Tag Archives: heroin

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.

Holidays for the Junkies

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

The Hidden Strength and Resilience of Addicts

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

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.

 

 

We Are Not the Same, I am a Martian

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Too Close For Comfort

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

When It Rains It Pours

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

BCCBIC (Baltimore City Central Booking and Intake Center): Part One

I have been through Baltimore City’s Central Booking twice, both for the same charge. The only way I can describe this place is hell on Earth. Literally. I honestly believe that hell must be more pleasant than BCCBIC. I have been through quite a few central bookings, and I have seen quite a few of them on various reality shows about jails. None of them even come close to be comparable to the atrocious conditions that exist in Baltimore.
Back in July of 2005, my husband and I were in town copping. I was pregnant and on the wait list for CAP (Center for Addiction and Pregnancy). I was told in no uncertain terms to not try to quite using heroin cold turkey. As bad as my habit was, there was a very real possibility that the withdraws could easily kill my daughter. (I did, however, quite using coke and crack the moment that I found out that I was pregnant). Anyway, we had copped from our usual spot, and the normal amount that we would buy as a gate shot, but the shit was just off that day. It was abundantly clear that this dope was not going to hold us long enough to go out boosting. We had $25 left, and needed gas. We knew of a spot off of Loudon Ave. that had sixes. We figured that we would get three of these, and still have $7 left for gas.
We pulled on to the street and found the dude with the shit and told him that we wanted three. He instructed us to pull into the alley. This alley is a L shaped alley, meaning that no one driving down Edmonson Avenue (which is a main road of sorts) cannot see down it. He came up to our car hit us, then hit the guy behind us. We pulled out of the other side of the alley onto the one-way portion of Wildwood Parkway (for theses of you who frequently read my blog, this was the same on-way section of Wildwood that we were attempting to give Gotti a ride to when we were pulled over and he left his loaded gun in my car). We pulled out and we forced to sit at a red light before we could turn on to Edmonson Avenue.
Before we had a chance to put the pills up, before we had a chance to blink really, there was a car blocking us in, and four Knockers at the car. The were ridding down Edmonson with their doors open, and saw two white people on wildwood and jumped out on us. “Why don’t you make it easy and just give it to us,” the one said. Considering that A) they were just in my husband’s hand and B) a lot of times when they talk to you like this, if you just give it up without a fight, they will let you go, my husband gave it to them, laughing with disbelief at the situation. “I like this dude,” the cop noted.
Instantly they pulled us both out of the car and cuffed us with zip ties. “You all just saved the white boy behind you,” they smirked at us, “we just saw him swallow his shit.” Fucking fantastic. “Those pills were just for me,” my husband pleaded with them. “Please don’t arrest my wife. She’s pregnant. I stopped without telling her. They aren’t her’s.” “You’re pregnant?”, one of them asked me. I stated that indeed I was. “Oh well, they should have you out in no time.”
They put us into the car with two of them, while the other two officers followed us in my car to the Southwestern District police station. As we drove by Loudon, we saw two more cops messing with the guy who served us and another dude. At first they put me into this weird ass bull pen, and then they moved me to a private cell in the back of the police station. It was really, really dark back there. I wasn’t there long before they yanked me out and took me outside and put me into one side of a divided paddy wagon. My husband was on the other side with the men. “Whoa, whoa!”, a cop started screaming, running out of the station. “She’s pregnant! You can’t take her in the wagon.” There are no dealt belts in the wagon, and they notoriously drive very erratically with the intent to throw the inmates all over the place. They pulled me out of the wagon, and put me in a cop car. “Do you need to go to the hospital?”, the officer driving the car implored. “Umm, does that mean that I don’t have to go to bookings? Or that that time counts as part of my 24 hours?”, I asked. “No,” he told me, “your 24 hours starts when we do your property intake, which wouldn’t happen until you get to bookings. After you leave the hospital.” “Oh hell no!”, I stated, “let’s go then.” (For those of you confused, very shortly prior to my arrest Baltimore City got into a lot of trouble with the FBI due to the conditions in BCCBIC. One of the biggest issues was hat people would sit for days before they were ever taken to see a commissioner. This meant days before they were told what they were charged with, and what their bail would be. By law, you have to be taken to see the commissioner within 24 hours, or they have to release you.)
So here I was, approximately 3-4 hours after my arrest, and I was just now headed to Bookings. It took us about 15 minutes to get to Eager Street. The cops pulled up and walked me in. Now, mind you that this was far from my first arrest. I looked around as I walked in, and all I could think was, “This is gonna suck. Be time.”

