Wednesday, September 30, 2015

There was a time...

There was a time that seemed not that long ago when the only thing I needed to worry about was what kind of drug was flowing through my veins. Opioids, benzos, amphetamines where my drug of choice. All at the same time of course. Don't forget the cocaine. Some booze was in there, too. That feeling of being dopesick and chugging on some Taca cheap ass vodka will never leave my memory. That feeling of having my side hurt only realizing it was my liver after washing down a handful of Vicodin with flat beer. There were many days when I woke up broken in my small apartment in Cincinnati that I thought "how much worse can my life possibly get?" I found out.

I don't know if I was born an addict. I know my behaviors certainly molded me into one. That roller coaster of crippling depression briefly came to a screeching halt when I found opioids. There was my solution, my lover, and my best friend in one place. There was a time when I thought the real problem was simply not having an unlimited supply of drugs. When I came to San Francisco only to have unfettered access to them, I began a cycle of self destruction that was past my ability to rationally manage.

8 years of on and off homelessness
11 trips to jail
2 methadone clinic runs
Amphetamines for months on end
Attempt on my life
chipped teeth
Black eyes
Broken noses
34 abscesses

Yet here I am. There is a scene in "Black Tar Heroin" when I look out the window. I say outloud to no one
"Sometimes it makes me happy."
I kept chasing the sometimes.
The important thing is that I believed some day I would get off that shit. I believe some day I would give up everything I knew, everything I loved (my drugs). Just like you.
Some day, you will too.
Some day, you will send me a message "Tracey, I just wanted to let you know..."
I can't wait for that fucking message.
I will love you until I receive it.
I will do everything I can to keep you safe.
I will work to make the world a safer place for people like us.
Because you deserve it.

My book is coming out in March. A fucking book being sold in bookstores. I got my author page yesterday. I find it hard to look at. I was supposed to be dead ten times over. Here I am.
 For all the people who doubt you, they doubted me too.
Let's prove them all wrong.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The traveler

"I'm here on business..." he tells me. His voice is trailing off. He must be desperate to trust me. 

There is a certain magical place for any all middlemen. That is a place when a person approaches you that is both too sick and too scared to get product for themselves. This person is firing on both cylinders. How he ever acquired a heroin habit, I do not know. I suppose he started popping a few percs after a sports injury or someone gave him a few lines in college. He stuck the straw in his nose expecting something similar to coke. Instead, he traveled down the rabbit hole where heroin became an orgasm, a first love, and a bowl full of fuck you all in one. As he settled in, he told himself this was the best feeling in the world until he began violently puking on his loafers. He couldn't make it to the bathroom so he yakked in his empty big gulp while his edgy female companion told him "I knew you would like it".

I suppose when he stepped off the airplane in that printed polo shirt and zip up grey hoodie from the Gap he considered going to get it himself. "I will just walk right up to the first one I see and ask them for..." He sighed. Ask them for what? A gram of you finest heroin, sir. Or perhaps he would make friends with one then ask. All these ideas must have sounded terrible to him. I supposed he anguished over doing those last few bags he was saving for tomorrow. Why did he have a layover? The San Francisco fog strikes again. It enveloped all of his hopes. 

I saw him standing on the periphery, like a child that wanted to get included in a dodgeball game but was afraid to ask. "Hey?" Is that a question or a statement. 
Despite his outward appearance, I saw what I needed to see. Cops don't have runny noses, water eyes, and the sweaty look of desperation. It had taken many hours after his marathon of meetings to summon the courage to even walk here. "Hey" was the best he could do. 

I caught a whiff. That smell- new money in the air. Yes. Like napalm in the morning. I love that smell. The smell of new money is intoxicating. It signals hope. It signals adventure. It signals a day without putting a dick in your mouth to get well. Unless he wanted that too. Luckily, I'm not that desperate. 

"Hey", I tell him. "You alright?!" 

This is a manipulation. I already know he isn't. I can't scare the gazelle by leaping too soon. 

He asks me if I want to go in the doughnut shop for coffee. Fine. His hand is shaky as he pours himself a cup. He wants to make small talk. He wants to feel better about handing a stranger money. He is going to size me up. Can he trust me with $50? A $100? A few hundred like he is used to spending. He is a business man. He is used to a negotiation. 

"Do you live around here?" He asks. 
Hmm. Live is a strange question. I literally live here. I live on these streets. He is looking for an address, a place, something tangible where he can find me. 

