Saturday, August 1, 2015

Heroin- that bitch ain't loyal.

There comes a moment in the life of every heroin addict when they have to take stock of their current situation. Track marks? Check. Victim of violence? Check. Estrangement from my family? Check. Lack of overall functioning in my nether regions? Check. Poor health? Absolutely. Ability to change my situation? None.

I thought being a heroin addict would be the worst thing that happened to me in my life. As a direct result of my use, I was raped. I was so fucked up, I walked right into a dangerous situation. I had a man try to kill me over sex he thought he was entitled too because as a female user, apparently I had no right to say no. I have had my eye split open as I tried to break into a car. I had a knife put to my throat as I was robbed. I had infections raging through my body to the point I had to be rushed into surgery so I wouldn't lose my limbs. Certainly, when I kicked heroin, these were the worst things that could ever possibly happen to me?

Getting off heroin is brutally painful. The pain is relatively temporary. The emotional things creep in. "How did I let this happen to me?" "Why did I do x,y,z?" "Why did I spent all my time finding happiness in the bottom of bag?" Dwelling on the reasons why you do opiates is can be an exercise in futility. Why? Heroin. That is all you need to know. Fucking heroin. I WAS USING FUCKING HEROIN.

Heroin, as I like to explain it, is like having the most beautiful man/woman/partner fall in love with you instantly. The two of you go home and have mind blowing sex then cuddle then they make you the most delicious breakfast you have ever tasted. They are really fucking into you. First, you see them a few times a week, then more and more. Slowly, you realize they are a clingy psycho but the sex! the cuddles! the breakfast! Then, they start to hit you. But they apologize! they send flowers! They don't really mean it. GODDAMN I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. Every day the ups the downs until one day you have had enough! Being without them is fucking horrible, you lay in your bed in a ball and sob and then- they text you again. ONE MORE TIME. FINALLY, you break free from them. You move. You change all your numbers. You realize how fucked your life has been. 3, or 6, or 9 months from now you will start checking their social media to see what they are up to because it is fucking heroin. JUST LEAVE THAT BITCH ALONE. She/He ain't loyal.

August is a terrible month for me personally. It is both the anniversary of the death of my mother and the anniversary of the death of the loss of my first pregnancy. The pregnancy came first. It was almost as if one horrible event prepared me for the other. I really wanted that baby. It was more than just the baby. It was also what it represented to me. I had been coasting along believing there was this loving force in the universe taking care of me. Then one day, I had to wonder, if there is a loving force why did it kill my baby? A simple question- why? I know, from a rational perspective, what happened. Genetically, there must have been something wrong with the pregnancy therefore it ended. But after I saw the heart beat then saw it was gone, there was no telling me anything rational. WHY? Just tell me why? Did I suck too many dicks? Was a such a shitty person, you had to kill my Innocent baby? Just tell me why. I would go through all of the violence I experienced in addiction a thousand times over to have my baby live. It was a very very dark period for me. I seriously contemplated suicide when they handed me that bottle of Vicodin when I discharged from the hospital. Luckily, my friends and my animals gathered around me to show me there was still love in the world.

My time off drugs has not be painless. There has been lots of pain. I can't promise things would be any different for you if you get off drugs. I can only tell you my ability to handle life is different. I see hope. I see love around me. No matter how low you may feel, there is someone that loves you. No matter how many fucked up things you have done behind drugs, there is someone that wants you around. Underneath the chemicals, you are a beautiful person capable of amazing things.

I write this post today because I want you to know that you are loved. I get out of my funk by connecting with others. I can't change the past. I just have to find a way to enjoy each day. Love, Tracey.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Erotic City

