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The Morning After Katrina, Third Excerpt From Eliza Player’s Memoir

Written by Eliza Player on Tuesday, 03 April 2012. Posted in Voices in Recovery

The Morning After Katrina, Third Excerpt From Eliza Player’s Memoir

Part Three

I do not remember much of the storm itself.  I slept through most of it, restlessly twitching from the symptoms of withdrawal.  I heard my roommates cooking, and the smell of cooking greasy fat sent me hurling into the bathroom.  I swore they were cooking chitterlings or rancid deer meat.  I heard the winds outside, whistling and raging.  I heard branches and leaves pounding on the windows.  The apartment was really dark, and most of the light came from artificial sources.  I remember when the power cut off because I heard the air conditioner that was just above my head click off.  I remember thinking it is going to get really hot in here now.

When I woke up after the storm, I still felt like shit.  I think it was Tuesday, but I still cannot be sure.  I could have slept until Wednesday, and after I woke up time was not an issue.

I could see the sun shining through the windows.  I felt like I had been through the ringer with that exhausted and awful feeling that comes on the third day without dope.  The third day of the kick is the worst because all you think about is fucking dope.  Physically, you feel a little better and you finally think you might live…but your mind now turns back on to drive you insane with its constant obsession with heroin.

The apartment was silent.  Everyone else must be up at Larry’s.  Either there or they were outside on the porch or balcony.   I got up from the sticky bed, and I began rifling through all my pockets, searching madly for dope.  I always searched madly for hidden or misplaced dope on the third day of a kick.  The frantic search usually turned up empty.

But lo and behold, on Tuesday August 30 th , I found a foil that was still about half full.  I was fucking ecstatic.  I gathered my works and went to the bathroom to get high.

It was dark in there because the power was off, but the sun was bright enough outside that there was light.  I sat, shaking, on the toilet.  The big buckets that had been filled with water were still sitting full, on the floor.  My need had completely taken over as I mechanically took my kit apart, setting up my works on the side of the porcelain sink.  I did not even take note that when I turned the faucet on, water just poured out.  I really had no idea that I was going to walk outside into a different world from the one I had known before I slept.  At that moment, as the needle slid easily in on the first try, gliding into my skin like slicing into warm butter, I had no idea that my life had already been altered permanently.  I was not nervous about what I would find when I finally felt high enough to be able to venture out of the house.

I walked out of the bathroom, barely noticing all the plates and cups scattered about.  The single bed in the living room where Jim’s mother slept was crumpled and disheveled.  I opened the door to the apartment and walked into a dark hallway.   The stairwell was unusually dark, but the sun shone in bright on the second floor coming from the balcony.  This was the first time I was really aware that the power was out.  I would guess it was about ten in the morning at this point.

I walked up the stairs, exhausted from the torture of kicking dope for two days while the storm raged on outside.  I was a little high, which made up for the exhaustion.  There is nothing like that shot when you are really in need.  You have been puking and shivering, and twitching, and turning, and moaning like a dying old man.  Your mind is riddled with insanity because all it can think about is dope.  Dope, dope, fucking dope…Heroin, Oxycontin, Vicodin, the boy, Morphine, Demerol, Fentanyl, china white, the downtown brown, heroin, Percocet, Vicodin, Dilaudid…round and round my thoughts kept running over the same old defeat.  A movie reel of needles and pills and powders and pleasure and pain kept rolling through my head like a trailer to a film I had seen in a thousand different places.  The only thing that would stop that train of thoughts, the only thing that could give me any peace was more fucking dope.  That was the ONLY answer.

As I walked up the giant stairs, the hallway seemed to get brighter and brighter.  I emerged onto the balcony.  The sunlight was so blinding to my eyes that had been locked closed from insanity and pain or the weight of the Seroquel that I did not take in the whole scene at first.  I looked at the sky.  It was blue with small hints of grey, and the breeze was still while the clouds were large and puffy.  The sky was calm and peaceful and fucking gorgeous.  My eyes squinted from brightness and slight nausea; I looked down from the second floor of the raised old house and realized the streets had morphed into rivers.  I looked on with both disbelief and amazement.

About the Author

Eliza Player

Eliza Player

I have been writing as long as I can remember, even carrying tattered notebooks with me through the streets and strip clubs of New Orleans, in the midst of my heroin addiction. I lived a life saturated in heroin until Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, leaving me to fend for myself, eventually facing my demons and coming face to face with my addiction. I have been clean for five years, and since then I have become a mother, graduated college, and started a writing career. I have a B.A. in Mass Media Communication, with a minor in Journalism. I have also written one published book, Through Both Hell and High Water: A Memoir of Addiction and Hurricane Katrina, which tells the story of those dark days I spent in New Orleans after the storm, battling with addiction amidst a natural disaster. I am the blogger and news curator for RecoveryNowTV, and I love sharing the stories of the world, as well as my own personal journey, with my readers. I hope that my words can touch others out there, struggling with addiction.

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