Success in life.
Reba was a great success. She sold luxury homes for a living. You could see Reba’s smiling face on billboards and bus stop benches, all over town. Yet, Reba was not happy. In fact, she was living in a nightmare.
Living in a dream.
The preparations were complete. The beautiful modern mansion was ready to show. The clients were on their way to the appointment to meet Reba. High ceilings, spacious rooms, A grand entrance way. In the back, the waters of the pool sparkled. Reba closed her eyes and imagined her own lifeless body floating in the water, discovered by her grief-stricken family. Holding everything together and hiding her secret was killing her.
In the beginning.
She remembered how it all started. While in high school, she was hanging out with her best friend, Toby one day. Toby lived in a big beautiful home. Reba and Toby went to a private school. Their parents were well off and made sure that their children had everything they wanted in life. That day, sitting in Toby’s room, Toby came back from the kitchen with a plate of brownies. They looked delicious.
“Fresh baked!”, said Toby, carrying the plate in one hand with a big smile on her face. “Take one”. Reba said, “No Thank you. I’m trying to watch my weight.” Toby popped a brownie in her mouth and said with a mouth full of brownie, “These are special brownies. They’re pot brownies! Don’t worry, these are totally legal in some states. It’s harmless.”
Entering the gateway.
Reba was scared. She had barely even tasted alcohol. Now, her friend was coaxing her to try marijuana. Reba felt pressured. She thought it over carefully. Everyone was talking about the many benefits of THC. She decided to go ahead and try it. Suddenly, Reba was chewing on a delicious sweet brownie.
Taking the next step.
Within about 40 minutes, Reba felt a little funny. It kept getting worse. She felt strange and a little paranoid. What if her parents found out? How could she go home like this? Toby had left the room. She came back in with a bottle and a glass. “I can see you aren’t handling it well. Maybe a drink will help.” Toby poured a shot of vodka for Reba. Normally, Reba would never accept an alcoholic drink. But, she wasn’t herself. She felt very strange and the world around her was also strange. She wanted to get out of this feeling right away. Reba grabbed the glass and quickly drank the vodka. It burned her throat, but she didn’t care. Then, Toby said, “take this too, it’s one of my mom’s Valiums” At this point, Reba wasn’t questioning anything. She popped the pill in her mouth and swallowed it without water.
The sick, paranoid feeling wore off. Reba felt better. A wave of smoothness came over her. She felt like everything was going to be fine. Reba and Toby sat around for hours talking and joking around about many things. They laughed and laughed together. As it began to get late, Toby asked Reba, “Do you want to go out tonight? I am hanging out with a few friends. It’s going to be a lot of fun.” Reba was very studious in high school. She was also socially awkward. The thought of hanging out with new kids would normally terrify her. But, now, she was relaxed and felt like she was suddenly cool. Also, she didn’t really want to see her parents in this state. Reba left a message for her mom and dad that she was going to stay over at Toby’s and have dinner.
What happened at the club.
Toby drove that night. They stopped to pick up Ally at her house. Ally came to the door and smiled when she saw Toby and Reba. She said, “Hold on, let me go get Molly.” A few minutes later, the three girls were driving to the club. Reba was confused. Who was Molly? When they got to the club, Ally said, “Don’t worry, I have a friend that is going to get us in.”
The three girls went to the bathroom together. The club was loud. There was blasting dance music and people dancing, drinking and talking everywhere. The place was packed. Reba had never seen anything like it. In the bathroom, the girls fixed their hair and makeup. Ally said, “ok, time to meet Molly.” She took out of her purse three big pills in a little zip locked baggie. “I brought one for each of us.” Reba was getting back to her senses a little and questioned the pills. “These are called Mollies? Are they safe? What are they.” Ally replied, “Don’t worry, they were invented for psychiatrists to help patients get over their problems relating to other people. You are going to have a great time tonight!” Reba wanted to have fun at the club. She decided to not question it. Besides, her two friends had already taken their pills.
The scary ride home.
That night, Reba had the most fun ever. She danced and danced all night with her friends. She felt like she was in love with everyone and she loved the club and the whole world. Everything was great. Ally kept bringing them glasses of water, saying that it was important to stay hydrated. Finally, long after midnight, the girls left. It had been a crazy night. Reba remembered that in the craziness of the club, she had kissed a man who she had never met. The Molly pill made her feel like she was in love with him. Driving back in the car, Reba wondered who he was. What if he had a disease or something? Also, she couldn’t remember if she had given him her phone number. What if this man started calling her at home? Then, her attention focused on Toby’s driving. She was all over the road. Reba now hoped that they would just all get home alive.
When Reba quietly entered her house, it was dark and quiet. No one was awake. She quietly slipped into her room and got into bed. Her head was pounding. She couldn’t sleep. There were sickly images of colored trains of shapes going through her head and the club dance music bouncing around in her mind. She couldn’t turn it off. She suddenly felt extremely depressed and alone. Reba started to cry. She didn’t realize that the pill was wearing off and she was crashing. The depression was a chemical response of her brain to a potent stimulant wearing off.
