Tag Archives: children

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.

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.

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.

To My Mom

So this is, like most of what I do, a day late and a dollar short. Anyway, I wanted to write something about and for the beautiful woman who brought me into this world. We have not always had the eaiest relationship,  many years of it have been tumultuous at best,  but I love her with every fiber of my being. 

As I have gotten older, as I have had children of my own, I understand that as a mother we sacrifice everything for our children. When my father died she was not able to take time toGrieve properly.  She put eeverything that she had inside of her, to take care of my sister and I. Sometimes she would snap. Sometimes she would zap out. At the time, I would be angry that I was left to calm down and care for my little sister. Now as a mother of teo chikdren, I get it. 

 

She had a year or so before my father past, while he was dying of lung cancer, where she had to take care of a 5 year old, a 10 year old, and a husband that went from a strong man, a man’s man, to not even being able to walk.  It was nice just the physical deterioration that she was forced to deal with, either. He was so heavily medicated that he became an entirely different person. He hallucinated all the time. He often thought that our house was some sort of war zonem and that my mom was in charge of the opposition. Honestly,  I can not even begin to imagine the heartbreak that most go with caring for a person that in no way resembles the person that you married.  My mother,  though, she never complained. She was a soldier the whole time. She continued to work, and she took on the extra responsibility of my father’s health problems. 

When he died, she tried her hardest to make sure that we were ok. She took no time for herself. She never remarried,  hardly ever dated. It was just me and my sister.  She did everything on her own. She drilled into my head, that the worst thing in the world is to have people pity you. Honestly,  she may have taken this a little too far, but I learned how to be a strong woman watching her refudal to ask anyone for help ever.

I was a child and had no idea how much weight was instantly thrust upon her shoulders. She worked full time, she took care of us. She made ssure that we never had to move out of the house that my dad had built a massive addition on to. We were able to live in his place of handiwork. 

My mom, used to tell us stories about her hippy days. She saw the Beatles, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zepplin, Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hanncock, and many others. She would talk about going to Mowtown concerts that would have all the greats. She went tothe fampus Monterey IInternational Pop Festival. She instilled in me a love of music.  One time when I got stoned with her, she sat there and stared at the radio saying that she was “watching the music”. She played Michael Jackson, and the Four Tops, and Linda Ronstead, and the Beatles.  She took me to a Prince concert when I was 2 years old. I learned from her just how powerfully music can affect your mood, your entire being. She is the reason that I wanted to become a music executive. 

As I previously stated,  my mom was a full fledged hippy in her youth, her twenties. She taught my sister and I to love everyone regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation,  economic status. She showed us the injustices in the world.  She explained how fucked up this world was. She told us about the Veitnam protests. She shared stories about the civil rights movement. 

My grandfather fought in World War II as a Marine and received two Purple Hearts. After he left the Marines,  he went into the CIA. He was like three people from the top dog, and his job entailed that him, my grandmother,  my mom and her two sisters and four brothers move all over the world. My sister and I would listen intently as my mom told us stories of living inside the Berlin Wall.  Of moving into a house in Japan that came with a chef, a maid, and a nanny. We would revel in the fact that her entire family had to use false identities for every new country they went to. We lostened to the fascinating story of how their true identies were discovered in Japan and they had to leave right away without packing or daying goodbye to anyone.  I woukd jealousy ask about her times in Spain and Paris.

I learned what a feminist was from my mom. She (and then Courtney Love) sparked what would be a life long love of feminism.  She showed me what a REAL feminist is, hot the stereotypes.  We are not ball busting, man hating, dykes. We are just women that want to be treated the same as men. My mom never asked for special treatment because she was a single mother, a widow. She got fucked over at work, amking less then men that had the same position as her even though she worked twice as hard and was twice as good. She always had some asshole trying to rip her off because she was a woman. Mechanics,  plummers, electricians, really anyone that came to fix something at the house. She didn’t complain,  she just started having one of her brothers with her when getting estimates.  She never wanted pity, she figured out how to deal with a fucked up situation the best that she could.

What I am trying to say is that as a child I had no idea, not even the slightest inkling of how much she was dealing with. I would see her freak out at my little sister and I, telling us that she couldn’t take it anymore,  that she was leaving forever, get in her car and leave, and be furious. I would think that she was being so selfish. I didn’t understand how much of her own happiness she had sacrificed for us. She didn’t grieve the way she needed to because she was trying to keep our lives as normal as possible. Sometimes it was just too much and she would snap. I get it now. After years of putting my mother through hell,  of refusing to forgive her for mistakes that she made, I get it. I grew up, I had kids, I stopped being a fucking selfish brat. I look at my kids, and I see how much she gave up, how hard she worked. She kept our lives as normal as possible after the death of my dad. She bought us nice clothes, she took us on vacations,  she kept us in the h I use that my dad built. She did her best to keep us happy. When I went through my struggles with addiction, my mom never gave up on me. She supported me time and time again. Her love knew no limits, and I am almost positive that her love and support is part of the reason that I made it through to the other side alive. For that, and for everything, Mom, I love you. Now and forever. 

