Monthly Archives: July 2014

But You’re So Smart

But You’re So Smart

One sweltering hot August night, Aaron and I were up at his brother’s house. We were all sitting outside in their West Virginia garage drinking, and listening music with my sister -in-law, her brother and his wife, and my mother-in-law. At around one in the morning or so, after hours and hours of drinking, my mother-in-law turned to me and said, “Amy, you are so, so smart, I will never understand why you make such dumb choices sometimes.” Touché mama!
She is not wrong, though, and she didn’t mean her remark as an insult, more as an observation. Her issue (and the vast majority of societies issue) is that I am seem as an anomaly. I have been asked in all seriousness why I make such bad depictions when I have an above average intelligence. He easy answer is : the drugs, but that is a cop out answer, and in all honesty, is not really the answer that they want. What people want to know is why I let myself develop a heroin addiction when I am so smart. Why did I throw so much away when I seemingly had everything going for me?
Even today, in the year 2014 people seem to have a hard time doing anything other than equating addiction with stupidity. Only an extreme lack of intelligence would allow someone to ruin their own life over and over again. I think that comes from the fat that it is easier and ultimately very comforting in allowing yourself to say that you could never develop a drug problem because you are far to intelligent to do so. Facing the reality that you could become an addict as easily as getting in a bad car accident and being prescribed heavy pain pills and becoming physically addicted to them is ultimately terrifying to people. Especially people who hate to surrender any control at all. Addiction takes the control of your own life out of your hands and into the hands of your drug of choice.
Looking back, the answer as to how I could have let myself become a heroin addict while being “so smart”, is that I was too smart for my own good. After my first arrest, which was sort of a fluke in which me, my sister, and my husband (who was just a friend who I saw occasionally at that point) were arrested for theft at a grocery store. Since my car was left in the parking lot of the Korean shopping center where we were pulled over and arrested, my mom had to pick me and my sister up from jail. (Also, my sister was a minor.) she wanted to know why we were stealing so much baby formula from the store. I had to sit her down and explain that we sold the formula to corner stores in Baltimore. Of course, she was perplexed as to why we would be needing to do this at all. I then had to tell her that I was using the funds to buy heroin and crack. Yeah, that was fun.
She immediately signed my sister and I up for the juvenile outpatient program at Mountain Manor rehab facility. I remember doing my intake interview with a counselor there. I was explaining to him how I didn’t need to be there, at it was all my mother’s idea. I explained at I could get high for two weeks straight and then do nothing for a month. Or I would get high two to three days a week for two months straight. I was never sick. I didn’t need heroin, I just liked it. I could stop if I wanted to. See, while I may be smart enough not to let YOU trick me, I will easily allow my own brain to trick me. When the counselor asked me if I thought that I could keep this pattern of using and abstinence up forever, I told him that I knew that I could. I was an honor student at one of the top 25 schools in the country, drugs would not take over my life.
Oh how wrong I was. That’s the thing, heroin doesn’t care how smart, or nice, or pretty you are. It will fuck your life up all the same. I think that my brain, my intelligence, was ultimately a reason to get high. I quickly discovered that when I was ripped as balls, my brain slowed down. My thoughts stopped whirling at 200 mph. I stopped stressing, over-thinking, and questioning everything. For a brief period of time, I was able to stop hating myself. I was able to take a break from thinking about all the reasons why I hated myself.
I read a study that was saying that higher intelligence lead to higher addiction rates. Over time the humans that have survived, that have succeeded have been the people that were willing to try new things. People with higher intelligence are more likely to try drugs as apart of their mission to try everything. The problem is that it is hard to just do drugs a few times. I think it also comes from people needing to shut their brains up for a brief period of time. It is a vacation from your own mind. If you Google “geniuses with drug problems”, it is surprising how many people are listed.
It is important to realize that NO ONE is too smart to be sucked in by addiction. The smartest thing one can do is to understand that you are not smart enough to control heroin or meth or coke and it’s potential control over your life. Once the drug has you, you make what outsiders will view has stupid choices. These are really calculated risks that you are taking. For example, you know that stealing is illegal and you could get arrested, but you scope out the scene and decide that the risk is not all that high and they are odds that you are comfortable. You are willing to take that risk because while there may be a small chance that you could be arrested and then get time if you commit this crime, or you could be arrested for actually buying your drug if choice, there is a 100% chance that you will be sick as fuck if you don’t come up with money somehow and purchase the drugs.
I’m not saying that I didn’t do some dumb shit while getting high, I most definitely did. What I am saying is the things that look like such dumb actions, my arrests and convictions for example, are really times that I rolled the dice and lost. Obviously, the arrests are just the tip of the iceberg of things that I regret, but that is a whole other bag of worms.
Really, at the end of the day, what I am trying to say is, people far smarter than you or I have fallen victim to the trap of drugs. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can control drugs or control your life while using drugs, you can’t, they will control you.

