Monthly Archives: October 2014

We Are Not the Same, I am a Martian

 

“Bitch, I’m a motherfucking Martian/ I’m a goddamn zombie.” – ‘Martians vs. Goblins’ by The Game

Last night, I was  practicing spooky Halloween looks on myself and my children. I found a makeup academy that I will likely enroll in once the new year hits, and I have been learning and practicing all sorts of makeup tricks. I have only been working on practical makeup applications however. If I one day want to be a makeup artist, I need to know how to do special effects makeup. So, I traveled to Walgreens and bought a Halloween makeup kit and got to work.

I was trying to think of what looks to do, what would be something scary for me and/or my husband to be when we take our children trick-or-treating tonight. I am also doing my kids makeup. My son is a Swamp Creature, so he gets creepy makeup, but my daughter is (one of the millions) Elsa, so she is getting very pretty, soft makeup.  Anyway, it occurred to me that perhaps the scariest thing that I could do woul

What is more terrifying - a zombie apocalypse or realizing that you or your kids could become addicts?
What is more terrifying – a zombie apocalypse or realizing that you or your kids could become addicts?

d be to accentuate my track marks and scars, and go as a junkie. Too be even more terrifying, I could dress up as a lawyer or a doctor and have a needle in my arm.

Even though there are literally millions of people in America struggling with substance abuse, it is still terrifying for people to think that any of those people could be in their neighborhood or even,a God forbid, in their family. Still, in 2014, we as addicts are forced to remain in the shadows, to keep our struggles silent for fear of retribution and ostracism.

My own mother, who has two daughter who are addicts, often remarks about how shocked she is to see certain people at my methadone clinic whenever she gives me rides. “That person is so old, what are they doing here?”, or, “That person is a (fill in doctor, nurse, UPS driver, person in an expensive suit), where they using heroin too?” I always tell her that first off, a person theoretically could have never used heroin a day in their life, but still very much need the assistance of a methadone clinic. Nowadays, the prescription pill addiction problem is at epidemic proportions. So many doctors hand out prescriptions for Percocet, OxyCotin, Vicodin, or what have you like they are giving out Advil. They don’t even usually ask or try to find out if the person has a history of substance abuse. The thing is, though, that if a person takes any opioids for a long enough period of time, they WILL become addicted. It is just a fact. Now if you are not pre-dispositioned to addiction (I.e. one or both of your parents, or grandparents were addicts), or if you have never previously been physically addicted to anything (thus forever altering your brain chemistry), then it will take you longer to become addicted, but you will eventually.

See, despite what a lot of people want to say or think about people who struggle with the living hell that is substance abuse, is that it is not simple a matter of will power. These are very powerful drugs.the fact is that taken for a long enough period of time, your brain and body will NEED them to simply function at all.

I actually don’t have a problem with doctors giving people these medications if they truly need them. Some people are going to be on these meds for the rest of lives due to chronic pain, so dependence is not really an issue. The problem comes for the people for whom the doctors decide after six months r however long, that they are no longer in need of these pain pill, that their pain should be manageable with over the counter medications and home remedies. I find it incredibly irresponsible to just one day, after months and moths of giving a person powerfully addictive medicines, to say, “No more for you!”

I wish there was some sort of law where doctors were forced to give patients a prescription for suboxone or methadone for a very brief period (decreasing the dose daily as to not trade addictions), or ween them off of the pain pills slowly once they determine that the need for these medications with regards to the patient’s pain level is not there any longer. They should also probably make, or strongly recommend that the person attend NA meetings, or they should at least make them take some sort if class on addiction and the brain.

Patients who have no history of addiction in themselves or in their family will not think they need any of this. The problem is that more than likely, they have never gone a day or two without taking any of these pills since having their script, so they do not know that they are addicted. A lot of these people find out the hard way that they are addicted and turn to illegally buying what they previously prescribed. Now they are “junkies” and “worthless”. Funny how that works. Some of these people end up at the methadone clinic.

I also try to explain to my mother, and to others, that if I have learned one thing from my years of waiting in lines to cop, is you never know who you will see in the hole. Addiction does care about class, race, gender, socio-economic status, or your job, it hits all walks of life. It can sink it’s claws into a millionaire as easily as a homeless person.

