Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Factoid #65

Greg&Marian 1972, originally uploaded by panthergirl.

Another entry in the series of expanded explanations of my 100 Things.

#65 reads: "I sat in a "shooting gallery" in Brooklyn when I was 15 years old with my 22-year-old heroin addict boyfriend. Thankfully, I was terrified of needles."

This is a photo of me and said boyfriend (I was 17 here). At the point that this picture was taken, he was in a Methadone program. (Since that was taken orally, he let me try it once. After the projectile vomiting, I was high for three days. Very scary. And remember that I was both living at home and attending high school.)

I was 15 when I met him in the neighborhood and began to hang out with him and his druggie friends. They would give me all of their "works" (needles, etc.) to hold because I was underage, and therefore wouldn't have gone to jail if caught.

Eventually, he went back to shooting up even while he was on Methadone and things got very bad. His mother called me an "angel of mercy" for sticking with him, which was a big wakeup call. I wasn't in the Angel of Mercy business, so I left him.

A few years later, my uncle spotted him digging through a dumpster in a subway station, completely down and out. I knew he'd probably wind up dead of an overdose.

About 4 years ago, I got an email from him. He had found me through Classmates.com, and told me that by the age of 30 he had hit rock bottom, lost all his teeth and was near death. His family took him to rehab and he was able to get a menial job at a convent and stayed clean.

He managed to get back on his feet and married a woman with a daughter that he loved as his own. He sent me this picture of us and said he was very happy now and couldn't believe he had been given a second chance at life.

Scratch that -- a third chance. He had been working in Food Service at Cantor Fitzgerald in 2001, but left his job 2 months before 9/11.

His is a true story of survival, in every way.