Advertisements

Stewie

Stewie

It was a bitter cold January morning in Sandtown that day. Aaron and I were crouched down in my Chevy Cavalier, with the engine off so that the car would not emit smoke out of the muffler. We were just two of the hundred or so waiting for Flatline to start hitting.
Flatline was a white fentanyl-based dope. It was good, really, really good. It was great because it took Aaron and mine’s thousand dollar a day habit and cut in a third. The problem was that no other dope got you high. If Flatline was on hold to long, or if the police came and locked up everyone on the block for the day, twice as much of another dope would just barely get you well.
Most people waiting for them to yell, “Flatline in the hole”, would hang out in the little corner stores or liquor stores, or abandoned row houses. Being as though we were lacking in skin pigmentation we waited in the car. You had to be fast when they started hitting, as they would sell out in like five to ten minutes flat, never hitting more than half of the line. Then they went on hold for another hour or two.
Being white added additional risks. Anyone who gets caught walking out of a hole (or an abandoned alley) is fucked. If you are black though, once you get out of the alley on to the street, you are basically fine. Those of us that are fairer, are a walking target all the way to the car. Even then,you are not really safe. If a cop sees you white ass driving around in Sandtown, you are getting pulled. They will figure out a reason for why they pulled you over later. Total racial profiling. Maybe this is why I am so sensitive and disgusted by racial profiling, I have had it happen to me. At least though I am the race that is the majority in most parts of this country and only would face it in Baltimore. I don’t face it every time I go to the airport or am in an upper or middle class neighborhood.
Aaron and I had our little routine. Flatline was the only dope that we could not only get well, but get HIGH off of just one pill. Every morning we would ball in town, cop two, get well and then go out boosting to get money for drugs for the rest of the day.
After we would cop everyday, we would go to the same BP and pull up to the same pump, pump one. Aaron would start cooking up the dope while I went to pay for gas. It was always the same dude working. He would always have my Tropicana peach papaya juice ready for me, and new what pump we were using. I would start to pump the gas, and leave the pump in the car as we got on.
It worked, but we had no tint, and sometimes it would take us an awfully long time to find a vein. One time we had a really close call. Since we didn’t want to sit at the pump any longer than we had to, Aaron would pull off as soon as we were done and I would clean the tools (needles) as we were driving. One day after we got on, we were waiting to turn on to Franklin Road, when a cop car drove by. It had a white female and a black male, and they practically broke their necks looking at us as they drove by. Sure enough they got right behind us. I had no time to put the tools or cooker away, and I couldn’t throw them out the window, so I dropped them under the seat. Within 15 seconds, the lights and sirens went on. They said that they pulled us over because Aaron didn’t have his seat belt on the entire time, but that was bullshit. Aaron was buckling it while we were still at the gas station, as they drove by. They pulled us because we were white. After she looked at our IDs, which stated that we were from Howard County all of 20 minutes away, the first thing the lady asked us was, “What are you doing here?” I thought this was America not Iraq, but we were white in an area that wasn’t. “We were just getting gas and going back home”, we told her. She instantly pulled us out of the car. “Are their any drugs in the car? Is there anything that can cut me, poke me, scratch me?”, she asked. “No drugs,” I responded, “but there are two needles under the passengers seat with no caps on them, so be careful.” By now the backup arrived. “Be careful!” She exclaimed to the other officers, “There’s needles everywhere and none of them have caps on!” This was of course a gross exaggeration. There was not needles everywhere without caps. There were two needles without caps, the others had caps on and were inside of the pink sarin Chanel bag that I kept the cooker, needles, ties, alcohol wipes, water, etc. in. Most people are probably wondering why I so easily told the officer that there was needles in the car, and where they were. The answer is that in Baltimore the don’t lock people up for needles (crack pipes are a different story). The jails are far too overcrowded as it is to lock up people for a crime that only carriers at the max a $500 fine. Now, if the cop had pricked herself with one of those needles, we would have been arrested for sure. We would have been charged with assault on an officer at the minimum, and I have known people who have been charged with attempted murder for similar situations. The AIDS rate in Baltimore is so high, that they fear being poked with a dirty needle more than most things. After we were both thoroughly searched, we sat on the curb and watched the three of them tear my car apart, getting angrier by the second that they could not find any drugs. “There has to be drugs in here. They have the cooker, the tools out,” she said. “Unless they just did them,” the black officer told her. “Just tell us where they are,” she pleaded with me. “I told you, there are no drugs. We just shoot up at the gas station.” Finally after about 45 minutes, she have up. “Get the fuck out of here. If I catch you all around here again, I’ll lock you up on some petty ass paraphernalia bullshit.”
