FOR THE FAMILIES – DEAR HEROIN

Anne Moss Rogers

Dear Heroin, I f—ing hate you,

You are the sorriest, most vicious, demonic SOB in the world.

You took over my child at his most vulnerable and you lured him into your lair of deceit. Then wrapped your evil talons around him, leaked into his brain and never let go.

You told him that he was the greatest human being in the world–and then the most worthless. You ostracized him from his family and his friends and made him do things he would not ever have done without your influence.

You made him lie, cheat and steal for you. You made him hate himself for it.

That first hit you gave him was the most euphoric and intoxicating feeling he’d ever had. For a depressed kid, it was magic. You made him feel so good he’d do anything for just one more party and then like the vile sack of dirt you are, you seduced him into thinking he couldn’t live without you.

As time went on, you made him crave more to get the same feeling. And then there was no feeling at all but desperation to keep withdrawal agony at bay. After being with you, he lost himself. His smile and laugh were nowhere to be seen.

When he tried to part from you, you made him pay for it by kicking his butt and torturing him with unbearable pain and agony not to mention the psychological fear of relapse and episodes of unimaginable depression.

He went away from you. He cleaned up.

But there you were on the edge of his brain coaxing him back within 24 hours. You couldn’t let us enjoy even a whole day without you in it. I saw and craved ‘Saturday Charles‘–the one and only afternoon right after rehab when he looked happy, clean and done with you.

But you couldn’t accept that. You knew he was fragile. And you had the advantage because you had already carved a place in his head and his recovery was so fresh.

You literally sucked the life out of my child little by little and made him part of the epidemic that was all about you. Made him another statistic whose last belongings came to us in a brown bag marked with a number and name. You are the monster our society created.

Without you, I think he had a shot at life. But you were a faster fix for hurt and pain. The other methods took too much patience–the process so laborious and difficult, what child could have patience with that? The itchy skin, the restless legs, the vomiting — all the side effects that came after. The signs we didn’t understand. The price he paid for having allowed you in.

You’re an invisible enemy I can’t grab or reason with. Twenty years of trying to help my child become a productive adult and you ruined that effort in less than 9 months.

In a shockingly cruel twist of fate only you could execute, you made him think there was only one way out, and you drove him to choke the very life out of himself. A suicide by hanging.

I will never forgive you for what you’ve done. I will fight you the rest of my life. Of that you can be certain.

Yours Truly,

Anne Moss Rogers

Heroin writes me a letter back

Dear Anne Moss, I got your letter. You said you f–ing hated me but I could care less. I am heroin, the most powerful drug in the world.

I am so entrenched in your culture, it will take decades to undo the damage. Your son was just another casualty. I don’t even remember him. How could I? I’ve killed millions, ruined millions of lives and torn apart families.

I have more control over your loved ones than you ever had. You have no control over me and it’s so pathetic to watch you try.

What’s more, I keep changing in both form and formulation. People add delicious new pharmaceuticals that make me more and more irresistible. They can’t live without me. They keep coming back for more. And more. And more. Until they don’t. Like your son. What’s his name again?

Sure, some of them make it. But I’ve carved a path in their heads that will never leave. Mothers, fathers, siblings, aunts, uncles and friends will always worry about me coming back.

You thought you got rid of me in the 70’s. I was barely a blip on the radar screen, overshadowed by all the new party drugs. I was weaker back then, so pure and powerful now. Those little white pills you invented were mere bread crumbs right back to me. I had all but disappeared until greed and opportunity revived me.

I create nirvana–an explosion of pleasure. But then I get tired of them. They nag, beg, steal and even kill to get more of me. They worship me. Of course they do. I am a drug Czar! They’ll give up anything for me. Their children, their houses, their cars. Everything. But by then, they are pathetic, needy and no longer any fun at all.

Some of them get cleaned up. And then some guy in a white coat inadvertently hands over a piece of paper that gets cashed in at the pharmacy and I have them back all over again. Or some parent like you leaves a bottle of pills in a cabinet. Or their own brains talk them into just one more and I am back in their lives in an instant.

I am incredibly invincible. And intoxicating. The fact that you think your puny little effort could take down an empire like mine is laughable.

They will spend a couple of billion to eradicate me? I can cost you that much in a few months. And a lifetime of grief.

All the best,

Heroin, the all powerful

Anne Moss Rogers is writer and a public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief. She is the owner of the blog, emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. Currently, she is interim executive director of Beacon Tree Foundation, advocates for youth mental health. She lost her youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015 as a result of depression and addiction. She sold the digital marketing business she co-owned in 2017 to finish a book and pursue advocacy full time.