An Addict's Story
from "Drug Crazy" by Mike Gray
SUCCESS IS UNACCEPTABLE IF IT'S NOT OUR WAY
Maureen was a nineteen-year-old Irish redhead when she married a rich kid from Manchester who gave her three children and introduced her to heroin. A few years later he decided to run off with a younger woman, so he left Maureen with the kids, no money, and a serious heroin habit. For the next several years, she moved the kids from one bed-and-breakfast to another, supporting herself with prostitution and shoplifting, all the time frantically chasing the dragon. Like most addicts, she tried to kick repeatedly without success.
Finally the authorities were breathing down her neck and she knew she was about to lose her children. Desperate, a friend steered her to a clinic in suburban Liverpool where her life was instantly transformed.
Dr. John Marks, the bearded Welsh psychiatrist who ran the clinic, examined her and determined that she was indeed a heroin addict. So he wrote her a prescription for heroin and told her to come back in a week.
Almost unbelieving, she took the slip of paper to the pharmacist up the street and he filled it without batting an eye. As she stood at the counter staring at the small round container of pure heroin, an odd sensation washed over her. The auger of panic that had been twisting her gut every waking moment for a decade was spinning down. For the first time in memory, she had a tiny bit of brain space that wasn't focused on how to get the next fix. It began to dawn on her that it no longer made any difference whether she could get the cash, or whether her dealer would show up, or whether the stuff was any good, or whether cops would beat her to it.
As she slipped the package into her purse, she caught a glimpse of herself in the glass and for the first time in ten years she stopped to take a serious look. She was stunned. Then she glanced down at her children, and she said, "Oh, my God." In an instant, the morality that had been instilled in her as a child came flooding back. "I felt so disgusted..." Over the next weeks and months her dose was stabilized at a point that allowed her to function without suffering withdrawal, and within a year her life had been completely turned around. She had a job, her kids were in school, and she was talking about going back to college. The piece of paper John Marks handed her almost nonchalantly turned out to be a passport out of hell.