Losing a friend is never easy. I had always heard and sympathized with this. I was lucky enough to have never had to deal with the repercussions of losing a friends, as I was fortunate enough to have never lost one. Well, unfortunately, that changed today. Today I lost a friend. I lost someone, my own age, that (to be honest) really messed me up. I lost one of the funniest people I had ever known. I lost my friend Johnny to heroin.
I would like to start out by saying that Johnny was everybody’s friend. You know that cliche about how when someone walks in “the entire room lights up”…. well yeah, that was him. I guess I never realized it until I knew that light would never brighten another room up again. Johnny was the kind of guy who could walk up to any group of people and flow seamlessly into a conversation. No one would even question it… he was just so charming.
Unfortunately, the town I group on in (Rockaway, NJ) had a lot of sad, similar stories. A nice guy who got in with the wrong crowd and things ended poorly. For some reason this didn’t feel like any of those stories. EVERYONE knew Johnny. He was a staple of Rockaway even after he moved. We all knew he liked to get fucked up, but I think that was about the extent of it. I really don’t think anyone would have ever thought Johnny’s demons would outweigh his personality and get the best of him. Or maybe that’s my naivete speaking. At least I didn’t think it would get the best of him.
I know a million people who could lament about a lost soul that they encountered through life who was gone too soon. I’m not special for losing someone. But Johnny was special. Johnny was someone that spoke to people. His communication skills were impeccable. His sense of humor was flawless. Even if you were mad him… he could immediately make you forget why you were mad in ten seconds or less.
I didn’t set out with a purpose in mind when I began writing this. I guess it was just to let my feelings out.. but as I continue on I think I found a purpose. My purpose is to tell you to be aware…. to care… to be annoying… to tell your friend to quit using… to tell their family… to do everything in your power to make sure they get help. Don’t get me wrong…i KNOW that a person can only seek help if they want to. But I also know that feeling guilty thinking about “what ifs” and “should i have done this” is not going to help either.
Heroin is not a game. It’s not fun. It’s not like drinking or pot(which don’t get me wrong can cause a lot of issues on their own after repeated abuse). You can’t CONTROL heroin. Heroin CONTROLS you. You pick it up and you instantaneously become its slave. There’s a reason I never picked it up…. Because I am not strong enough to beat it. I’m not. Nor will I ever be. It will capture you and drain all of the life you have inside and then spit you out because it does not give a shit who you or who/what you become.
I’m not writing this as a lecture…or as a sob story. I am writing this because I am one of many who lost a wonderful person to a stupid disease and I am not quite sure how to feel about it. I am angry. I am upset. I am disappointed. God I am just so sad.
My only purpose in writing this is to help. If you’ve never touched heroin… good for you… keep it up.. Do you have a friend who has tried it? Tell them to FUCKING STOP. It’s not a game. It won’t end well. I’ve never heard a story that started out with “Yeah, heroin really saved me” or “Last night when we shot up I had so much fun!”.
To my friend, Johnny… to our friend Johnny… We love you. And we will forever you miss you. God bless my beautiful friend.