Category Archives: Faith/Morality

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.

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.

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.

 

 

The Ghosts of Sexual Trauma Past

About two weeks ago (give or take) I wrote a post called “Leave Me the F!@# Alone”.  I was talking about who the man who raped me (at the time that I thought he was my best friend and true confidant), contacted me from Mexico offering to buy me a plane ticket to come stay with him. He also offered to help pay any of my bills if I so desired or needed the help. I feel like this is all a way for him to purge his soul, his penance so to speak.  While, he still refuses to admit that he raped me, he apologizes profusely saying that I didn’t deserve any of the hurt that he out me through. As for the rape, he feels that it was a breakdown in communication.

Every time he reaches out to me, I am thrown into a whirlwind of depression and self-doubt. As much as I try to say that I forgive him in order to move on with my life, the mere mention of him sends my almost gone PTSD into overdrive.

Along the lines of running into people that I wish that I could just forget, I ran into my cousin who molested me as a small child on Halloween. She lives in the neighborhood where we took (and always take) our children trick-or-treating. I knew that she lives in the same zip code as me, no more than two miles away, but I have never seen her, nor did I know which was her house. Of course to farther complicate and muck up the situation was the fact that it was not just my husband and I with out two children. We were still with my sister and her boyfriend and their 20 month old daughter as well as my mother. My sister doesn’t know that this is who molested me. Actually, the only reason that she even knows that I was molested at all is from reading about it on this very blog. As for my mother, I have told her but I get the impression that she doesn’t believe me or doesn’t care or something. Her reaction upon me telling her what my cousin did to me was the exact nonchalant indifference that kept me from telling her for so many years. Ironically enough, my rapist was the first person that I told this information to, after he told me about how he had been molested as a child. This shared pain was what I though bonded us at a deep, un-breakable level. Boy, was I ever wrong?

Of course, my sister and mother wanted to say hello to my cousin that we haven’t spoken to in years. I walked a few steps ahead refusing to look at her and well up with burning hot tears of hatred and anger. As with getting the call from the man who raped me, seeing this woman brought back vivid, brutal flashbacks.

It is particularly cruel and odd to see and hear from the two people who so deeply betrayed me so close together. It reminded me how much I am not over the events that shaped my life in such a profound way. It did show me that I have made progress though. Seeing my cousin gave me flashbacks that day and the next. I still am thinking bout her, obviously, but if this same run-in had happened 10 years ago, I would have been a wreak for months.

The hint with my rapist is a fresher wound as it was 11 years later. Also, I was older, he was older. I trusted him in a very adult manner. He was the basket that I put all of my eggs into after the death of my father and the incident with my cousin. I have to say that I am a little bit proud that I am not still in a tailspin after these two events.

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.

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.

Addiction and Parenting

     Every Sunday night, AMC had a “Breaking Bad Binge” marathon. This is one of my absolute favorite shows of all time, so I just HAD to watch. It doesn’t matter that I have seen every episode three or four times, it is just one of those shows. One of the episodes that aired last night was one where Jessie has to go over to the house of a couple of meth addicts who had robbed one of his dealers, Skinny Pete. He goes to their house, gun drawn, ready to recoup his money. Upon breaking into the house and searching for the husband and wife duo, who are not home at that time, he discovers their son. The boy is filthy, watching an infomercial on knives because they do not get any other channels on their old ass television set. The first thing he says to Jessie is, “I’m hungry.” It is heartbreaking and difficult to watch.

       Eventually, the little boy’s parents arrive home with meth and dope (and an ATM that they boosted out of. a continence store). Jessie repremands the parents telling them to give the child a bath and a hot meal, on which the mother says, “Give me a hit and I’ll be any kind of mother you want me to be.” Jessie ends up calling the police when he leaves and places the child on the front porch so that he can be taken into foster care.

       As a woman who was in active addiction and a mother at the same time, I had very mixed feelings about this episode. Not just “Breaking Bad” either, there is a general consensus that addicts are horrible parents. Now, I do believe that there are some people who completely neglect their children in order to get high. Just the other day a couple in Baltimore County who was arrested after a maid at the hotel they were staying in walked into their room to clean it and found what she thought was a two year old alone, laying on the kitchen. The parents were out looking for another hotel. The child was taken to the hospital, where it was determined that even though the doctors, nurses, cops, and the maid all thought that he was two, he was actually six. He was just that malnorished. I do not know if this couple was using drugs. Sadly, there are a lot of people who neglect and abuse their kids, and addiction is not to blame.

        Most of the addicts that I know have children. Not all of them have full custody of them, but all of them would die for their children. I have heard stories of people hiding drugs on their children or spending their kids food money to get high, but these stories are not the norm. These are just the stories that stand out. 

       When I was in active addiction, my kids never missed a meal. I never sold the food stamps and bought drugs, leaving no money to feed them. They never missed school. They were always bathed, got new clothes, dolls, toys, whatever. Usually I would stay home with the kids while my husband went to cop. We didn’t get high in front of them.

       I truly believe that this is more normal. Most couples that we knew where both people got high, and they had kids, would keep one parent at home with the kids while the other went out to get money or the drugs. Addicts are not the monsters that people portray them to be. We are people which have a disease, but we still love our children.

        Most addicts with children are motivated by their children to get sober. I do feel that I am most definatley a better mother sober. Most of that has to do with I have more energy to go above and beyond. I do not need dope to be well enough to play on the playground. I do not have to hold back vomit if I make them breakfast before I get well. You see, I may have done everything before, but it was almost as though Imwas just going through the motions. Now, I can put 100% of my energy into my children. 

      I would never, ever begin to suggest that it is ideal for a parent to be an addict. I am just saying that despite episodes like. “Breaking Bad” that portray addicted parents as these monsters who will just leave their small children alone for hours or days on end. My children have never been home alone a day or hour in their lives. Drugs never clouded or inhibited my love for my children. I feel that most parents, whether addicted to drugs or not, would die for their children at the drop of a hat if it was needed.