Tennessee To Jail Addicted Mothers

Tennessee recently passed a law that is the first of it’s kind. They have decided that their state Medicaid will not pay for all or any portion of addiction treatment even for pregnant women that are battling addiction. They then went on to decide that they are allowed to jail women who used drugs at any point during their pregnancy, even if the child was not born with any illicit substances in their system.

Ok, does anyone else see the sickening hypocrisy in this law? The inherent dangers in this? Actually, I will say that the governor was allegedly told by health care professionals, pediatricians, OB/GYNs, and psychiatrists that this law was an awful idea. Still to this day, a large number of people seem to think that mothers simply are not drug addicts. Even if they were addicts at one point of their lives, that part of their brain is supposed to just shrivel up and die the second that they find out that they are pregnant. The maternal tendencies and the overwhelming urge to protect your child is supposed to be strong enough to make you just become instantly clean.

The only problem with this idea, this general sexist attitude towards women, is that it is simply scientifically unfounded and not at all factual. Yes, as mothers we do inherently feel the need to protect our children at all costs. This, actually means that we can not quit using drugs (cold turkey that is). I have written about this previously, about my own personal experience with becoming pregnant while I was using heroin. Heroin withdraw can very easily kill a fetus, and often does, if not done the right way. This means in a rehab or a hospital, with doctors and nurses watching you. Hey, guess what? Inpatient rehab, or extended hospital stays are not cheap. Actually, most rehabs will not let you into their facility unless you either have an insurance that will cover all or most of the cost, or they want cash up front. Starting to see my issue with this fucked up law? How are women supposed to go out and get help, get detoxes, get put on methadone maintenance if they are not rich and if the state will not help them pay?

The people who allowed this law to pass claim that it is intended to save the babies, but it is counterintuitive. You are first not allowing the women to get help, then locking them up, but this doesn’t help any newborns at all. If women can’t get help,then they won’t get help. The babies will be born dirty, only thing is that now they will not have their mother’s there to sooth them while they are detoxing in the hospital on opiate drops. Social services will inevitable take the child after the mother has been arrested for child endangerment and child abuse/neglect. Babies in foster care? Who is being helped by this?

Of course, the women could just quit, sure. There is a high probability that the fetus will die. So what good did scaring these women “straight” do? Not only did the baby never even have a shot at life, but the mother is going to feel unnecessary guilt over the fact that their child died due to their addiction. This is so fucking unfair that I can not even begin to quantify it with words. Most of theses women got pregnant by accident. They didn’t go out and try to get pregnant while they were in active addiction. Making them feel this immensely heavy feelings of guilt is only going to serve to throw them further into the hole of addiction. Self medicating and what not.

I have a feeling that this law will force the abortion rate up as well. Both legal abortions, and cruel back alley abortions. You the brutal kind with hangers and what not that no woman should ever have to experience. Terrifying these women into thinking that they will go to jail because they can not afford to get the help they need, is going to cause some women to decide to end the pregnancy. They may not want to have a baby if it is going to put them in jail and send the baby in to foster care.

People are going to do what people are going to do. Trying to make laws that serve to only prosecute women is sexist an entirely unfair. The men who get these women pregnant can do as they choose. Yes, I am obviously aware that what they put in their bodies can not harm a fetus, but still. Very few women who are using hard core, addictive drugs go out and try to become pregnant, but that doesn’t mean that they should not have the opportunity to have and raise their child.

A Riot Grrrl Amoung A Sea Of Stepford Wives

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter had a play date at one of her good friends house. I drove her over to this girl’s house to drop her off. This was my first time meeting her parents, and they asked me if I would like to stay while the girls played. Panick time! I mean we are talking severe anxiety.

I am by nature a very shy nature. Luckily, my husband and son were in the car and we were on our way to Home Depot to buy supplies to fix a major flooding disaster that was occurring at the house at that time, so Imwas able to politely decline. Crisis averted.

Yes, I was a server and a bartender for years, a job that requires speaking to perfect strangers all day long in order to procure tips. That I can do, especially behind the bar. I mould keep ESPN and NFL Network on the TVs. I can start a sports conversation with anyone. I love sports. I am obsessed with football. I can talk for hours about the draft, free agency, trade deadlines, where a team went wrong switching from the four-three to the three-four, when a team should bench a QB, etc. That usually gets people at a bar talking (and tipping). I have learned the cardinal rule to NEVER talk about politics. Or religion. I am true to form Taurus, meaning that I am stubborn as shit. I have very strong political views. Because of this I don’t speak up when political discussions are buzzing about in my bar.

