Photo by Markus Spiske for Unsplash

Dear Drugs,

I have been free of you only a few weeks, and my mind is just clear enough to know I miss you. Every day I remember how I felt when I was yours, and I think maybe it was better than this overwhelming feeling I carry every day. 

Yes, you took my money, family, self-worth, conscience and my ability to make rational choices. Yes, eventually you took my freedom, but you came with me into these prison walls. I had learned to do without my money, family, sane mind and the rest. But you… oh you… I am just now learning to do without. It is not easy.

I wake with my mouth salivating, not for food, but for you. You are my first and last thought of the day. I miss the burn as you slid up my nose, the heat as I felt you hit my blood stream, the burst of energy as you flooded my system, and the numbness of my emotions as I cruised through the day. 

It is funny how when I am clear-minded but in the throes of my craving, I forget the paranoia, the anxiety of trying to pay my dues to keep you with me. I forget the laughter and the loves lost because my need for you was greater than my need for food, friends, family or finances. I forget what was lost, and only focus on you. 

Today, I am stronger than yesterday. Yes, I still miss you. Yes, I might even feel like I need you, but I choose to say no. I want those things I lost, and I know I can have them, but you cannot be a part of it. You, my dear drugs, never knew how to only be a part. You consumed and demanded the whole. When you are the whole, I am none.

So, I choose today to say no. I choose today to say I do want food, friends, family and finances. Today, I want my clear head, and I will be strong enough to deal with the cravings. 

Tomorrow, we will have this conversation again, but tomorrow my head will be one day clearer. My blood one day clearer. My strength will be one day stronger. Get used to being a part of my past, where you will never be the whole again. I choose life… I choose me without you.

 
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.

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Dorothy Maraglino

Dorothy Maraglino is a writer incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, California. She is serving a life-without-parole sentence under the state’s felony murder rule. Writing is how she processes the world around her to remain sane. She devotes most of her time to short works that share the realities of prison.