Tuesday, September 11, 2018

"The Normal"

When I was strung out like a lab monkey, I would pull up a piece of concrete and watch the "normies" go by. I was always horrified by myself when I would imagine how I must appear to the mother holding her toddler's hand as the scoot of to daycare. I was in a world of my own to a certain extent. My world consisted of getting money, getting drugs, using drugs, maybe hanging with people, eating once a day, finding more money. If I was lucky, I could cop a nod in between point A and point B. Those occasions became fewer and farther between though.

In 2018, I'm a married mother of three kids. I have a career. I have pets. I have responsibilities. It isn't that I never think of shooting dope, smoking crack, taking klonopins, or tweaking balls like I used to for many years. I just have collected a bunch of things I like to do more. Drugs played a role in my life, a pretty sizable one. It just wasn't sustainable. During the last month of my drug use, I used to mix speed, heroin, and powder cocaine in the same shot. I used to call it "the normal". I would inject it then for a few minutes I would feel similar to how I feel now. Then, the chemicals would spin me off in different directions until the next time.

I don't know what normal is but this is the best I have ever felt. I hope what ever you have going on, you are safe and healthy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

where the fuck have you been?

Well "where the fuck have you been?' used to be a phrase I would hear a lot if you were to hand me any money. I was notorious for losing track of time ie trying to use your money to make more money. The same sort of applies here.

I have been taking a break from writing to focus on the expansion of the mail based Harm Reduction program. What I have been trying to construct is a distribution network that can get supplies out to the pubic quicker and more accurately. My closet based thing is great but I put the PRO in procrastination. I just don't have as much time as requests expand. I am happy to say, we have steady distribution networks building in multiple states. If you want to get on board, let a bitch now. I can use all the help I can get. The main efforts also involve seeding clusters of people who use drugs with NARCAN so there is some available to communities of folks using together.

In personal news, there really isn't any. I haven't been depressed in around two months. I tend to write when I am depressed. I am working on providing some technical assistance for a very special project with some high powered folks around overdose education. I had a NARCAN pop up at the REMIO art show. That was RAD. Mostly, I have been spending time with my kids.

I have a survey going, trying to assess the needs of community. Please fill one out. It is anonymous
here.

I will be back with new stories but probably more like 1-2 a month. XOXO Tracey


Graffiti from outside my job 


Monday, July 30, 2018

My future is in my hands.

I took the syringe firmly in my hand as I attempted to draw up my life through a cotton. My nose is dripping into the cooker, the smell of vinegar and instant coffee is overpowering. Whatever this is cut with, it ain't dope. My streak of broken luck continues. My eyes are watering with what I can only describe as involuntary tears. It had been a sunrise and a sunset since my last hit. I have no concept of what the rest of the world could describe as time. The Earth revolves around the sun the way my life revolves around this drug. Every hour, every minute exists for the moment I will spend engaged with this syringe and the blue lines that lead me to where I need to be.

I take my broken cockring and make it tight around my wrist. I don't have time for shoelaces or a condom for a tie. I got this "bracelet" from the last person I fucked- a lil souvenir. Looking for that space between my fingers where I found that last spot. I marked it with a sharpie for future use. The pain is my existence while stabbing myself in search of the pathway to salvation. with the sweet release of the tie, I feel the hot pink swelling travel over my hand. Not only did I miss, the tar was so hot it feels like it is searing my nerve endings. I lick the blood off my fingers and pray for a feeling that never comes. The histamine reaction runs down my arm like a scene from Dante's Inferno. It is worse than the two lovers that see each other and never touch. It is the junkie that misses her hit on her last $20. I put my head against the brick wall, secretly hoping that this shit will kill me. It never does.

art by MIKE

Saturday, June 30, 2018

When You Only Have One Syringe

From 1990-1991, I had one syringe. One.

What do you do when you only have one syringe?

I started using opioids IV in 1990. The first thing ever put in my veins was some kind of vicodin or perc shit show my friend had cold water extracted. He had one syringe. That he had inherited after a cocaine binge involving three other people. This was now mine/ours/the community syringe. He bleached it, a process that frequently dries out the runner plunger. That instrument was suspect from the day it first went in my arm. I used that same syringe for the next YEAR, unable to obtain a new one.

There was my first time trying heroin, a three day binge on morphine sulphate (involving friends), a few coke binges, more heroin. Same syringe. We would sharpen in on a match book. We would use lube from a condom. There were times we would bleach it. There were times we just cleaned it with water. It was essentially a fish hook that left me bruised and damaged. Yet it was so valuable, years later when I went home to visit, I found that same syringe hidden inside my belongings. I was THAT SURE I might never get another one. It was precious. It probably passed along the Hep C to me but I loved you gal.