I think that that is the aspect of addiction that is so petrifying to people, especially wealth, educated, WASP sort of people. A lot of people that are outside of the “ghetto” feel safe and comfortable believing that addiction stays within the confines of the projects, that it does not venture into the suburbs. Seeing a middle or upper class business person as a drug addict is scary because it means that they are not safe. It is almost like holding up a mirror, but it is reflecting back a version of themselves if they got into a car accident a need a script for pain pills. It is almost their life. It is easy for people to ignore what they perceive as far away from their own lives. Maybe this is why we as addicts are shunned so much. People do not want to look closely enough to see that we are no different from them.

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Leave Me The F!@# Alone!

Recently a weird number has been calling my house. It had a 333 area code. One day while my sister was over it called five or six times in a row. After the fifth time, she decided to answer. (This by the way, is not odd, my sister used to live here, and answers the phone all the time.) I was shocked to learn who was on the other end.

Lo and behold, it was my former best friend who raped me when I was 16. He was talking about how he lives in Mexico making all kinds of money. He went on to day that he was awaiting a check for $80,000. He wanted to fly my sister and I (and my mother?) out to Mexico tobe with him. He also offered to pay our bills. Now, he said that he made all this money (the $80,000 plus all his other earnings) dye to a formula that he came up with that converts coffee to useable energy. Now, being as though this man is a clinical, pathological liar, I take anything he says with a grain of salt. He is in Mexico though. I looked up where a 333 area code is, and it is on Mexico. That being said, however, he comes from an incredibly wealthy family, so him being in Mexico does not mean that he has earned a penny for himself.

This is not the first time that he has contacted me. Far from it. He would call me from jail. Once, he walked like four miles from a friend’s house to see me. He constantly sends me private Facebook messages. This is the first time that he has ever involved money, a sort of pay out for my forgiveness and friendship. Generally, the mist of his messages is the same. He always states how much he misses me, that he now realizes how well I treated him. Specifically that I treated him better than his family, than any girlfriends that he has had since, than anyone really. He tells me how much he admires (and always has) my intelligence and refusal to submit to peer pressure and act like everyone else in high school. He then tells me that he is sorry for any pain that he may have  inadvertently caused me, that I didn’t deserve it. Inadvertently is the key word though. He will not say what he did to hurt me. He will apologize, but he still acts as though him raping me was some sort of breakdown in communication.

Awhile back, I wrote a blog post about forgiving my rapist. After I posted this, I sent him a message telling him that after 14 years, I have decided to forgive him. I explained that I was doing this for me and not for him.  Holding on to so much hatred was ruining my life. I told him that I was trying to make a conscience effort to let go and move on. Studying Budahism taught me that by holding on to hatred you only hurt yourself. I explained that this in no way meant that I ever wanted to be friends with him again. I never even want to see him again. Ideally I wish that I could just feel nothing towards him, as if he were a complete stranger.

He cannot just leave it at that. I think it is his guilty concience. Maybe he feels that if I decided to become bestirs with him again, than he must not be that bad of a guy. What he did couldn’t be so awful if I am willing to fly to Mexico and vacation with him. It’s not going to happen though.

I will never accept money or plane tickets from him. He is not going to buy my friendship. It is not my fault that it took you over a decade to realize that you fucked up a good thing. I’m sorry that you now have come to the understanding that I didn’t deserve for you to obliterate my soul and destroy my ability to trust anyone. Perhaps you should have thought about this before you pinned me down while I was asleep and  raped me.

What about the other women that you did this to? He did time twice for different sexual assaults.  Also, before he raped me, I had heard that were two or three girls that had accused him of rape, but I foolishly believed him when he told me that they were lying. I find my self wondering about these women often. Who are they? How did they know him? Was their assaults similar to mine, or totally different? Does it matter how different or similar we are to each other? What does it mean if our encounters with him are virtually identical? What does it mean if they are bi-polar opposites from what happened to me? Also, if the police had not convinced me that it was my fault, that I would never win a conviction in court, not to press charges, would  one or both of the women have been saved? How many women are out there that have never come forward?