"Everytime I comb my hair, Thoughts of u get in my eyes" she screams  as she pull on her wig. She bounces as she flips her head back with Farrah Fawcet perfection. "U're a sinner, I don't care I just want your creamy thighs."
She grabs my hand. 
"THIS," she tells me "THIS is my fucking jam girl."
 Why is it that people that can't sing always sing the loudest?
Ms Wendy is quite a sight today. Six feet tall, she squueeeeeezes her feet into some red size ten pumps that match her skin tight crushed velvet mini dress. Her fishnet pantyhoes make her legs look fucking fantastic. From th back, she looks like a slightly tacky version of a model. In the front, she looks like a linebacker. Those broad shoulders give her away every time. In the dark, without glasses, I suppose she would pass as biologically female. It doesn't matter what she looks like- she is Ms Wendy to me. She lets me come over and gnaw on gummy bears from her candy jar while she gets ready. It is like being at your grandma's house. 
Ms Thing is full, I tell myself.
 I wish I was the same way. I can't get into crystal right now. After my last battle with the shadow people, I have been hitting the downtown pretty hard. Meth seems to make me end up walking around the Tenderloin with one shoe on and one shoe off talking to demons that call my name from the corners of my eyes. Just when I get to were they are supposed to be, those motherfuckers disappear. 
"GIRL," she yells again "you are going to have to get out of here soon. I got real money coming over bitch."
I love watching her get ready. It seems like I have been sitting in this same spot for hours. In fact, I probably have been. I check my pager 10:26. Yep. All day in the same spot. I love watching hookers get ready for work. Especially, the Transgender girls. Between the plucking, the tucking, and the illusion to lead to the fucking, there is simply no better way to learn about the game of life. 
She points her brush at me "why is you have that goldmine in your pants and you are broke?"
I shake my head "I got sick of my sugar daddy" I told her. "He was too much to deal with."
For a second, I thought she was going to beat me with that wire hair brush she was using to brush out her wig.
"Have you lost your fucking mind?" she asks me "Seriously, did you fall off a curb?" She shakes her shoulders as she checks her look in the mirror.
She continues "You have a seventy year old man that wants to date you- a seventy year old white man at that- who is MARRIED and you are worried about being bored? You make me sick bitch."
After 18 months of dealing with limp old dick and being paraded around midpriced restaraunts, I had finally told my sugar daddy not to call me ever again. It wasn't even about him. Truth be told, I did care for him. He taught me a lot about the world. He helped me get on methadone, he paid for my room, most of all he actually gave a shit about my well being. The reality was I felt like a total scumbag knowing that somewhere his wife was wondering where he was while he was off hanging out with a junkie hooker praying he could achieve a fleeting erection. It was too too much.
"So," she touches up her lipstick "you would rather sell syringes and hang out with bitches like me than take his easy money. I am disowning you sister girl. Get out."
She points to the door.
"Do you know what I have to do for this money? Exactly bitch."
She kisses me on the cheek as I walk out the door, assuring me she will see me later.

Of course she will. She needs me to inject her with both her next hit and her hormones. One is the arm and one in the ass. 
" If we cannot make babies, maybe we can make some time
Thoughts of pretty u and me, Erotic City come alive "
GOD I have that song stuck in my head now. I pass the doorman as I head for my room. I don't normally stay in this hotel. Now, I remember why. It is close to the witching hour. 11 o'clock is when the trick come out that are seeking a different kind of lady friend. I see them file into the hotel. The old ones, the young ones, the cab drivers, the stockbrokers and the retired police officer. They all want the same thing- to be kissed by a woman and fucked by a man. 
I turn on my broke down black and white tv and settle in for the night. The antenna is long gone. Someone used that to smoke crack in a few weeks back. I got my wake up ready for 3 or 4 am whenever Ms Wendy comes to get her medicine. I am almost asleep when I hear a pounding at the door.
BAM BAM Is this the police? Fuck, I shove all my shit between the mattress and the boxspring. 
"OPEN THE DOOR TRACEY." It's Ms Wendy. Before now, I wasn't even sure she knew my name. She is always calling me Bitch.
I yank the door open to see her with her wig to the side. "I killed a trick girl" she huffs "I killed this trick. Come look."
Here we go, A fucking nother one! I slide on my flip flops. The floor here is caked with spooge and cigarette butts and whatever else. As we walk briskly down the hall, my mind turn to all kinds of scenarios. Is he going to be ass up with a broom handle shoved in there or hog tied wearing panties? Oh my my my. She flings open the door without trying to cause to much attention. 
She points "there he is."
On the floor, next to the bed is a fully clothed businessman with his tie loosely wrapped around his arm. The needle sits on the nightstand right next to him. She didn't have to explain. A weekend warrior, some dope, and sex. I got the picture. I stick my hand on his throat to check his pulse when he snatches my hand. 
"Don't take my wallet," he tells me forcefully. 
Another one of these tough guys. 
"I heard you ODEd," I told him. Apparently he didn't know. Whatever, fucking asshole. I was trying to help him. This is the second one this month. At least she didn't inject him with speed, although I do notice a wet crotch. He either pissed himself or she gave him the ice treatment. 
"No, I'm fine" he tells me gruffly "the dope just hit me a little too hard."
"you got some more..." I spit out before Ms Wendy pushes me out the door. FUCK. I just wanted his hook up. 
As I walk towards my room, I think about the gummy bears I have stashed in my shorts and the wake up in between my matress. Another night in Erotic City. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Will You Please Bring Me The Nudes?"

