Monthly Archives: February 2014

Do we pass our sins as addicts on to our children?

I have heard that the sins of the father are what the son has to pay. This got me wondering, as former addicts, how many of our past transgressions are inherited by our children?

When my husband and I found out that our second child was going to be a boy, I asked him if he wanted him to be Jr. He emphatically stated, “Absolutely not!” He was worried about when our son is a young adult and gets pulled over for something stupid; speeding, not using a turn signal, tail light out, and gave his name to the police. Especially if he doesn’t say the junior, as many juniors do, and they pull up my husbands name. He didn’t want our son to automatically go through the harassment that someone with a criminal record goes through. It doesn’t matter how old or petty your past crimes were, the policy automatically treat you as if you are doing something wrong. I have been followed from the grocery store less than two mikes from my house, to my home, which was the registered address of the vehicle. My husband I have been asked what the fuck we are doing “around here” three miles from home, on a major highway, one mile from the exit for our street. And the backup. You would think we were Bonnie and Clyde. As soon as our records come back, there is at least three to four cars of backup, usually more. Mind you, neither of us have ANY felony convictions at all. My last arrest is from 2006. That is eight years old!

We wanted our son to at least have a chance of maybe being treated like a human being. So neither of our kids share our first names, and our last name is somewhat common.

How long, though, can you hide your pasts from your kids? And should you? I don’t know.

I discovered that I was pregnant with my daughter while I was in active addiction. You can not quite heroin when pregnant because there is a great chance that the withdraws will kill the fetus. Opiate addicted pregnant women are faced with two options. One is go on methadone maintenance. This reduces the risk of the mother relapsing and the baby being born with illicit drugs in it’s system. Since the mother is prescribed the methadone, social services will not take the child. The down side is that more than likely the baby is born going through withdraws. They have to endure a long stay in the hospital where they are given opiate drops to ween them off. I have seen this personally, and it is hard for everyone involved.

I didn’t want to risk the withdraws, so I chose the other option. I went to an inpatient program at John’s Hopkins Hospital called the Center for Addiction and a Pregnancy or CAP for short. I did an eight day inpatient where I was detoxed off of heroin with methadone under the close supervision of doctors and nurses. Following the very strict inpatient stay, you are required to attend the program as an out patient. You go eight hours a day for 28 days straight. Yes, that’s seven days a week – even Sundays. Once you complete that, which is level one – you go six days a week (no Sundays) for 28 days, and so on until you deliver.

The inpatient is just one small ward on the hospital campus and can only take maybe 30 women at a time. There is a wait list. While on the wait list, I was still using because abruptly ceasing use can very easily kill the fetus, as I stated previously. During that period I was arrested in the city.

So here in lies my quandary. I want at all costs to hide this information from my daughter. She was an unplanned pregnancy from when I was a girl at the age of twenty in the height of my active addiction. This is in complete paradox with my son. He was planned, and I was clean when I was trying to get pregnant, thus clean during my entire pregnancy.

My daughter was born completely clean, as neither she nor I had an drugs, illicit or otherwise, in our systems at the time of her birth – which was three weeks early. But there is public record of the arrest. If she ever goes fishing on the state’s public criminal database, and does the math on the date of that arrest, she will be able to piece together that I was pregnant with her at that time.

While I want to hide from her that I was using when I got pregnant, what if she discovers the arrest? Then there is sort of double the betrayal because I lied about it. I don’t ever want her to feel that we love her brother more because he was planned.

If we do tell her, how old should she be? Will she take heed to our stories as warnings to stay away from drugs or will she look at us as hypocrites when we tell her to stay away from drugs?

Both of my kids hate police already and have from a young age because they have see the way the people they love are treated by police for even a small traffic violation. Actually, they are terrified of police. They have seen their Daddy get arrested at home, by police.

What else have we passed on? They are still young, eight and five, and my husband and I have both been totally clean for about two years, and out of active addiction for almost a year before that. We were clean from when my daughter was about 13 months old till when she was about three and a half before we started to slip. They have seen too much of their parents as active addicts. They are my primary reason to stay, as they say, on the straight and narrow.

I know that seeing drugs and addiction everyday as a child turns into anything else that you see everyday. It normalizes it. Similar to kids who grow up with mother’s who have eating disorders tend to grow up with eating disorders as well.

