“Are you ready?”
Ready? Was I ready? Let me think. I spent two months being held up against my will, and now they were asking me if I was ready to leave.
“I was ready the day you brought me here!” I blasted. “Now, let me out.”
I was standing at the door and all the other people who were with me came to said goodbye. I painted a smug smile on my face and bid adieu to that hell-hole.
“My name is Chrissy and I am a drinker and an addict. I’ve been sober for fifty-eight days,” I said, a necessary announcement at each monumental happening, and left.
They brought me a car and I got in it. No one came to take me and I wasn’t expecting anyway. Although I wasn’t allowed to drive, I took to the wheel– they pushed me into the back seat. But the important thing was that I was free. Free.
I could not possibly describe the feeling of freedom. The air felt fresher and the colours seemed more vivid. There was nothing left to do– no orderlies, no lists, no chanting, no more useless therapy. No more of saying ‘positivity’ so many times it stops making sense. I was out and free. And I knew where to go.
“Meet me at my place in twenty, and bring your best stuff,” I said and cut the line. I had called up my buddies to tell them of the news that I was out and was in dire need to celebrate. Celebrate, if you know what I mean.
All the time that I had been ‘myself’ I knew one thing. It didn’t matter what your drug of choice is– cocaine, ex, glue, codeine, bitter alcohol– all that mattered was how hard you could try to get that one little fix in time. One hit to make sure you were still who you were, and how much you could push to get to the point.
I was rushing into my house. I looked across the driveway to see if my friends had come. My fingers were trembling– the excitement was getting to me. But I somehow managed to open the door and let myself in.
And what did I find.
“What are you doing here?” I asked her. “How did you even get in?”
“I’m your sister. I have a spare key,” she replied.
“Why are you here?” I was becoming angrier by the moment.
“I know your friends are coming. I know you told them to.”
“Why do you think you can just come into my life again and tell me what to do?” I was yelling now.
“Calm down. I’m not going anywhere. You are fresh out and I am going to stay here till you fit in.”
“Don’t tell me what to do!”
I shut myself in my room. I was now turning the room upside down to look for the hidden stash of pills, but I found none– my sister had fumigated the entire room. My mind was filled with rage and I heard the doorbell ring.
I found my sister talking to my friends and asking them to leave. I pushed her aside but they were already gone.
“Why are you trying to ruin my life?” I yelled at her. She was not even trying to argue with me. She was calm as ever, just locking the door.
“Why are you still here? Why? Why are you taking care of me? Nobody asked you to,” I was the only one speaking.
I was trying ever so hard to make her leave and she was only as determined to stay.
“You should just…. argh!” I threw my arms in the air and headed for my room.
“You don’t have to punish yourself anymore,” she said but I was too angry to listen. Well, honestly, I did not want to listen to her. I did not need her pity or her compassion. I did not need for her to judge me and try to fix what was broken. So fine, yes, I screwed up. But in which ways did I ever ask for her to come wearing angel wings and help me seek forgiveness? She was the one who had me locked up in rehab and the one to blame for my state.
I was lying in bed, hoping to calm my raging senses. I was trying to channel my craving into a different part of my mind, and then I realized it was the only thing I should not have done. And wide open was my memory tank.
I buried my head in the pillow and tried to shut it out. The memories were surfacing from the depths of my subconscious and I did not want to face up to them. I did not want them to come out. I did not want them to escape from the graves I had hidden them in. But they were resurfacing, one after one, the horrific noises.
I started to shake and sweat and the next thing I know my sister is pouring down water on me– bucketfuls.
When I awoke, my sister was not with me. But she was standing in the doorway, watching.
“How do you feel?” she asked me. I only grunted. “Do you want me to call the doctor?”
“No, but I want one thing,” I said, looking at her deeply.
“Yes, what is it, sister?”
“I want you to go away,” I said. “I want you to leave me be. I want you to take your things and I want you to go. Don’t go around acting as if you wear some burden of responsibility over your head or as if I need help. I never asked you to come, I never asked for your help. I can be my own hero and I don’t need you to take care of my sins, okay?”
I don’t know why she said nothing, but I do know she was affected deeply by what I had said.
She nodded and went to her room. I was still thinking over what I had said when she was passing by the hallway. She stopped; I saw her with a bag.
“You don’t have to keep punishing yourself. Nothing happened. Everyone is fine. He is too,” she said and I heard the door slam shut.
The guilt presented itself in tears. I was angry and upset and the reality struck me like an axe.
But then the fact that my sister was no longer in the house went from being a fact to an opportunity.
I ran to her bathroom and opened up the cabinet. I started to go through her medicine bottles, hoping to find a fix. A teeny-tiny, harmless little fix. What harm could a few pills do? I was desperately trying to find something, anything. My hands trembled with the tiny bottle in my hands. I looked at myself in mirror– I was ghostly.
I opened the bottle and the pills were all over the place. I could not keep my hands still enough to grasp a few. All of them fell to the floor and so did I, picking up the pills from the bathroom floor– manic and dishevelled.
The fix. The fix. Five, six, seven pills.
One little fix and like I said, it didn’t matter the choice of drug.
The fix was within reach. And this was where the choice had to be made– sobriety or ecstasy?
“Who are you? Are you here to meet my mom?”
“Uh, no, actually, I am here to meet you.”
The boy was confused.
“I should have come by earlier but I am here now. I am sorry, for everything. Take care, bud.”
I was quickly walking away, leaving the boy in a complete state of confusion. In the next few moments he would call his mother and tell her that a weird lady came by to apologize. It would take her some time, but I hope she understands. She would, she would. She attended my funeral, so she would understand.
He looks a little different now, I could say. Of course, it was the first time I was actually seeing him. The previous time could not be called a meeting– it was only a scream from over the dashboard. There was some blood and a lot of screaming neighbours. I don’t remember much, I was high. Two months ago, I hit a young boy with my car. I thought he was dead, and my sister took me to rehab. I hit a young boy, with my car. And that was one of the greatest things that could have happened to me. Because now I wasn’t the same person preaching about fixes anymore. I was not the party-animal, the lying, stealing and inebriated addict anymore.
It doesn’t matter what your drug of choice is. It doesn’t matter how much you take at once, or how often. An addiction is an addiction. And every addiction has its price.