Wednesday, February 27, 2013

15 years clean today

The last year of my using was very, very lonely even though I was generally with someone. Ben and I were together for six long months. When I met him, he had fully succumb to the depths of his addiction. he had left his sheltered world and all his friends and set out for the city. When we met, it was an odd arrangement. We loved each other but both us were strung out to the point that we existed in the same space rather than have a relationship. Ben and I were different kinds of addicts. I was what I cal a maintenance addict- I did just enough to get by on a daily basis. Ben , on the other hand, would alternate between pushing things to the absolute extremes and wanting to get clean.

Clean - what is that? What does that mean? Nothing? No drugs? Just smoke weed and drink? Absolutely nothing? Have you ever been clean? Have you ever known anyone that was clean. Never, never, never I thought. To me clean was a mix of chemicals. I will stop doing this and only do that. I will cut back on this. We did heroin. I did speed and he smoked crack. But, at the core of our discussions came a point where the idea was planted in my head. What if- I could actually stop using drugs? I wasn't ready for recovery then. A whisper was in my ear. What if?

Spanky was a good friend to have as an addict. He was like me- hanging on to life by a thread. One thing I can say about him is that he loved me as a person. I told him all about myself and he was very accepting of me. All those fears I had about people rejecting me if they actually knew me were untrue. We were sleeping in doorways, alleyways, hotels, not sleeping. We tried to get off heroin. I went on methadone detox but I could not stop using. That was when I realized that recovery , for me, had to be total abstinence. I had to go it alone. A junkie relationship was too much for me handle. I never drank beer for the taste, I never used drugs to be social, I never could get clean with another person weighing me down.

One of two things was going to happen- I was going to die or I was going to stop. I was having heart palpitations. I was shooting up in the bottoms of my feet. I was so thin and sick they thought I was converting to HIV for my first few weeks in treatment.  When they arrested me, I left everything. I put complete faith into something I had never known. I was willing to rebuild myself, shed my shell, and strip my self to my basic human need to be safe. I was no longer willing to be raped beaten  poked, prostituted, lie cheat steal on a daily basis. I traded numbness for the unknown.

15 years ago. I was in a jail cell with nothing but hope. Today I have love friends kids, serenity.

8 comments:

  1. Happy anniversary to you!!!!Congratulations Tracey!!!

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  2. I always have wondered what clean really means. Some people can't dabble at all, I've always been able to will power it. I've had years of daily use as well as part time. Being totally clean for life scares the crap out of me.

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    1. I like being clean. I like the feeling of being in control of my life and my behaviors. It hasn't ended all my issues. I still have problems but they are not multiplied

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  3. Do you have aids or HIV? Hepatit C from your addiction?

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    1. No AIDS, no HIV. I had Hep c but I cleared the virus 12-13 years ago. I have never had an Std either

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  4. Good to hear! :) Were you careful when you were using? Like only used your own needels or did you share?

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    1. I was always pretty careful about needles. I used needle exchange regulary. I have shared needles and had some unprotected sex but not that often. I had a few scares but in retrospect I was fairly safe, much more so than many of my peers.

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