Put me in a jail cell with eighteen other women in a cell that is meant for one person, and I will talk. I will even start the conversations. That is basic psychological survival. Time ticks by incredibly slow in jail. Every minute feels like an hour, every hour feels like six. Sitting in silence in a stubborn refusal to talk to anyone makes a bad situation even hellish. Talking, making friends, doing hair is the best way to past time. In jail there are many addicts, mothers who are pulled away from their children. We all have the Sam struggles, regrets. It is nice to cry with someone who can understand the pain and guilt that comes with watching your child walk out the door on the other side of a glass window, while you are cuffed and taken back to your cell. To agonize together about the physical anguish and misery of detoxing off of heroin in a jail cell.  Being dope sick sucks ass, but when you are on a gym mat for a mattress, your never ending back ache is multiplied exponentially. The guards seem to get off on watching you flop like a fish, letting their inner sado-masachist  come out. You will be lucky if they give you a Tylenol and some Pebto Bismal. The number one way to pass time in jail is to sleep, but insomnia is another horrible side-affect of detox. So, you might as well talk to people. Make friends. Tell stories. Just don’t talk about pending charges. That is rule number one.

Why is it, then, that I can talk to people in these circumstances, but  damn near have a panic attack when this little girl’s parents invite me to stay at their house? The most basic and simple explanation is that both of the examples above were cases where I HAD to open up. I had to talk. It is not merely that simple, however. Yeah, I had to socialize, but I was never hit with the wave of anxiety that happens to me when I am around other parents at my kids school.

More so with my first child, there is a huge age difference. 95% of the parents of the kids in my daughter’s class are a decade older than me, at least. I am well aware that there a millions of women who have children at 21 (the age I was when I had my daughter) or younger, but they aren’t at my kids school. I am a lot younger than the parents of my son’s friends, but as he was born three years later, it is a slightly smaller gap.

The age is just the beginning. The economic status in the biggest difference. We rent a basement apartment with three bedrooms from my mother. I live in the house that I grew up in. My children go to the elementary school that I went to. We could never afford to live in this school district otherwise. I mean we have ex-NFL players across the street, owners of huge construction companies next door. A recent Truila search of houses for sale near by, showed a few houses. One was $750,000 and that was the cheapest. Most of them were well over a million. Yeah, my husband and I are affording that lots.

We just look like we don’t fit in. You can tell by the looks on their faces. My husband has full sleeves. I only have a few tattoos, but I have yet to see a mother up there with a tattoo. I have actually been asked if I was the nanny. For real, I dropped my daughter off at a birthday party. The party was their house, but it was a freaking circus. Moon bounce, clowns, animals, a whole slew of carnival games. The goody bags that were given to the kids were worth like $35. So, I drop her off, and the lady says’s ,”Hi, I am (name not mentioned), (girl’s name) mother. Are you her nanny?”. No sorry, lady. Just because I am 15 years younger than you, doesn’t mean that I can not have children. I know that it is a shock that there is someone that is not in the 1% at this school but here we are.

The differences are not just age and socioeconomic status. It is everything. I am not a Stepford Wife. I am stubborn. I can be a major pain in the ass. I am a feminist. I roll up at the school bumping 2 Chains and Jay-Z. Of course there is the criminal record. The fact that I am a recovering addict.  I listen to these women talk, and I just can not relate. I do not get facials weekly. I do not attend ten thousand dollar a plate political dinners. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the county councilman who is being groomed to be the governor of Maryland one day, his kids are in my daughter’s class.  The struggle of not having transportation during the day due to the fact that my husband I share a car until he gets a work truck. I get looks like I have three eyes when I explain this.

I am not saying that I am any better. I am uncomfortable going outside my shell, and they won’t come out their world. Maybe I should be more Stepford, but it just is not me.

Daughter

You are a perfect reflection
A younger me
Innocent and unblemished
And looking at you
I feel so sad
Yet so full of hope
When I see you
I see myself
Before I was robbed of all my purity
I’m so sorry
But you remind me
Remind me of all the pain
Everything that I tried so hard to forget
Pain that no child should endure
Praying at night
Please don’t pay for my sins
I’ve endured enough pain
For both of our lives
I will sacrifice myself
For you to be eternally happy
So beautiful
So young are you
Unfairly trapped
Looking just like me
I live this pain
I hope that you never feel it

We Are Mothers. We Are Addicts.

After I started writing my blog, a woman wrote me an e-mail thanking me for discussing my past as an addict and being a mother. She said that it is still so taboo for mothers to admit that they are addicts. She is right. It is taboo. Maybe because as addicts people want to define us as addicts. As mothers we are put into the category of “Mother”. Being an addict seem to be a sharp juxtaposition to the image that has been constructed for a mother. Carroll Brady was not shooting dope. Or was she?