"Not here," I tell him. "I live farther up." 
I decide to risk it all and skip to the point. 
"What are you doing here?"

He tells me the usual. I'm here in the city on business blah blah blah. I'm 25 years old and travel a lot. This isn't a bar. You don't need to pick me up, I think. I notice his face for a moment. Those eyes of his. So beautiful with long lashes. I can see if he smiled he would have dimples. If only we were meeting at a bar. If only we were both two normal young adults going out for coffee. We would go to the movies later. He would fumble for my hand in the dark and wonder when would be the right time to get a kiss. He would smile at me knowing that we would see each other again, those butterflies of starting something new. Instead, we are two dope fiends ignoring mutual attraction because we are in a state of mutual usury. 

After 15 minutes of small talk, I am ready to end this game. "How much?" I ask him. "How much do you need?" 

I can tell he is scared to pull out his wallet. He shoved $100 in his sock before he left the hotel. He reaches in his pants leg and shoves it under table. This man just handed $100 to a stranger. Oh lucky day. 

I know what you are thinking, reader. You are thinking this writer was a sleazy junkie who ran off with his money. You would be wrong. I was there and back in less than ten minutes. I didn't want his $100. I wanted a piece of everything in his wallet. I wanted to be the only person he knew on these streets. I wanted him to ask for me by name.

 When I brought him back the balloons full of dope, I kissed him. This was the only way to transfer the drugs without raising suspicion. Two strangers in a strange embrace on the corner in a seedy part of town. 

"What is this..." He looked confused. 

Of course! He was a snorter that had never seen tar before. Good luck with that sweetie. I had my own bag to do- a tip from my favorite Mexican. Plus I kept $20 of his dollars. Felonies aren't free. As I stumbled off into the coffee shop bathroom to do my business, I never expected he would be there when I got out. Of course, he wasn't. I suppose it was a successful trip for both of us. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Dope Fiend Prayer.

Work. Dope. Sleep.
Work. Dope. Sleep.
Work. Dope. Sleep. Broke. Cry. Twitch. Whine. Ahhhhh. Nod.

School. Dope. Sleep.
School. Dope. Sleep.
School. Dope. Sleep. Beg. Borrow. Cry. Twitch. Shit. Ahhh. Nod.

Scam. Hustle. Scam. Hustle.
Tick Tick Tick.
Call. Wait. Call. Wait.
Sick. Sick. SICK!

No, I didn't lie to you.
Well, maybe, just a little.
Yes, I promise I will get clean.
Middle. Skim. Middle.

Another Day, another felony.
Some cheese, some tar, some scramble.
My life inside a plastic bag.
Valium. Vodka. Ramble.

My self esteem? I misplaced it.
My faith in God? I erased it.
I held my future in my hand.
I traded it to my man.

If I die in my sleep,
Promise you won't wake me.
If I have to live this way,
I pray the drugs will take me.

Tell my family that I loved them.
Tell my girl she will love again.
Tell my boyfriend that I am sorry.
As I fade into oblivion.

BBC Interview/podcast

I have been invited on a few different podcasts lately. This one required me to get up at 5:30 am. I try only requests that seem like a good fit and are no going to be saying terrible things about heroin users. I liked the way this one turned out. Link here

