All posts by violetclouds23

Death, Family, and Dealing With Stigma

Sorry that I have been MIA recently. I have been very busy with work. I actually up for a promotion so hopefully that works out. I really, truly enjoy wear I work and who I work with. I have not ever enjoyed a job this much.
The main reason that I have been absent as of late is due to the death of my Grandfather. He was very sick, as I had mentioned in my previous post, so we knew that his time with us was comming to a close. That doesn’t make his death any easier. It stings extra hard because I was going to say goodbye to him the afternoon that he died after I had finished babysitting my niece, but he passed that morning.
I was not at all prepared for how upset my six year old son was going to be. When he got home from school that day I told him the news. Later that night I went into is room where he was crying. He doesn’t really understand death, but he knows that he will miss his Great-Grandfather. When I explained the concept of the viewing, that he could say “Goodbye” and that while Grandad couldn’t respond, he could see and hear us, Aidan said, “Oh, he’s in a hot air balloon or something?” Something like that buddy.
For the viewing and church funeral (the burial hasn’t happened yet as it takes Arlington National Cemetary about a month to scheduale a burial) a good deal of family flew in from California, Denver, New Jersey, Alabama, etc. The same family that has shunned me for years, has refused to speak or look at me to be perfectly honest was now in the same room, restaurant. Some of them would awkwardly say hello and ask about the kids. Let me be clear that this is not all of my family, it is just some and they are both in state and out of state.
If looks could kill… Listen, I know that I fucked up a time or two when I was in my active addiction. I have apologized however. These are people who pride themselves on their Catholic upbringing, yet look at me and my husband, my sister and her boyfriend like we are parasites.
They are like a lot of people who feel that they are above anyone who has struggled with addiction not realizing how easy it is to get sucked in. People also fail to understand that addiction forever changes the chemical makeup of your brain making relapse so easy. We do not want to relapse anymore than a person with cancer wants their disease to come back, it just does.
Likewise, we are not stupid, lazy, bad people. We try to overcome our disease, we try to make amends for our past transgressions. We try to move on, but often it is the judgement of others that holds us back. In fact, a great deal of the time, people refuse to seek help for their addiction because they know who they will be treated and looked at for the rest of their life once people know the truth about them.
I just don’t understand why even people who know that it is wrong to discriminate against others due to race or religion or gender feel like it is perfectly acceptable to look down upon someone who has the disease of addiction. We are people too. Honestly people have gone through and beaten addiction are some of the kindest, strongest, smartest, and most compassionate people out there. We have fought tooth and nail to achieve and to maintain our sobriety. We have spit on and discriminated against. We have seen people and their lowest and have worked through the depths of our despair.

Death and Getting the Most Out of Life

Yesterday, my husband and I went to visit my Grandfather in the hospital. He is 92 and he is most likely dying. He has been in and out of the hospital a lot this year. Usually after a day or two he is back at his assisted living home. The previous time, it was determined that he was not well enough to go back to Harmony Hall (the assisted living) and had to move to Lorien (a near by nursing home).
When he was in the hospital that time, he came in at 165 pounds. His doctor was incredibly worried about his weight and stressed how important it was that he not loose any more weig. He is at 130 now, normal for him is about 210. Appatently no food is getting into his stomach, it is all getting into his lungs. He is beginning to refuse treatment, and it seems inevitable that the end is near for him.
As he lay in his hospital bed asleep yesterday, I was struck by how much he reminded me of my father. My grandfather, who is my mother’s father, is a mere she’ll of his former self, just as my father was before he died. Of course one glaring difference is that my granddad is 92 while my dad was 42.
I am trying to clebrate his life instead of only mourning his death. When I think back on his remarkable life, I am struck by just how much a person can accomplish in a lifetime. He served in WWII as a marine where he received, not one but two Purple Hearts. He moved on to the CIA where he worked directly under J. Edgar Hoover and the first George Bush. Hell, he even bought a car from George Bush and had to go back over to their house to get Barbra to sign the title over because George forgot to. He was interviewed to have his life story documented for the Library of Congress. Him and my grandmother (who was a premier cryptologist in WWII) raised 7 kids (an eighth died at the age of six months) while traveling all around the world, living in Germany, Japan, France, Spain and other places.
The stories he has, my mother has, my aunts and uncles have, my grandmother had from living all over the world could create the most extravagant movie. His life is truly inspiring.
I look at all that he has done, and I realize how little I have done. I have stressed and spoken before of how much I fear death and how I feel like I am starting my life so very late. I ruined so much potential I have, and now at 30 I am starting fresh. I am just now, finally doing something in a field that I am passionate about. I am at a base position, but I am good at it and I like it. I get compliments. I hope that I can use this has a jumping point to launch my career in makeup and cosmetics. To me, makeup is more than a fun little pastime or accessory- it is my passion.
As I sit here with tears welling up in my eyes thinking of losing my beloved Granddad, I realize how profoundly honored I am to have even met such a remarkable and one in a trillion man. He has taught me so very much. Watching him take care of my grandmother after she had a stroke that paralyzed half of her body, and seeing how devoted he was to her up until her death showed me what true love really is.
Grandad, I am praying everyday that you are able to pull through this as you have done every other time, but if not, I can honestly say that anyone who was ever able to meet you was blessed. I love you and will miss you terribly.