The point of this anecdote is to illustrate that it was always a little risky getting high at the gas station. We faced the car away from the road, but still, had those cops drove by three minutes earlier, we may have been fucked.
So on that particular January day, Aaron came back to the car with this short, balding white dude in his mid-forties. “This is Stewie. He says he’s got a place on Fulton. If we give him a ride home, we can get on at his place.” “Get in,” I say.
We arrive at his house, a blue four level, beat up row house. “I’m in the basement,” he told us as we went inside. We followed him into the basement into something that I had never seen before, but saw many times afterwards. It looked like a homeless shelter. There was probably six people that lived just in the basement. Beds, cots, and sleeping bags were strewn haphazardly all over the concrete floor. Next to every bed, each person had all of there belongings, which were shockingly few. Each person had a few backpacks and bags. In the far corner, there was a card table and three chairs where two men where playing cards. There was a tv on nearby ( this was in 2004 before you had to have a HD TV, cable, or a converter box to watch television). He lead us to a bed right in the middle of everything, ” “This is me”, he told us. He proceeded to introduce us to everyone in the room, all of who were friendly and polite. After we got on Stewie asked us if we would take us to go buy some ready. “Sure,” I responded, “but is there a bathroom that I can use?” “Third floor. I’ll take you.” We were in the basement, so the third floor was actually four levels up. I was stunned as I made my way through the house. Every bedroom, living room, office was rented out. There were people sleeping, living everywhere except for the bathroom and the kitchen. There was probably 30 people living there. In the master bedroom next to the bathroom sat the lady who owned the house, Mary. Stewie introduced me and told her that I needed to use the bathroom. “Go ahead,” she said.
That house was the first time that I had seen something like that, but I went on to discover how common it was. Someone will get a house or an apartment through Section 8 and pay $50 to $100 a month. They then charge everyone $10 a night to sleep there. It’s not a bad hustle.
After I used the restroom, we loaded up the Cavalier to get the ready. “Where you want to go?” Aaron asked. “Po homes,” was the answer we got. We took him to the Po homes, a large section of projects. We went into a court yard that was essentially an open air drug market. Dudes were yelling the names of their respective dope or coke as we walked by. Since we had never copped there before, we let Stewie take the lead. We got these 20s of ready that were HUGE. We were hooked. We went on to cop there all the time for awhile and showed it to everyone. Funnily enough, everyone that we showed the PO homes to got locked up there, except for us. See since the projects are government property, they can automatically arrest you for trespassing unless you live there. You don’t have to be dirty.
After we were done getting high, and before we left, Stewie asked us if we would pick us up that night and take us out to make money. We responded in the affirmative and we came pack at around midnight. We took him to an upscale neighborhood where he would go in driveways and go into unlocked cars. You would be shocked at not only how many people keep their cars unlocked, but how much they keep in those unlocked cars. Cash, credit cards, electronics, Rolex watches. It was shocking. It was never necessary to brake into anything. Actually, you want to make sure not to break into anything as that is another, much more serious offense. Some people even leave the keys for the car in the ignition. One day after we hadn’t seen Stewie in awhile, we saw him at Flatline in an Acura that he had obtained in such manner. Driving or riding around in stolen vehicles always scared me far too much to ever even get in a car that some one else stole, let alone steal one myself.
We hung out with Stewie everyday for a few weeks. One day we showed up and he wasn’t there. He didn’t have a cell phone and we stopped seeing him, hanging out with him. The last time we saw him was that day at Flatline, where he was in the Acura. Sometime in 2007, the house that he lived in burned down, and I have no idea whatever happened to Stewie, just another name, another face in the story of my life.