But how much damage has already been done? If they are told about our past will they turn out like us? That is my greatest fear. As parents we always want better for our kids than what we had. You automatically want your children to have a better life than you have.

Do we pass our sins to our children for them to be forced to serve out the sentences? I most certainly hope not, and I work daily to pay penance so that my kids don’t have to.

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Raindrops

Image

I let the waves wash over me

Ripping as they move

The raindrops dripping on my face

But I can not feel the water

The sun just left me

I’ m all alone with the moon

Dark, cold, and alone with my misery

I dance by the sea

It’s too dark and I’m so naked

You can’t know

It’s not your place

As I sit on the rocks

Tears rundown my face

I find it hard to breath

Don’t try to help me

It’s not your choice

I’m all wet and so so cold

Can’t tell you what to do

I see the birds

And I fly away

Just Tonight

Image

I look at you

And I know I’m done for

I can tell that you will ruin me

But right now, I don’t care

I feel that you can feel me

I want to star in your tragedy

I want to suffocate in your love

Tonight, just hold me tight

Tell you feel the same

‘Cause when I look into your eyes

I see the hole that’s deep inside me

When I hold you

I know that this can’t last forever

Just tonight, we are one

Forever is in this moment

And this moment is all I need

To purge my soul of misery

And finally really see

That there is someone who understands me

What I’ve given to be here

Is a lifetime of security

A lifetime of safety and purity and hell

And all I hope is that

You will see, and hold, and comfort me

Murder’s a Tough Thing To Digest

“Hospital days, reflectin’ when my man laid up/ On the Uptown high block he got his side spayed up/I saw his life slippin’, this is a minor set back/ Yo, still in all we livin, just dream about the get back/ That made him smile through his eyes said, “Pray for me”/ I’ll do you one better and slay these niggaz faithfully/ Murder is a tough thing to digest, it’s a slow process/ And I ain’t got nothin but time” – Jay-Z “Dead Presidents 2”

Jigga is of course speaking about the struggles that one has when one commits a murder, and I am talking about the murder of a dear friend of mine, but the basic sentiment is the same. This is the story of a great man, named Rick, who died was killed trying to stand up for the honor of me, my husband, and my sister.

Rick was murdered on December 28, 2006. He was trying to set the record straight to drug dealers who had nearly killed my husband, sister, and close friend. The story is a little complicated, so stay with me.

First let me tell you a little about Rick. He was in the Navy and fought in the Gulf War. I met him as most addicts meet other addicts, in a round about way through other people.

One day, Aaron and I were at the pawn shop doing something, when he ran into a guy, let’s call him Pooh Bear, with whom he had been locked up with about a year before. We gave Pooh our number and  went on our way.

He called the next day, and he paid us to take him boosting, to cash in, and to cop. This became a regular thing. (On a side note, one day when Pooh was not available I went into the stores and started boosting. It was a piece of cake and thus started the couple- long since past- years of boosting pharmaceuticals as opposed to our normal hustle). One day he called and said that he had money and could we pick him and his cousin Rick up. In typical Pooh fashion, he didn’t have hardly any money, but Rick did. Rick got us well.

We started hanging out with Rick daily. The three off us made a great team. Aaron at the wheel, Rick and I going into stores. We would pull off team gigs, were one of us would draw attention while the other boosted.

Ok, fast forward to summer of 2006. By this time, an old friend of mine since elementary school was living with us. We will call him R. R is crazy. I mean for real. Escape attempts, pulling knives on security, didn’t give a fuck.

One day we introduced R to a guy we hung out with sometimes, Jarred. We would all get high together.

One hot July day, we were all (all being me, Aaron, R, Jared, and the couple who stayed at the abando that we hung out with) getting high. Jared had another $100, and needed a ride to cop. R said he would take him. R had just shot some coke and had no more money.

So, R takes him to cop, but see Jared is too scared to get out of the car and run up in the hole (alleyway, abandoned building, whatever) to get the shit, so R does. He comes back and on the way home starts shaking the wheel slightly. “You feel that?”, he asks Jarred. Jared agrees that he does, so R pulls in to the gas station and hands him a dollar. “Go get me some change for the air machine, we must be flat.” Jared hops out and R pulls off.

Understandably Jarred was pissed. Karma has a strange way of coming back around though because R was one of the only ones that wasn’t really affected by this.

