Monthly Archives: June 2014

I May Have Tits, But I Have Every Right To Be A Dick

Today, in the year of 2014, I find that society still views women as either the Madonna or the whore. We are classified or boxed in as either Mother Theresa or Kim Kardashian. The problem is that we are neither, or rather, we are both. This paradox is multiplied for female addicts.

in one aspect, women who are hard drug users are almost immediately classified as whores. I do not mean like, “Oh, she’s such a whore” either. I mean that the easiest and thus normal assumption is that we are actual whores, that we obviously suck dick to obtain our drug money. I’m not going to tell you that this doesn’t happen, it does. That doesn’t mean that every woman who sticks a needle in her arm or smokes crack is a prostitute. There are a good deal of men who actively participate in gay sex for hire to procure their drug of choice, it is just not the automatic assumption.

Ironically, though, it tends to only be when a woman gets to the point where you can look at her and tell that she is an addict that women get classified as “the whore”. I’m talking pock marked skin and meth mouth. Stringy hair and bones protruding. Otherwise, we are innocent angles that people are shocked to learn that we do such things.

I cannot tell you how many times, when upon hearing about my past, people have said to me, “I had no idea. You seem like such a nice lady, a good mother.” That’s entirely the issue. I AM a nice lady. I AM a good mother. I just also happen to suffer from the disease of addiction. 

As a woman, when I was in active addiction, I used this paradigm to my advantage. I would dress nice and sweet, with my makeup and hair done, wearing expensive clothes and purses to go boosting. The point was to play up the Madonna aspect in order to be over looked in the stores. It is simple pragmatism. Play up to people’s small minded, boxed in views of women in order to obtain what you need without arising suspicion.

Similarly, on the occasion that I was caught I would then play the weak female in order to get off with a warning. This works far better than one could imagine. Especially, if the security guard or cop is a man. They all want to save you. I even had a cop who did arrest me try to set me up with one of his cop friends to help me turn my life around. Yeah, buddy, after I get release on PR’d or bailed out I’ll be sure to hit you up. Right.

Women always try to use their innocent feminine ways in court as well. Cry for the judge they tell you. Talk about how sorry you are and that you are ready to be a good girl now. Particularly if you are a mother. Although in all fairness, that is probably true. 

On the other end of the spectrum is the whore. Women who stand out on the street often play up their overt sexuality in order to make it known which end they stand on. Funnily enough, I knew a few women who worked as strippers to support their habits. They played up the innocent while taking off their clothes. These girls looked young. You know the bodies of pre-pubescent girls. Actually, now that I think of it, one of the most successful prostitutes that I knew looked old in her face, but from a distance looked twelve. All of theses girls played upon (or preyed upon?) men with pedophile urges. See, we may play dumb if it suits us, but we are far smarter and far more calculated than we let on. 

The right thing to do might be to fight against these stereotypes and declare that we are far more complex than either the Madonna or the whore. As addicts, however, we are more interested in a means to an end. If we can get we want, or more accurately what we need, by letting the world box us into a cheap, outdated stereotypes, then so be it. It’s not right, but neither is people thinking that women are that simple, so fuck it. When you are ill and need to get well, sexual politics is the last thing on your mind.

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Staying Strong During the Storm – and the Calm Before the Storm

When a person is a recovered or recovering addict, they always have to be on their toes so to say. Obviously, it is easy to slip back into bad habits when shit gets rough. When we loose a loved one, when we (or someone close to us) gets sentenced to time in jail, when we loose a job, get sued, our car breaks down, whatever, we have to fight the urge to go back to our normal coping habits that we have used for so long. This is compounded by the fact that the universe seems to want to save up the repercussions for all of the bad shit we did as addicts until we are sober. 

As addicts we tend to have either never learned or forgotten normal, healthy coping mechanisms. If and when this shit from our past comes pact on us when we are doing well, the inner addict in our brain tells us, “This shit didn’t happen when you were getting high, but now that you are sober, the universe wants to fuck you in the ass. You might as well just be getting high.” At least then, we justify, thes bad things would be warranted. The thing that we often fail to be able to do, is take a step back and look at these events in our life as a big picture. The more bad things you do, the more bad shit that will come back on you. Even if you do not wish to believe in karma, this is inevitably true. Most of the things that we feel are “unfair” to happen to us as recovered addicts are directly linked to  things that we did as addicts, either to obtain our drugs, or because of said substances. For example, time that we get is almost definatley from an arrest that occurred while we are getting high. A job that we are not given may be due to a criminal record that we got from addiction. Bad credit? Probably due to unpaid bills or bad checks written to get money for drugs or because the money for the bills went to drugs.