One Ex-junky, Stay At Home Mother Trying To Find Her Place in The World

Just me, whoever that is
Just me, whoever that is

I find that one of the most difficult things about truly recovering from a drug habit that extended for many years or decades, is to figure out who you are without the drugs. When you are getting high, there is a great deal of people in your life that will undoubtedly identify you as “the drug addict”. Whoever you were prior to their discovery of your drug use, whatever talents, faults, personality traits that you used to have go out the window and are replaced by the singular, all encompassing fact that you get high.
Unfortunately, after awhile perception tends to become reality. Especially if you spend the majority of your time doing activities that in some way relate to you using whatever your drug of choice is. Be it stealing, copping, getting high, hiding your drug use, whatever. You become (at least in your mind) “just an addict” if you are not careful.
It is similar to when people get into a relationship with another person and loose their identity outside of that relationship. For many of us, heroin or meth or crack, whatever, IS our significant other. We are in a dependent relationship. It is hard to maintain or friendships and relationships with people are not using. We often loose site of our hobbies and passions as well.
When we quit getting high and everything that goes with it, we are left with a huge void that we must fill. Many of our friends and family members that we were close with before what I call “the drug years”, have given up on us and want nothing to do with us. Either they have decided that they don’t want to be friends with someone who ever used hardcore drugs and needed said drugs to function in life, or maybe they had re-kindled the relationship before, in previous times of sobriety. Maybe they are done with the roller coster and assume that this will not last. Maybe they don’t understand that it takes the average addict nine attempts at getting clean before it sticks. For whatever reason, many of our sober friends are out of the picture.
Then you have the people that you used with, boosted with, copped with or from. Some of these people you may consider friends, most of them you probably don’t as it was just a relationship that was developed out of convenience. One of the first things that they imprint onto your brain at any rehab is to “change you people, places, and things”. The associates is no big deal, but the few real friendships that you may have developed over the course of your addiction are hard to let go of. People’s true colors come out, many people use any kindness or trust that you have as a weakness and use it to get over on you. When you find someone that you get high with and doesn’t ever fuck you over, even in the worst of the addictions, that is a rare and beautiful thing. Unfortunately, no matter how good of a friend they are, if you always use when with them, it is almost impossible to stay friends with them. You try, and at first it is cool, but inevitably, you want to get high when together because that is what you always did. If both people are clean, then you can hang out on rare occasions, but the friendship will never be as it was.
So at this point in time, you are freshly sober and virtually friendless. Obviously, this is not a good thing, you need a support system, someone to call when you feel like getting high. Some way, some person to listen when all the feelings hat you have kept dormat for years come to the surface. I suppose that this is why NA and AA are so wildly popular. I have discussed some of my personal issues with certain members of NA. For any of all of it’s faults, it is an excellent support system. It is an outlet. A way to talk and to have people listen and support you. It is very important to have people tell you that you are a decent person even if you did some awful things when getting high. It also extremely important, vital actually that you work out whatever issues that you had BEFORE you started to use drugs. Especially if you used as a way to self medicate some sort of pain, be it mental, emotional, or physical. Counselors, therapists and addiction specialists recommend that you go to a specialist for whatever the issue is that ails you. You are told that you should get prescriptions for this stuff. Illegally procuring these medication is a slippery slope. Especially for physical pain, it is how many people get addicted to hard drugs. They start buying percs on the street and then start to realize that it is much, much cheaper and foyer easier, to just buy heroin. Not to mention than a large percentage of recovering addicts are on parole or probation, and even if they are not, they probably have a rather lengthy criminal record. Getting busted with prescription medicines that are not your prescription is the same as possessing heroin or cocaine. The courts don’t care if you need it. They contend that if you truly needed it, then you would have a prescription written by a doctor.
