When examining the daily life of a heroin addict it’s clear that not every heroin addict lives the same lifestyle, but it’s safe to say that a common thread runs among most heroin users.
There are some exceptions. There are very well-off business owners and CEOs who use heroin daily.
Wealthy and successful addicts are called high functioning heroin addicts and live a very different lifestyle from the working-class heroin addict who will typically be supporting their habit through a blue collar job.Working class addicts typically have a 9-5 job at McDonald’s, and live a very different lifestyle from the third type of addict which is the struggling heroin addict alternating between homelessness and couch-surfing.
Today I’ll be talking about the last lifestyle on the list because that’s the life that I lived that’s closest to what people think of when they contemplate heroin addicts.
Wealthy business owners don’t have to resort to the petty activities that I had to do to support my habit because they’re able to buy the drug in bulk and ensure that they never run out.
That’s not very interesting, is it?
Disclaimer: I don’t condone or support any of the following activities, and certainly wish that I hadn’t believed them to be necessary at the time. However, they make for a great story, as well as a solid reminder of why you shouldn’t start using heroin.
The morning: 0900-1200
Mornings were always hit or miss, to the nth degree. There were two possibilities for how the morning would greet me:
- Option 1: I would wake up with a little bit of heroin leftover – just enough to get through the withdrawals. In these cases, I’d wake up imbued with a deep sense of appreciation for my thoughtfulness the night before.Waking up ill is terrible, but there’s also something special about being able to smoke away a serious sickness that I’ll never get to experience again. Usually I’d only have the initial symptoms of withdrawal – chills, shivers, watery eyes, a waterfall of a nose, and general malaise – and being able to inhale a thick cloud of smoke and feel all those symptoms evaporate before I’d blown out the toke was, in a sense, a great way to start the day. It was akin to the morning yoga sessions I do now, but the sensation of relief and relaxation was immediate instead of a gradual buildup through the use of different yoga poses.
- Option 2: I would wake up with no dope left over. These mornings were bad. Instead of waking up with a self-appreciation bordering on narcissism, I’d wake up and curse myself for being a selfish P.O.S. and frantically search the room for hooters (straws or pen tubes that had been converted into smoking utensils) that might have heroin resin on them.Finding a leftover hooter would propel me into a state of sheer bliss, but that was a rare occurrence. I tended to clear the resin from my hooters immediately after it was visible. In the case that I had no dope, I’d spend an hour or so texting, calling, emailing, and messaging friends, family, drug dealers, and anyone else who still included me in their circle to either lend me money, buy old furniture I’d pulled out of dumpsters, or front me drugs. Somehow, I tended to have good luck with this.
There was sometimes the third option – I’d have a large pile of dope left over. Unless I was working at the time, this only happened when I was able to splurge the night before and spend more than I was usually able to.
The afternoon: 1200-1700
Given that it was an average morning, and I hadn’t been prosperous enough to procure copious amounts of heroin the night before, I’d be looking for heroin or acquiring funds to do so by noon. Usually, I’d start a lot earlier, but it was a guarantee that I’d be out and about by noon, looking for funding.
Daytime was bright. That meant there wasn’t a lot of room for ‘jobs’ that paid off big because these were usually illegal and required the camouflage of moonlight instead of the glaring reveal of sunlight. So what options did that leave me?
Usually, I’d panhandle on the highway. That was my main source of income when I wasn’t working. With a cardboard sign – and a guitar when I was in a good mood and had had my morning toke – I’d be able to rack up enough money to score within an hour.
As soon as I made the cash, I’d make the dash. Most of the afternoon would be spent traveling back from my drug dealer’s place to the panhandling spot in an attempt to stock up as much heroin as I possibly could before sunset so I wouldn’t have to worry about reloading in the morning.
Somehow I always managed to make it back to the panhandling spot with just as little heroin as I’d come there with – strange.
The evening: 1800-2200
Evenings were the best part of the day. Without the evenings, I probably would have wisened up and stopped using heroin a lot sooner, because the addiction would have been meaningless. The evenings allowed me to at least color the moments between the mundane afternoons spent panhandling and the dreadful awakenings in the morning.
I’d usually have enough dope to relax for the evening and smoke it with my friends. Or fellow drug users. It’s hard to label someone as a friend when you’re an addict – though I now consider some of the people I shared my addiction with treasured comrades since we fought such a difficult battle together.
Anyway, this was the part of the day when all of the ‘chill junkies’ would gather together and philosophize, play music, write, sing songs, and talk about how we couldn’t wait to stop using heroin. If anyone were to walk in on us, they wouldn’t have had any suspicion that we were heroin addicts. The evenings were great.
The Night: 2300-0700
The night was usually a time for heinous criminal activities – but only if I hadn’t nodded off sometime in the evening. When the sun was well and truly set, and the city was cloaked with darkness, we’d seize the opportunity to take jobs offered to us by our dealers.
I’ll say now that I never did any criminal activity that physically harmed anyone or ruined anyone’s life (though I was certainly well acquainted with people who sustained themselves off of that kind of crime). I did, however, have a truck and a couple of fellow users who were always keeping an eye out for valuables that could be ‘easily relocated to a more profitable area.’
We’d spend the night driving around, looting construction sites and testing the locks on various establishments. Sometimes we’d get a good haul, sometimes we wouldn’t. Always, though, we’d justify our thefts by blaming the victim’s faulty security systems. We thought we were encouraging the city to tighten up their security.
Any night that we did a job, none of us would sleep. We’d usually be out driving around until sunrise, at which point we would part ways – if not for fear of police, for fear of the sunlight illuminating our haggard faces and having to make eye contact with our haggard brethren.
If only I’d had a crystal ball and foreseen my future. I’d have certainly taken a different path than the one that led me to heroin addiction. Though I have no regrets – my addiction helped me grow into the person that I am, and made it possible for me to write articles like these for a living while I help other struggling addicts overcome their problems – I’m a different person now. I can look back on my habit not quite with fondness, but with a strange appreciation and a sense of accomplishment in knowing that I’ve already been to rock bottom and will never have to go back.
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