In 2005 when I discovered that I was pregnant with my daughter, I was terrified. I was twenty years old and addicted to cocaine and heroin. I stopped doing the coke right away, but could just stop the dope.

While heroin withdraw is immensely painful for an adult, it is very infrequently deadly. The same can not be said for heroin. The withdraws most likely will kill the fetus. I had already made up my mind that I was keeping my baby. I was not going to turn around and kill her myself.

Ironically, I found out that I was pregnant while I was doing an intake evaluation for an outpatient suboxone program. They gave me a urine, and as they tested it they explained that they were testing it to see what drugs were in my system and to check for pregnancy. Suboxone is not approved by the FDA for pregnant women, so the program weakly test women to make sure that have not been knocked up. The lady who tested my urine looked at me and said, “Honey, you know that you’re pregnant, right?” I told her no way. She explained that they could not accept me being pregnant and told me that the only program that she knew of that would accept and treat pregnant women battling addiction was CAP at Johns Hopkins University.

CAP stands for The Center for Addiction and Pregnancy. They have 16 beds and are the only place in the state of Maryland that will take a pregnant woman. There are inpatient places that will take you after you complete the eight day inpatient at CAP. You do the math, 16 beds and every addicted pregnant woman has to go through there to go on to their outpatient or another program. There is a wait list, a long one. That list is made longer by the fact that if a woman who is staying there delivers her baby, they will keep her and her baby indefinitely.

I chose to to a methadone detox. Methadone is the only thing approved to give pregnant women for withdraws. I was given 30 mgs the first night, then 25, and so on down to zero. Most women do not detox. Most do methadone maintenance. They go to the hospital seven days a week to get dosed. Even Christmas.

I also had to go seven days a week, but I was not getting dosed. It is a very intensive outpatient. For the first 28 days, you go seven days a week for eight hours a day. If you miss even one day, the 28 days start over. That is level one. Complete level one, you drop to six days a week for 28 days. Then five etc.

Johns Hopkins Bayview is an east side hospital. I am a west side girl, and I was back at my mothers. Driving 35 minutes to a city that I only go to for the purpose of buying drugs was too much of a trigger. I told my counselor and she tried to get me transferred to a program in my county.

I remember hearing her on the phone, “Yes, she is pregnant…. Yes, she is addicted… Yes, to heroin.” She was calling rehabs 20 minutes outside of the city. Baltimore has the highest per capita of individuals living with heroin addiction in the country, and she could not find a single place that wanted to deal with a dope addicted pregnant woman. They didn’t want it to be their problem.

People don’t want to talk about babied being born addicted. I got clean, my daughter and I were both clean when she was born. But that is not the case for all infants.  3.4 out of 1,000 babies are born with some kind of withdraw symptoms. That comes to 15,539 infants a year, or one born every hour. These are the women to scared to get help. To ashamed to get the condescending looks.

4.5% of pregnant women are addicted, but society doesn’t want to see them let alone help them. It is even harder for mothers to get help after the baby is born. We live in a country with 2.5 million women addicted to drugs, how many of them are mothers?

As mothers we put our children, our husbands, our family unit first. We don’t take care of ourselves. It is hard to stop being “Mom” long enough to go to an inpatient facility. If the kids are older, what do you tell them?

If they are young, it is virtually impossible to take care of your kids if you are majorly ill. When you feel like walking death, it is so fucking hard to change diapers, make breakfast, give baths, play on the playground or whatever. You justify your drug use as something you NEED to do in order to care for your kids. As addicts we are great at making the means justify the ends, and this is a prime example.

We are terrified to admit that we are a heroin addicts. We fear that if we say the words out loud then we curse our children. We are encouraged to sweep it under the rug. Mothers are supposed to be the back bone of the family, silently supporting the archetype from behind the scenes. We are not supposed to be smoking crack and shooting dope.

Society takes it a little easier on men in the respect that it is more expect for it to be the father in jail and the mother, the wife, supporting him and the kids. It always comes a shock to people if it is reverse. If the mother is in jail and the father is supporting her.

I hope that writing this post, this blog will open up the dialogue. It is hard for anyone to admit that they are a drug addict. For some reason there are an awful lot of people who do not believe that addiction is a disease. Like people choose to ruin their lives and the lives of their families. I don’t think that being a female and being an addict is necessarily so taboo, but being and addicted mother is.

I hope that more mothers who need help will come forward to get it. There is no shame in admitting that you as the care giver need to be taken care of. We, as mothers, spend so much of our lives taking care of everyone else that it is almost unimaginable to think of letting someone else take care of us.

Until we reject society’s notion that we automatically can not have a problem with addiction because we gave birth we can not heal our mothers. Our addictive tendencies are supposed to just disappear the moment that we become pregnant but unfortunately that is just not true. Our problems become worse as we take even less time to look deeply at ourselves. We can not correctly care for children if we don’t even try to care for ourselves.