Something that people who know me closely are aware of — I generally don’t like people, strangers. I’m distrusting and they make me uncomfortable. Something that people who know me very closely are aware of — when I care about people I truly and deeply care about their well being and their life. I would in a split second give my life for them without question.
Today I am going to write about how I spent two weeks living on my friend’s floor to save his life from opiate detox, and how I don’t know if he is alive today.
This is another one where the person will not be named. For one, because if he is alive, I don’t know if he would want this story written about him or not. I would rather err on the side of respect. So this person will henceforth be known as Ben.
Ben is one of my very best friends. You’ll find I have a lot of them. Whether we are in touch or not they will always remain my best friends because I love them for who they were at that time, and whom they have helped me grow to become as a person.
My brother Alan is my other half, just like Megan. Two sides of the same coin. When I went to Hawai’i I had this very large void in my life that needed to be filled. I very much missed my big brother who at that time was more mature than me in a lot of ways. Ben filled that void extremely well. He really took me under his wing as a true drug user and distributor.
That last sentence is a bit sharp, and honest, but it’s also exactly at that time what I was looking for and what I wanted. I’ve already written about how I don’t like school, it was really hard for me to apply myself, how confused I was, and the fact I like to try everything once.
So, I decided the thing I really wanted to learn was how to make a living breaking the law.
Not the things my friends and I in Colorado were messing around with at the time. I’m talking weight, weapons, lack of personal welfare — and a willingness to lose one’s humanity.
That is probably as specific as I will ever write about those times. I honestly can’t even remember too many specifics, one of the worst things about it; or maybe best things. It just goes to show how deep I was into my substance abuse. I also just don’t remember a lot of things about that time because I’m still getting chunks back that were lost within my mental break with reality. Just recently a friend reminded me that the name of the tree we were always sitting under was a banyan tree. I have forgotten simple details like that.
This is about the thing that caused me to hold on to that humanity, and how I was able to see where I was headed if I didn’t correct course.
I still lost my mind after this, but I think the stress of taking care of Ben, and his business; as well as my own consumption of a concoction of substances from Meth to experimental hallucinogens like 2Ci — really compounded into what became my crazy spell. That puts it a bit lightly, but I was. I was absolute batshit crazy. I went to bonkersville.
Spending time with Ben meant I progressively didn’t spend much time with anyone else. I began to spend less time with my friends in our self-described Ohana, and Ben and I even hid from his roommates quite a bit with the door locked. Talking business, bonding over different substances, just in general being best buds. Brothers, so to speak.
Over this time I watched Ben who was never tall, but very stout — go from a very healthy looking individual shooting up a water solution of opiates into his anus, to a very frail — hardly ever lucid sack of skin and bones. A skeleton that wanted to physically assault myself and his roommates for taking and disposing of his terribly hidden stash of black tar heroin.
It was then that I began sleeping on his floor. Getting up any time he needed to release himself in any way, in any fashion, and help him accomplish that.
If I remember correctly his roommates helped him just as much, as I was still running around campus at times during the day and night; trying to close out a lot of Ben’s business. As well as get him out of the nonsense and debt he was putting himself in with the heroin. Classes were so far from a priority at this time that I’m not sure I went to a single one.
Shortly after Ben’s detox I remember one of his roommates getting a hold of family to get him a way out of Hawai’i in hopes to save his life. His room was empty, locked, and closed out but someone still attempted to break in at knife point to get some money from Ben. I’m honestly glad that I was really well known and friendly around campus, but in my dealings with Ben’s business I worked pretty hard to be quiet and not make too much of an impression. I think it may have saved my life.
I skipped ahead there a bit, but it was just to illustrate the kind of people Ben and myself had in common with at that time.
It’s this period that caused me to see what things other than alcohol can truly do to a person first hand. Someone who is close to me. Someone who I care about. I’m really glad that Ben had a huge stash of marijuana so that we didn’t need to worry about smoking at all. I’m really not sure he would have survived without it. Pot gave him great relief from the pain, fever, and convulsions that he needed to be helped through.
Nightmares with cold sweats, and absolute full body retching which would not stop no matter how empty his stomach was. It was living death and I never wanted to see anyone ever go through that again.
Not long after Ben left campus my friend Tony passed, and that was the nail in the coffin of opiates for me. I’ve been an advocate for marijuana over the corporate-fueled and socially accepted heroin that are prescription pain meds since. I was very close with people that it has hurt greatly. The two mentioned in this piece both started with 100% legal pain medication which is all too often shoveled into peoples’ hands without any afterthought.
Of course when I broke my shoulder years later I had a great time abusing my prescriptions like the addict I am.
No one in my family even gave it a second thought at that time, including myself. I’m not sure if we all thought I had gotten past it or not, but I very quickly went through two re-fills in a week. By the following week I was popping four pills as I woke just to take two more in an hour to actually feel it.
I think the greater meaning I have been looking for in this piece when thinking about caring for Ben is that:
Opiates are a really dangerous thing. Please be really, really careful with them. They, just like any other addictive drug — can turn an incredibly bright person into something very, very dark.
I really hope I never have to see someone go through that again, and that I never put anyone through something like that myself again. I am an addict, I will always be an addict. It’s something I strive to be better at every day just like my bi-polar. When I say that I am sober I mean from everything but alcohol and marijuana. Those are two things I feel like I have the ability to be a responsible adult with, and I feel like my current life has proven that.
The last time I spoke to Ben was not long after sending him a Facebook message to tell him that I was able to plead guilty on all my charges — and lucky to get five years probation on a deferred sentence.
His way of congratulating me was by calling to ask help him move some weight of Ecstasy through the mail from Hawai’i to California, where he was now residing.
He’s since disappeared from Facebook and I can’t find him anywhere. I do not know if he is alive, and truly wish him the best. However, it was the phone call that proved to me he was lost beyond all doubt. I did not need to be in contact with him any longer if I wanted to make something of myself.
Thank you for all the support and love that was given to me during my recovery. Ben is the big brother I never want to be.
Thank you for reading.
©2017 Trevor Elms
Photo taken December 13th, 2008 by Mariah C. Pictured w/ Kelli K. just days before mental break with reality.