Susan Mihalic

Susan Mihalic
August 05
Writer & editor. Passionate about freedom of expression. Liberal, aspiring to be pointy-headed. Follow me on Twitter: @susanmihalic.


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MAY 29, 2011 8:05PM

Talking to Heroin

Rate: 8 Flag

I’m not talking to you, I realize when we are on the phone today. I’m talking to heroin.

Since your arrest, I’ve been feeling guilty, angry, resentful, and frustrated, but today’s epiphany causes me to make a shift. Make no mistake—I’m extremely displeased with you—but now that I know I’m talking to heroin, I shift from being reactive to being decisive. I see the situation with a clarity I didn’t have when I thought I was talking to you. I see very clearly what needs to be done.

The first time you told us you were in rehab, we believed you. We won’t make that mistake again. You may be able to bullshit other people, but not us. Not anymore. Not ever again. Now we know who we’re talking to—who’s talking to us. Every word that comes out of your mouth is spoken by heroin. Every defense, every excuse, every lie is motivated by heroin.

“I wasn’t actually using,” you say, as if it makes a difference that you were arrested for possession rather than shooting up.

You aren’t embarrassed. You aren’t humbled. You aren’t contrite. Of course you aren’t. Heroin defends itself. It lies, cheats, steals, manipulates, denies, and deceives. It does whatever it has to do to protect itself. You are quick to don the cloak of addiction and victimization because being an addict, being a victim, is easier than taking responsibility for your choices and actions.

At first I wonder when it will dawn on you that you’ve hit bottom. Then I realize that you haven’t hit bottom. Using heroin, getting arrested, spending a few nights in jail—none of this is bottom. Bottom is dead. And there are a few more levels between where you are now and dead.

But you’re sliding downward fast, and you’re too arrogant to believe it. You don’t think you’ll wind up homeless, hungry, doing whatever it takes to get a fix. You think someone will always be there to pick you up, to support you and enable you.

Think again.

You have a choice. You can go into rehab and make an effort—merely showing up isn’t enough—or you can continue your slide to the bottom. If you choose rehab, you can be part of our lives. Understand this now: Love may be unconditional, but tolerance has a limit, and we have reached ours. We have expectations. You will complete the rehab program. You will go to Narcotics Anonymous meetings. You will be clean. You will not use heroin or any other drugs, including alcohol. You will get a job and support yourself. It’s past time. You’re 32 fucking years old.

If you choose heroin, you can count on this: We will have nothing to do with you. If you wind up on the street, don’t call us. If you need money, you’re not getting it from us. If you are stabbed or shot or raped, it’s your problem—just like your addiction. That’s your problem, too, and you’re the only one who can do something about it.

We have choices, too, and we mean every word of this. 

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heroin, addiction

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A decision not easily reached.
This is a terribly difficult thing.
I'm glad you have self-preservation...
...and you realize you're talking to a drug.
The Drug.
Just Thinking... Thanks.
Wow, Susan, tough decision, certainly.
perhaps a life saving decision.
Pranay, we examined every other option first, hoping to avoid this, but ultimately this is the only choice that makes sense.

Chuck, I hope so. I don't think the person in question has any idea how fragile life is.
My heart goes out to you. I don't know who this person is your are referring to, but I've been there with my son. It's tough. Hopefully, heroin is in our past where it will stay for good. Our son went through rehab and has done well and is still doing well even with some other setbacks he's gone through. If you're interested you can read my experience. It might help you to feel not alone.
Oh. So very hard, but necessary. Doesn't make it any easier. Take care.
Patricia, thank you so much for that link. I read your post as well as the comments that followed it. I'm so glad rehab has worked for your son. xo
You are spot on with this letter. And saying all the necessary things that need to be said. I wish you all the best. ~r
Quite often, people who use heroin die of an overdose, and then there is no more value in moralizing or preaching to them. The person you are talking to here is still a human being; he or she is not a drug. Please try to understand that.
Joan, thanks. As you and rita said, it's necessary.

nanatehay, thank you for reading.
Usually it gets worse before it gets better and you'll have to say this at every turn.
Foolin', we are discovering this. Thanks for your comment.
Reading this, it strikes me that the "tough love" is mostly hard on the parents. This child won't understand that until maybe later.

Blessings and strength;

Susan: My daughter is 22 and addicted to heroin. I was with you until I read Nanatehay’s,"Quite often, people who use heroin die of an overdose, and then there is no more value in moralizing or preaching to them. The person you are talking to here is still a human being; he or she is not a drug. Please try to understand that.” I cannot harden my heart as the might lessens...
Susan, thank you for your comment, and my heart goes out to you. I don't pretend to offer advice to anyone else; I only know what my boundaries are. Good luck to you and your daughter.
Rehab experts tell you from the get-go: Don't to ANYthing for them. Nothing.

It's hard until you reach that breaking point into sanity and self-preservation. Your words have influenced far more than you know.