I pass her the 40 oz. I see feel that warm carbonation stuck halfway between my throat and my nose. It is as if my body is involuntarily refusing to have this swill enter my stomach cavity. Between the bean burritos from Taco Bell and this Old English, my digestive system WILL find a way to expel these toxic substances.

"Why don't you want to come work with us?" she asks me as she gingerly takes a sip. Apparently, you can come to work at a sex club smelling like alcohol. I wouldn't know. I haven't had a job in a few years, nor have I been more than a few feet inside a club. "You don't even have to touch anyone."

"Thank God for that!" I told her. Nor would I want anyone touching me for that matter. The best part about heroin is not only did I have no period, I have no sex drive. I have no desire to touch anyone ESPECIALLY some trick in a club. Working eight hours anywhere seems too long.
"What happens when you get sick?" I ask her as I take my bottle back. For someone who claims to make hundreds of dollars a day, this chick always seems to be broke.

She rolls down her stockings to show my the track marks. Sure enough, they are buried way down by her ankle. I would never have seen them. I also got a peek at a fresh bandage hidden on the way down. "that's a scar..." She tells me as she cuts me off. There also appears to be a bruise near the top of her thigh. I suppose her boyfriend did that. "I just sneak off to the bathroom in between shows "she tells me as she slowly inhales on her cigarette.

"Shows?" the guy next to me asks. I am not sure where he came from or how he got in the conversation. "I thought you worked in a booth." I added. This guy and I are both pretty curious.

She checks her watch. So ridiculous. Who wears a watch? The only time I need to know is when the connection stops selling. "I do private shows in booths" she explains. "I am behind glass. I have a bunch of sex toys. The guy put money in the slot to keep the show going. It's easy. They don't touch me. Or I might dance in the bubble. Or do a girl/girl show."

Double in the bubble. I heard about this place before. The girls pay to go to work, a "stage fee". Then, during the week, there might be 6 women working and 10 guys a whole shift. To get the good shifts, the pro might have to give the manager a blow job. They also shoot porn there, cheap porn, sleazy porn. I had a guy ask me once to do a porn. He wanted me to "audition" by bringing him nude pictures. Girls starting out get a few hundred dollars. Maybe $500 if you are lucky. Then they take pictures of you. But you don't OWN the pictures. They can use them in magazines, on covers. They can use the video scenes over and over and make stills.

I met one of the managers once.
 "Let's make nudes, pretty" he told me. He was wearing a "wife beater", that was what he looked like as well. He looked like the kind of man who beat his wife for smiling at a stranger.

"No fucking way," I told him as I pointed to the corner "Kick rocks."
He smiled at me and tried to shake my hand "I like a challenge", he told me "it's good money" he told me in an accent I could not recognize. His matching sweatsuit and gold chain was out of place for Market Street on a hot summer day. "Why won't you take my offer?"

I shook my head "If I turn a trick, I get paid, I get fucked, maybe once. Maybe I can talk him into nothing. You, you want to fuck me for free over and over again." I was full of opiated courage that day. I was free to say whatever I wanted. If I would have been sick, maybe not so much. Maybe I would have went with him.
"ok pretty," he told me "If you change your mind, will you please bring me the nudes?" He nodded,  waved, and walked away.

"Why don't you come work with me?" She asked me again as she pulled herself up from the sidewalk. It must be time to go to work.

 I wondered myself why I never took those jobs. It wasn't for any type of moral reason. I guess we all have our limits. I have broken all of them except for one. This one.  As I sat and drank my beer, I watched her walk towards the club. She pulled her skirt down, one last attempt at modesty before she shift. See the beauty, touch the magic, fill your heart with chemicals, and feel your troubles slowly fade from view. She was a beautiful woman once, made even more beautiful when she walked out with a purse full of money. If only she knew.

This is where the conversation took place in real life. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

"That Sounds Nice"

When I was balls deep in the mind fuck that was active addiction, the WORST thing that could possibly happen was to be stuck using with someone who had been clean.

"Have you ever done the steps, man?' he asked
"I'm not a man, I'm a chick, dude..." I told him.
"Have you AT LEAST been to meetings?" he asked.
"Can you pass me the fucking pipe?" I barked.