You should know that it just so happened that about two days prior to this, we had gone to our normal spot to get some coke, but they were not out. We went down the street. Their shit was bigger and better and we ceased going to our original coke spot. We had mentioned this to jarred when he commented how big the dimes of coke were.

Now, I guess Jarred knew who did it, because I know he didn’t have the balls to do it, but some one stole a pack of coke from the first coke dealers. Jarred then, in an act of retribution, tells those dealers that WE stole their coke, and that is why we hadn’t been up there lately.

Ok, following me? I swear that this is all going to tie in.

By now, it is December of 2006. I have four warrants, Aaron has three, and R has one. We couldn’t live at the house because the police came by too much, so we lived in a Ramada in Baltimore.

One night when Aaron and R were out boosting with a guy who we will call M, R got arrested. He had lied about his name, so he was being held with out bail. The police took all of what they had stolen. Aaron and M stopped at one more store just to get a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff. Buy the time they cashed in it was late. R had just been arrested, everyone was tired and no one was out. My friend T was waiting at the room with my sister and I. Aaron and M came back to the room, while Aaron, T and my sister went to cop. To add to the night that had been so fucked up already, was that no one was out with dope. Aaron called me and had me call this guy who had been blowing my phone up about his good dope. We were desperate, so we figured we would just get $100 worth from him, and save the rest of the money.

I call him and tell him that they just pulled up. He tells me he sees them. He proceeded to walk over to the SUV and shine his phone in. He looked at everyone in the car, pulled out a revolver and said, “you know what time it is.” He put the gun at point blank range and fired, but the gun jammed! Twice the gun jammed! This gave my husband enough time to put the car in drive a pull off, but not before the dealer pistol whipped my sister a couple times cracking her teeth and busting her mouth open. At the time we had no idea why he did this.

The next day, I checked my messages and the dealer told me that he would make us pay yet for stealing hi shit. We were dumbfounded. We hadn’t taken anything.

Aaron got locked up like a week later in Baltimore, and I was arrested a couple days before Christmas on the warrants. One day, on December 28, I called home. M and Rick were there with my sister. I talked to both of them on the phone. M and Rick had just dropped my sister off at were going back in town to cop. I told Rick to be careful and he told me to keep my head up in jail.

Rick got out of the car, while M waited. And waited. It was Rick’s car, and M was sitting in it with no keys. Eventually he called my sister and got picked up. They told me about this the next day when I called collect. A couple of days later, my mom told me what had happened. Rick had been murdered.

We pieced together what happened from a couple of friends that love where it happened. Rick went up the same street where they thought we stole the coke. He confronted them about it, saying that we didn’t take it and asked why they thought that. They explained that Jarred told them. Then they killed him.

Technically, his case is unsolved although we all know who did it. The guy is serving life in prison for two other murders.

The police did their “investigation”, if you want to call it that. In reality though Rick was just another drug murder in a city that was the murder capital of the US that year. They didn’t really care.

Rick paid for Jarred making shit up. He paid for R ripping off Jarred. He paid for all our sins. He had a daughter who was nine at the time of his death.

Rick was a good man, with a bright smile. He was always willing to help someone out. He wasn’t stingy, and he didn’t hold a grudge. It is such a cruel twist of fate that he was killed because Jarred and the dealer couldn’t let go of their grudges.

We never saw Jarred after R ripped him off, so I don’t know if he is even aware of the consequences of his actions.

I do know that Rick was a really good person, and is in Heaven now.

Murder IS a tough thing to digest. I have yet to fully digest his death. Hopefully, I have enough time to comprehend such a loss.

Daddy – a poem dedicated to my father

I look in the mirror

Who do I see?

I’m all alone

I need you here with me

I never claimed to be an angel

 But I am really, really sorry

And I have always looked up to you

I know you see my truths

I never got you out of my heart

So burn me down

So I’ll come back to you

Like a phoenix, I’ll rise from the ashes of my sins

More beautiful than before

Stronger and hungry for more

Addicts – Are We Born or Made?