Hiding In Plain Sight

So, my seasonal job seems to have turned into a permanent position, which is fabulous. That was what I wanted to begin with. I figured that Christmas was a good time to get my foot in the door so to speak. Also, my kids have birthdays in the end of November and the beginning of December, so I figured that worst case scenario, I would make some extra loot during the holidays and have some experience in the field that I want to have an eventual career in.
Well, it is February now, and week 1 of the retail year, and I am still employed. I absolutely love it there. I have gotten quite a few positive guest feedbacks on our surveys that we invite all our patrons to take. I love the people that I work with as well (for the most part – of course there are a couple of people that I don’t get along with). It is all women save for one gay man, and they all are as obsessed with makeup as I am. It is fun to have a place where I can be around people who have the same passions as me, and I am privy to what new products are coming out as well.
The one single issue that I find that I have is the same one that I have had at every other job, hiding my history. For one, I feel that it would truly cost me my job. Not so much my past drug convictions or assualt arrest, but my numerous theft arrests and subsequent convictions. See, we have a problem with thefts at my store. Ironically we sell a good deal of what I used to boost, but thank God, I never stole or tried to steal anything from my store. There was a big crackdown a few years back on all of the pawn shops in Baltimore that took all of the stolen pharmaceuticals, so no one really has a place to sell that stuff any more.
No, no one is stealing razor blades or Olaay’s from my work. No, they go for fragrance. That and the Urban Decay “Naked” palettes.
Since I have been employed there, I have seen a fellow employee get fired for theft of some sort. I don’t thi that she was physically stealing so much as helping or enabling someone else to steal. Obviously I wou never do anything to jeopardize a job that I love in a field that I love, but would my manager see that? Or if she knew my record would suspicion always be cast my way when ever there is a theft during a shift of mine?
As for the new friends that I am making, would they still like me if they new that I am a recovering heroin addict? It is easy to say that if they would care then they are not people to be friends with anyway, but it is not that simple. I have a very hard time opening up to people and making friends. I don’t want to ruin any chance of making new friends by sabotaging my chance by revealing a past that they really have no business of knowing.
I do feel in a way that after all of the progress that I thought that I had made, maybe I haven’t made as much as I thought after all. Maybe I should be confident enough to say fuck them if they can’t handel my past. I feel like I have been able to own my addiction, but I guess that I am not as secure in myself as I thought. Or maybe, I am allowed to have some secrets. Maybe we all do. Maybe my past is none of their business as I honestly am an entirely different person than I was back then.

