My brother has a box of drugs in his room. He thinks it’s hidden, but I know where it is, lodged on the top of his shelf. I sit at night and think of his box, and what it would mean to open it. Well over a year into sobriety, every night I am haunted by this box. The urge never goes away, does it?

It’s easy to be complacent when life is going well. I would go out, blend in, and ignore the persisting urge to get high. However, when I see another with that same perfect facade relapse or die, this illusion quickly crumbles. It is then I realize how precarious these lives we've built are, and how it can all shatter in an instant.

There are many addicts we know, with one foot in the door where we see them, and one foot out where we don’t. There is so much secrecy shrouded in addiction, and people are slow to speak up and ask for help. Addicts often become a casualty and silence and shame. It’s so easy to slip away where nobody can see, and open that box.

Then I remember the hospital, withdrawing damp and alone. I remember feeling so alone, drowning inside of myself. My littered room, and my body, bruised from the night before. I remember feeling like an exposed nerve. So raw, even when I tried to anesthetize the pain.

Yet the urge persists, and the box lingers. My memory feels so far away. Is that what happens to us all?