I haven't had an easy life. Rather than explain everything, I'll just give a brief overview of the last 5 years or so, with backstory where applicable. If anyone has a better idea of where to post this, I'm all ears. I've shared some of my experiences on Reddit in the past but right now, Reddit is a little too open for my comfort. Just be warned, this is pretty long and personal.
About 5 years ago, a month before my 28th birthday and after a little over 5 years in the field, I was fired from my job as an EMT and blacklisted, due to drug use. It was the only thing I was ever really any good at and I worked hard to get where I was. I graduated my EMT course top of my class and received a number of CME (continuing medical education) credits throughout my tenure. But then it was gone in an instant and I don't think I've ever really recovered.
That summer was pretty rough. I was having issues with my girlfriend and my dog was diagnosed with canine leukemia. A month later, I watched him die in my bathtub as blood sprayed from every orifice. About 2 weeks later, my paternal grandfather died. After the funeral, my uncle--my father's brother--approached me and gave me a folded piece of paper and told me that it contained the number to the detective currently in charge of the investigation into my father's murder.
"You know your mother killed him, right?" he said.
I had been aware of the suspicions from that side of the family but this was the most direct confrontation as pertains to those suspicions. My father was murdered in his home, in his pajamas, when I was 2 years old. No one had ever been charged and today, the case remains open.
I held onto that piece of paper for 2 weeks. If my mother did have anything to do with it, I wasn't sure that was something I really wanted to know and despite the anger the prospect inspired in me, I wasn't sure I wanted to be the one to put her away. After 2 weeks, I had spoken to most of my friends and colleagues but to no avail. No one had any advice to give and I was no further to figuring out what to do than when I had first received that piece of paper. I was dumb but I had no one else to turn to and I approached my mother. I explained to her that I wasn't asking if she did it and I just wanted her to put herself in my shoes.
"If you had this phone number, what would you do?" I asked.
She blew up.
"You're just gonna create problems for me!" she shouted, and "why can't you just wait until I'm dead?!"
She had been struggling for the past few years with ovarian cancer, so we both knew that her death wasn't too far off the horizon. My mother had a host of mental issues and was always pretty paranoid, so since then, I've still experienced bouts of unsurety, however, at the time, I took her response as an admission of guilt.
I was currently living with my mother while I waited for my girlfriend--whom I'd already been with for a few years by then--to get her shit together and get an apartment with me, a move she had given me a number of excuses for delaying for quite a while at that point.
With my mother's outburst, I threw away the piece of paper and as soon as she went to the bathroom, I went straight to her nightstand and took some of her morphine pills, justifying my theft to myself with the knowledge that she was a murderer and had spent my life lying to me about it. Until that moment, I had been drug-free for a few years due to my job. Within moments, the anger and confusion within me subsided and I could experience some semblance of normalcy. I already knew how the pills would affect me because some years before, just before I began my EMT course and shortly after my mother's initial diagnosis, she had given me a Ziploc bag full of those same morphine pills for my birthday. It was probably one of her better gifts--one year, she gave me $25 of my own money (I had supported her for a number of years, giving her most of my paychecks for food and bills).
I started taking the pills on my days off and never took anything within 24 hours of a shift but one day, I got into a minor accident at work and had to be drug tested. I came up dirty and was swiftly removed from my position. My union reps didn't do a thing for me, my info was sent to the state, and I was told that I'd never work 911 again in the state of New York. I was also told that the medical field was pretty much barred to me. I don't know how true that last bit was but I took it to heart at the time. At the time, I had a slot in a friend's CPR instructor course and already had a slot in another friend's EMT instructor course once that was complete. I had also done about half the curriculum towards getting my paramedic certification. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do beyond all that but I knew I wanted to go further and I knew that it would be in the medical field. All that was down the drain now though.
My addiction picked up immediately and I started taking pills every day. Later on, I started selling drugs to start buying my own pills and avoid suspicion.
Within a week or so of losing my job, I had enrolled back in school. Unable, as per my union reps and hospital directors, to continue in the medical field, I was unsure of what to do. I went for electrical engineering. Having dropped out of high school when I was 16, I had no experience with higher math or physics, but I didn't want to be broke and I wanted to challenge myself. After my experience studying medicine, I was sure I could do it.
The first year went ok. I made dean's list most semesters and, as long as I was staying dosed, I was making it through my classes with little difficulty. But I was still living with my mother and our relationship wasn't an easy one. I was also still having issues with my girlfriend. After a year or so of being an addict, I decided that I needed to quit taking pills. I relapsed pretty quickly though and now I was spending a good while withdrawing and relapsing, withdrawing and relapsing. My classes were getting harder and my grades were suffering and my relationship with my mother was getting worse.
As the summer approached, I quit again and was doing better now at staying sober. My mother and I got into a heated argument a week before her birthday and when I was showering before work, she called the police, telling them that I had a mental history and was acting out--neither of which was true. I met them outside as I was leaving, explained the situation, and they let me leave. I was pretty pissed though that she would do that and on her birthday, I said nothing to her. I felt pretty bad about not wishing her a happy birthday though and the next day, I sat down with her and we had a long talk and we started both working on repairing our relationship.