Fears

Last year I wrote about regrets, about how as human beings, but especially as active and recovering addicts, we must learn to live with regrets. This post is about learning to live with fears and overcoming fears.
In some ways, I fear almost nothing. Except for snakes- they scare the living shit out of me. As far as other people go, I don’t really fear people too much. Humans are going to do what they are going to do, and there is no sense in me fretting over it. Example, I am not particularly afraid of guns. I have had friends murdered before, and I have been robbed at gun point before. My husband, sister and good friend were saved by the grace of God, when a revolver pointed st point blank range jammed twice (and revolvers DO NOT jam). So, I know very well what guns can do, and I do feel like there should be tighter restrictions upon getting guns. The thing is though, nine times out of ten, when someone pulls a gun on you they have it pre-determined whether they are going to just use it to scare you, or kill you. Freaking the fuck out most certainly will not help you out, in fact, it may farther the likelihood that the person will pull the trigger.
Likewise, I feel like when I watch movies and they put a gun to someone’s head and force them to do shit like dig their own grave and jump in it, no fucking way – just shoot me. I feel like free will may be the last thing that I would be possessing in that situation, so just kill me.
Oddly however, I am really quite afraid of death. It is actually something that I think about on almost a daily basis. I hope that when It is my time, I am at peace with the thought of death and am ready to go. I am religious and fully believe in heaven and hell. I fear not being a good enough person to make it to heaven. I try every day to be a good person, but perhaps my sins of the past are to much to overcome. I hope not.
Ever since I turned 30 in May, I have had like a major mid-life (quarter-life?) crisis. I feel as though I have accomplished nothing in my life thus far. I am just no getting started towards a career that I love. I am smart, I had a full scholarship at one of the top schools in the country, and I fucked it all up. Add my criminal record to all that, and I screwed a lot up in my life. I am saving up to go to school to get my makeup artistry certification later this year.
I did everything ass backwards. Most people that I graduated from high school with are just now having their first babies. They are well established in their careers though. I have a nine and six year old, and am just starting my carreer aspirations.
I briefly hit on this last post, but my greatest fear in life is that my children make the same mistakes that my husband and I made. They may not be as lucky as we were. Many addicts do not make it out alive. I fear that they will discover how off the chain we were and use this as a reason, an excuse, to use copious amounts of drugs.
Even more terrifying for me, is the fear that my daughter will discover that I used heroin for part of my pregnancy with her and refuse to speak to me because of it. She and I were both clean when she was born, but she may not understand the intricacies of detoxing off of heroin while pregnant.
I hope that 2015 will be the year that I start to overcome my fears.

2015, A New Year, A Time For New Growth

This is the time of the year when everyone makes their New Year’s resolutions. Me, I’m not much for resolutions per se, I find that 90% of the time they are impractical and people end up breaking them anyway. What I am about is straying to better oneself. Of course this is something that we should all be working on anyway, but we often forget to do it.
Last year, I got back into Tibetan Buddhism again. It has always been something that I studied, but in 2014, I got back into inserting those teachings into my life. Something that I had not been in the habit of doing when I was getting high all day everyday. I find that for me, personally, Buddhism gives me a great deal of peace, something that I have been searching for my entire life.
One thing that I am going to try this year is to stop be so fucking afraid of failing and go after my dreams. I got a seasonal job at Ulta Beauty, and it seems that I will stay on as a permanent employee, so I have gotten my foot in the door. I have talked to some of the girls that I work with who have a makeup artistry license, and they told me of a really good, world renowned school in our area. My goal is to just do it.
I think that anyone who is a parent wants a better life for their children than the one that they had. I don’t really know when or why I started to become so self destructive. I honestly feel like I was born with a hole or a void in my heart and soul. The death of my father and my subsequent rape (not to mention being molested as a a young child) served to farther stretch this hole. Looking back, I don’t know if I was trying to fill the void or just numb the pain of it being there.
I am well aware of the statistics of children of addicts and their likelihood to become addicts themselves. It is most definitely a gene that is passed on, and my kids get it from both sides. I am terrified to think that they may go down the same road as me and my husband.
I am very conflicted on how to broach the subject of drug use with my children when they are of that age. Do we tell them about our struggles, arrests, the hell that we both personally went through? Will this serve to scare them straight so to speak or will the see this as an excuse to use drugs? Sort if like we would be hypocrites to tell them that drugs are bad?
My daughter is so much like me in so many ways. She is such a rule follower. A goody two shoes of sorts, but so was I. I was probably one of the LAST people that one would expect to develop a heroin addiction. From my family history, my upbringing, my graduating at the top of my class, going to college on scholarship with honors, never getting in trouble of any sorts. That is the thing, drug addiction doesn’t care who you are, it can strike anyone, anywhere, at anytime.
Not just for 2015, but for the rest of my kids childhood, I am constantly working towards being the best mother that I can. Most importantly I want to be a good role model. These are “resolutions” that I can keep.

