In the span of only 3 seconds, a lifetime of thoughts crossed my mind.
This was a rehab, correct? So why in God’s name is my drug of choice being administered 2 feet away from me? My heart was beating against my rib cage and a tornado of jealousy was spinning in my gut.
“Who the f** are you?” the girl asked, a hint of panic in her voice. The other stall fell silent, the other girl must have realized that they were no longer alone in the bathroom.
“Um, okay – so hi, I’m Tiffany. This is my first night here at Leap of Faith, and I was under the impression that this was a residential treatment program. Judging by the mattresses on the floor and the fact that you are shooting up in the bathroom, I’m suddenly not so sure.”
The redhead pushed the door open and marched straight toward me. I thought perhaps I was about to be murdered for witnessing her crime, however she made a sharp left and knocked on the door of the other stall.
“Lexi, I need you out here. I’m not dealing with this shit alone.” She said, peering over at me angrily.
“Listen, I just need to piss, okay? I don’t really care about what the hell you guys are doing.” I said, but it was a lie. I cared very much, actually– I was pretty pissed that I wasn’t invited to this fun party. I wanted them to share. I needed them to share.
I had seen the shit loaded into the barrel of her syringe and now it was all I could think about. The other girl – who looked like she just stepped out of the Motel 8 after a night off partying—emerged from the stall.
“Here is how this is gonna go down,” she said, trying to sound tough, “you are going to keep your mouth f***ing shut, or we are going to whoop your ass in your sleep. I’m serious.” The night walker glanced nervously at her red-headed friend for confirmation, and I noticed the red-head sporting her best “we mean business” face.
The laughter escaped from my mouth before I had a chance to stop it. They were trying to intimidate me; but after spending years on the streets and months in jail, these little Spice Girls didn’t phase me.
“Okay,” I began, “Lexi, is it? And, what’s your name?” I said, looking at the redhead.
“None of your business.” She crossed her arms across her chest in defiance.
“Fair enough. Lexi, NoneOfYourBusiness, I’d like to start off by saying – you don’t scare me, okay? Let’s get that out of the way immediately. Secondly, while I feel like perhaps this may be a trick, or a set up to test my willingness to stay clean, I’d like to state that currently I have no willingness, and I’d like to get high. Lastly, if you don’t give me some of that shit immediately, I will march straight to the bosses office, you will get kicked out, and I’ll carry on with my life not thinking twice about either of you. Your choice.”
I casually leaned back against the sink, feeling pretty confident that the ball was suddenly in my court, and awaited their reply. I had them stuck between a rock and a hard place, and they had no choice but to share. I was moments away from feeling the glorious sensation of liquid relaxation coursing through my veins.
“We don’t have any left.”
“Okay, that’s fine. I have no choice but to repor–,”
“Okay, stop! Fine…Jesus. I have a half a pill. I need it for tomorrow though. I can probably get my boyfriend to bring us more, but you would need to call him.” Lexi said.
“Huh? I have to call him? Hell no I just got here, I don’t have a phone?”
“They let you make a phone call to your family to get your stuff. You can just call my boyfriend instead, he has the number to the office saved in his phone so he will know what it’s about. Tell him we need some. He will meet us at the Meeting tomorrow and slip it to us.”
I knew I wasn’t going to do it. But I needed the drugs, now. So I agreed.
“If you f*** me over, new girl, I swea–,”
“I won’t damnit, just give me the shit. Once I do some it will be in my system and then you will know I’m not ratting you out. I’d fail a test too. So pass it, damnit.”
She was angry, I could see it in her eyes. I don’t blame her, I’d be pissed too if I was forced to give away the last of my drugs. But I don’t give a damn , I’m getting high. God put me in this bathroom at the perfect time, and I was eternally grateful.
She closed the stall behind and her and began preparing the rig for me.
“I know what it looks like when it’s right, don’t try and f*** me over by not putting the whole half in there.” I whispered through the crack.
“Dude, shut the f*** up, I won’t.” she whispered angrily.
When she opened the door I saw the syringe sitting on top of the tank on the back of the toilet. My heart was exploding inside my chest and I couldn’t wait to feel high again. It had been so f***ing long.
I would just do it tonight, just this once… To get the urge out of my system. Then I would start fresh with my rehab journey tomorrow. A little bit probably wouldn’t do anything to me anyway and technically I hadn’t started rehab yet. It was fine.
I entered the stall, shut the door behind me, and grabbed the syringe.
The next morning, Dr. Danner placed her briefcase next to her chair and sat down across from me.
“Good morning, Tiffany. I was thinking about you all night last night. Your story was so captivating. If I can be honest with you for a moment; I was anxious to get back here today and hear more.”
I felt uncomfortable. Nervous. I was afraid to speak to her after what happened last night.
Before I could reply, she abruptly rose from her seat and made her way over to the couch I was sitting on. She sat down next to me and looked into my eyes, her face had fallen into an expression of sadness.
“Tiffany…. I know what you did last night.” she said.
My heart fell. I placed my head into my hands and began to weep. I felt so embarrassed and guilty about what I had done, and now everyone knew.
“Look at me,” she said placing her hand on my back, “Tiffany, look at me.”
I slowly raised my eyes to meet hers and swallowed the knot that had formed in my throat. My ribcage began convulsing as I began sobbing, I couldn’t breath.
“Shhhhh.” she whispered, trying to comfort me. “Tiffany… What you did,” she began, “takes a tremendous amount of courage. To come face to face with your drug of choice on the first night — and then have the strength to not only walk away from it; but to immediately tell the counselors so they could get those girls and their drugs out of this place — was heroic.”
I shook my head.
“It wasn’t f***ing heroic. I’m a snitch. It’s my first morning here and everybody already hates me. I feel so stupid.” I sobbed.
“Listen to me, I need you to hear what I’m saying. You just saved a life, whether you realize it or not, you did. Maybe yours, maybe theirs, maybe the other girls in this house — or maybe– the girl on the street, desperate to find a safe place to get clean. The one who couldn’t get into this program because it was already full. You just freed up 2 beds for someone who really needs them, someone willing to do whatever it takes to get clean. You don’t know it today, but one day down the road it will become very clear how the choice you made last night rippled out into the universe and changed everything. I am so proud of you.”
I thought about what she’d said for a moment. And she was right, I don’t know it today. Today I know that I turned every light in this place on and began screaming at the top of my lungs that there were girls using in the bathroom.
Today I know that the owner of Leap of Faith came to the house at 4:30 in the morning to drug test everyone, and 3 girls were removed.
Today I know that the moment I looked at that needle on the back of the toilet I thought about my dad’s face on the monitor in jail, and I knew that I never wanted to be forced to communicate with him through a screen again.
Today I know that I get to call him on the phone, and wrap my arms around him for the first time, in a very long time, when he brings my things to me. I get to touch his skin and look him in the eyes and thank him, for his unwavering love and support during the darkest times in my life.
Today I know… I am clean.
I don’t know what comes next, I don’t know what to expect and I don’t know where the hell this life will take me. But I do know one thing for sure. There is a God, he was with me in that bathroom stall last night, and he has a beautiful plan for my life, one that is greater than I could ever imagine…
To be continued…