This whole afternoon is a recipe for disaster. Some days, the hustle is all about trying to build something from nothing. Today, I truly have a fuck load of nothing. The one thing I do have- this room. This room is my base of operations. "Guests" of the hotel, get all inclusive stay at the corner of hell and nowhere. In this package, we get rats the size of small cats. We get generations of roaches, so jaded they no longer scatter when you turn on the lights. They look up at you as they nibble on the crumbs of your 25cent home run pie like "you again? you bring me food, bitch?" We have the trick/pimp/manager. If you are short on the rent, he is so generous as to bring dates to your room to see if you are interested. I see the look of disappointment as I slam the door in his face as I scream "I have until 12 o'clock!"

This guy is the key to my future. Well, maybe not my future but at least the rest of today. He is sweating like a whore in church despite the fact the chilly air is pouring through the window.

"Can I close this?" I ask him. Why am I even asking. This is my room I am closing the "HEY!" he interrupts.
I roll my eyes back to him.
"Leave it open" he asks/tells me. "I have been locked up for too long."
His stories aren't adding up. This is pretty typical of this place. He has that look on his face, as if he has done something to make him feel guilty. I notice the tan line of the wedding ring and the watch he took of before he came here. He has on a t-shirt, plain jeans, and converse as if he was replaying his youth.

"I was like you once", he tells me. He here goes again. The fucking stories. "I was in and out of prison. I was on drugs." He pushes the pipe for emphasis. "But then....." sizzle sizzle sizzle pop "I found recovery."

I sprawl out on the bed. This is not going to be an easy one. This one wants to save me. I don't need to be saved. I am fine right where I am, sir. I am completely free. I have my drugs, I have the ability to go where ever I want, when ever I want. You are trapped, man. You have a job, a car note, a mortgage, a fucking family hidden somewhere. Every second of every moment of your day is planned. You are trapped and I am free. I want to ask him- where is your fucking recovery.

"I know you think I am full of shit," he tells me as he fiddles with his wallet. You got that right, I chuckle to myself.

I lean closer to his face "Dude, I got you some crack. What else do you want? If you are going to hang out all day and smoke fucking crack, you need to pay me for that. I gotta pay my rent by noon." He stands up to get his wallet. He turns around "did I shit my pants?" WHAT?! "No seriously," he asks me "I feel like I might have shit my pants." I shake my head in disgust. "DUDE slow the fuck down. NO. No. Go check your drawers. The bathroom is down the hall."

He throws me $40. OK, I will be right back we tell each other. Strangely, enough, this actually happened. This wasn't a trip to the store that ended in me coming back 8 hours later. I paid the front desk on my way out, used the $20 I made off him earlier to get a bag, and came right back. He was right where I had left him, he slid down the wall to the floor.

"Did you shit yourself?" I asked. Did I even want to know the answer.
 "No no no," he told me as if I was crazy for asking. "I have some medical stuff." Cause this is the best place to be if you have a medical problem. My friend told me a story once about some crack house in Cincinnati. All the people in the room were strangers. They all bought the crack and were aloud to use a room upstairs. There were 4-5 people all sitting around when a girl fell out. Without speaking, yet in complete unison, two people moved the coffee table while another started rolling her up in the carpet. As they were walking down the stairs to throw her out with the garbage, she started screaming "help, Help!. I'm alive!" Now what would you say to her? Whoops my bad. I don't know. I have heard too many stories of dope fiends dumping people out of the car at the hospital when someone ODs. Or arguing for 45 minutes while someone lays dying from an asthma attack. I guess I am stupid. I am the type of person that would actually do something. I am the type of person who will call 911. I am the type of person who will breathe for you. I will give you new pants if you shit yourself and not laugh too hard. I guess I am too soft for this game.

"What is recovery like?" I ask him as I cook up my dope. He smiles at me. He fucking smiled. I cannot think of how long it has been since I saw someone actually smile.
"They have meetings and coffee" he tells me. I cut him off "I don't drink coffee."
"Well," he starts over. "You don't have to drink coffee. People go out to dinner and stuff afterwards. I used to go to meetings before my wife and I had our first kid. It was nice." He takes another breath and blows smoke to the ceiling.

As I feel the rush pour over me, I don't feel that sense of euphoria anymore. I feel that sense of sadness. I feel that sense of something not belonging. Smoking crack, staying up all night until I could find this mark, it has made me tired. As I curl myself into my ball of security, I pull the pillow underneath me.