A month later, my mother went to the bathroom and couldn't get off the toilet. I called an ambulance and she was taken to the hospital. Her cancer had come back in full force and she was given 6 months, tops, to live. I started trying to get her set up for home care as I wanted her to be comfortable in her last days but her condition continued its steady decline and after a month in the hospital, I was told she would not be able to return home and would instead, be going to hospice. On the day that she was to be moved, I had to go to my school and pay for my classes for the upcoming semester. I stayed with her for a while in the morning before her transport and, while confused at times, she chatted with me as she ate her breakfast. That was the last time I would hear her speak.
Once in hospice, she was unable to speak and couldn't even open her eyes most of the time. She lingered in wordless agony for a little over a week before finally passing away. Around that time, I had relapsed and bought some pills. I stayed taking pills for a little over a month before quitting again and I stayed quit for about a year but never really recovered from the physical withdrawals.
I was still in school and my girlfriend had got an apartment and we moved in together. On my next birthday, my friend started selling heroin and, depressed and still feeling some of the physical effects of quitting the year before, I bought a couple stamp bags. I snorted heroin for a few months, telling myself I was just leveling myself out, before my tolerance kicked up and I decided to quit for good. At present, I haven't touched pills or powder in about 2 years, though I've been taking kratom for the past few months.
Shortly after quitting heroin, I was 2 or 3 classes from getting my associate's degree. I had registered for classes and 2 or 3 days before they were to start, I went to my school to pay my bill. I wasn't taking enough credits to get financial aid, as I had received the semester before, and was going to spend the remainder of my savings to pay for those classes. Upon arriving at my school, I saw that my classes had been removed and when I went to inquire why, I was told that I owed ~$2,500 from the semester before. I explained that that was impossible as I had received financial aid for the previous semester but was told that, in fact, I did not. When I explained that was impossible, as I wouldn't have been able to take those classes to begin with if I hadn't received financial aid, the staff at my school had nothing to say. Having recently moved and not being the most responsible person when it comes to paperwork, I had nothing to prove my case. I tried to fight for a little while but eventually gave up. I've been out of school for almost 2 years now and at this point, I owe more than that ~$2,500 as I've defaulted on some student loans I took out when I first began my studies. Since then, I've worked various shit jobs and haven't improved my prospects an iota.
A year and a half or so ago, my best friend checked himself into rehab for his alcoholism. It was his second attempt in less than a year to move past his addiction. The first attempt was disastrous and he was drinking again the day he was released. This second time around though, he was doing great. He moved himself into a sober living house and had gotten himself a job and while it may have been a shit job, he was really working on improving himself and he was doing better than I'd seen him in a decade. His boss was a dickhead and he ended up leaving that job and started doing construction and light electrical work for a fomer marine with some mafia connections who paid him under the table. Having been out of work again for the past couple months, I asked if he could hook me up with something and he did. The pay wasn't terrific but I enjoyed the work--being outside, working with my homeboy, working with my hands, swapping stories with our boss as he'd lived almost as fucked up a life as I did. After a few weeks, however, against everybody's advice, my friend decided to move back to Brooklyn on his own. Within a week of moving, he was drinking again and within another week or two, he was showing up late to work and started sneaking off to get drunk while we were working. I felt like a dick but after a few weeks of trying to talk some sense into him to no avail, I started trying to convince my boss to fire him as he had become a danger to both himself as well as myself and our boss.
One day, a guy I hadn't spoken to in ten years and wasn't particularly fond of called me and told me I had to get to my friend's house.
"I'm not gonna babysit him," I said.
"You don't understand," I was told, "you gotta help me get these drugs out of his house!"
Apparently, my friend had hooked up with a guy in the Russian mafia and got a couple pounds of shrooms on consignment. My friend had gotten his new room through an agency and didn't know any of his roommates beforehand. His supplier came to the apartment that morning and threw 2 pounds of shrooms on the living room floor in plain sight of my friend's roommates and now they were freaking out. My friend was asleep by the time I arrived. I didn't feel like dealing with him so I let him sleep. I could only fit half a pound in my backpack and I did and left. I hadn't sold any illicit substances in a couple years at that point but I still knew people so when I got home, I started making some phonecalls. The next day, my friend shows up at my apartment unannounced with another 3/4 lbs. I went out and got rid of everything within 4 hours. I still can't believe I did that or how easy it was. I probably shouldn't have given all that money to his drunk ass but he still had to pay off his scary Russian contact and so I did.
A week later, he said he was going to unload the rest of what he had and pay off the Russian. We had work the next morning and he asked if I would spot him for an Uber. I wasn't really cool with it but I said ok and put my credit card number into his phone under the promise that he would delete it right after his ride. The next day, he didn't show up to work and didn't call and wasn't responding to my calls. Another day later, I find out that he didn't pay off the Russian and didn't delete my card number and had racked up ~$150 in rides. I cancelled my card and ordered a new one and after a few days of no call/no show, my boss was able to get in contact with my friend. He was drunk at the time and cursed out my boss and my boss told him he was finally firing him. I had spent years putting up with his drunken bullshit but enough was enough and I cut contact with my friend. Currently, we haven't spoken in about a year and a half.
I continued working with my boss for a while after that but at one point, he wanted me to do something for him, unrelated to our work. It wasn't exactly on the up-and-up and I was uncomfortable doing it and told him as much but he kept pushing. Eventually, I told him flat out that I wasn't going to do it and he stopped giving me work, stopped returning my calls, ghosted me, and I was out of a job again.
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