Saturday, February 13, 2010


Bittersweet. That is the way I would describe it. That is the word I would use to describe everything about those times. The smell of dope cooking in the spoon is an earthy smell, somewhat sweet with a little hint of bitterness. The taste of good dope is also bittersweet. Compared to cocaine, the first taste of heroin is sweet. That sweetness is followed by a bitter bite that can make your face pucker if you are not prepared for it. Heroin smells like the Earth, and tastes bittersweet.
As the needle slides in, you get giddy as you see the blood flowing back, blossoming in the needle like the poppy flower itself. As your whole body sighs in relief, the bittersweet dope taste rises to the back of your throat. The high is sweet, but you are bitter that you are now out of dope...and you must start the hunt again soon.
Memories from those days have a bittersweet quality as well. There is the closeness I shared with my fellow addicts, as we were all bonded by pain and sickness. There was the carefree feeling when nothing mattered, and there were consequences that set in when the high was over. There were all the nights of talking all night, and then all the mornings of puking until the man showed up. I cannot honestly say that those times were all bad, as so many recovered addicts like to claim. Instead, I like to think of them as bittersweet. Sweet like sugar with a hint of bitter always lingering in the aftertaste.

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