You end up feeling kind of like a shell of a person. If you had been using for a particularly long time, you may have forgotten who you were before the drug sunk their claws into you. That is sort of where I am. I have had periods, some of them extended periods, of sobriety, but I started smoking weed at 15, doing E, coke, Special K etc. but 17, and buy 19, I was shooting heroin and cocaine, and smoking ready. I had my daughter at age 21. I am trying to figure out who I am without chemicals. I have over two years clean, and I still do not know. What I do know, is that I don’t want to be who I was while getting high.
In some ways I feel like I am having a mid-life crisis at the age of 30. I didn’t finish school, and As I was taking classes for being an Elementary school teacher, some of those credits are now useless. With my record, especially being as that I have a drug conviction (possession of a controlled deadly substance – not marijuana) I would never be allowed to be a teacher. Ironic, as my high school chemistry teacher was arrested for child pornography and for sexually assaulting students, another teacher at my high school was arrested for being apart of a drug ring that sold E, methamphetamine, and the date rape drug Roypnol, but no matter how much time passes, I who has never, ever hurt or neglected a child will never be allowed to work with children because of a single drug conviction, which is now a decade old. I would even understand making a person with a drug conviction who wanted to teach be subjected to weekly, multi-weekly or surprise drug tests, but the fact of the matter is that I can not become an elementary school teacher, I also can not go back to teaching preschool.
Personally, I really can not go back to waitressing or bar-tending. I need a career. I need a job where I can move up, get raises, have vacation pay, 401K, etc. My husband has a union job, so we have good health insurance, but a secondary insurance would not be a bad thing. I have this need to do something that matters in some small way. I need to feel like I am helping someone. I would love to do some sort of charity work, but I think that I will do addiction counseling.
I uses to have so many goals, hobbies, ambitions. For example, in high school, I taught myself to play guitar. I wrote songs, played Hole songs, etc. In one of my biggest regrets from my “drug years” I sold my Venus Vista guitar. It was a beautiful black and silver-ish, white-ish guitar that was designed by my idol Courtney Love. Actually, if you look up any pictures of Hole in concert between 1997 and like 2004 this is the guitar that Ms. love normally used. She tended to use the one in sea foam green, which is what Inreally wanted, but anyway. They stopped making the guitar and now it is very difficult to find, and very expensive when you do. It was a gift, given to me by the guy who raped me which is part of why I got rid of it (also I was ill), but I wish I still had it. My ex has my other guitar, and I haven’t played since I got rid of the Venus. I still write poetry, albeit not nearly as often.
I am a mother and a wife, and a damn good one, but that can’t be all that I am. I need to have some sort of identity. Sometimes, I feel that all I am is “mother/wife/recovering addict”. I have just had my two year anniversary of sobriety, but I need more than just being clean. Who am I? I’m not who I was before I started using. I have been through too much, seen too much to ever go back to that somewhat innocent, somewhat naive girl. I don’t want to be the person who was getting high, working to get high, stealing to get high, needing heroin to function, to work, to be a mom. I am stuck in a limbo trying to become a new person all together.