Continued in BCCBIC Part Two

The Dangerous Lie Told About Heroin And Heroin Users

First of all, before I start this post, I want to explain why I haven’t posted in awhile. Back in June, the basement apartment that my husband and I rent flooded. We had to have ServePro out, waterproof it, rebuild the walls that ServePro ripped down, tear out the ceiling. We then put in new lighting to replace the old florecent lights. We repainted everything. Last weekend we finished everything. Put together all of the new furniture, painted everything.
Due to the flood, the trip that we had planned to Ocean City had to be postponed. We finally took the kids this weekend and are still there now. Now on to the post.
There are many lies that go around about drugs and drug addicts. These are usually horror stories meant to terrify kids into never trying drugs at all. The problem is that they portray drug addicts as monsters that are not worthy of any compassion or even worthy of being treated like humans. Also, convincing kids (and adults as well) that the propaganda put out in the media by D.A.R.E. is factual information can be incredibly dangerous.
Let me give an example. I can’t even begin to count how many times I have heard that you are addicted to heroin the very first time that you try it. This is of course not even close to being true. I think that I probably had done heroin on and off for almost a year before I started to get ill. I took a break for about a month or so in that time, and was slightly dope sick, but it was so mild that I just thought that my mattress was bad. (I couldn’t sleep and my back was aching. I never associated this to lack of heroin, and I didn’t get high during that period, so I never discovered that dope fixed it.) the reason hat this lie is so dangerous, deadly actually, is that it gives people a false sense that they are stronger than heroin. They do it once, twice, ten times, and they are fine. Hey are not sick, they don’t crave it, they are good. Since they have been told for as long as they can remember that heroin is some sort of Herculian drug put by Satan himself that hooks you after one bump, destroying your life, turning you into a drug addicted daemon, they feel like they are super-human to be able to do it and not get hooked.
Let me be very clear, you will not be addicted after one use. It tricks you. You get comfortable thinking that you are too strong to get hooked. You will though if you keep using. It is not a matter of some people are not able to get physically addicted. It is true that some people have addiction genes and will become addicted faster than others, but it is a drug that causes your body to become physically dependent to it. You need it to function.
Another lie is that people turn into some sort of Manson disciple, a Devil worshiper who will fuck anyone for cash, rob their mother, kill old ladies all for their next fix. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that there is an addict out there that does not regret things that they have done either while high, or more likely, in order to obtain said drugs. For example, I used to go boosting. I have a extensive criminal record to prove this. As a woman who has been both molested as a very young girl and then raped by my alleged best friend at the age of 16, I was simply not willing to sell my pussy for a high. I have been offered many, many times, but it was just something that I will not do, and I never did. Also, I never used guns ever. Never robbed a bank, held up a gas station or liquor store, never pulled a fun on someone. Actually, I don’t think that I have ever even touched a real gun (you know not a BB gun). Yes, we have a problem, but we don’t loose all traces of our moral compass.
Next lie, we do not leave our children home alone for days on end, left to cook their own dinners at the age of three. My children are almost nine and almost six. Neither of them have EVER been home alone. Also, neither of them can even heat up soup in the microwave let alon cook for themselves. I usually stayed home with them while my husband copped, unless we had a babysitter that we trusted, like my mom or his parents. This is not Breaking Bad. That is not the norm. I know of many addicts who gave custody of their kids to their parents if they knew that they were too addicted to properly care for their kids at that time. Ok, yeah, you can point out that they did not care for their kids themselves, but that is not a good way to look at the situation. It is far better to realize that you have a problem that would prevent you from giving your kids the kind of care that they are entitled to. Most of these parents are still very much involved in the lives of their children’s. They just are aware enough to know that their parents or siblings would care for their kids better at that time.
There seems to be a great deal of misinformation that comes out about recovering addicts. One is the idea that certain rehabs can “cure you” of addiction. This is a concept that is put out there by rehabs. For example, Passages in Malibu, the famed rehab of Lindsey Lohan and other stars. The commercial features the founder of Passages saying, “I used to be an addict, but now I’m not.” No, you are, sorry to break it to you. There is a reason we are called Recovering Addicts. Your brain has been forever changed by drugs. You will never not be an addict. You ca stay clean and sober for the rest of your life, but you will be a clean and sober addict for the rest if your life. It is noxious to make people think that they can spend $30,000 at a particular rehab and bam, be an addict no more. This is detrimental in the same vein as telling people that heroin hooks you after one use. It gives people a false sense of security. If you convince people that you rehab has rectified their “issues”, falsely allows addicts to think that they can get high once or twice without repercussion. Cured of your addiction would mean they the neuro transmitters in your brain have gone back to the way they were before the drugs changed your brain. Unfortunately, your brain never goes back to normal. You cannot be cured. Sorry.
On the flip side, there is far, far too many people who forger treat recovered addicts as though they are about to rob them at any second. I fully appreciate that it takes a little while for a loved one who battled addiction to earn back the trust of their family and friends. The thing is that perception far too often becomes reality. If three years after a person has been sober they are being treated like a criminal, like a “drug addict”, it can often take a person who is struggling with their sobriety and give them an excuse to use again. Basically, if everyone thinks that I am nothing more than a junkie, no matter what I do, I might as well be a junkie. We often give up trying to prove people wrong. Especially if nothing seems to convince them anyway. Especially if they are struggling with severe cravings.
Lies that are told over and over again seem to turn into truths. This is detrimental regardless if it is about addicts or about gender or race stereotypes.