If you have ever spent anytime in rehab or gone to enough NA meetings, you would have heard more sad, terrifying stories than you could even try to remember. This got me to thinking, are we born as addicts, predetermined to a life of misery and hardship? Or have we been forced to overcome more pain and trauma than any one person should ever have to endure or are self medicating?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

My mom definitely experimented with drugs in her youth. She was an acid dropping hippy, who went to every festival, and has seen every cool rock act, from Hendricks, to The Beatles, to the Doors. She was married to a dope head, con-artist, and did her share of experimenting. That man was not my father, and my mother left said con-artist because of his drug habit and aparrent tendency to pawn all of their belongings, claiming that they were getting fixed at the store. She never developed any sort of problem, and can get tipsy off of one glass of wine. Her and my father both smoked weed occasionally. My point is that neither of them had addiction in their past. It is not anywhere in my extended family either.

I guess my addiction came from nurture more than nature. The only thing that I can say that could be considered “nature” is that as far as I can remember I have been sad. I can not, even as a young child, remember extended moments of levity. As a young kid, I was oddly preoccupied with anything that I thought was apart of the “underground” society. As  aberrant as it sounds, I always knew that I was going to do hard drugs. I just never thought that I would become a heroin addict.

Throughout my life I certainly endured enough trauma to send me reeling down a path of destruction. One day at about the age of five, my cousin and I were in my basement playing dolls. She decided that we should play “house” and we should roll around naked like her parents. Next thing I know she is making me kiss her “down there”. I was too young to know how wrong this was, but I felt weird around her and feared her coming over. I honestly can not tell you how many times this sort of molestation happened, only that it occurred multiple times. I was young, and honestly did my best to block it out for most of my life. This did instill my deep seated distrust for basically all people.

My childhood pretty much stayed on a normal path after I was able to somehow stop seeing said cousin. That is until middle school, and the death of my father. I wrote an entire post about his cancer and death called “Daddy Dearest” so I am not going to rehash every single detail. But my younger sister and I were lied to about his condition up until the night that he died. We were told that this was dine for our benefit, but it only made his sudden death hit all the harder. It seemed all the more cruel to make us think that he was going to be fine when he wasn’t.  I was 11 and had never know a single person to even have, let alone die from cancer. When I was told that he was going to be ok, I believed it.

My mom felt guilty. Weather it was because she has mislead us or because she just felt so bad that we had our father cruelly ripped out of our lives, I don’t know. What I do know is that we went shopping. A lot. We were at Bloomingdales or Nordstroms every weekend. My wardrobe was 95% Calvin Klein. (For some reason I adored Calvin Klein). This had some unfortunate, and unforeseen consequences. I was very naive to how deep the jealousy of a group of middle school girls could really run. One day all of my friends, friends since elementary school, decided that I thought that I was better than everyone because of my new clothes. The ring leader of this was a girl who, through her parents recent divorce, went from upper class to barely hanging on to middle class. She moved from a HUGE house on my street to an apartment in one of the cheapest areas in the county. I did not at all think that I was better than anyone, but I think she saw in me what she used to see in herself. So now I was out a father and friends. Irony being what it is though, the kids who took pity on me during this sudden ostracism was the super popular kids. So, their plan had the up intended affect of making me more popular.

My mom, understandably, was a wreck. We were fortunate that she had always been the bread winner, so while it hurt to loose an income, we didn’t loose the house that my father literally built.  She tried so hard to do everything on her own. Her thing is, “You do not ask for help. Ever.” To her pity is a most deplorable sentiment. She never went to a  grief councilor. Some times she would flip out on my little sister and I and leave, telling us that she would never return. I knew that she was bluffing, but my sister, at all of six years old, would cry until she passed out. We eventually made it through, and I will say that my mom and my sister are my best friends.

So next comes high school. I am a straight A, honors student. In tenth grade I meet this new boy, he was a black goth kid with chin-length braids. He wore all black and played electric guitar. I had never seen anything like him. Soon enough we were best friends. To him I confessed my deepest secret of being molested, and he told me that he had been molested as a child too. He was in love with me, but too afraid to say or do anything about it.

One day at a party, I met a friend of his from another school. Soon enough we were dating. Goth boy was jealous, but never told me. My mom loved said goth and would let him come over and spend the night all the time. This night seemed no different. Except that he kept trying to get me to drink. That wasn’t odd for me, but he never drank. I soon found out why. He fell asleep on the floor of my room, as he had done a hundred times before, and I went to sleep in my bed. I woke up to feel his body on top of me, ripping my pajama pants off. I was too startled or scared or shocked to scream. I just cried and pleaded. Once I saw that the pleading would do no I good, I continued to cry, but tried to move out from under him by wiggling my hips, trying to free myself. He, in the most sick, painful part of the assault said, “Yeah, baby, I like it when you twist your hips like that.” I was trying to free myself from this nightmare and all it was doing was enhancing his pleasure! Once he finished he told me that I was a slut and that my boyfriend was going to dump me for sure. He left the room laughing in hysterics.