Intervention – Don’t Believe The Hype

There is a very popular show on cable television, I believe it is on A&E, called “Intervention”. The show is an hour long per episode and is broken into two half hour segments. The first half features the addict in the addicted state ruining their lives and the lives of everyone around them. The family talks about how the addict uses around them, forces them to give money to procure their drug of choice, steals the family car, whatever.
Then, the intervention specialist comes in and arranges the intervention. They set up a meeting and bring in the addict, unsuspecting and bombard them with a massive guilt trip. They then force the addict into treatment. Usually at the end they do a follow up right after the addict has left treatment to say how good they are doing now. They don’t show the addict in six months, a year or three years. I am willing to bet that the reason is that they are no longer clean.
Well, I am here to tell you that it doesn’t work that way. First of all, they find the worst of the worst addicts. Most addicts I know do not steal their family’s cars. I know one person who one time took his sister’s car keys to cop and then brought the car back. I do know some people who have used a parent’s or family member’s spare car with permission. Secondly, on these shows (at least all the episodes that I have seen) the family members of the addicts are total enablers. They hand over money whenever the addict asks. They let the addict rule the house. Addicts are not monsters. Yes, the may do some bad shit now and then, but usually they love their family, they do not wish to burn the one bridge that has always been their for them. These people let the addicts rule the entire house, often the extended family as well. They then wonder why their child, spouse, whoever acts this way. It is human nature pure and simple. People bush the limits to see what they can get away with. I’m sorry, but these people are almost as much at fault as the addict.
Anyone who knows almost anything about me knows that I absolutely adore Courtney Love. I have read many interviews where she said that she ultimately felt that she was at fault for Kurt Cobain’s suicide because she participated in and allowed an intervention to take place at their shared home. She said that they took an addicted, incredibly depressed man and made him feel ganged up upon. She explained that it was at this point that he refused treatment and would disappear into the Seattle underworld for days or weeks at a time. When at first he refused treatment she told him that he couldn’t get high in the house. After the intervention back fired, she stated that she told him to ONLY do drugs in the houses he got out of control. She said that the intervention lead to his suicide. She is of course taking the blame for something that is ultimately not her fault, but she is right.
I personally, have never had an intervention pulled on me, but my husband has. It was before we were together, shortly after his family found out about his heroin use. He was able to hide it for a few years, going to work every day, mail ting relationships, having money etc. his girlfriend at the time would steal hiss mom’s ATM card while he was at work, get money, put the card back, go in town, get high, and be back before he got home. She played it off to him that she was going out boosting while he was at work, which since they did this together, would seem legit. One day his parents’ card got declined for a purchase of a hundred dollars or so when they should have been thousands. Now they had been spending a lot, but they knew that they should not be broke. They called the police and the FBI got involved. They brought back pictures of my hubby’s ex, and her friend at the ATM. They could press charges and get the money back or no charges, no money. The problem was that they were going to charge my husband as an accomplice. They didn’t want him with the felony and a federal charge, so they kicked out the girlfriend and let it go. He did, however, have to come clean about why she would be stealing all of this money.
They were shocked to discover that he had been using for years. He came home from work one day to find his whole family waiting. Brothers, sister-in-laws, aunts, etc. I don’t know how it works everywhere, but Maryland has a law that if a certain number of people stage an intervention and say that a person needs treatment, then that person has to go. They don’t have to stay.
So, as the law required, my husband went into in-patient rehab. He stayed for a few days and then left AMA (against medical advice). When he left, his relationship with his family was shot, he move into an apartment in Baltimore where you can stay for $10 a night with a bunch of other addicts. His habit got way, way worse then it was. His relationship with his parents has now recovered, but not with all of his family.
We are both now clean and sober, but he didn’t get clean due to the intervention. That is the kicker, you can not make an addict get clean. You can force them into treatment, but if they don’t want it, really want it, they will relapse. This is why so many addicts on parole or probation that have months or years of back of time, go back to jail after submitting a dirty urine or because they failed to complete treatment. It doesn’t matter how many logical reasons one has to do well or stay clean, they have to want it. They have to “hit rock bottom”. Some addicts are far from the bottom. Some are functioning addicts.
Sadly, thanks to the A&E show and other media portrayals, friends and family of addicts have it in their head that they can stage an intervention and their addicted loved one will change their life forever. It is fiction. It is better to be patient with the addict. Show them love and support. Let them know that you care for them and that you love them regardless, but that you feel that they would be happier sober. Remind them of their life pre-drugs. Do not guilt trip them. At the end of the day, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t teach him to drink.

