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Personal Story: Why Doing Heroin with My Dad Were Some of the Happiest Days of My Life

November 24, 2014 in Blogs

By Jacqueline Burt, Salon.com

I know I should say those sordid hours were a waste of time, but they weren't.

“Look what I got,” my father said, holding up a little plastic bag.

I’d never shot heroin before, but I was curious about it, and always open to any substance that would alter my consciousness. I sat down next to my father, the man I’d grown to trust above all others, and held out my arm. That was the first day I did heroin with my father, but it wouldn’t be the last. What started out as an experiment quickly became a habit, a way of existence.

“People would think I was nuts to do this with my daughter,” my father said one afternoon as we sat in his room, surrounded by stacks of art magazines and CDs, sketchbooks and palettes. My father was a hoarder in the most creative, intellectual sense. “But this,” he gestured at the empty syringe and singed spoon on the table, “is a means to an end. Nothing else would facilitate the kinds of conversations we’ve had, the realizations we’ve come to.”

He was right. Heroin stripped away every painful memory that had ever stood between us, every trace of guilt and resentment, everything that had ever prevented anything but the purest possible soul communication.  And contrary to what many would have you believe, heroin is not an instant, one-way ticket to ruin. Heroin did not take over my life – until the day it ended my life.

* * *

I can honestly say I never expected to become so familiar with a drug, but then, I never expected to become familiar with my father, either. I was 18 years old when his letters started showing up in my mailbox. Each one addressed in his trademark penmanship, some strange cross between calligraphy and a madman’s scrawl, the envelopes were postmarked from various Louisiana locations: Houma. Baton Rouge. Seemingly exotic places I’d never seen or heard of growing up in Stamford, Connecticut – the same town where my father was born and raised. Of course, by the time my second birthday rolled …read more


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