Over the years of high school and college, Reba had many more drug experiences. She still worked hard in school, but her grades had slipped. Her parents were concerned about her grades, but happy that Reba had opened up and was going out with friends more often. They had no idea that Reba was now taking drugs.
In spite of the partying every single weekend throughout college, Reba was able to hold everything together and pass all of her classes. She was getting Bs and Cs now instead of straight As, but she was fine with it. She just wanted to graduate. Her dream of being a scientist or a doctor had long faded. She decided that she wanted to sell houses. As a young child, Reba had enjoyed playing real estate agent and showing off her own house to her parents. She decided to honor her childhood dream and get her real estate license.
Success in real estate.
It turned out that Reba was good at selling houses. She started small and quickly moved up in the world of luxury real estate. The commissions were great. Reba was suddenly making a lot of money from her work. She felt as if she had made it in life. She could afford to travel, eat at fancy restaurants every night and she lived in a beautiful home of her own.
Along the way, Reba had discovered heroin. Throughout college, friends had offered her cocaine and heroin at parties. She would turn away in disgust and say, “I don’t touch that addicting stuff. No thank you.” Yet, during one night of partying with her business associates, someone was putting lines of powder on a glass table and several of the men and women were snorting the lines with a straw. Reba, who had been drinking the whole night at the party, asked if it was cocaine. One of the women looked up and said, “No, it’s heroin. way better than cocaine.”
Reba didn’t realize that heroin could be used that way. She had always associated heroin with the image of an emaciated druggie with scars all over her arms living under a bridge and eating out of dumpsters. She had thought of heroin as a dirty drug for low life people. But, here were her fancy real estate friends snorting lines of it off of a fancy glass table in a beautiful mansion. So, Reba decided it was ok to join in.
That night changed Reba’s life in an instant. Every drug she had tried in college paled in comparison. Suddenly, Reba was at peace with the world and she felt no pain, no anxiety. Everything was good. She had no idea that it was possible to feel so great. Maybe heroin was not so bad after all. She asked the woman who brought it where she could buy more for herself. “You are in luck! I know a guy who you can call anytime and he will bring as much as you need right to your house.”
The delivery man.
At first, Reba wasn’t comfortable with the dealer knowing where she lived. She had him meet at various cafes or gas stations. She met him in public places. It made her nervous when she would see a police car nearby. This went on for weeks and weeks. Reba couldn’t believe how great it was to be able to come home at night and relax with her new drug after a hard day of work.
One night, Reba decided to take a night off. She had been busy and didn’t have a chance to call the dealer man. As she was getting ready for bed, a sick feeling came over her. She was sweaty and nauseous and achy all over. Was she getting the flu? Reba decided that maybe a little heroin would make it easier to get through being sick. She called the man. Maybe it wasn’t so bad having him come by the house. He seemed nice and he did have a very nice car. Within an hour, the man drove up and delivered Reba’s heroin. He was very professional about it. He told her not to worry and that he could stop by any time she needed him to.
Trying not to get sick.
Reba was surprised to find that she suddenly felt better after snorting her first line of heroin. The sickness went away in an instant. What was that? She sat at her computer and Googled for answers. It was withdrawal. Reba realized that she was hooked. The sickness was her body responding to the heroin leaving her system. She learned that the sickness would have only worsened, lasting for days and even weeks. Reba was suddenly terrified of what she had become. She was a heroin addict and she had a dealer delivering heroin to the front door of her home.
Reba thought about asking her parents for help. They always knew what to do and how to help her get out of trouble. Then, she imagined the sickness. And, she thought about what life would be like without heroin. She couldn’t imagine not having her drug every day. It made life manageable. How was she ever going to enjoy anything ever again if she had to give up her drug?
Everything was fine for the next several months. Reba continue to work and thrive in her business. Every night was a relief to sit down and relax in front of the television with her bag of heroin. The dealer was reliable and showed up right away whenever she called. Money was not a problem. She was spending $200 every day, but she could easily afford it. That night, she had a date coming over. She wanted to finish her nightly ritual of heroin before he arrived. Reba used a little extra to help her relax for the date. She was nervous about it. The dealer had warned her to be careful with this batch, it was stronger than usual. Reba wasn’t concerned. She new how to handle herself.
The doorbell rang and Reba went to get it. Her date was at the door. He had a worried look on his face. “Are you ok?”, he asked. “Fine, come in for a minute while I get ready to go.” Reba invited him in and asked him to sit on the couch. She went to the bathroom to freshen up. Looking in the mirror, She had to admit, she looked a bit drowsy. Then everything went dark.
Suddenly, Reba was jolted from her sleep. She felt sick and anxious. It was like the sickness she felt that one night, but 100 times worse. What was happening? Reba looked around and realized she was surrounded by paramedics. She was on a stretcher. She noticed that her date for that night was standing off to the side. “He saved your life tonight ma’am. If you had been alone, you would be dead right now”, said the one of the paramedics. Reba was too sick to care about anything. She was wheeled out to the ambulance and taken to the hospital.