Karma, the Cunt

I am a firm believer in Karma. As someone who has had as insane amount of bad shit happen to her, I have found that taking a Buddhist approach to life, karma, and reciprocity has given me grat comfort and the ability to have some sort of inner peace. This is something that I was not able to fully achieve through Catholism.
I still believe in God, Jesus, and Christianity as a whole. Actually that is one of the things tha I love so much about the Buddhist religion. I read a book by Robert Thurman (yes Uma’s dad) about the Buddhist religion that says that all of the Gods- Buddah, Allah, Jesus, whomever, all co-exist in this universe. So with that being said, I sort of believe in a hybrid of Catholism (as I was strictly raised) and Buddhism.
Anyway, at the very top of my own personal belief system are two primary fundamentals. One is that the overall love for others, for the human race as a whole, trumps any sort of Bible passage. I don’t take them as a literal, historical documents, but rather more as a guide as to how one should live one’s life. The other is that you really can turn the other cheek because the universe seems to have a way of evening things out. Karma, and yes, she is a bitch.
Lately, I have been experiencing a whole, ton of shit. First, the basement apartment that I live in flooded with three inches of water, destroying practically everything I own. I have been dealing with this shit for over a month. Ripping up walls, rebuilding, wiring new lights, throwing away a dumpster full of shit, etc. then in the mist of this I get a call from the fraud department at my bank saying that there had been fraudulent activity on my debit card.
My first thought was that this was a scam call to get my pertainent info as my card was sitting in my wallet. Then I pulled up my online banking and lo and behold there was transactions that definitely were not me.
So I called my bank perplexed. They told me that someone must have made a duplicate of my card and was buying gas at $100 increments in Blue Earth, Minnesota. I have never been to Minnesota in my life.
Yeah, it sucked. It could have been worse though. This shit happened on a Wednesday. My husband and mine’s money hits every Thursday at four a.m. Luckily the card had already been shut off by then. I have the money back now, and my replacement card should be arriving soon.
I couldn’t help but thinking that this was karmic retribution for my past transgressions. Now, I have never hacked anyone’s card or bank account or made duplicate cards, but I have done a lot of shit in my addict days. We usually stuck to boosting from stores where there was no personal victim per se, but I am not going to sit her and tell you that I have never, in any round about way stolen from a person.
Even while I was getting high, I was very cautious of karma and her revenge which is why I never used violence. Never used any weapons, never robbed stores or banks or people, never stole cars. I was weary of how this would come back around.
Previously I have mentioned that I was previously clean for almost three years when I relapsed and that this blog is part of what I am doing differently this go round. Before that first extended period of sobriety, my husband and I were in a hit and run car accident. This is what we both ended up doing time for. After we had done our time, been clean for years, had a second child, gotten jobs, the works, the lady we hit decided to sue us. For a million dollars. Right on the three year statute of limitations for such lawsuits. She had repededly rejected what the insurance tried to give her ($25,000 at first and then $75,000) and wanted a million (a third of which would go to her lawyer).
I got it, but it just sucked because while yes we were at fault, it had been so long. We did our time, literally. It would have seemed more fair had it been while we were doing dirt still. It is what it is though. Actually, karma had a sense of humor and felt that this women was being particularly greedy. She suffered no real injuries, no broken bones. She left the E.R. In two hours. She was 75 and wanted to blame all her health problems, many of which were pre-existing on the accident. The jury awarded her $13,275 of which her lawyer got a third. She should have taken what the insurance offered.
Anyway, after the lawsuit, when I relapsed I was far more cautious of how I got my money. Yet, here I am paying for my sins of a decade or close to it ago. 2004 – 2006. Is it fair? I don’t know. I can not say that it is not. I deserve it, I really do. Do I think that I deserve it now? No, but justice doesn’t have to be swift, does it? What I do know is that I did not use. I could have, it was around, but I didn’t. Ironically, this event actually managed to strengthen my faith and my resolve. I know that there is someone up there watching us all. I was being tested, taught a lesson. Lesson learned. I managed to stay strong and not use so I know that there is someone or something helping to guide me, and to me that is what religion is all about- something to help guide our lives to be the most productive and best versions of itself.

My (Personal) Issues With The Cult of NA

Before I start this post, let me preface it by saying that I do not hate NA. I have been to my share of NA meetings, some of them very good. Really, most addicts who have either ever been in trouble with the law or sent to a rehab program have probably been to there fair share of NA meetings. Some of the members are really, really great. You know, there to help you at any time. Ready to drop what they are doing if you feel like using and need someone to talk you out of it. This post is not about these members or these meetings.

This is about the people who treat NA as a cult that is the be all, end all of sobriety. I get it, it obviously worked for them. My main problem comes from the way that I am treated once it is discovered that I am on Methadone (or back when I was on Suboxone). This a group where for the entire hour of the meeting, members get up and basically confess their deepest, darkest secrets without fear of judgement or persecution and know that they will still be accepted, but being on any sort of a prescription maintenance program is a sin that is unforgivable.

What is particularly baffling to me is that NA claims that the only requirement for membership is the desire to want to stop using illicit drugs. A maintenance program is just that. Almost everytime I am at a meeting, there are people present that are currently using. It is fantastic that they are trying to get help for themselves, but the reality of quitting opiates and other addictions that have very physical withdrawls. It is very difficult, almost impossible to just quit. Medication is often needed to detox. For me personally, I have detoxes a few times and have relapsed before, so I am trying it a little different this time.

I don’t think that this is a fault of the organization of Narcotics Anonymous itself, just certain members. I was in a women’s addiction support group for years and one of the women in the group was a treasurer for the Maryland state chapter of NA. She said told me that the literature does not specifically refer to methadone and suboxone one way or another. It is just members who have determined that you are less than them if you take this route to acheive sobriety.

My main issue with this is that it turns people off to the entire organization and to treatment as a whole. I say, let people get well however they want. Let hem get their lives together. If they are not ready to get clean, that is fine too. The group should function as sort of a place for therapy. To let people get off of their chest whatever sins or problems are weighing heavy on their chests. Making people feel bad or unwanted is only going to lead them to feel alienated even more. As addicts we are already the outcasts of society, we can’t ostracize each other as well.