At the end of the day, I just want this man to leave me the fuck alone. I gave you the gift of forgiveness. I will not give you the gift of my friendship. You are the primary reason that I have so few friends, that I trust so few people. Nothing good came from me meeting and befriending you. I treated you so good. Imwould have given my arm for you, and I regularly sacrificed a great deal for you. You ruined me. You brutaly introduced me to the dark, horrible side of humanity. It has taken me 14 years to even begin to move on. My PTSD, and nightmares are just beginning to wane, so please just leave me the fuck alone.

Slippin

DMX “A yo/ I’m slippin’, I’m fallin’/ I can’t get up/ I’m slippin’, I’m fallin’/ I can’t get up/ I’m slippin’, fallin’/ I gots to get up/ Get back on my feet/ So I can tear shit up,” -Slippin’ by DMX

Last night I was laying in bed watching YouTube makeup tutorials (as I often do before bed), when all of the sudden a wave of dense, black complete and utter sadness washed over me. It was a feeling that I am unfortunately all to accustomed to. “Here we go again,” I thought.

For some strange reason, I was hit with this fear of death. This happens to me every so often.  After my dad died, I went through a stage of severe depression that was directly linked to an intense fear of dying. This lasted for a few months. Months of feeling like literally nothing was worth doing because I was just going to die one day anyway. Ever since then, every once in a while, I will be almost end teleported back to that time in my life. It is a mix of fearing dying too young, wondering what is the point in anything, being saddened by how incredibly short life is, and worrying that I will not accomplish anything significant during my short time on Earth.

I turned 30 a few months ago. I have been having an almost mid-mid life crisis. I worry that I wasted my youth, my twenties, and that I am starting my life so late that I will not ever accomplish anything worthwhile. I live a rather closed off life. I trust very, very few people. On top of that, I have had to distance myself from a great deal of the friends that I hung out with for the last almost decade because they were my “get high buddies”. I often feel like Gatsby, where if I die, virtually no one will realize or care. It will be one of those situations where someone casually mentions, “Hey, remember that girl that we went to high school with(or worked with, or whatever)? She died a few months ago”. “Oh, that’s sad”. Followed by the people going back to whatever conversation that they were previously involved in.  The ironic thing is that while I am fearful of a funeral that is attended by three or so people, it is I who pushes everyone away.mi have just been hurt and fucked over far too many times. It is easier to be alone than to be hurt.

I feel like I am in a race. Against time, against the world, against my inner daemons.  Once I get pushed into the race and the gun goes off, I do not have the option to quit. I wish it were that easy. The race is not a fair one, either. It is not on a flat, even surface. I am at the bottom of a deep hole. I have to somehow make it to the top, but the surface is smooth, there is nothing for me to grab ahold of to climb up. It is not as if there is someone there to throw me a life-line, and honestly, I don’t think that anyone would take the time to throw me a rope even if they could.

To a person who doesn’t or hasn’t experienced chronic and severe depression, what I am saying probably makes very little sense. The thing that I find that people have such a hard time understanding is that there , doesn’t have to be something major to drop me to the bottom of the well, or the rabbit hole as I tend to call it. There can be, but there doesn’t have to be.

For example, we recently found out that my mother-in-law has cancer in both her lungs and ovaries. My father died of lung cancer in 1996, and I sat on the sofa with him and watched him die. Hearing this news, especially since she is truly a second mother to me, brought back floods of images of my father’s painful death. The good news is that they caught the cancer in the very early stages, very unlike my father. She will not have to go through the chemo like my dad. I watched the chemo take a strong, healthy 250 pond man who hunted, fished, did construction for a living wither away to around 160 pounds, unable to walk, talk. A man who was on so many medications that he was incoherent, hallucinating all the time. They did not catch his cancer early, at all. He had been having bronchitis every winter for three or four winter in a row. Then the fifth winter they did an x-ray and discovered that one of his lungs was collapsed and that he had advanced lung cancer. My mother in law’s situation is vastly different. The cancer is small enough that they can remove it, also she doesn’t need her ovaries, so they probably will go in and take out the ovaries entirely. She is going to be fine, I have been praying nightly.