"Tell me more about recovery," I ask him in my noddy haze "that sounds nice..." as slowly drift away.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

After the bag chase is over

Someone sent me a message recently to ask me about my life now. I try to comply with readers' requests. Here you go:

I wake up everyday next to a man who loves me. I sleep with one ear plug in my ear. His snoring is enough to wake a small army. It sounds like a combination of a tortured rhino and an industrial accident involving a saw. I don't sleep well at night for a variety of reasons. His snoring is one of them. Another involves the older male cat. He insists on trying to sleep on my feet. It doesn't matter how many times I move him or put him off, he comes right back. He is a smart feline. If you try to put him out, he will bang on the door with his front paws until you are forced to let him in. If I sleep past dawn, he will start licking one of my appendages with his abrasive tongue.

Sometimes, I have nightmares. I dream I am back in a dark place of my own making. I picture myself shivering on a curb somewhere too sick to move. I have dreams about my parents' house. I dream I am in the backyard, playing with leaves of grass. I am all alone, there is no one around me. As I see the clouds go by, I feel afraid. I decide to go in the house. My mother isn't there. The house is empty. It is ready for sale. I realize I am in my thirties and my mother has just died. I reach to touch her in the casket. Her hands are stiff, yet the fingers are the same. I smell the vinegar, I smell the tar choking me. All those years, I put up my arm. I am crying. I wake up to a paw in my eye.

I sleep with a sweatshirt over my face. I sleep with the sleeve over my eyes. Just like I did in jail. You don't get a pillow, just a rolled up sweatshirt. It works. It makes me feel at home. My bedframe is semi broken from children jumping on it. If the cats haven't woken me up, the alarm or the children will let me know it is time to rise and shine. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day for the past few years. Barbara's Oat cereal with vanilla soy milk. I like routines. Addicts like routines. I am older now. My back hurts a little. I eat my food while I give my kid's a chance to get up.

I drink tea instead of coffee. I started having panic attacks around four years ago. Recovery is not always fair. My panic attacks cause these mental loops where everything makes me feel like I am either dying of a heart attack or having a panic attack. I have trouble breathing, like a vice or metal corset is around my ribs. Everytime I breath in, it gets pulled a little tighter. My panic attacks haven't been as bad since I quit coffee and switched work locations. There is an open air crack market at the doughnut shop by my work. Everyday for a few years, I would walk through that area. It made my hyperviglant. That is life in the big city.

I have a dog. She is older now. A 48 pound lab mix. She loves me. She follows me from room to room. She sits right next to me while I tend to the children. The three of them love me, too. The first one was planned, the second one was planned, the third one was planned too. I like a life full of plans. I like to not be scrambling for my next bag. Who am I going to get over on next? How am I going to have to degrade myself today? The past is gone though- POOOOOF. Like a puff of the smoke I used to blow in your face as I snarled "fuck you" and told you that you "could never understand."

I have a good job. I didn't used to. I lived in room in the Tenderloin for four years with no bathroom after rehab. There was no swanky apartment. No roommate situation. Just me in my tiny little room with almost no possessions. That was fine for me. That was all I needed. I own a home now. I own a home with my husband in the San Francisco Bay Area. I achieved the financially impossible. I took a bunch of my student loans and put them in the bank when the interest was 2% and 3% after I got tattooed and went on vacation. That was some of the money we used to buy a house. The hustle didn't die in me. The hustle in me is fucking strong. I just use it for good. I just got approved for some student loan forgiveness, too. Fuck yeah.

I am fat. I have all kinds of scars. The scars can't be hidden. Oh well. I am a convicted felon. That sucks but I still found a job. You can too. It isn't easy. Not saying it is. It is possible though. I like who I am. I like helping people. I like being the person who can volunteer for my kid's school. I like being able to be present. I still have depression. I try to walk around 10 miles a week to help with it. I force myself to get outside. I garden. I pet cats. I go on reddit. It seems to help.

I don't know what life is like for you. I hope you find some things you enjoy. Do you have hobbies? Do you have pets? Do you have dreams? I bet you do. I did, too. I would love to hear them. My life today isn't perfect. Anyone who says recovery is consistently great is ready for a huge fucking disappointment. I am happy though.

I am doing research for my book. These two facts really stood out- 1. 60- 80 percent of people who were addicted in their younger years were free of illicit drugs by their thirties. 2. most people that quit drugs do it on their own. The news isn't dire, the news is good. If you stay safe, when you are ready, the world is open to you.