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

One simple story- A guest post from an observer

Let me be completely clear. I have never been an addict. I have never lain my head on the street for slumber or been driven to prostitution or acts of craziness for cash.  My perspective is based wholly on being a witness to addiction. Sadly, most of the addicts that I see cannot talk. They are tiny babies born to moms who are addicts. I am a lowly administrative assistant in a small hospital on the east coast that helps babies born addicted wean from the drugs they are dependent on.  There are stories here…stories that some folks aren’t strong enough to tell themselves. Yet. Not strong enough YET. I always say yet because as my young daughter tells me, anything can happen. 
The first mama that I ever encountered was named Sharon in 2010. Sharon had a beautiful baby girl as well an older child which I never met but she talked about constantly. She was in her 30s and her story still haunts me. 
It is amazing what people tell me. I really have no power and that makes me a completely safe ear. I am not a social worker, I don’t have any clout to speak of . I met Sharon at the big honkin industrial coffee maker near my office. I love my coffee so I visit that machine often. So did Sharon, but for fucks sake, she would put so much sugar in hers it was like brown cotton candy.  She had her boyfriend with her. He was a nervous wreck. Talking a mile a minute saying that they couldn’t take care of this baby. She didn’t say much to him but seemed really preoccupied with me…”Hey, I like your necklace?” “where do you live?” “Do you have kids?”  I always talked to her. She was kind. Engaging.  I talked to her a lot. She told me that her baby was weaning from heroin. She was done with all of that. On methadone…couldn’t wait to be a good mom for her two little girls. She was staying at our facility (we are the kind of place where parents can nest with their babies and she was never far from that baby). She walked around with her often….sang “I'm a creep”…made me laugh. I will never forget her saying that she lived “on a main street in a little town in a green house with a swingset in the front”. Life seemed like it was looking up for her little crew. The boyfriend was dick and I hoped she would come to her senses regarding that.  I believed in her.
Then disaster struck. 
Sharon’s baby got a super bad infection in her little toe where the morphine was being administered.  If you have never seen a baby detox, consider yourself lucky. They wail. I mean cry like there is no tomorrow. It makes colic look like a picnic. And this baby shook. Almost like she got out of the swimming pool and was freezing. I mean, this poor little baby had enough shit going on for an army and she didn’t need an infected toe. She had to go to the main hospital. We are considered stepdown. Sharon followed her baby. Of course she did! It was her baby! Before she went back, I saw her in our coffee area. She said goodbye to me and gave me a piece of cake that she scammed from another family. I gave her a hug and told her I would see her soon. Hells yeah! Her baby was strong…they would prevail. They would come back to step down in a jiffy.

They didn’t fucking prevail.
It turns out Sharon couldn’t take it. Maybe it was guilt….She mentioned that she felt like it was her fault that her daughter was in this shitty position.  The stress of a sick baby…this kid was super sick. She used. She uber used. She came in barely recognizable. Full nod. Said she left stuff at our place. She didn’t. She tried to scam me for money. I didn’t have any (I really didn’t!). It was the first time I have ever looked at someone and saw demise. I hugged her. Wished her luck.
The baby came back. Sharon never did. 
That baby cried constantly. You could hear her from every corner of the floor she was on. We have an amazing group of volunteers . They are baby holders and they come in and help the nursing staff by holding babies. They always held her. She had this head of crazy baby hair and enormous blue eyes.  She was utterly irresistible. I always saw a sadness in her though . I know she was only 4 months old but I think that baby missed her mama. She knew. She was with us for a long time. CYF got involved. Eventually that raven haired beauty found a family. I learned much later that she was adopted by a wonderful couple. Two moms. One a pediatrician, one a pharmacist (A little ironic?).
I know the less successful mama. The one who looked at her like she hung the moon. The one that she cried the least with and shared the same big eyes and crazy hair. The one that couldn’t cope with all the shit that life throws at you daily and a needle eased the pain. 
I know in my heart she loved that mama. I don’t know much, but I know love where I see it. I saw it in those two. I really did. 
That’s what haunts me. I worry that Sharon didn’t see the love. She was so busy being hypercritical of herself. She didn’t SEE the love. I should have told her what I saw between the two of them. But I think she thought she wasn’t worthy of that beautiful baby. She was, By God, she really was. 
She must be about 5 years old now. She is probably in some fancy dancy school, playing an instrument, learning French. I bet she is becoming a beautiful person. I also bet that everytime she passes a green house with a swingset in the front, her heart smiles and she doesn’t know why.

Endless Anticipation- Guest Post JF

Endless Ancipation

It's 6am and all I can think about is scoring heroin...I'm not sure how I ended up in this situation, wait....that's a lie. I know exactly how this escalated to black tar. I followed that curious cat down the wrong alley, tripped, slipped and fell nose first into a pile of brown powder...well,fuck me....let's get this show on the road.

630 am "maybe he's awake, should I try calling?" 

I mean, the sun is almost up and he MIGHT be up....That's the logic of an addict, I know damn well he won't be awake for at least 4 more hours..and that's still not likely, my call log is more like a continual spiral into drug craving madness.

745am While my cravings are completely mental, that voice in my head just won't shut the fuck up...That gorilla on my back weighs 800 lbs and he's a mean fucker when he doesn't get his way. He's a master manipulator and will speak to you smoother than a seasoned pimp mackin to a fresh bitch on the track. He's taken up residence on my left shoulder, like a belligerent squatter refusing to leave. At times he's calm and smooth and can give me all the right answers when I need to make excuses about my drug use and where all the money I've made is......but he's Bi-polar as a muthafucka. In a flash he can transform into the raving uncontrollable beast that brings me into the abyss of self destruction..