I don’t know if it was this news, or that we are headed into winter, or the fact that my husband was laid off, but I am desperate to try to get out of this tailspin before I am entirely consumed by blackness. I don’t really know why I am writing about this. Part of me just needs to write what I am unable to vocalize. Maybe part of it is that I feel that you are only as sick as what you hold inside. Also, just like with addiction, talking about depression helps to de-stigmatize it. Hopefully someone will read this and know that they are not alone.  I have been this way before, and I have survived.

What is it that I need? Someone to care, perhaps? Will that make a difference? I need to not feel like an insignificant piece of nothing for some amount of time. Even if it is brief, maybe it will be enough to give me hope that I may be normal at some point. Here’s to hope, I supose.

Too Close For Comfort

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We are in Kenny’s apartment. Actually this is the basement of a row-house where each level is a separate apartment. Kenny and Ceil took the area that is supposed to be a storage area for all three apartments and turned it into their house. They did this by just straight Debo-ing it. Anyway, we had got on and were smoking ready. The problem was that we had nothing to come down with.
So here we were in this basement, in the middle of July in Baltimore. No AC. No fans. Sweating extra profusely because of the coke. It was going to majorly suck ass to have to go out for hours boosting all hoped up. Not to mention the fact that I would be extra paranoid due to the coke. (I was already paranoid enough because of the FTA warrants, I believe it was two at that time, that I had.) We knew that we had to get some dope, like ASAP.
The stores within the city lines are blazing hot. That is if they even have anything worth stealing out. There was a store that was like almost right on the Baltimore City/Baltimore County line that we would hit occasionally. It was technically within the county jurisdiction, and was shockingly easy to hit. (For a time that is. I eventually got locked up there, but another story another time.) Now, this wasn’t the kind of place that you would go to in order to pull out a few hundred, this was a place for situations like this.
We asked Kenny if he wanted to ride with us, and he did. I went in and was disappointed to see that they didn’t have much at all. I don’t remember what I ended up getting, but I was able to pull out about $40 worth of shit. We went to the pawn shop and cashed in. Next up was Red Dot.
Now, when you went down Franklintown Road once you crossed over Baltimore Street there was a few dope and coke shops before you hit Frederick Avenue and the Westside Shopping Center. The first of which was Red Dot. The next street was Jigga which we got on and off for years, but at this particular moment Red Dot was better. We pulled down the street and saw a cop car driving down Franklintown. We kept driving and circled the block. We then came back down and pulled up to the hitter. We told him that we wanted three. He came back with them. Aaron handed him the money and received the pills. “Watch out,” the dude told him, “Cops been watching us all day.” Aaron handed me the pills which I placed in between the lining of my panties. We pulled back out on to Franlintown, continuing on the one-way until we hit the light at Frederick. As we turned right on Frederick, here came like three cops with the lights on. Visions of Central Bookings danced in my head.
Ok. Pause. Aaron is driving because the car we had at that time was a stick shift, and I am not what you would call good at driving stick. At all. His license was suspended. Like I mentioned previously, I had two FTA warrants. Kenny had a warrant as well. Oh, and the car was my mothers. Mine was in the shop. Also, the first thing that uniformed officers in the city (as opposed to the knockers) ALWAYS did when they pulled you over was run your name for warrants, and check your license. They come across so many people people with warrants, and suspended or revoked licenses that it makes their job easier. See, if you have a warrant out for your arrest, then they have an automatic legal reason to search your car.
They pull up and demanded the dope. We told them that we didn’t know what they were talking about, that we were just taking Kenny home. He did live like less than a quarter mile from where we were stopped. They proceeded to explain in excruciatingly exact detail what had happened. Clearly they had motherfuckers on the roof somewhere cause they described the dude who hit us, dreads and an orange shirt, the order in which everything happened, who payed, everything. “Ok,” we said. “You saw us give him money, but you didn’t see him give us anything. He fronted us a couple pills this morning, and we were paying back or we wouldn’t be able to cop from them.” “No,” they said, “She has it.” So, they pulled us all out of the car.
The female officer walked me over to these steps off of the road that lead to a church or something and patted me down. She grabbed the cups of my bra and shook them out. Next she made me pull down my pants. You should know that Frederick is a main road. She told me to hold the crotch of my panties with my thumb and forefinger and shake my underwear from side to side. The three pills were in a cigarette cellophane in between the outer fabric and the cotton gusset. I put my finger and thumb on the bag to further secure it and did as I was told. Disappointed in her futile effort she walked me back to the car where they tore it apart. Funny thing was, in their haste of assuming that they had us dead to rights, they forgot to run any of our names. If they had, they would have had us dead to rights.
Eventually they gave up. “I think it’s up inside her,” the female cop bemused. They told us to get the fuck out of there. We went back to Kenny’s and got on and I had one of the best highs of my life.