Taking a step back allows us to see that getting high again will only set in motion this karmic train of retribution and self-pity and excuse for drug use again. It is difficult to remember that the drugs got us into this shit, but since most of these things are directly related to our addiction, as long as we allow ourselves to stop and think, we can usually see this. We caused the storm, and we now have to find a way to deal with it and right our wrongs.

Far more difficult, and dangerous is when the seas are calm and steady. When our lives are easy and boring almost. Say what you will about addicts, but our lives are never boring. We are constantly figuring out ways to make money, set those plans in motion, getting the money, copping, playing an endless cat and mouse game with the police, and then of course the actual high of the drugs. The drugs don’t provide the only high that we experience. Especially if the addict obtains their drug money illegally, they often become addicted to the adrenaline rush of whatever it is that they do. This is why so many bank robbers talk about being addicted to the thrill of robbing banks. (I personally don’t think that I would ever have the balls to do something like that, but I’m sure the adrenaline rush is crucial – if you don’t die of a heart attack while waiting to commit the crime). 

Not just the high that people get from committing crimes, it is such a fast, easy way to come about money that it is hard to go to minimum wage. Especially, we justify, if we weren’t spending so much money on drugs, we wouldn’t have to go about thanking on these sort of risks nearly as often. Going back to a bank robber, if they are a convicted bank robber, then they have a felony record meaning that very often the only kind of jobs that will take a chance on them is a minimum wage job. It is hard, mentally (and for one’s ego) to go from making $100,000 in 15 minutes to $7.95 an hour. Our inner addict, or the little devil inside of us, allows us to confidently forget about the legal ramifications involved with fast money. Even if we do think about it, we justify that we could commit these crimes far, far less as we won’t be spending hundreds or thousands a day on drugs. We will be taking much less risks. Never mind the fact that a real job, while low paying, also has a 0% chance of getting us arrested.

We also fail to process the underlying issue of all of these actions being connected. Try as we might, if we committed whatever crime in order to get money to buy drugs, we just can’t do them and not get high. Sure, we may do fine in the beginning, but eventually, inevitably, we talk ourselves into buying “just a little bit”. We justify that we have all of this fast, easy money, so it won’t hurt to buy a little something. It doesn’t help that very often, if hHe way the addict gets money is buy stealing something that is then sold to a fence, said fences are often in the parts of town right near the drugs. To get this money we have to go right by the places that we were used to copping our drugs. Especially if we do not live in the area where we sell the items and but the drugs, the pull is compounded even farther. It is hard to stay strong.

Addicts are used to living in a constant state of turmoil and commotion. We also tend to be self-sabatoging. When things in our lives are too easy or too calm for too long, we tend to fuck it up. It is often unintentional. We tend to not even know that we are doing it. We have to be exceedingly careful to not fall into either traps that can lead us back down the road of active addiction, either our lives being too calm or too hard. Our disease never goes away. We are never cured. We have to be vigilante for the rest of our lives. Without actively going out of our way to stay sober, we will slip back into addiction without even realizing it.

The Dangers Of Hiding Our Scars

One time I read a quote about how there is no one stronger on the face of the Earth as an addict who has managed to achieve and maintain sobriety. I couldn’t agree more. I have gone through a lot in my life. Rape, near death (through overdose and guns drawn on me), jail, loss of friends and family, and more bullshit than I care to get into in this blog, but overcoming addiction and managing to stay sober to this date was (and is) by far the hardest thing that I have ever gone through.

My question then is if we as recovering addicts are the strongest people on Earth, why are we shunned by the rest of the world? In 2007, I came home from jail after I had spent Christmas and New Years Eve away from my daughter locked behind bars waiting for a bail to be granted so that I could get bailed out on four different warrants. I came home sober to a very different life than I had before I went to jail. My husband was also locked up on a no bail warrant. (Actually, our no bail warrants both arose from a charge in which we were co-defendants. We were charged with everything from first, second, and third degree assault, to theft, to conspiracy.) One of my best friends was locked up in the strict-as-fuck Commonwealth of Virginia.

I knew that going out boosting was simply not an option. First of all, my partners in crime (my husband and my best friend being held captive in Virginia) were both locked up and thus un-available. Second of all anyone who steals (or whores or deals) in order to receive drugs knows that you simply cannot continue that activity if you wish to remain clean and sober. 