For the past 3 days he's been on a rampage, he knows my drug break is up...he was on a warpath until I tricked him back into his cage.

About 3 weeks ago I told my dealer to cut me off...this was after several scary black outs at home, my girlfriend definitely knew I was fucked up on something.... Xanax and heroin can throw you into a helluva stupor...if you are reading this you have either been in one or have seen someone in one. This is the walking zombie syndrome, when the nod takes over and you fall asleep standing up...mid the middle of the he doesn't matter, you will only know it's hit you when you snap out of it.

Like an extra in "the walking dead" your body is there but your mind and soul are ultimately gone

This is known as the "dope fiend lean " and it defies all logic of balance, some people will be full on touching their toes while nodding out while standing...others turn into bobblehead dolls and their heads just dangle about.

I was the walking dead...slamming into walls, almost crashing through the shower doors and shattering them in the bathroom. .. I snapped a chair in half after collapsing into was pretty scary that she saw and heard me like that. If she catches me I'll lose her...there's no coming back from "oh yeah by the way I got a small problem, it's heroin but I promise to stop"

Knowing damn well I wouldnt...


As I sit here thinking that the high I'm chasing is some fantastic orgasmic feeling of pure euphoria, it's not...and it hasn't been for a long time. I use alone so the social aspect is gone, and having to hide the habit and the high is getting to be too much. How the fuck am I supposed to enjoy myself when I have to hide it?

The answer....a drug vacation day. I put in an order for 5 grams of black tar, knowing that the chances are slim of this happening the way I am planning it. Called in sick to work to score heroin and get high....Yeah I'm sick alright..sick in the fucking head. One day this whole shit show will be exposed to the world and they will know my secret. While I clean up nice and can play  chameleon on most situations to blend in, I'm sure everyone I know has caught me in a nod once...and I've been able to blame my insomnia for most of it.

See, I've battled insomnia ever since my last long term relationship...and it was with that bitch Crystal. See, before brown sugar was my sweetener of choice I dabbled into the world of high grade stimulants. Beautiful shards of all shapes and sizes were crushed and sniffed or smoked. My girlfriend at the time liked it, and I was trying to play it cool and party with her even though it wasn't my thing.

See, the stint I served in the Amphetamine Penitentiary was during a different era, we didn't have the quality these tweekers have...our shit was just that, shit.

Crank was a filthy predecessor of crystal meth around the 90s, but it was what we had. Rose, Peanut butter, and others dirty white powders were the flavors available. We didn't have these magnificent  shards of glass that looked like they were stolen from a chandelier...we had shit that tasted like it was made in a motel bathroom. You could see the pink from the benadryl they were using...sometimes the dope would still be wet. Leave a line of this stuff on a CD case too long and it would seemingly begin to eat away at the plastic ...and we happily snorted this shit by the boatload with no concern.

I didn't enjoy smokin meth because it never really got me high like everyone said...until one day. I was renting a room in these shitty apartments by the freeway, most are occupied by section 8'ers or dopefiends...I ended up with a section 8 dopefiend, such a winning combo

I was green to crystal meth and the glass pipe wasn't my specialty, she would fire it up and tell me when to hit it...and after a few hits I got the hit that changed my life.

" THAT is what everyone is talking about!!!!" as I feel a tingle just flow through my body like a low voltage electric buzz...we smoked more and fucked like rabbits until the next day. I was selling crystal at the time and had around an ounce or so usually with me at any time....until I broke the commandment of "never eating high on your own supply"
Little did she know I was barely sleeping 3 hours a night after that, and was smokin my way into meth psychosis.  I was able to hide it well enough, but what happened was just more of us using together. She wasn't hooked but liked to I played along. While we'd get high on the weekend together...

"First me and Crystal on saw each other on the weekends,

But now Im hiding my tweekin

and seeking her out everyday in between em"

And that's how I ended up on meth for about a year or so.

I sit here at Ocean Beach and watch the waves roll in and outt... pop another xanax to hopefully calm the beast....and wait.
I picked up some good weed from the club to try and calm King Kong down for awhile. They called the stuff Gorilla Glue,ho fitting,hopefully it will do the trick... the names of weed nowadays is pretty interesting...hopefully this glue will keep my mind stuck on something other than heroin.

As I smoke my joint and watch the waves flow, I feel the warmth of the sun on my face and for a split second I forget all about dope and just enjoy the view..the weed elevates my mood for the moment and I'm at piece...