It's 2018 now. In Cincinnati Ohio, where I am from, there is a very small syringe exchange program that began in the last few years. The rest of the state has limited access. BUT ISN'T IT LEGAL IN MY STATE? It might be but that doesn't mean the pharmacist is required to sell them. Hep C rates are rising all over the country. There are clusters of new HIV cases. I've been contacted by people paying $5 for a new one or more.

There is more work to do.

In the meantime, I strongly suggest buying a prepaid credit card and ordering a box online then dividing among friends if nothing else is available.

I love you. XOXO Tracey

I'm teaming up with Remio to do an overdose prevention event July 13 at Art Primo in SF





Tuesday, June 19, 2018

This Week In Harm Reduction: Self Care or Self Harm

Hello Readers:
I am trying a new format for a few months. I hope you will enjoy it.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Being on the Today Show completely blew up my spot. Thank you to Jamie from Next Distro and Matt from Rebel Recovery Florida for helping me keep up with requests. More and More, my work is focusing on expanding a network of folks who want to do what I do- a mail based system to get harm reduction supplies to those who have no access. In the past few weeks, I answered thousands of messages and comments to the point I have some kind of stress related shoulder injury. I am excited that so many people wanted to weigh in on their love for people who use drugs and the need to expand services that help them. There were minimal shitty comments which is pretty unheard of when it comes to these topics. THAT gives me hope.

I love the fact that so many of you are just doing the damn thing. Passing on naloxone. Handing out syringes. You don't need a program and I love you for it. Take a box of syringes down to a homeless encampment. They will get to the right place. We are in this lifeboat together, fighting for our lives and the lives of people we love.

In the personal news, I'm trying to get my program of self care back on line. I'm a person with a long history of self harm as a coping mechanism. Cutting, eating disorders, and dysfunctional relationships have always been my go to when I am stressed. I am working away from my natural instincts and sitting with my feelings. I am not sure if I have mentioned it here but I started going back to 12 step meetings last year. It seems to be helping some. I am making a few new friends, which was desperately needed. I ignore any kind of cultish elements to focus on the positives, I also make sure to advocate for MAT and being accepting of those who are not abstinent at meetings I attend. Next year, I might not be interested but for now, I am trying this out again.

I have an event coming up at art primo in SF on July 13th. I'll be doing overdose education in cooperation with Remio's art show.

I'll be in West Chester Ohio July 5th at 7pm at the Mid Pointe Library

I also have a book reading next week outside of Monterey on the 28th of June.

Got all my health screenings today: HIV test, cholesterol, weight, iron, pap smear. 



Please excuse typos because I'm a hot mess.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

My Love for You is Endless

In the five years I have written this blog, I have written down a long series of depressing entries about my heroin addiction, my mental health, and the long uphill battle to stay off drugs. This isn't one of those posts.

Overall, my life is pretty fucking good. Let me explain. 

Every single goal I wrote on a piece of paper in rehab has been achieved. All of them. I have a cool relationship. I reunited with my family. I got my credit straight. I discharged probation. I got a good place to live. I finished school. I did all those things. 

I spent seven years on and off in therapy. Despite intermittent bouts of depression, my mental health is better than ever.

I have three great kids that love me. 

I woke up today in my bed. The blanket was clean. I was safe. 

I don't need a bunch of fancy things. I just need to appreciate the things I have. 
To be quite honest, heroin was probably the first real love of my life. I wasn't sure if I could live without it. It consumed me. I was fine with that, as long as we could be together. I truly never believed I could be without drugs. Now, I can't understand how I revolved my whole life around them. 

My love for you is endless. I may not always chose the right words, type the right things. I am not a great speller. I am not a masterful narrator. I keep this blog alive to let you know that this too will pass. That someone out there loves you. That people want you around. That you are needed.

You are fucking rad. The world needs you. 




Thursday, May 31, 2018

Thank you to my supporters (and my haters too)

We did it people! We got Harm Reduction on national television. There was a combination of non threatening sweaters, my cute kids, and life saving medication splashed across television sets while people ate their cereal. This, combined with hundreds of birthday messages, has made it a busy few days for me.

First of all, I want to thank all of the people who have trusted me to provide you with this service.

Secondly, I want to thank my friends and family who have put up with my obsession with saving lives for the past two decades.

Finally, I want to thank all of the strangers who have become friends by embracing this cause.

My main partner agencies are:
The National Harm Reduction Coalition
The DOPE Project
NEXT Distro
Rebel Recovery Florida
The Missouri Network for Opiate Reform In Recovery
Rebel Recovery Missouri
The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition

If you come in contact with any of these agencies, you are in good hands. There are additional agencies I work with but all of these agencies have assisted me in securing naloxone for local residents.

I am going to rest up and spend time with my kids this weekend then get ready for the next challenge.

XOXO Tracey

The Today Video