Holidays for the Junkies

With New Year approaching (and Christmas recently behind us) people use this time to get together with their families. This can be stressful times for anyone. There are unique struggles that are faced by addicts at this time of year.
If your family doesn’t know that you have a drug habit, you are particularly fucked. See, your addiction doesn’t know to take a break because it is Thanksgiving or Christmas. Most dealers will still meet you (we even had a dealer give us a big plate if Thanksgiving dinner one year because we were living in a hotel with warrants), but you have to figure out an excuse for why you are dipping out in the middle of the family dinner. You may be able to do it unnoticed if you are not living with family or staying with them for the Christmas break. If that is the case, you can cop real quick before you go to dinner. The problem is that while most dealers will still meet you, the pawn shops and whatnot are closed, so getting loot can be difficult.
Generally what most addicts try to do is get enough drugs to last them. You know cop double on Christmas Eve or the day before Thanksgiving. This of course is easier said than done. For one, you have to come up with at least double the money. You need your normal amount for Christmas Eve, plus that amount again for Christmas, and preferably a gate shot for the next morning.
Lack of funds is not the only difficulty that you face. The other issue with having enough shit, is that we are fiends, addicts. Just because theoretically you have enough to last, that doesn’t mean that you will make it last. It reminds me of when we were on Food Stamps or (S.N.A.P. as they call it now). We would receive like $650 a month for our family of four. This is obviously not enough for a family of four for an entire month. So, what Inwould do is go to B.J.’s or Costco when the money went on and spend around $300-$400. Getting all that bulk food made the money go farther. The problem was that my kids would see all of that food and think that would last forever. They would eat too much, too fast. I feel like junkies are sort of the same way when it comes to having a bunch of dope. It is too easy to fall into the trap of, “we have enough, we can do some more.” Before you know it, you only have one shot left for Christmas Day.
If your family is ignorant to your habit, you also need to be careful to not do too much. You don’t want to be ripped as balls at the dinner table, nodding out into the mashed potatoes and shit. Even if they do know, out of respect, you probably don’t want to be too high.nyour family doesn’t want to see that shit.
New Year’s Eve is uniquely challenging in a multitude of ways. For one it is hot as fuck trying to cop on New Year’s Eve. All of the cops that were on vacation for a christmas are back. Also, it the very last day to try to make their quotas for the year. My hubby got locked up early in the morning on December 31, 2012 with 35 pills.
Not having enough drugs for the holidays is the absolute worst thing in the world. I watched an interview with Russell Brand once. He was talking about how as an addict he would frequently have to smuggle heroin on to the plane. When asked why he would take that risk, he explained that it wouldn’t be a vacation with out the drugs, it would be hell. He said, “You could be sitting on the beach in Hawaii, shivering, freezing.” That’s exactly how it is for a person who is in active addiction. Without dope, you are going to be sick and miserable. Besides the fact that you will be struggling and hating life, it is a giveaway to your loved ones.
The flip side of N.Y.E. is if you’re a recovering addict this is rough holiday. Everyone is drinking and/or getting high. You’re being offered drugs constantly. People don’t understand that you can’t just do coke tonight, or E, or whatever. New Years’s Eve can be one of the biggest tests of your sobriety and willpower. Your safest bet is to just stay home, but that isn’t for everyone.
Good like to everyone this New Year’s Eve, and have a wonderful 2015!