I had already drunk beer and smoked weed, but this is when I started experimenting with other drugs. Ecstasy, Special K, then eventually coke. So a couple of years later when my next boyfriend and I were snorting coke all night and he offered me dope, I thought, “Why not?” My little sister who was at five years my junior, all of fourteen did it. She was using a needle already even. I thought, “How bad can it be if my little sister and her friends are shooting it?” Boy was I wrong.

Was my indifference, my extreme callousness due to a gene that was lurking inside me? Some dark force, hiding, lying in wait for the right time to jump into action? Or was I so quick to do something so risky because my life was just so shitty that I just didn’t care anymore?

I am not trying to use my past as as an excuse, a cop out. Many people go through many horrible, awful things and work through them without the use of chemicals. When the drugs were there and presented themselves to me, I was more than willing to let them into my body, into my consciousness. At that point in my life I didn’t care whose life I ruined because of my actions because I felt so wronged that I felt entitled to do what ever I wanted to numb the pain. And also, I honestly did not think there would be any consequences. I was going to be different. I was not going to addicted. I was too smart.

The reason that I am drawn to downers or depressants as an addict are that I normally feel too much. I have severe PTSD. I have been depressed my whole life. I think that after living in such excruciating pain my whole life, I was willing to do anything to not feel.

In sociology I learned about nature versus nurture. I have always tended towards the nurture. I just am unwilling to believe that we have a certain gene and thus are predisposed to be a certain way. I don’t think that I was born an addict, anymore than I think that kids in the ghetto are born to be drug dealers or gang members. Take those same kids and raise them in the suburbs, and send them to decent schools and see how much of a difference it makes.

This is comforting to me as well. If I was made, not born in to an addict, than there is hope for me. There is not some chip in my brain that says that I must be that way. It is a behavior that I have learned and perfected over a long period of time. It is hard work to change your tendencies to turn to drugs when you are feeling any pain, but it is just that, a tendency. I don’t think that I was born an addict, and while I may be one for the rest of my life, I am comforted that, with hard work, I will die a sober and recovering addict.

“Who you calling a bitch?” – What do other’s predjudices mean in 2014

Just wonderful
Just wonderful

I recently read an article on the infamous feminism site “Jezebel” about how feminism is the latest “in” fashion accessory. It talked about how after years of women ardently denying that they were even remotely feminist in nature, there has been an upswing in celebrity feminist. The concern is that anything in style can then quickly go out of style.

The question becomes, what does it mean, in 2014, to be a feminist, or a civil rights activists. when so many are quick to claim that there is no problem out there, is that a good thing? Or does it make the fight that much more of an uphill battle? I actually got into an argument with a girl after I had expressed my outrage about the Trayvon Martin tragedy about this. She honestly thought that sexism and racism do not exist, and that it is all just an excuse that lazy people use for not being as successful as others. How she explains the gender wage disparities or the obvious racial profiling of said Martin case, I could not begin to tell you. The level of ignorance is everywhere.

I used to freak out when anyone called a woman a bitch. I still don’t agree with a man saying, “Look at that bitch over there” or even, “Yeah, I love my bitch” a la Biggie. I have learned that other women do commonly refer to each other as a bitch as a term of endearment. Is this sort of like black people using the “n” word as apprised to white people using it?

And when Miley Cyrus tweaks on the VMAs is it more of an insult to blacks or to women? I personally can’t stand Ms. Cyrus. This stems more from her pretending that she is “ratchet” when she is far from it. It leads me back a few years to when she released “Party in the U.S.A.”. There is a line in the song, “And the Jay-Z song is on” an interviewer asked her which Jay-Z song she was talking about. She responded that she did not write the song and was not familiar with a single Jay-Z song. But now she is ratchet, working with rappers, and being produced by Mike Will Made-It? Ok. That being said, I do see the blatent sexism in the fact that she got slammed and slut-shamed for the notorious VMA performance while a married Robin Thicke gets an automatic pass? This is basically the definition of a double standard. That act was rehearsed multiple times and was purportedly far raunchier before it aired. Thicke was hardly an innocent bystander, but the man gets a pass always. It is the same as saying that Lil Kim is a slut for talking about the same things that her mentor, Notorious B.I.G. did. But she opened up a lot of doors, there would be no Nicki Minaj if not for Lil Kim and Foxy Brown.

