Tag Archives: teaching

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.




Helping Others, Helping Ourselves

In my opinion, or at least my opinion of my life, complacency and boredom are the most dangerous things to an addict in their recovery. I have been clean and sober for almost two years now (actually it will be two years next month), I am a stay at home mom at the moment. I love my children, and I am able to keep myself quite busy with the kids, bills, cleaning, etc, but I have too much time to think.

Actually this past week we had major flooding at my house, and I have had to shop vac out two and a half inches of water out. Then Servpro came and condemned everything and is going to rip up the walls because of deadly mold that will grow. It has been a absolute fucking nightmare. The one thing, the silver lining, I suppose is that we get to buy a bunch of new furniture.

This is not about my recent influx of excitement, however much dreaded it is. This is about my unending battle with the fact that brain did not come equipped with an off switch. Too much time on my hands lets my brain wander far too much. What is it that they say? Idle hands are the devil’s play things? Yeah, that is me all the way. Too much time equals trouble.

I am leaning towards going back to school to obtain a degree in social work. Makeup is still my passion, but I just feel this pull towards helping people. With my past and my record, my original vocation of choice -Elementary school teacher – is out. I have always had a fondness for social work. 

In all actuality, I would like to work with children. There are a lot of children who need a lot of help. There are good CPS workers out there, but there are also quite a few asshole ones out there. In all fairness, many of these asshole workers were probably decent or even great workers when they started until they got burned out. Again though, with my past as an addict and my criminal record that proves my past as an addict. My most recent criminal charges are from 2006, but unfortunately some jobs (like teacher, child protection service workers) do not want to hire you if you EVER have had a criminal arrest. I totally disagree with the inability to forgive people’s past, but another can of worms.

So, I am leaning towards addictions counseling. It is more than just that addictions is a job of opportunity. I feel that for the first time in a really long time, I can do some good. Maybe I can stop a person or two from relapsing. If I could use my pain and suffering to help others that would be great.

There is a very selfish motive in all of this as well. I know that helping others with their addiction struggles will help me to maintain my sobriety. I can not very well tell people that I am going to help them with getting clean, if I am getting high on the side. The Buddha teaches us that it is far more fulfilling to help others than to help ourselves. I find this to be very true. We help ourselves by helping others.