Monday, February 4, 2013

The Dark End of the Street

One of the reasons I started writing again was the overwhelming response to "Black Tar Heroin-The Dark End of the Street". When I agreed to do the movie, it was Dec of 1995. Originally, the movie was going to be filmed for one year. The filmmaker was looking for people younger than myself but i did my best to talk my way in to the Film. I really, truthfully believed at that point in my life that the film was to serve as my last will and testament. I had been using steady with no respite for 4-5 years. I was probably close to 120 pounds. I had an HIV scare in 1992 and had reason to believe I was infected would refuse on and off to get a test. I was paranoid, dejected. I was a constant string of abscesses and abusive relationships. I would say that was without a doubt, the lowest period of my life.

The film ended Dec 1997 after extending an additional year. It was released in mid1998 on HBO and had two million viewers that first week. The issues for me was that I was clean when I twas released. I felt completely exposed as a everyone I ran into seemed to know intimate details of my life. Strangers used to stop me. People searched for me. The media wanted my story. Except I was a new person and didn't want any extra attention.

Fast forward to 2013. I have have come to accept that the film is one of the greatest documentaries of all time. You can argue this point but the evidence shows that 15 years later, people still contact me from all over the world. Something about the film resonates with them. They either know someone like the people in the film or they WERE the person in the film.

In 2013, I want people to know one thing from my experience- recovery is possible. I am a living breathing example of this fact. Take my desperation and make it your inspiration if it helps you.

22 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. (Could you please delete my previous reaction Tracey, don't want the url to my blog openly on the internet after all) thanks in advance. I'll post the rest of my previous reaction here:

    You're such an inspiration Tracey, I will definitely keep on reading you're blogs! I do wonder: wat was the 'turning-point' for you?

    I wish you all of the best Tracey! You deserve it!

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    1. Email me traceyh415@hotmail.com the link to your writing. The turning point- Ben and I talked about getting clean ALOT. We would try to stop but could not. I knew when I went to jail again that was my best chance to get into treatment. I took that chance.

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  3. I agree that Dark End is one of the best docs ever. There's been others, about addiction and h in particular, but its the quality of the characters and what got captured on film that makes Dark End so powerful. Your story inspires many, you did something huge with your life by helping people, and if you write a book I'd love to read it.

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    1. thanks. I am getting started on the book this month.

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  4. In the very beginning of the documentary, there is a dude with a dread lock on each side-burn standing in a long coat smoking a cigarette - who is he and why wasn't he seen in the rest of the documentary?

    I am struggling hard with my demons, and have been since 2004. I've had periods of good and periods of bad, but mostly bad. I can't stand it. It's not the physical part at all, it's the mental anguish after the physical is over.

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    1. That is dick aka Richard. He wasn't part of the film he just happened to be hanging out w me that day. I still see him. He is off heroin and has an apartment

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  5. Sorry, posted too soon. I saw the documentary for the first time about a year ago, and when I was in San Francisco 3x over the course of last year (last time being December 2012), I went crazy in excess. I immediately upon arrival my first time, went to leavenworth and golden gate, made a few connects, got hooked up with a few decent people (decent by a junkie's stretch), got what I needed and then would drive my rental car back to the Sheraton Fishermans Wharf where I was staying. The second visit to SF In August 2012 was the same, but in more excess, the last visit in December, I was staying in Sunnyvale for my job, and I would take the CalTrain to SF every night and buy around 10g of fire. I live on the east coast (PA), and when I saw BTH for the first time, it was a curiosity to try it that turned into an obsession to get it, that then turned into a deadly dance with it over and over and over again. The last week I was in SF, I bought 25g total, and did it all within a week. One thing I do notice about it, it kills veins faster than powder.

    I hate what I Am. I am a functioning, hard working individual, wealthy enough to kill myself over and over again. I wish I had the will and love to put my demons in a hole and bury them forever, but I've tried and I just come back to where I left off.

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    1. That really sucks. Suboxone seems to really work well for functional people. Methadone work too but it is a little more sedating. You can email me privately if you are looking for referrals or vent anonymously

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  6. I remember watching this documentary when it first aired and again last year on YouTube. I never understood how things could quickly spiral completely out of control. I admire your willingness to get clean and stay off drugs.