Of course, sexism is not the only problem in the world. If the George Zimmerman abomination taught the world anything, it is how rampant racism is. There is simply no way that you can say that Zimmerman would have done the same thing had it been a preppy white boy armed with the same Arizona iced tea.

After the verdict was handed down, I read an interview with my favorite rapper Jay-Z, who (along with his wife Beyoncé) was a strong supporter of Martin and his family throughout the entire ordeal. He stated that he felt that in this day in age classism is a much bigger problem than racism. I tend to somewhat agree with him. If you a rich enough woman, you can join the boys club. A black man can buy his way into the all white country club. Being poor does seem to be far bigger crime, than being a minority.

In school recently my second grade daughter did a written report about a president. She picked (under my guidance) Bill Clinton. For February, they did another report on a black person that made an impact on the world. She picked Nelson Mandela. I am thrilled that they are doing reports on these people, but when asked, I was told that they wI’ll not be doing a similar report on a famous historical woman for March (Women’s History Month). What kind of message does that send to our little girls? I was told that for a day -one day- they go around to different classes learning about famous women. This is in stark contrast to the other two units where each child researched a different person and then presented to the class. What women aren’t important enough to study in depth?

In way this goes back to classism. We have not yet had a woman president (come on Hillary), we don’t have a high number of female CEOs. The WNBA is no where near as popular as the NBA, and they are far better than my beloved football. There is no Pro football league for woman. There is the sort of minor league lingerie football league. What kind of message is this? Football is too rough and manly of a sport, so if a woman wants to play it, she has to degrade herself by playing in her underwear? I guess hard-hitting female linebackers would be too scary, deviating too far from the predetermined archetypes that have been constructed for women. Men are not turned on by a woman who can kick his ass, but her in lingerie, and hopefully they will forget her physical strength. I really don’t see how anyone, male or female can even try to deny the undeniable, blatant hypocrisy of the fact that NFL stars can be as ugly, overweight, or pock-marked as they want with no sense of urgency to change their appearance, while in order for women to participate in an even a slightly professional version of football, they have to be stunningly beautiful. Cellulite free with washboard abs, and supermodel cheekbones forced to literally be stripped down to their barest form of clothing, their underwear. Over sexualization of women participating in such a barbaric, admittedly macho sport helps to down play their strength. They are a lot less intimidating to the male ego if they can serve as an un-atainable, pin-up fantasy.

Hopefully the mere fact that Barack Obama won -twice!- the presidential election and that Hillary Clinton came pretty damn close, is a sign of progress. Unfortunately, Obama has to take all sorts of preposterous  criticisms. Be it his middle name, he is a terrorist, or just an extremely critical eye at everything that he does. But at the end of the day, he won. Literally. Jay-Z cam up from Marcy Projects to being CEO of Def Jam, and now RocNation. Hillary Clinton was able to get out from under the shadow of Bill, and carve out her own impressive career. Senator, Secretary of State, and possibly future president. We’ve come a long way, but there is still a huge need for people to fight for their, as well as other’s, rights. Until the conversation does not need to happen, we are not close to winning the fight.

Take me, I’m alive/ Never was a girl with a wicked mind/ But everything looks better when the sun goes down/ I had everything/ Opportunities for eternity/ And I could belong to the night/ Your eyes, your eyes/ I can see in your eyes/ Your eyes/ You make me wanna die/ I’ll never be good enough/ You make me wanna die/ And everything you love will burn up in the light/ Every time I look inside your eyes/ You make me wanna die… I would die for you my love my love/ I would lie for you my love, my love (make me wanna die)/ I would steal for you y love, my love (make me wanna die)/ I would die for you my love, my love/ We’ll burn up in the light/ Everything I look inside your eyes/ I’m burning in the light/… You make me wanna die

“You MakeMe Wanna Die” by The Pretty Reckless

Addiction – the great equalizer?

