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The Bracelet had caught attention from many different people and they all wanted one. I was giving many away to recovering addicts and people whose loved ones were affected by this disease of addiction. A lot of people that had requested a bracelet were mothers of children who had passed away due to an overdose. I had ran out of bracelets, but kept a few in the drawer of my dresser in case I had lost mine or came across someone who really needed one. One mother reached out to me requesting a bracelet.
“Hi Ally. I saw that you had those ‘Stop Heroin Now’ bracelets and, well, I was wondering if you had any left. My son died two weeks ago from an overdose of heroin. It would really mean a lot to me if you could send me one, thanks,” said the mother. I hear this too often unfortunately, but for some reason this one woman had touched my heart in a way it never had been. Just two weeks ago her precious child was taken by his monkey. My heart broke with her.
I knew I had to dig up a bracelet somewhere for this mother. I knew there had to be one hiding somewhere in my room or in my belongings. So I went to my dresser drawer where I remembered I had thrown some in it. As I’m searching through my drawer, something landed into the palm of my hand; an empty glassine bag of heroin.
When I was released from detox, and before my release, my mother and I had cleaned out my room entirely of anything that could be triggering for me. I was proud of myself for handing her paraphernalia that was hiding in areas she didn’t know. So for this bag to have fallen out of a page of a book in my drawer, was unexpected.
My hands began to tremble and my heart pounded and felt as if it dropped to my stomach. Although I had been thriving in recovery, out of habit or maybe instinctively, I grabbed the bag and held it up to the light to see if it had any heroin in it. By doing that action within seconds after it had landed on my hand, I felt guilt and a sense of weakness. I felt like The Monkey grabbed a hold of my hand by lifting it up to check whether the bag was empty or not. I noticed that the bag was mainly empty, but had heroin residue in the corners of the bag.
“You know you could scrape that and get a nice little high right now right? C’mon, do it, no one will even know! You’ll feel great!” said The Monkey. He had been anticipating this type of temptation and was loving every second of it. He couldn’t wait for me to slip and was going to do anything in his power to make it happen.
“No! No, no, no,” I said aloud to The Monkey.
I looked at this empty glassine bag. I saw the black uppercase letters stamped on the bag saying, “FACE DOWN”. Heroin dealers use stamps to label their product as a marketing technique. Let’s remember something about dealers; it’s a business to them. They have competition as any legal company does. The better the label and company name equals better product, and better product equals more consumers. It’s all about making money and having the best product. So this label, “FACE DOWN”, is supposed to be a way for dealers to attract their customers by having hopes that the name of it will speak for itself; a user will be so intoxicated that they will literally have their face, down.
“FACE DOWN” was one of the strongest batches that I had ever came across in my years of heroin use. As I held the empty bag of “FACE DOWN” in my hand, I pictured the first time I had used that specific batch of heroin. It was the first time that I had ever been close to overdosing. I hadn’t overdosed, but a friend of mine did on that same batch. She was revived, but it was still frightening to me.
“Ah yes, FACE DOWN! Remember how good that stuff is? Now you really know that even just a little scraping of that bag will DEFINITLEY give you nice buzz! You won’t die, trust me,” said The Monkey. Remember, every monkey is a liar and will use lies to convince you that it’s the truth.
“Please, God, get me out of this, help me to see the escape that You promise to have when facing temptation!” I pleaded to God.
He came to my rescue immediately.
I looked at the name “FACE DOWN” and although for a moment I remembered the strength of the heroin and reality of the name, I suddenly remembered how many times I was “face down” in prayer and how many times God came to my rescue with comfort while being in that position during prayer and also crying, consumed with sorrow. I remembered all of the times that heroin made me put my face down with the overwhelming feelings of guilt, shame, and pain.
And then I remembered this mother that I was searching for a bracelet for. I pictured her hanging her face down as she sobbed with tears from the loss of her child. Here I was searching for a bracelet that clearly stated on it “Stop Heroin Now” and what did I discover? Heroin. I remembered the significance of this bracelet and all of the people who died because of heroin. I thought about how that mother could have been my mother.
I didn’t scrape that bag. I didn’t use that day. I still haven’t used. I chuckled at The Monkey and said, “Nice try, but not this time.”
I immediately flushed that bag down the toilet. I fell to my knees afterwards and thanked God for answering my prayer and showing me the escape when temptation came upon me.
When I flushed that bag down the toilet, I watched it as it swirled through the water in the bowl. The letters of the bag were “face down”, as it disappeared down the toilet.
I remember you telling me this story face to face.. and my reaction then is the same that I have now…. shocked, proud and surprised all at once. To think that even you, such a strong person, can have the temptation almost take you out of your element shows how real these drugs are. It put a lot into perspective for me and I’m so proud of you for fighting back and seeing that sign. I thank you for not giving in and for being so open to let something bigger remind you of your strength and how far you’ve come. People are struggling everyday with situations like these and sometimes, do not always get the sign and end up losing a battle. I dont know what it is or what it takes to overcome it, but I know for sure that everyone can dig deep and find it. I have that type of faith … & I hope that this story inspires someone.. gives someone the power they’ve been looking for to say NO and to fight back. Thanks for being so brave Ally.. not only for sharing this but for not indulging. Your rock and your recovery means everything!
There is this bracelet I used to wear but I lost it I used to always wear a red bracelet because my mom told me it will protect me from bad energy and it will help me get a job and now I been working with the Warmline since feburary 2016, an is the best experience I ever had and the only ones that actually gave me a chance.
Wow! Incredibly powerful post. I related from the first word to the end. The monkey is so powerful, but grateful that today I am aware that my God is much more powerful than The Monkey. Every time I went to treatment, my mother cleared out my room too and there are always the hidden works. There were always hidden empty bags that fell out of books and socks and coat pockets forever. It’s a sickening feeling. So glad, you got through it. It’s incredible how powerful the monkey is, how it could convince us – convince me that just once or just a little bit wouldn’t hurt and no one would know. It’s that first thought where the lies begin because I don’t want to talk about it with anyone, or tell anyone and then if I use, I can’t tell anyone and so on and so forth…..
Thank you Courtney!! We share the same connection with God and it’s so beautiful! I love it! AMEN!!! And you are so right, the Lord is SO much more powerful than The Monkey. I always think of the stories in the bible where it talks about how powerful God really is and how He has the ultimate authority. I’m glad that this post was able to bless you! We really do relate on the feelings when we are tempted!!
Allison – I have fallen into the lies so many times…the lies that I somehow believed knowing EXACTLY what would happen. I think it also changed from thinking I could “get away with it” to “I know I’m in trouble, but I don’t care.” BIGGEST LIE the disease of addiction has told me that I have believed and handed everything away over and over again. Not during the months of using, but in the thoughts of using to the first time I put something in my body again!
“I don’t care” is my go – to statement…I still struggle with it today in regards to my health, work, relationships, etc….you know, life, lol. Everything that I have to learn to take care of and cherish when in recovery. Everything I didn’t have or gave away when using. It takes SOOO long to build everything up from scratch and seconds to destroy it again. This last time I made the decision I wasn’t going to build back up with just my own hands, but with God’s hands too and I in my process I have realized my angry relationship with God was the most vital piece that was missing in my recovery…probably one of the reasons I kept choosing to use after periods of clean time for whatever reason I had convinced myself that day. Some times it was cravings and obsession for days until I gave in. Other times it was just impulse, “I don’t care” spur of the moment. Ahh..I could go on and on and on.
It’s nice to be able to relate, to the shit, the pain and even more important – the good. For a long time I tried to not use because of how bad it always got, but at some point I continued to not use because of how good it is or can get!
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