Loving an Addict (Part 2)

In October of 2012 I had just started taking classes in Boston to be a Floral Designer two nights a week. After class I would come home to hang out with friends. One of those friends being Lorenzo. Everyone knew what Lorenzo had gotten into, but I didn’t fully understand it. Heroin wasn’t something anyone talked much about in our little town, but when they did the stories never ended good.

On the night of Halloween we were at a costume party. Lorenzo showed up straight from the hospital with a wick in his arm to drain infection. He told everyone he got a spider bite and it got infected. We knew better, but we weren’t going to argue with him. We hung out the whole night and talked about life and our goals and what we wanted to do with our lives. I was confused. I knew he was an addict, so why didn’t he act like one? Why was he kind, loving, funny, and smart? You can’t be any of those if you’re an addict, right?

We started talking and hanging out more. One night, a few weeks later, I picked him up for another party. An hour went by before I realized he wasn’t partying with everyone. I found him in a friends room and he didn’t look good. He was sick. I sat with him as he threw up from withdrawal. He told me to go back to the party and not to worry about him, but that’s the only place I wanted to be. He admitted to me that night his addiction and told me he was tired of depending on a drug in order to not feel sick. Most of his friends had either abandoned him or were doing the drug themselves. I told him I would help him in anyway possible. A couple days later he asked me to be his girlfriend. I said yes. To me he wasn’t just an addict anymore. He was a gentle, fun loving, amazing human with a problem.

In the beginning it was difficult. I would go to his house to hang out and he would disappear into a bathroom or bedroom. I knew he was using behind closed doors and that frightened me. What if its bad? What if he does too much? Should I go in there? He never let me be around it. I never witnessed him putting the needle in his arm and for that I am thankful. Witnessing the aftermath was enough. We’d try and watch a movie, but he would nod. He became so dependent on this drug that we barely left the house.

“Why are you doing this, Sheridan?” People would ask me. All I knew is that the person he was when he wasn’t high was the most amazing person I’d ever have the pleasure of knowing. I was falling in love with him, every piece of him, including his flaws. His addiction was never an easy thing to deal with. I learned that arguing about it would only make it worse. I learned he needed to quit when he was ready and I just needed to be patient. That’s the hardest thing with heroin. Being patient isn’t easy when your constantly worried about the life of the addict. I finished school and our relationship was better than ever. He told me he loved me and everything was great. Heroin was the only thing holding us back.

Finally he was ready. I promised to stay by his side and help him through the most difficult weeks of his life. He went from using upwards of 10 times a day, to twice a day, to not at all in a matter of days. Watching someone withdraw from Heroin is the saddest thing to have to watch. He was vomiting, sweating, shivering, shaking, and uncomfortable for an entire week. I stayed by his side. I knew he was strong enough to get through it because not once did he ever complain. I cleaned up after him. Some days he told me to leave. I didn’t. He got through it. The physical withdrawals were over. Now he just had to get past the mental cravings.

To be continued…