After being clean for a little while, I have started to get very passionate about in injustices of society. I was always a “riot grrrl”, but I became a full fledged feminist in college when I took a “Women in the Arts” class that was taught by a wonderful TA. I personally have a problem with being a feminist and being totally unperturbed by the other injustices that are forced upon others.

I feel that I got a little out of touch with my feminist side due to my addiction. Not in the archetypal, “I am so high that I don’t care about anything”. It is more than that drug addiction (and recovery to a large extent) evens the playing field for us all. Now, I know that there are going to be a lot of people reading this who don’t agree! but hear me out.

First rebuttal you might have is the rampant prostitution that I mentioned in an earlier post. Yes, a large, VERY large, number of female addicts turn to prostitution as a way to make money. There is a good deal of men who turn to the oldest profession as well. (I personally did not know many, but there are more men out there than you would think). Yes, these women subject themselves to horrendous amounts of abuse at the hands of their johns. Thing is, it is hardly ever addicts picking up these women. Male and female addicts may hook up while getting high, but they stay friends, and their is a sense of equality.

Everyone does shit for money. I hung out with a lot of addicts who had millionaire parents. I also hung out with a lot of addicts who lived on the streets or in abandoned row homes. Aside from maybe having a car and a nicer place to sleep at night, we all had to earn money daily. Of all the “rich” people I knew, I only knew one girl who never had to steal or hustle. She could just call her mom and say that she was transferring $500 from her mom’s account to her own and take $5,000. Her mom never noticed. She also had a Mercedes, her own $500,000 town house, and more Gucci bags than you could shake a stick at. These of us who cam from money, probably had run that well dry long ago. Your parents might give you a place to live, but they aren’t going to support a thousand dollar a day heroin problem. Maybe, if you could come up with a really slick reason, they might give you money, but it usually wasn’t worth how guilty they would make you feel, and thus was to be saved for desperate times only. (Most of the middle or upperclass addicts were at least fortunate enough to have someone to pay their bail).

Rich, poor, black, white, male, female, some where in our dark and twisted realities that is our past existence, we all did shitty things. We all woke up daily throwing up. Our families were all disappointed in us. We have all been to jail, or rehab, or an ER, where the employees of that institution treat you like the scum of the earth. Especially in jail. The COs really enjoy seeing dope sick prisoners. Seeing us two shades above death gets them off on some kind of sick power trip. We have all been harassed, mistreated and abused by police. If you are black and in a middle class area, you are fucked with (Trayvon Martin anyone). I was used to being a white couple in an all black neighborhood. The police would literally tell us that they pulled us over because we were white, and thus buying drugs (One time in particular hot are a car of knockers, or undercover drug cops, drove by my husband and I and yelled, “You’re white, get the fuck out of here.”) Almost everyone I know has been beat up severely by the knockers for literally nothing at all. Easiest way to get your ass kicked by undercover drug police? Not have any drugs on you. This pisses them off to no end, and there is a good chance that they will kick your ass.

We have all been arrested, then read our charge papers and laughed out loud in the cell at all the lies they put in to make it not an illegal search and seizure or just to make their case better. We all also know that in a court where it is a junkies word against a car full of cops who got their stories straight while they wrote your charging documents that you are fucked, royally.

Addiction breaks everyone down. It doesn’t care about your gender, race, or class. As such, the longer a person has spent in the hell of addiction, the less that they even see those distinctions. This is why recovering addicts are such a hodge podge, mixing pot of people. This is why they all tend to get a long for the most part. Once someone tells you that they are a heroin addict, you instantly know that the two of you have a spiritual connection that transcends the boundaries that hold others apart. We know the internal struggle that one another has had with out speaking a word.

Once an addict gets clean, they tend to stay sympathetic to anyone facing any level of injustice. We have felt it. It seems that everyone, rich or poor, black or white, male on female, looks down on the addict. We are discerned to be the lowest of the low. We tend to have criminal records, and poor credit. Not a lot of people want to help us out. To get back on our feet. I think we know that we can’t commit the same atrocities that we see others doing. We can not justify a belief that we are better than someone for any reason, when we ourselves are considered the bottom of the barrel.

I wish that it didn’t take a lot of people the ongoing hell that is drug addiction to see that we as humans are not all that different from one another, that most of those difference are due to where we grew up and what we have been through. Addiction, it seems to be the greatest equalizer.