Tag Archives: NYU

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.





Warts and all, I own my regrets
Warts and all, I own my regrets

One of my favorite songs, on one of my favorite albums, is “Regrets” by Jay-Z. He states, “this the number one rule for your set/ In order to survive/ You gotta learn to live with regrets”. Don’t I know it HOV.

Sadly, or perhaps more accurately too common to be sad, my regrets start well before my addiction. Everyone has regrets. Addicts have mountains of regrets that can define you if you are not careful. “You gotta learn to live with regrets”

I regret letting my cousin molest me as a child. She wasn’t much older than me, but she was bigger. After the first time, I should have said something but I didn’t. I let it continue. Ok, in my defense I was 5. I regret that I didn’t tell my mother until I was 26. I let that define my views of sexuality, and yeah, I’ve been kind of fucked ever since.

I regret that the first person that I opened up to about the molesting, the first male that I got close to since I watched my father die was a total douchebag. I regret that I trusted him to sleep in my room that night. I regret that I past out only to wake up with him on top of me raping me. I remember the most sickening thing was that when I was trying to squirm out from under him, he kept telling me how good it felt when I “moved my hips”. Asshole. He told me my boyfriend would probably dump me because I was a whore.

My boyfriend didn’t dump me, he was actually the only person close to me who stood by me. My mother didn’t she still baked cakes for the asshole. She told me not to go to the police. Although, in her defense, I never should have gone to the police. All the did was make it feel like it was my fault. Thus started my hatred of police, but that’s off topic.

I regret that I just assumed my boyfriend wasn’t mad at me, knowing what kind of person he was. He never said it, but his alcoholism turned way worse, as did his verbal abuse.

I regret that I stayed with said boyfriend for 3 years. This changed the entire outcome of my life. I was accepted into to NYU. That was my dream. To study music business at NYU and work for a record label. I had a 4.3 GPA in high school 1475 SATs. Did I go to NYU? “Gotta learn to live with regrets”.

I went to University of Maryland College Park. It is a great school, and I was on the honors program on an almost full scholarship. But they don’t have music business, but I didn’t want to leave my boyfriend so, I figured I would become an elementary school English teacher.

This is oddly one of my biggest regrets and one of my biggest blessings. The year that I lived on campus, I started to learn that he was an asshole! and  didn’t need him. I was to weak to do anything yet, but the seed was planted.

I was so depressed the second semester that I failed all but one class (English). Since the dean saw how good my grades had been first semester and since I had a note from my shrink explaining how I had PTSD, anxiety, ADD, and depression, he excused all my failing grades and took them off my transcript. But me and College Park were over.

I regret so much that I didn’t stay at that school. My life would be so different. Although you can not touch the butterfly and only change the bad, I would loose all the good too.

I finally broke up with rage-aholic, alcoholic man. I decided to work full time at a preschool and take classes full time at the local community college. I had gotten almost a full scholarship at Maryland so I was allowed to cash out my college savings. I was single, 19, I had a brand new car, and $25,000 in the bank. Here comes fun.

Here is where the drugs start. Remember, I was working full time too, so I had money. Neiman Marcus every week, sushi lunches everydya, and coke on the weekends.

Here comes turning point. One night after snorting coke all night, the new guy I was seeing offered me some dope (heroin) to come down on. I was hesitant, but the coke was gone, so, fuck it.

Biggest regret of my life. I started with almost all coke with a couple dimes of dope to come down, before you know, it is mostly dope with a little coke.

That boyfriend got locked up on a bunch of violation of probation warrants. One had no bail attached, so he was sitting. His brother in law, Aaron, called me for a ride in town. I told him my boyfriend was locked up, but ok, I would pick him up.

At first it was once or twice a week, then I am picking him up daily. After about two months of this, we finally slept together one drunken night. That was all she wrote. A few weeks later he told me that he loved me, and over 10 years later we are still together. Except we are both clean.

I should have been smart enough to know what was going to happen. Shooting dope everyday for months, come on! Actually I had gone through minor withdraws when my last boyfriend got arrested on the warrants. But they were so slight that I just thought that I was a little sick. I figured it out later. I would wake up throwing up, but I assumed that I was hung over or it was food  or something.

By now the money was long gone. I was 20, I already had one arrest and was stealing all day, everyday. I was racking up theft and possession charges. Then Aaron and I started hanging out with a guy that I had known from elementary through high school, but hadn’t seen since. Straight crazy motherfucker. We got him stealing too. Now my habit is up to $1100 a day on coke and dope. I had four warrants, my husband had three, the friend had some, so we were living in hotels. That of course didn’t last forever and in December of 2006, we all went down. Seperatley. One of my warrants, a failure to appear on an assault charge, had be assigned no bail, I had to sit in jail until I could see that judge, and it was December 22. I spent the next three weeks in jail including Christmas and New Year.

While going to jail and visiting my daughter in half hour increments through glass should be a huge regret, it isn’t. I got my shit together. I quit drugs in jail (fun let me tell you). I got a job. I did the single mom thing, while Aaron did a year in prison, driving an hour each way twice a week to take my daughter Ariel to see he dad.

We did great, but I regret the shame that I felt about being an addict. Aaron had knee surgery while I was pregnant with Aidan. With surgery came pain pills. soon he was back on dope, but I was clean.

I regret not being strong enough to continue to stay clean while he struggled to get sober. We fought endlessly, I understood why he fucked up, it is easy to do, but I was mad. I regret not refusing to let his dickhead “friend” who continually brought it to him, in the house. I regret that I didn’t ask for help.

i stayed clean all through the pregnancy (his surgery was when I was like 7 months) and for a few months after. I regret that I lacked the streghtn to stay clean. I really knew better. I knew how this story was going to end.

By 2011, Aaron was back in jail, and I was taking care of kids alone. This time it was two. This time I joinee a methadone program. I was not going to be getting high when he came home, or he would star using again, and we would both be down the rabbit hole.

I don’t regrett he fact that a lot of people say you aren’t clean if you are on methadone or suboxone. Are you not clean if you have a prescription for pain meds? A doctor writes my script. I have been clean long enough now that I only go once a week. It is legal. I don’t have to hustle to get money for it.

i live with my regrets, because I would not be me if not for them. If I had gone to NYU, I would not have necessarily had a drug problem, but I might still have, I had done most other drugs except heroin during high school, but I wouldn’t be me.

I wouldn’t have met my husband, my soul mate, the love of my life. We have been through hell and back together and we are still united. Most couples would have split or turned against one another if faced with the adversity md obsticles that we faced, but not us.

I don’t regret dropping out of Maryland, because that is when I got together with Aaron. With him, I made my reasons to live, my two children. They are everything.

Lastly, I don’t regret the drugs, the jail, or any of it all that much because it made me who I am. I  look past peoples pasts, their covers, to see why they act that way. I am compassionate (honestly I was always a bleeding heart liberal, but now I really am). Jigga man told me “You used to hold me/ told me that I was the best/ Anything in this world I want/ I could possess/ All that made want is all that I could get/ In order to survive/ Gotta learn to live with regrets”.