss. I’m glad many areas have opioid databases now. More difficulties for those who legitimately need pain relief, but I hope it saves lives.

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