Enjoy life, using or not. Thank you for reading.

When your kitten decides to take over

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Nothing to see here.

"What are you going to do about that thing? he asks.
I pull up my shorts. "I am going to drain it." I tell him.
He gives me a look of feigned disgust. This isn't his first time at the junkie rodeo. "Right here?" he asks.
I start looking for a good spot to poke. "yes," I tell him "right here."

The question was pretty ridiculous. Where else am I going to go to get my leg sliced open on a Sunday. There is no way in hell I am traveling all the way out to San Francisco General to get this cut open. After waiting dopeless for 6-8 hours for them to clear gunshot victims, they would finally get some medical resident to hack away at me while they generously provided me with MAYBE 10mg of methadone to tie me over. I can't do it. I couldn't hop the Muni to make it there even if I tried.

Overnight, my knee and began to swell to the point that my appendage looks like a hot, red tree trunk. I no longer have a knee. I just have a single swollen area that blends in. The cellulitis is starting to spread in angry ferocity. This all started a few days ago. I was digging in the vein in my leg when I thought I had found a sweet spot. I felt the burnt and knew right away I was fucking my future self. I just didn't care. All I wanted was that hot, sweet vaccination of tar to create some relief. After searching for a vein fruitlessly for twenty minutes, it seemed so much easier to succuum to the reality that a muscle shot would have to do the trick. There were some days it just wasn't worth it anymore. It wasn't worth carrying about myself, my body, my life. The dark railroad tracks that circle around my legs show my road to nowhere.

"Well, if you are going to do it, hurry the fuck up" he told me. Junkies can be such unpleasant traveling companions. This dude thinks because he has occasional access to my pussy that he is running the show. The only time we have sex is when we have expended all other options. Is there coke? no. Is there speed? no. Is there benzos? no. Is there tv? no. Is there food? no. Well, I guess we can have sex. Whatever. He has sex for money. So why waste his precious tools on affection. The only way I know he loves me is that he gives me half of his cinnamon roll. He saves it for me. He leaves it on the desk. "here babe, I know you are hungry" he says. Love is a hot cinnamon roll when I am curled up beside you on a dirty sheets and a scratchy mattress, pulled from the dumpster.

The real reason he is rushing me is he is tired of waiting for me. My leg is so swollen, I am dragging it. I look like an extra from Thriller. Dragging my leg past the other creatures of the night. I pull out my alcohol wipes an rub the area. Safety first. As I cut the soft center with a razor blade, the results are strangely satisfying. The green and yellow puss captures my attention as the tourists walk past me. They don't see me. They don't feel my pain. This wound might make me a few dollars. When I get it bleeding, I can ask for change. People generally give to a wounded woman- only if the scars are on the outside. I will ask him to sit across the street until I am finished.

"That is fucking disgusting" he tells me. I shrug my shoulders. What else can I do? There isn't enough heroin to hold the pain back now. My leg hurts, my mind hurts. How many more hours until I need more? How many more days can I live like this? How many more grams can I shove into this hole where my heart was until I feel something again. I take some napkins I got from Taco Bell out of my purse and wipe my leg. When I stand up, more blood gushes down my leg into my sock. I won't be going anywhere for awhile. As I throw my napkins into the trash can, I see a mother turn her child's head to the side. That's right. Please don't feed the animals. Nothing to see here, move along.

I am clean now. Clean 17 long years. Sometimes I wonder to myself- how in the hell did I do these things to myself? How did I stick needles in myself all day long for years at a time? How did I trade my life for drugs? How did I get to the point where I completely gave myself over to heroin. I lost my my family, my job, my place to live, my schooling, my friends, my health, and nearly my life for drugs. I am not sure that addiction is a disease. A disease is caused by a pathogen. I do believe that addiction is a disorder, a brain disorder that takes over when you seek relief from reality. This disorder causes cognitive dissoance. You are completely falling apart, yet you think just this one more ____ won't hurt me. No one notices, no one cares about me. I am now the mother that shields their children's eyes from people on the street, people like myself. I cannot change the past. It is what it is. But I refuse to forget it. I refuse to ignore the suffering of others.

Are you suffering today? Are you enjoying your life? Either way, you matter. You are important.  All I can tell you is that you, my friend, are fucking awesome. I love your stories, your insight. You are smart. You are funny. You are capable. You can do anything. I am telling you all the things I wish someone had told me. Be safe my friends.