Three years ago this month, Dustin walked out of jail in Asheville, NC, and headed straight to a nearby drug rehab clinic. He had a bag of clothes over one shoulder and an old TV under the other. It was a drill he knew as well as anyone; for 20 years, he’d been cycling through lockup and detox, between dead-end jobs and nearly life-ending ones, all in service of his heroin addiction.
This time felt different. Nearing 40, he’d lost all interest in the addict’s life, the exhaustion, the lying, the cost and periodic horror, the nearness of death. During the months behind bars, alone in his own head, he’d also begun to believe he had special powers, like the ability to see through walls and to visualize others’ thoughts.