I was what you would refer to as “deep” in my addiction at this point. I was a few years into using heroin, right when everything was just starting to fall apart around me. I had somehow managed to still have a girlfriend, a job, and permission to live at home and use my mothers vehicle to get around.
There was one night that I had plans to meet with my girlfriend, Lauren. I told her that I was stopping to pick up some weed before getting her, marijuana of course is the acceptable drug to use by most people’s standards. The problem is that I wasn’t going to pick up weed, I already had plenty; I was going to meet with my heroin dealer instead.
I got to my guy’s house, and he came out to meet me in the driveway. After the exchange I headed down the block, quickly pulled over and got high.
I called Lauren and told her that I was on the way, and we started chatting about what we would do and where we would go. I remember looking down at my speedometer, and saw that I was doing 70mph, the speed limit was 60 so I was fine. I brought my eyes up and saw that the coming traffic light was green, and that’s about the time that it all came crashing down, literally.
I had rear ended a vehicle that was stopped at this intersection, the light had only just turned green. I had nodded out for what couldn’t have been more than a couple of seconds. The total damage was a seven car pileup, four of which were completely totaled, my mothers Mercury Mountaineer included. I had actually bent the frame, and the battery exploded on impact. I can’t imagine the last sound that Lauren must have heard as she was on the phone, which was now on the other side of the car.
I saw the blue and red flashing lights in what seemed like an instant. I was stuck, pinned in position in the Mountaineer. Heroin bags and syringes were littered all over the back seat, my head was leaking from nearly going through the windshield, and I was already driving with a suspended license. Things weren’t looking up.
The emergency rescue crew was able to get me out of the vehicle, immediately put me in the ambulance, and rushed me to Stonybrook Hospital which was only a mile or two down the road.
I found myself lying on a stretcher in the hospital, waiting for a room to open where a doctor could see me and treat the cut on my forehead. I was told that the police would be bringing my wallet and ID up to my room for me when they got there. I wasn’t interested in sticking around for them, and I certainly did not want the hospital to get any ideas about drawing and testing my blood for any illicit substances.
I unstrapped myself from the stretcher, calmly walked into the waiting room and used to free on the counter. I called Lauren and asked her to please pick me up, to meet me down the road. She obliged. I explained to her that I would need her vehicle for the night, but I wasn’t going to be hanging out with her. I dropped her off, and stopped at my house to inform my mom that her vehicle was no more. She answered the door to find me standing there, with my head busted open and a shirt full of blood. This wouldn’t be the last time she saw me like this.
My next move was to locate the vehicle, I needed to get those drugs out of it before the police searched it. I found out which impound yard it was at and made my way there.
I could see the crushed Mountaineer behind a locked fence, there was barbed wire on top, so I went low. I tunneled my way under the fence, by hand, and got to the vehicle to successfully retrieve my heroin and syringes.
To this day I’m not sure how I didn’t face any legal consequences of that accident. I was never charged with anything, my ID was returned to me by the police without question a few weeks later, my parents insurance company still covered the car accident. The reality is, that I should have gone to jail for that accident, or really I should have died in that accident.
Looking back now there are a lot of situations that should have ended with me in jail or dead. It’s so hard to appreciate the grace God has on us while it’s happening.
I can look back now and I actually admire the persistence of an addict, if we use that same drive towards recovery and helping others we can change the world.