    Today that question was answered when I found out my niece ( which I helped raise) is abusing heroin. She's shooting up. I am angry , hurt and frightened for her, she's 25 with 4 young children. I'm scared for her children as her husband is also an abuser. What will become of her precious babies if she won't accept help?

    My sister-in-law has been trying to help her through withdrawal symptoms the last few days and looking for a rehab. I just hope she's willing to get clean because if she doesn't she could die. It's heartwrenching knowing I might see her die and her babies won't remember her.

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    1. I am so sorry to hear that this is happening for you and your family. if you go to the SAMSHA website, they have lists of all of the opiate treatment programs in your area (assuming you are in the US)

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  7. Just watched the documentary on YouTube. Wow what a powerful film. So glad you got clean.

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  8. I watched this on HBO way back when it first aired. I was on the path to a life drug addiction myself. Being a needle user for a couple years I was at my height at that time. Then one day I was sitting at my parents house and flipping through their satellite channels I came across a bunch of punk kids doing drugs and it was like, hey, that's me. But not really. These people were deep and the more I watched to more I saw my future. I mean, I saw some bad news stuff on the streets myself but there was something about this film that really hit me personally and it was probably the age of everyone. Most of the addicts I knew were mostly older or not "punk" like I was. The real kicker was seeing the kid escape from the hospital with the IV lines still attached and using it to shoot up and it was then that my attitude quickly changed. I slowly became disillusioned with the whole scene and luckily I wasn't too hooked and I eventually packed up and moved. Kept drinking though, finally put that away a couple years back. Anyways I credit this movie and the poor souls in it in helping me see the road I was going down. I've talked about it for years and always use it as a template to what the "glamorous" life of drugs really is. Finally came across it today and decided to look up more on it and saw that you're, well, not dead. Though there was something about you I felt that if anyone in this flick is going to rise above it would be you. I'm very happy for you. And thank you for doing that film. I'm sure my parents would thank you and my now wife and children thank you too.

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  9. This made my day- it really did. Thank you

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    1. Been reading your blog all day. Compelling stuff. I look forward to reading your book. Keep being awesome. You do great things and have a beautiful family.

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  10. Congratulations - when I watched the documentary at one point you were scared to go back to 'straight life' (school, work) and kept saying 'what will I do?' Glad for you that you were able to save your life. No one really knows why some people cannot do that. Happy for you that you met good people and had children as you wished to.

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    1. thank you for your support. I have a great life. I really do

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  11. i agree that this is one of the best documentaries of all time. something about it really resonates with me and it hit me right in the gut every time i watch it. i'm currently struggling with my own opiate addiction. i have been for about 7 years now. i've tried to quit so many times. honestly i kind of gave up a while ago. its so exhausting to try and fail over and over again. i really dont know what to do anymore. i've been trying to get back into rehab but i havnt had any luck since i'm still not done paying on the last rehab i went to. i feel like i really might not be able to make it out, but it gives me hope to know that you made it out and have a good life now. i'm really happy for you tracey. it makes me happy anytime someone makes it out. my lowest point was when my absolute best friend in the world died from an OD. i quit for about 4 days, and then relapsed again after that. i just couldn't take it anymore and after i relapsed after my best friends death it was kind of like well, thats it then i guess. if jail, losing everything i cared about, losing my house and my gf, and my best friend dying couldnt make me stop then nothing will. but thank you for sharing your story. it really is inspiring.

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    1. Well a good time to quit is soon. Many times ppl who have been using for awhile have success because they are truly sick of living that life. There is lots of good info on the internet now on success at hole detox combos. I always recommend reducing your use as well. Good luck

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  12. I just went to the Tenderloin tonight and bought what is hopefully my last $20 of BTH. I have clonidine, Immodium, Ativan, various vitamins, and some marijuana (next step is to cut that out of my life, but for withdrawals it keeps me sane and sedated). After the 3-4 day mark when I am able to get out of bed I am going to go to the closest AA meeting here in the Sunset and am going to attempt living a different life. I am a student currently at SFSU and I failed all my classes last semester so this is really my last chance. You're an inspiration Tracey, you truly are. I am watching "Dark End of the Street" right now to remind myself why I am trying to quit. The first time I watched it was for research for Health class my senior year of high school (I didn't try heroin until I was in my second year at college, after which I shortly got hooked and six years later here I am, still hooked) and I am freaked out because right now at age 25 I am either the same age or older than the subjects of the documentary.

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