Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Yesterday I turned 35. A birthday like no other birthday before, that is for sure...and I started thinking about birthdays past. This year my son and I had a beautiful day together doing things a mother and son do. I turn 35, and he will be a year in less than a month.
I tried heroin for the first time on my 25th birthday. I had been wanting to try it for years, and that was the night everything finally clicked. A hazy night spent with very special friends in a very special place. Looking back that night still almost seems like it was a dream.
I had been curious about heroin since reading Naked Lunch in high school. For so many years I had dabbled with a drug affair, I had always had this draw to the lives of heroin. I read William S. Burroughs and Irvine Welsh. I watched Requiem For A dream and Trainspotting. I loved Kurt Cobain and Shannon Hoon. I read anything I could get my hands on about drugs, and devoured all the books about heroin...both stories and facts.
I knew people in New Orleans who did heroin. I knew that it was available, often in the very places I hung out in. I had not asked about it, really. I did not really pursue heroin, but I skated around the fringes. I guess I wasn't quite sure how to approach him, so I just stood back and waited for an introduction. And that introduction came on the night of my 25th birthday.
I am not really sure what I did that day, and I am not sure what I did that evening. I probably walked around the Quarter, visiting various places and various people. I probably went out to dinner somewhere with Liam. None of those details I remember.
I do remember that we ended up at The Abbey. My birthday must have fallen somewhere between Monday and Thursday because Genevieve was bartending that night. Joe was helping her out that night. Genevieve liked to have friends help her because it meant she could have a little more fun. In those days there was plenty of money to be made by everyone.
Liam and I were sitting at the bar, near the back door. Not on the end seat, which was unspeakably reserved for Ricky, but in those few seats next to it. Mara was also sitting there with us that night. That was actually the first night I met Mara. We all sat at the bar, drinking and discussing life as we knew it.
Genevieve invited me to the bathroom with her, which was nothing unusual. The Abbey bathroom was often entered in groups of two. I think there was often more drug consumption than urination in those bathrooms after 8pm. I thought she just wanted to offer me a bump of coke, which I would have gladly accepted.
Once we entered the bathroom, I noticed the sly smile on Genevieve's face. The corners of her mouth turned up, excited. She pulled a tiny piece of rectangular tinfoil from her pocket. I knew right away what it was, and I am sure the same sly smile came across my face. Finally, he has stepped into my path.
" I got a little heroin here, and I thought you might want a little bump for your birthday..." I could barely contain my excitement as I tried to answer casually, "Sure."
She carefully unfolded the tinfoil to reveal a light brown powder. Making a little V shape with the tinfoil, she then dumped out what appeared to be a small bump on the skin of her hand between the thumb and forefinger. She took one, and then repeated the procedure and offered her hand to me. I leaned down and sniffed.
The taste was wonderful. It was earthy, not chemical like coke. It was a little sweet as it leapt up my nostrils, and it was slightly bitter as its aftertaste hit my throat and the back of my tongue. I kept thinking how its taste reminded me of fertile dirt of the Earth.
Genevieve took another bump. And the she handed me the tinfoil, "Go ahead," she smiled. Looking down at the powder, it seemed to glisten in the yellow bathroom lights. Its more grainy texture just seemed to sparkle and glow as the light dimly reflected on it. I tapped out a small bump.
Sniff....the taste, the taste...it is just wonderful. Dreamy. And earthy. And sweet. And bitter. This taste would linger in my mouth for years to come, and I always reveled in the pleasure of this particular taste. My nostrils did not burn like with coke, or crystal, or K. Instead, it seemed to soothe my nostrils, both smell and taste inviting me in. Begging me to come inside and just relax...take a load off.
I did not know at the time that one needs much less quantity of heroin than one needs of coke. So, what seemed to be a small bump, was really a much larger dosage. At first, I really did not notice much of the buzz. When you snort heroin, his buzz is much more subtle. It does not smack you in the face, but instead it just creeps up on you. I was anxiously awaiting its buzz. I had thought it would just strike hard and fast because that is what you see in movies. It is like that if you shoot it, but snorting it is no dramatic rush.
Instead, the beauty just creeps right into your whole being. The lights around all seemed to be covered in a hazy ring. After a few minutes, I noticed the edges of everything seemed to become softer and more rounded. Everyone's face seemed to be just a little out of focus. The eyes around me looked as distant as mine were becoming. It was nothing dramatic, but I just felt really good. All warm and insulated inside, like everything was going to be okay. Snorting heroin makes everything just look a little less bleak...at least at first.
We hung out on the back patio of The Abbey for quite some time that night. I remember talking to everyone, my demeanor was so calm and relaxed. I remember connecting with Mara and Genevieve on a level that seemed much deeper than before. The cool and balmy night air in March seemed so warm that night. All the lights strung around the patio had an orange glowing ring around, a hazy ring. Everything out here just seemed to glisten and sparkle. Hazy and sparkly is how I remember heroin to be in the beginning.
The hazy sparkle is what I think gives this night such a dreamlike quality. It seemed that everything had fallen into place. The night was perfect, and a love affair was just beginning. I had no idea then about the harsh reality and hard edges that accompany heroin use. I was caught up in a new love affair, with someone whom I had been longing for all my life. The puzzle pieces fell into place that night, and I felt so normal and happy for the first time. It just felt so right. It was love at first taste. And this love affair would permanently change my landscape...forever.
The next morning, I had one of the worst hangovers I have ever had. I am still unsure if it was from the dope or the excessive alcohol. I will say that when I did another bump in the morning, the hangover seemed to melt away. And thus, the cycle had begun


  1. Damn,that's a lovely piece of prose... the whole incense aura of snorting dope really come through. It really sucks that you had the fascination with it before you did it. I had a little bit of that , but a huge fear of physical dependence, so it took me awhile before having problems...sigh...clean now, but still(twitch) :)

  2. Very atmospheric... Your description mirrors how people feel falling in love. Funny how morphine/heroin calls your name from early on and then comes a time when you turn its way or not. Like yourself, I always felt destined to do it but the oppurtunity never presented itself. Actually; that is not correct; it never presented itself at the right time and I never went looking for it. When I was 13 or 14, my sister's boyfriend was shooting up Horse in my bedroom when he came to visit. I wasn't ready for that then, thank God. To pull yourself out of the grip of something this strong takes a tremendous person. Keep up the good work and stay clean for your baby! A Fan!