I look down at the halfway burned  joint and mumble to myself "this shit is the bomb" I drift off into a dreamy haze with the sound of the ocean and seagulls. For a brief moment I forget about heroin and fall into the comfortable bliss of the xanax and's such a beautiful day, I remember so many good times here. My car engine still running, I pass out and let time fly.....worry free 

And then the beast jolts me from my slumber....fuck, did I miss his call? How long have I been asleep....? FUCK!

It's now 1130 he awake yet?  By my logic it should be a decent time to try and call someone...or maybe not? I dialed his number and ring....2 rings, 3 rings..

The 4th ring means he not answering and inside I pray he answers.

"YEAH...what's up? "   

Why does he bother asking this?

You know what the fuck is up, I need to get high because I sure the fuck didn't call to say good morning, make small talk, and discuss the weather. 

"It's all good but you gotta wait until around 3 to get it"

A four hour wait for heroin feels like 12 hours in my mind, but what can I do? I make sure to remind him I need 5 grams, because he'll forget and only have 2 to spare. He sounds annoyed but at this point I don't give a fuck, I want my dope....

It could be worse, I could be left to scouring the streets of the Tenderloin and taking my chances with strangers hopin for a friendly face....which is an endless roulette wheel of possible rip offs. I should be thankful that I have a direct phone number to the devil himself and he answers my calls for the most part.

How can so much emotion and joy be created by this small ball of black goop. This sticky tar has so much power to be just an inanimate object..once it touches you, there are thousands of unseen teeth that sink deep into your soul. 
Heroin has no soul, but it can permeate yours and cause it to disintegrate rapidly and causes necrosis of the soul. When Im high, nothing matters...I am numb to the world and my mind is no longer racing with madness.

I enjoy the bliss off slipping in and out of a conscious reality and into my personal dreamland. In a nod..a single thought manifests into a  detailed dream, each new nod takes me down another rabbit hole in my twisted mind. But the true bliss is the complete numbness to anxiety, worry, stress and fear..

It's funny how this can ease the pain on life in an instant. The most stressful day is instantly relieved once that double wrapped plastic package is secured. After 3 days of a drought and no connections, today felt like fucking Christmas and Junkie Jesus smiled upon me. 5 grams of tar and I'll get through another couple of days before the carousel begins again.

The cycle of addiction is hard to break when the monkey lives on your shoulder and is constantly whispering sweet nothings in your itself doesn't feel the same without hop and I hate that my peace of mind and happiness is routinely based on copping. I try and pass the time by reading stories on r/opiates to help me realized I could be in a much worse situation..

I could be using dirty toilet water to try and get a hit from old cottons, or I could be puking my guys out and I fully blown withdrawal shitting on myself in a SRO in the TL. I'm not trying  to say my struggle is worse than anyone elses, because I know it isnt...but it is still a struggle for me mentally and controls me more than I would like it to..and this is just my story.

36 phonecalls in a single day to the same number are a clear sign of a problem, and I sit here and wonder how much of a dopefiend he sees me as. See, my dealer is also one of my best friends....while dope brought us together, we formed a bond and treat each other like real family..a twisted misfit bunch of dysfunctional addicts. We don't just meet up for transactions, we actually hang out and have a friendship..

This friendship of course gets rough when the main dope man aint around, he can't cop, meaning I can't either and it turns into phone tag and text relays.

Yeah, I could hit 16th or head over to the TL and try and cold cop....but I got a family, a job, and a lot to lose if I were to get busted. My boy Irish aka Big Rich was my sidekick in the L's, he knw every spot, every dealer and could get us some action within few blocks of browsing.. Rich died alone in an alley in the Central Valley during a relapse and overdosed. Xanax and Heroin killed my boy.

And that's the same combination in my system now.....I pray for the strength to break free from this. I've done it before, it can be done again.

Until that day comes, I'll live this life day by day....praying for the courage to face life without the need to escape reality, but to face it head first without a crutch.

There is something in life I have yet to discover that will mean more to me than getting high...I struggle daily to find and accept this, and pray for the epiphany that will save my life in the long run.

Until then I'm taking my spare change, tossing it into my pill bottle with some mannitol and a chunk of black tar and drift off into my personal land of peace....without worry, anxiety or the ability to give a fuck for a few moments of incoherent bliss...

May God grant me another day of life and allow me to wake up from my self inflicted euphoria....

Thank you for are not alone..