Gotti and the Gun (Part 1)

Baltimore has two kinds of weather. It is ether brutally hot and humid, or freezing cold. This takes place on one of those freezing cold, bitter winter days.
Aaron and I were driving down Edmonson Avenue with our friend Steve. We were on our way to Jared’s pawn shop on Hilton to sell some boosted pharmaceuticals to get money to get well. As we were driving we saw our main crack dealer Gotti walking down the road. Now, getting ready at that moment was the furthest thing from any of our minds. Anyone with a dope habit will tell you that if you are ill (dope sick) the absolute LAST thing you want to do is smoke crack. It just kicks your withdraws into over drive. That being said though, being as it was like 10 degrees before the windchill we decided to see if Gotti needed a ride.
“Yeah. I just need to go to my girl’s on Wildwood”, he told us. Now, if you are going up Edmonson towards the village center, Wildwood is a two way, divided street. Coming down Edmonson, the way we were headed, and the side of Wildwood that he was going to, Wildwood was a one way coming down, dead-ending into Edmonson. This meant that we had to drive past it, turn up the next street and loop around.
Of course as Gotti is getting into my Cavalier, a cop drives by and hits the lights. “Shit!”, Gotti exclaims, “Don’t let them search the car, I’m dirty. Oh, and if they ask, my name is Pierre Lonfonze.” “Pierre Lonfonze?”, I ask incredulously. “Yeah.”
We pull over and the two cops, both white dudes, walk up to the car, one on each side. As soon as Aaron rolls down the window, the cop on his side points to Gotti, “You. Out.” Aaron lets out of the back of out two door car, and the cop closes the door. We watch as they pat Gotti down and talk to him. They write him his little pink ticket and send him off on foot. (In Baltimore if you are fucked with by the police for what they call a CDS investigation, and they do not arrest anyone, they write you a little receipt saying the officers name, your name, the date, time, street of the stop etc. I don’t know why they do this. I guess they have to hit some sort of weekly quota of how many people they fuck with.) as we were sitting in the car watching this happen, Steve says, “He put something under your seat dude.” Lovely.
Now, they come back to the car to deal with us. “You know why I stopped you all?” The one asks us. We shake our heads communicating that, no we did not know. “I stopped yup because you picked up Gotti, a known crack dealer.” “Great,” I thought, “that motherfucker is hot like that?”
“Step out of the car please,” he tells Aaron and Steve. He takes them behind the car while the other cop sits with me. After a few minutes, he comes back and orders me out of the car. “So your buddy says that he knows Gotti ’cause they were locked up together at RCI.” (RCI is a prison in Hagerstown.) “That maybe,” I say. “Why did you pick up a crack dealer?”, they ask me. “It’s cold,” I said, “We were taking him to his girl’s house on Wildwood.” “Why did you pass Wildwood then?” “‘Cause it is a one way street,” I say. “No it’s not,” they say. (It is – they were just trying to fuck with me.)
