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[ Personal Narratives ]

I Got a Secret You Can’t Keep

Sssssh…That’s your addiction whispering in your ear, everyday. We have a secret you and I. I promise if you do not tell anyone about our affair, I will bring you to places you have never been to before. I can deliver something nobody else can even come close to. You can trust me. I will be waiting for you every morning to return to me. But I want you all to myself. I will never turn you away, as long as you do not share our secret with anyone else. Whether you hear your addiction or not, those are the words they tell all of us addicts. Your addiction is not lying to you. It will provide something to you nobody else can. It can take you places you have never been to before. No doubt about that. But there is just one problem with all of that…none of it will be of any good. You see, your addiction does have a secret, that in due time neither one of you will be able to keep.

My secret life as an opiate addicted individual started back in 1990. At 25 years old, I had found the Love of My Life…only it was a little white (and sometimes blue) pill that fit into my pocket. And man, was this perfect for me. My secret was so secretive, I could fit as many as 20+ of these secrets in my pocket. Funny how it would be those same pockets where I hid my secret that ultimately is where my undoing would be found 14 years later. 

When you walk around for 14 years in the public’s eye masquerading as someone that you are completely the opposite of is just a life strung together by camouflaged lies. Abusing narcotic pain medication doesn’t require any flames or smoke. Nor does it emit any suspicious smells. There is no paraphernalia to acquire or conceal. I could bring my secret into any wheelhouse completely undetected. A quiet addiction. Perfect. But at the same time I was building at my perfection of simply becoming a quiet liar. Think about it, when you are addicted there is no place you will go without your little secret. If you were to ask someone if you were allowed to bring 20 Vicodins with you when you enter their home, their answer most likely would be no. The only way for an addict to get the best of both worlds is to master the art of quiet lying. I was so good at that I could of taught it.

I lied about my substance abuse for 14 years. I do not remember exactly when, but my secret started to open its mouth and started telling people about me. Its lips weren’t exactly sealed as well as they used to be. The zipper was opening and my Talk of the Town was hitting the streets. Most of this was unknown to me, but in reality even if it was there really wasn’t anything that I would honestly be interested in doing to conceal my addiction once someone knew. After all, sustaining my substance abuse was the most important thing in my life. Time would go on a bit more until finally my secret could no longer be kept. 14 years of an opiate addiction to a Federally Controlled Substance had run me tired. I was getting sloppy. I started making mistakes. The stage was now set for me to make my final fatal mistake…flush my addiction out into the light where it would die…and ultimately save my life.

The mistake I made that changed what I was calling a secret and gave it its new definition, drug abuse, occurred in Berlin, NJ in late 2003. Married at that time, I was confronted one day when my wife had noticed a significant amount of a blue material (Lorcet 10mg pills) coming out of one of the pockets in my pants after doing the wash. She went into that pocket and found some pills not yet completely dissolved. Now she was already suspicious of me I am sure, but with this discovery she now had found her warrant to interrogate me. Confronted with the evidence and basically put in a checkmate situation, my secret was about to be exposed for good.

It may have taken some time, but my only friend that I had counted on (and consumed since 1990) was out there telling a different story than the one I had authored for the last 14 years. Painting a picture in complete contrast to the one I hung up in society. Every day I would face a constant plea from my wife. Printed rehabilitation flyers would be taped to anything that I used on a daily basis. My bags, car keys, clothes…anything. And every time I would throw them out and disregard those reminders. I do not know which one was the last one, but one of them I threw away led to the remission of my wife’s plea bargain with me. Unknown to me, I had just planned my final escape. That night I was asked to leave our home. I would never return.

Tossed out of our house with one of our three bulldogs, divorced shortly after, it would only take another six weeks or so before I hit a bottom that I finally recognized. It was almost May 8th, 2004. The day that would become my sobriety date. The day that I would check myself into a Psychiatric Hospital in Philadelphia…only this time there would no more secrets. It was time to tell it all. It was the only way I was going repair my broken brain. There were not going to be anymore evasive ways. No more deception. My future was going to be me continuing to tell it all. Only this time in sobriety and with honesty. You see in recovery, secrets and honesty do not like one another. One of them I knew had to go. I also knew that if I chose secrets over honesty, it would just be a matter of time before I was the next thing to go. A scary road to chose but the only road to chose. It is this road I turned on to just about 13 years ago that became the only reason I am here writing this story. The only reason I am still alive today.