Category Archives: Women’s Issues

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.

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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.

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.

Living and Loving with Severe, Clinical Depression

I came across a brief article the other day that discussed how difficult it was to be in a relationship, to be in love, with another person while severely depressed. This is not a particularly new topic, but whenever I read an article about depression and love, it is talking about how hard it is to love someone who struggles with depression. This was talking about how hard it is to love someone when you struggle so severely to love or even like yourself.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not in any way think that it is easy to be in love with a person who has severe depression or bi-polar disorder or anxiety. We are a moody bunch to say the least. We push the very people away that we want in our lives more than anything. We pick fights for no reason, we cry and scream for hours at a time.

The struggle of a depressed person to be in love is almost insurmountable. I have been married for almost a decade. For 10 years, I have been with the same man and yet I still have trouble believing that he loves me.

It can be virtually impossible to believe that someone can stand to even be around you when you hate yourself with such a fierce disdain that it is palpable. There are days when I literally hate myself to the point where I would prefer to stay in bed, asleep, simply to not have to deal with myself.

My whole life has been spent pushing people away, and now I am in a position of trying to keep so done close, and it is terrifying. For one, I don’t really know how to NOT push someone away. I find myself doing something only to later realize how fucking stupid it was. I take shit way too seriously, I dwell on everything. Most of all, I second guess why someone would even like me at all. I worry that eventually I will convince him that I am such a terrible person after all. It’s almost like I am pulling off some massive con and any day now the jig is gonna be up.

I think that in a way we are set up to hVe difficulty in relationships. It is drilled into your head as a young person that you should not or cannot love another person until you love yourself. What if you hate yourself?

I also fear that perhaps I love my husband too much. Like maybe I love him far more than myself and will do things that are not healthy for myself. Would I even know if I were to engage in unhealthy relationship behavior.

I told my husband very early on in our relationship that I  often get sad, suicidaly sad. That a good deal of the time these crying fits will seemingly be brought on for no reason at all. It doesn’t always take something big to set me off. Funnily enough, I feel like being an addict has helped with this. I went through so much bullshit that it helped me to put some of the smaller things into perspective. Nothing seems so “life or death” to me anymore, except for life and death.

I still have my bouts of terrible sadness, however. I warned my husband, but I can tell that he had absolutely no idea what he was really getting into with me. What if I am not worth all of the trouble, all the shit that I put him through? I try to make up for all of this by being the most loyal person that I can think of. I give a lot of love. I may not show any love to myself, but I try to show it to him. That being said, if I am incapable of loving or even liking myself, how effectively can I show love to someone else?

I truly believe that  people like myself deserve love and are capable of giving love out. It is a challenge to be sure, but maybe anything that is worth it is.

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.

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.

But You’re So Smart

But You’re So Smart

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

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

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

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