“Ok. What is Gotti’s real name?” they question. This is a big test that they like to pull when it is a car that has black and white people together. They figure that if it is your drug dealer than you will not know their real name, which often is true. “Pierre Lonfonze,” I say, trying to keep a straight face. “Yeah, that’s what he told us too, but we aren’t buying it.” “Well that is the only name that I have ever known him by, ” I tell them.
After a few more minutes of harassment, they ask us where we live. We tell them. “70 is that way. I suggest that you head towards it,” we are told. We get back in and drive off, knowing that we were lucky, as that was just about the ONLY time that I have been pulled over I the city and they didn’t search the car. We didn’t yet realize how lucky we were.
“Find the pack,” we tell Steve, as we assume that Gotti had left a pack of crack in our car. “Um, he didn’t leave a pack guys,” Steve says pulling out a loaded gun. (I’m not sure what kind of gun it was as I am not a gun person.)
Within two minutes of us pulling off, my phone rings and it is Gotti. He wants his gun back. He wants to buy it back at three times what he should pay for it. Now let me say a couple things here. One, yes, it is fucked up that Gotti left it in the car, but as it turned out they didn’t search the car. Actually, they didn’t search us either. Gotti was the only person that they did search. He knew that they would search him, as he was the reason that they hemmed us up. Had he kept the gun on him, they would have found it, no doubt. They also would have arrested us all. He took a calculated risk, and it worked.
Second, I personally have never seen Gotti be anything but sweet, polite, and nice, but everyone in the village was absolute terrified of him. “Gotti don’t play,” is a sentiment that you would hear repeatedly in that area.
So, Aaron tells him that we will sell it back to him but that we are not going right back up there ’cause, yeah, we just got fucked with there, and they followed us halfway down Edmonson towards Cooks Lane, which takes you to Route 70.
“Fuck that,” Steve exclaims. “Take me down to Jigga right quick.” We head that way to cop as that was one of the best dopes at time (actually they stayed one of the best dopes for a shockingly long period of time- years). We pull down the street and find the guy in charge. Steve asks him if he is interested in the gun. Of course he is, he is a drug dealer in Baltimore. So we give him the gun in exchange for money and dope.
“You shouldn’t have done that!” Aaron tells Steve. “Gotti knows he fucked up, he would have given us more for it. He wanted it back.”
Later on Aaron and I explained to Gotti what happened to his gun. He felt bad and gave us free ready for about a month straight to try to make up for the incident.
Approximately two or three weeks after this happened, we ran into Steve at the West Side Shopping Center with a black eye and walking with a limp. “What the fuck happened to you?” I asked him. “Gotti and his boys jumped me and stomped the shit out of me. He was pissed about the gun.” “Told you we should have just sold it back to him,” Aaron said.