The Hidden Strength and Resilience of Addicts

I have read that there is not a person walking this Earth stronger than a recovering addict. To say that I agree whole-heartedly is an understatement. I would actually even go one step further, and speak to the strength of most addicts.
The strength and will power that it takes to get off of drugs, especially ones that are both mentally and physically addictive, is a intense, brutally painful journey that most people will never fully appreciate. To be a heroin/opioid/methamphetamine addict is to live a life where ever day is an immense struggle. You wake up sick. Puking, diarrhea, running nose, back and leg spasms, hot and cold sweats, restlessly twitching, spitting flem non-stop, etc. You have to come up with the money to fuel your daily habit (which in my case was about a grand a day for myself and my hubby). Then when you obtain your funds, you have to cop, and this can be a job in and of itself. Obviously it is illegal to buy heroin. If the dope that you get is from a shop set up on a corner (which is how a lot of the best shit is) you have to get out of your car and run up into a hot ass alley wait in a line, get hit, hope that they have as many as you want by the time you get to the hitter, and run back to your car hoping and praying that a cop doesn’t drive by and see you (this risk is doubled if you are white and “don’t belong in the area”). Even if you have a dealer that you meet, you still have to watch out for cops. If you don’t have something to get (your dealer is on hold, what your were getting fell off, whatever) then you have the added struggle of trying to figure out what to buy.
It seems so simple to say, “If you have to go through all of this bullshit everyday, why do it.” The first, easiest, and simplest answer is that you are sick as fuck without it. Then people ask, “Well, don’t you only stay sick for three days? That’s not too bad.” Yes and no. The main, initial period of hellish withdrawls only lasts between three and four days. Of course, you have to keep in mind that you cannot sleep during these three days, so it is a LONG 72-96 hours. What people don’t realize that after the initial detox period, there is like another month or so of not being able to sleep, of your back aching. The cravings never fully go away.
It is so much easier to get high. The strength involved with an addict waking up everyday and not on,y deciding not to use, but to actually follow through with that decision is nothing short of a small miracle.
The stigma that society throws on us, the “Once an addict always an addict” mentality, would make a weak person snap and go back to using. I actually do agree that an addict is always an addict, it is actually proven that our brains never go back to the way it was before addiction took ahold of it. That’s not what I mean, however. I’m referring to the way my aunt clutches her purse to her side with a death grip at my grandmother’s funeral years after I last used. I’m talking about how my husband’s family automatically assumes that any sickness that either of us get is definitely withdrawls. You know because former addicts never get the stomach flu. The strength that it takes to quietly defend your character on a daily basis is monumentus.
Active users are much stronger than people give them credit for as well. Drugs can drastically change who you are. If you are able to maintain both a heroin/meth/coke/pill addiction and your morals, no one can ever doubt your inner strength. It is so easy to sell your soul to the devil, sell your body for far too little, and fuck over everyone who cares about you. To not take the easiest way out (whatever that may be at that time) is to take on and win against Satan himself.
My point is this, if you are a recovering addict, don’t ever let anyone take that from you. You have accomplished a feat of inner strength that could rival Hercules. If you are an addict who is still in active addiction, you have it in you. You are stronger than you probably even realize. Look how much you go through on a daily basis, and you are still here. Don’t ever let anyone take that from you.