In the Emergency Room, there was no more hiding her problem. The doctor sat with her and asked her a lot of questions about her drug use. Reba couldn’t believe that her life had come to this. She was so embarrassed. She was supposed to go out on a date and now she was telling a doctor about her heroin habit. The doctor told her that there was help available. He recommended that she consider one of several medication programs to help her quit heroin. Or, she could check herself into rehab.
Reba refused help. She was not going to be one of those people who went to a methadone clinic every morning. Also, she could not afford to let her business fall apart while she sat in rehab for a month. She decided that she could beat this thing on her own. How hard could it be? Reba had succeeded in life and she was going to be a success in overcoming heroin.
After a week, the sick feeling had subsided enough that it was tolerable. Reba even sort of enjoyed the feeling of getting over the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. She was determined. Nothing was going to beat her. Reba counted the days and she was excited about her success. It was like being on a diet. A diet from taking drugs.
About a month after the overdose incident, Reba was doing great. She had been so terrified by what had happened, that the drug habit had been scared right out of her. She was reading motivational books and listening to motivational recordings. Little by little, life was getting back to normal. In fact, Reba was about to make a huge sale, the biggest yet in her career. If she could sell this one house, it would support her lifestyle for a long time.
The big sale.
The sale went through and Reba was delighted. Everything was going great for her. That night, Reba went home, beaming with a feeling of success. She sat on the couch and wondered what she should do that night. Maybe go out with some friends to celebrate? Visit her parents? Nothing really sounded that appealing. Maybe she would just stay home, watch TV and go to sleep.
Reba was sitting on the couch, playing with her phone and browsing through Facebook. As usual, there were friend suggestions presented to her in the app. The first guy’s picture looked familiar. Who was that? Wait! That was the guy who delivered heroin to her house! She decided to look at his profile. She looked through his friends list and pictures. He seemed like a normal guy. How was he a drug dealer? She was considering friending him on Facebook. Then, she thought, why not just give him a call? She had his number.
Making a bad call.
She dialed and he picked up after three rings. It was an easy conversation. He was friendly on the phone. She told him about the overdose and he sounded worried. “Didn’t I tell you to be careful with that batch? The stuff is stronger now. You get more for your money, but you have to be careful. Do you want me to bring some by tonight?” Reba’s chest tightened. She had a sick feeling. She had fought through the worst of withdrawal and come out on the other side. Why would she ever want to suffer like that again? She replied to him, “ok, come over. I’ll see you soon.” Reba decided she didn’t care. She was just going to enjoy tonight.
The delivery man returns.
When the man showed up, Reba asked if he wanted to come in for a minute. She showed him to the living room and they sat on the couch. Reba paid him and took her baggie. She proceeded to make a line of heroin on the table. She looked over and saw that the man was preparing a syringe and then putting a rubber tourniquet on his arm. He said, “This is the right way to do it. You are not getting the full effect that way.” Reba decided that if she was going to enjoy her one night, she would do it right. She asked him to help her with it. He showed her how to prepare heroin and inject it into a vein with a syringe and needle.
Reba discovered that night that her dealer was also able to supply her with sterile syringes and needles. He was right. It worked better that way. Reba called him again the next day. This continued for months. Reba was right back to where she started, but this time, she was finally shooting up heroin into her veins. Her arms were scarred from repeated injections. It was not a problem. Reba always wore long sleeved shirts and sweaters at work. No one would ever notice.
One day, she was preparing a beautiful home to show to some clients. She was all alone in the spacious mansion. Reba had done all of the work of making sure that the place was perfect to show. She decided to take a break and give herself a little shot in the bathroom. When she got there, she looked in her handbag. There was nothing. She poured everything out on the counter and realized that she had forgotten her heroin and kit back home. She panicked. There would be no time to go home before the clients arrived. She would just have to get through it.
Reba stood all alone in the house and finally realized what her life had come to. She was a financial success. She had a beautiful home and great friends. Her life was like a never ending party. But, now, she realized that she was also a heroin addict. A respected real estate agent who was preparing to show a luxury home to clients and all she could think about was her bag of heroin and the kit she had put together of syringe, needle, alcohol and gauze and all of the stuff she needed to shoot up.
What would happen next? Was there any way that Reba could get off of this addiction train? She had already tried to do it alone. She was also caught up in her own success. There was work to do, clients to meet. It was a lot of work, holding her life together. Reba remembered that the ER doctor that night of her overdose had mentioned something called Suboxone. She hadn’t bothered to look it up at the time.
Now, Reba decided to research Suboxone. It sounded pretty good. Suboxone had a relatively good success rate and it made it possible to continue with work and daily activities after getting started. This gave her a glimmer of hope. Reba was at the point of giving up on life. She had seriously considered suicide. Checking in to rehab was also a consideration. She would have to give up everything. But, Suboxone treatment offered the possibility of not dropping out and giving up her lifestyle and work.
She called the doctor’s office the next day to make an appointment.
Stay tuned for the next chapter in Reba’s Story.