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.

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