Fuck What You Heard, Feminism Is NOT A Bad Word

There is an article going aroung the internet recently, I can’t remember what it is called but it is written by a mother of two boys and it discusses why she doesn’t need feminism anymore. She was saying that she wants her boys to grow up holding doors for women. She also spoke of her disdain at women who teach women (and men) the statistic that one in three women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. She argued that this will make her sons feel like all women are looking at them as predators before they have even done anything wrong.
Obviously, I took to having a great deal of issues with this essay. My first problem was how she explained how she “used to be a feminist” but is no longer one due to giving birth to two sons. I have a son and a daughter, so I don’t buy that having a boy should make you an anti-feminist.
What she is doing is reitifying false feminist stereotypes. Mainly that feminist hate men. Wrong. Feminist want equality for everyone. That’s it. Feminist are not saying that a man cannot hold a door open for his girlfriend, we are just saying that we are capable of doing it ourselves. Men can certainly do something nice. On the opposite side of that same coin, feminists are not out there saying that wives should not ever do things for their husbands. I, for example, am a strong feminist, but frequently pamper my husbands. We are against gender roles as an archetype, that does not at all mean that we refuse to do laundry or cooking. We just want the division of labor to be evenly split.
It is perfectly fine for men to love tools and motorcycles and sports. The issue is that when I talk about football, and know my shit more than 90% of any man that I have spoken to about the topic, I am met with shock. I would love my son to start playing football this year now that he is old enough, it just pisses me off that for my daughter be involved with the sport, she has to be half-naked. Either by being a cheerleader or by playing in the lingerie football league. Yeah, we (as a society) will give girls the opportunity to play football, but they literally have to be in their underwear.
As for teaching men and women the statistics on rapes and sexual assaults, I’m sorry, but this needs to be done. It does not make women look at all men as though they are automatically rapists. I am a rape victim, and do not fear man as a gender. I do not hate men, actually most of my friends are men.
This leads me to my main problem with women like this one denouncing feminism. Using the argument that you “are no longer a feminist” because you are a mother of boys reinforces the false ideology that feminists hate men. This is just flat out not true. Are there any feminists in the world that hate men? I’m sure that there are. There are feminists in the world that hate makeup and fashion as well, but they are not the norm. We don’t hate men, we hate the patriarchal society that we live in.
Everytime, a woman says that they don’t need feminism, it sets back our fight for equal rights, equal pay. Feminism is just the desire for women to be treated the same as men. Not better, not worse. We don’t wanted to be handed things or hired because we are women, we just want an equal chance to get the job and then get paid the same if we do get the job. I hope that women like that realize the harm that they do with denouncing feminism outright.

Movin’ On Up?

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I wanted off by apologizing for not posting in a little over a week. Shit’s been hectic to say the least. I started working (yeah!) at Ulta Beauty. I was a little nervous to go back to work, as I have been a stay at him Mother since the middle of 2011. My husband was laid off about two months ago and has not started back to work yet, and it is Christmas time, so now seemed like a good time to start. I have been wanting to break into the beauty industry for awhile now, and Ulta is one of my favorite stores in the world. Stores always higher extra help around the holidays,so I applied. While it is only part time, it helps with money, and I love it. I get to work with makeup everyday, and my co-workers are awesome. Hopefully this leads to eventually becoming certified as a makeup artist.
I have also been busy with Thanksgiving and my children’s’ birthdays. My daughter turned 9 on November 28. I had to go into work at midnight on Thanksgiving and got off at six am on Black Friday. It sucked, but hey, I was off in time to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. My son turns 6 on December 11. Obviously, money is EXTREMELY tight the last couple of months in the calendar year.
As an addict in recovery, I find that staying busy is important. Fuck, it is vital, imperative to my sobriety. Boredom is one of the most dangerous things to a drug addict. Of course the first struggle is to get to the point where you are not waking up puking all over yourself, drenched in cold sweats, twitching, rolling around trying to get comfortable with shooting pain in your back, and restless leg syndrome. The mistake that people tend to make is that once the ills are gone they think that they are “cured”, that they are no longer an addict. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.
When you are in active addiction, you spend the vast majority of your day either getting high or doing activities that are somehow related to getting high (boosting, hustling money in some sort of way, trying to cop, ducking the police, etc). The immense amount of time that is freed up when you sober up is nothing to play with. You truly do not know how to fill your time. Often, you end up getting high, simply as something to do.
Of course, it is a good idea to stop hanging out with the people that you were using with, but sometimes people think that as long as they cut ties with their “get high@ friends, then they are safe. This does nothing to account for the devil that is within all of us. It sounds so cliche, but your addiction really does want to kill you. It will constantly try to trick you into thinking that getting high to relieve your intense boredom won’t hurt anything. Honestly, it might not hurt anything, that ONE time. The problem is that is very hard to keep it to that one time, and getting high daily WILL hurt.
Having something to do is the number one reason why I am so thankful to have gotten the job. The fact that it is in a field that I love is just a cherry on top!

