Addiction is forever abhorrent and destructive, but this disease possesses the valuable virtue of patience. Addiction is patient as you are getting dressed in the morning, waiting for the optimal moment to breathe into your left ear: "I'm the only reliable relationship you'll ever have. I will never leave."
Addiction's presence brings you back to feeling like you are in the dark, waiting for your tweaker-friend David to remove the posters from all of the townhouse windows; you beg him to let the sun shine into his home. Instead, you let the day defeat you because of your hardcore drug abuse and David's relentless Houdini Act—his vanishing personality enclosing you in darkness while you wait for a new day to emerge. Addiction persuades you to span time at David's house, which is the sixth home his family purchased for him. After spending a year around him, you get a tattoo of a Radiohead lyric on your right arm: “For a minute there, I lost myself.”
You have 42 days clean when you decide never to see David again. Your soul starts to feel cleaner, but addiction makes a surprise visit on day 43; you drive away from the sober-living house to the bowels of inner city Baltimore. Tears ruin your make-up as you ride dirty with newly-copped drugs in your purse while wistful music blares on the car radio as you reminisce about the past---sometimes as far back as childhood. Everything is wrong.
At 5-years-old and heading to Virginia Beach, you make fun of your dad for loving the music group, Counting Crows. At 24, you're playing their album, "This Desert Life,” on repeat. Adam Duritz's illustrative intonations do not sound whiny and stale anymore; Counting Crows are the poets who make you cry in your bedroom because they sing about the sickening loneliness that keeps you up at night. “I am covered in skin/No one gets to come in,” they sing. For a minute there, addiction is silenced.
You see why April is the cruelest month---when its polished skies collide and fog up the windows of your Nissan Versa. Another spring is spent in a mental hospital, Franklin Square, for methamphetamine psychosis. You choose the psych ward instead of another rehab center, which seems like a waste of time since you relapse within days of discharge. You are unable to grasp how, every time, the ingestion of drugs leads to the destruction of your life.
Your parents are supportive and make the inconvenient daily drive to Rosedale, Maryland to see you during visiting hours. They see you slouching in your plastic green chair, wearing two pairs of grey socks and disregard the drool pasted around the side of your chapped lips. A thunderstorm hits the hospital, making you forget about the unanticipated blizzard from the end of March. Doctors prescribe you a hefty dose of Haldol, Abilify, and Xanax, preventing you from attending any of the therapy groups; your medication kills your concentration and your eyes become slits. The imaginary voices in your head and your drug cravings are a little muted and less consuming, but you envision addiction's reappearance. Staying sober is not what you know.
The doctor assigned to you never makes eye contact and remains doubtful about your recovery prospects, but is certain that the voices in your head will disappear. He thinks he can tell whether or not a person is capable of saving. You stare at the big veins popping out of his thick neck; you miss how your body once possessed healthy veins, ones easy enough to puncture your pale skin; now nurses use an ultrasound to detect a vein.
You shiver, thinking about the past five years.
He asks, “Do you need a blanket?”
You do not say a yes, but your half-a-nod is sufficient. You watch him enter the hallway to get a blanket from a sweaty nurse rushing by his poorly lit windowless office. You thank him and you bring the corn-like textured blanket to your room. Once you are semi-settled, you bury yourself with more hospital blankets, the ones you hoard---the same ones concealing your figure.
You ask yourself if bad memories are valuable. Their dimness takes you to another world where pain never existed and time stopped being an issue. You never deny the pain.
“How am I going to keep myself away from me?”
 Counting Crows. Lyrics to “Colorblind.” Genius, 2019, genius.com/Counting-crows-colorblind-lyrics
 Counting Crows. Lyrics to “Perfect Blue Buildings.” Genius, 2019, genius.com/Counting-crows-perfect-blue-buildings-lyrics
About the Author: Clara Roberts holds a B.A. in Media and Communications Studies from Goucher College and is a graduate of the M.A. in Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University where she studied Nonfiction writing. Her literary nonfiction work and poetry have been published in Adelaide Literary Magazine, From Whispers to Roars, Heartwood Magazine, and Trampset. She is a voracious reader and writes every day in one or more of her four creative writing notebooks. Clara is currently reading Conversations with Joyce Carol Oates and Permanent Midnight by Jerry Stahl. She lives in Baltimore where she finds material every day to write about.