Well, I was a single mother with a daughter for whom I was the sole provider of, I needed a job ASAP. I got a job at an UNO’s Pizzeria. I never told a sole there about my history. When I had court dates, I made up an excuse as to why I needed to miss work that day. I was in a women’s addiction group every Wednesday night that I told my managers was a photography class. I told co-workers that I was separated from my husband instead of saying that he was in jail (eventually I did say that he was in jail, I just didn’t tell them that it was drug related).

I lied. I hid my scars both physical and emotional. I wore long selves all the time in order to hide my track marks. I thought that if I just hid my past from everyone new that I met then I could just become a new person. It didn’t work. I was hiding from myself. When I relapsed, I kept lying and pretending that I was not an addict. Know what happened? I got high for three more years. 

We as addicts need to admit our truth. Maybe not to everyone, but we shouldn’t lie. We need to be honest with ourselves. We are and always will be addicts. Society is not going to just decide to accept addicts out of the blue. We have to force acceptance. This will be an uphill battle of course, but I believe that it can happen. When I was in high school and college and diagnosed with a whole slew of psychological disorders it was so very taboo. Being on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medicines of any sort was something that you just did not admit to. Now it seems that every other person you meet is on some sort of psychiatric medication. 

Addiction is a disease that is both physical and mental. I think (I hope) that one day addicts can openly admit that they are addicts and that they need help. To that end, I hope that help is then readily available. Addicts (sort of like the homeless) are the forgotten. There is not an accurate picture of how many people suffer from this horrible affliction and so there is not enough resources out there for people to be able to help themselves.

I know that it is not easy or fast to change the way the vast majority of society looks at any group that is perceived as a minority, but the issue is that there are far more addicts out there than people care to realize. If people can look past their prejudices and realize that recovered addicts are some of the smartest, strongest, compassionate people in the world, then we wouldn’t have to hide from our true selves and cause greater pyschological  damage to people that tend to have enough damage to overcome. Here’s to hope!

Helping Others, Helping Ourselves

In my opinion, or at least my opinion of my life, complacency and boredom are the most dangerous things to an addict in their recovery. I have been clean and sober for almost two years now (actually it will be two years next month), I am a stay at home mom at the moment. I love my children, and I am able to keep myself quite busy with the kids, bills, cleaning, etc, but I have too much time to think.

Actually this past week we had major flooding at my house, and I have had to shop vac out two and a half inches of water out. Then Servpro came and condemned everything and is going to rip up the walls because of deadly mold that will grow. It has been a absolute fucking nightmare. The one thing, the silver lining, I suppose is that we get to buy a bunch of new furniture.

This is not about my recent influx of excitement, however much dreaded it is. This is about my unending battle with the fact that brain did not come equipped with an off switch. Too much time on my hands lets my brain wander far too much. What is it that they say? Idle hands are the devil’s play things? Yeah, that is me all the way. Too much time equals trouble.

I am leaning towards going back to school to obtain a degree in social work. Makeup is still my passion, but I just feel this pull towards helping people. With my past and my record, my original vocation of choice -Elementary school teacher – is out. I have always had a fondness for social work. 

In all actuality, I would like to work with children. There are a lot of children who need a lot of help. There are good CPS workers out there, but there are also quite a few asshole ones out there. In all fairness, many of these asshole workers were probably decent or even great workers when they started until they got burned out. Again though, with my past as an addict and my criminal record that proves my past as an addict. My most recent criminal charges are from 2006, but unfortunately some jobs (like teacher, child protection service workers) do not want to hire you if you EVER have had a criminal arrest. I totally disagree with the inability to forgive people’s past, but another can of worms.

So, I am leaning towards addictions counseling. It is more than just that addictions is a job of opportunity. I feel that for the first time in a really long time, I can do some good. Maybe I can stop a person or two from relapsing. If I could use my pain and suffering to help others that would be great.

There is a very selfish motive in all of this as well. I know that helping others with their addiction struggles will help me to maintain my sobriety. I can not very well tell people that I am going to help them with getting clean, if I am getting high on the side. The Buddha teaches us that it is far more fulfilling to help others than to help ourselves. I find this to be very true. We help ourselves by helping others.

Striptease

Looking at you

Looking at me

Wondering what it is that you see

Standing on the cliff

Unraveling layer by layer

Till it is just me

The ultimate striptease

Can you even see me?

Have I ever really seen myself?

Can anyone ever see anyone?

Taking it all off

Down to the bone

I am naked

And you are covered in full armor

I showed you me

Will you show me you?

How different do I look

In your eyes

Versus mine?