Imagining My Life Without Having Ever Used Drugs

Often, namely when I am in a state or regret, I sit and wonder where my life would be had I never tried heroin, or cocaine (which I used prior to heroin, and lead me to heroin). It is very easy to think about where my life was before I was addicted to heroin and cocaine. Your brain naturally wants to assume that sans the drugs your life would have gone down the absolute best paths possible.

I was a student at the University of Maryland majoring in Elementary Education, with a focus on English. I was going to UMCP as an honor student on an almost full college. In fact, I was able to buy a brand new Honda Civic with all the money that my mother had saved for me for college which I no longer needed. I like to get down on myself imagining that had I never become an addict, I would be an elementary school teacher right now, with a nice house, white picket fence, a decent car and 2.5 kids. Of course, I could not go back to school to get a degree in education now even if I wanted to. For one, if you have any sort of drug convictions, you are no longer eligible for any federal scholarship money.  (Don’t get me started on all that is wrong with this policy- society wants drug addicts to get clean and turn their lives around, but you going to refuse to offer them ANY sort of financial assistance. WTF). Secondly, and most importantly, even if I went back to school on my own dime and got the degree that I was originally going for, it would be pointless. With my one drug conviction (I have a second drug arrest for which I was found not guilty) and my multiple thefts, and assault I, by law, would not ever find a job.

Thing is, I had already left UMCP before I started getting high. I was driving home constantly to see my boyfriend at the time. I started having a viscous bought with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I stopped going to most of my classes during my spring semester. My shrink had a meeting with me and the dean of the school and I was able to have my classes that I failed excused and taken off of my record.

Originally, my dream was to go to NYU and major in music business. I stayed behind to be with the boyfriend (BIG mistake). After I broke up with him and left UMCP, I was teaching pre-school full time and taking classes towards that music business degree at the local community college.

This is when I started getting high with the boyfriend I was seeing at the time. It started with us getting coke (a drug that I had done a few times before). Eventually we were buying dope to come down. Soon we were buying more dope then coke or only dope.

That boyfriend went to jail on three violation of probation warrants, one of which was a no bail. My husband called me wanting me and my boyfriend (his brother in law) to pick him up to take him in town. Obviously he was unaware that my boyfriend (we’ll call him Joe) was locked up. I picked him up alone.

Soon I was picking him up every day. We had a plutonic relationship for a long, long time. Eventually after a night of drunk sex, we realized that we were meant to be together. He made me happier than I had ever felt. He made me feel beautiful, truly beautiful. He treated me like a princess. We got in legal trouble together, and often got out of it due to both of our unwillingness to snitch on one another.

Within just over two years, we were married and had a beautiful daughter. We went through periods of him being in jail, or me being in jail, or both of us being in jail. We were clean for a few years, we were addicts for a few years before and after our sober period. We are clean together now. We also have a son together now as well.

See, as easy as it is for me to dwell on what could have been had I never stuck a needle in my arm, I cannot overlook everything that I gained through addiction. I am married to my best friend. I have two wonderful, beautiful kids (one turns 9 next week, and the other turns 6 in December). Most importantly, I like the person that addiction made me. Maybe I do not particularly like the person that I become while in active addiction, but I am a lot stronger than I ever knew. I have unlimited compassion for others. I know what it is like to be at the bottom of the totem pole.

Have I lost a lot do to drugs? Of course I have. Drugs have made me realize that not everything is the end of the world. I try to look at the good side to what I have been through. I truly believe that if you can make it through heroin addiction and come out on the other side with your morals still intact and are able to achieve and maintain sobriety, them there is nothing that you cannot do. There is no one out there stronger than a recovering addict, and I am proud to say that I am in that group.