When It Rains It Pours

First of all, let me start this post by apologizing for it taking over a week to get this post up. I try to post every Monday or Tuesday, and obviously I am really late on that. Shit has been hectic around my way. There has been a lot going on lately that has tested my patience, my faith, and my will to maintain a healthy, sober lifestyle.
It started last Monday. My husband had been at his new company since the middle of April. The people that he came there with went to put in their two weeks (for a VERY justified reason, I might add). They had a meeting with the person to explain why they were leaving, and that they would help with the transitioning of jobs. I don’t know everything that happened because I obviously wasn’t there, but shit did not go well. He made them leave right away, and put something on their pink slip like they were fired or involuntary quit or something. Now, I am not going to get into why they wanted to leave because I am not all about putting out other people’s business like that. However, I will say that from what I heard, they were beyond justified in wanting to leave.
Aaron was going to possible go to the company that these people ended up at eventually, but he wasn’t sure. He liked working at this company. On Tuesday, with no notice at all, the boss calls my husband’s foreman, and tells him to tell Aaron that he is laid off. I guess they were worried about him quitting without notice or, more likely, they were retaliating against him for the people that they had an issue with. He had never had a write up, a safety violation, had never no-called/no-showed, nothing. So, BAM, we were left with no money coming in.
Oh, did I mention that my daughter’s birthday is in November, followed by my son’s birthday in December, followed by Christmas? Also we have a pretty steep car payment, along with all of our other bills.
Then, on Thursday, I went to the clinic to get my weeks worth of take homes. My counselor calls me back to tell me that my insurance had lapsed and that they sent them a huge receipt of non-payment. When my husband got his union job, we picked up another insurance, but the clinic doesn’t take that kind. So the other insurance I had paid the clinic and then sent it to the secondary insurance. I never got a bill. The clinic will let it be behind as long as they know that it is coming from the insurance company. Anyway, I owe a bunch of money and cannot receive take homes until my debt is zero. Actually, they are supposed to drop my dose, but I gave them the amount due for the week, and they agreed to keep my dose as is. Wonderful timing. Cause I really can afford that right about now!!!!
In times like these, it is easy for those of us who are recovering addicts to say, “Fuck It!”, and go back to be a full-fledged active addict. My counselor asked me, “Do you care more about the take-homes, or about the quality of life that you have when you are not an active addict?” He is right. While it obviously sucks to have to go to the clinic every day,many it is a hassle, it is not a reason to throw my life away.
If you have ever been an addict then you know the anxiety associated with wondering how you are going to make enough money to achieve the amount of heroin that you need to function. It is not just “to be high”, because while we may want that, if we use daily, we know that that rarely, if ever happens. It is about not puking and shitting all over yourself. It is about having enough to show up at work, and actually work. It is about having enough to be able to be a parent and not let your sickness show through to children who simply do not understand. It is about having enough to pretend that mommy is just lie every other mommy out there.
The peace that I have knowing that I don’t have to worry about those things (not to mention all the legal ramifications that go along with being a drug addict in this country), is an amount that cannot be quantified into numbers. It is a deep, easy peace that I don’t want to give up. Any small disruption to this, causes me huge anxiety.
This is, of course, easier to remember in times of reflection than it is in real time scenarios. I have to remind myself to stop and look at all angles of the situation before I act hastily. Hopefully there is a light at the end of this tunnel.