Monday, February 25, 2013

Why Write? Why Now?

I have always liked to write. I wrote a book of poetry and a book of fiction when I was a teenager. I always have all these thoughts up in my head that drive me crazy at times. I question myself, I over think things. Some where in the world right now, a person is suffering as I have suffered in the past.

I have watched a few little pieces of Black Tar Heroin recently. On one level, it is painful for me. How did I get to that place? How did I survive? On the other hand, I achieved all of the goals I outlined in the film. In 2005, I got my Bachelors degree in Business Administration. In, 2007 I completed a Masters Degree in Public Administration. I have three healthy, drug free children. I did all those things and more. It can be hard going back to that place. However, I see it everyday in the work that I do, the alleys I cross to get to my job.

I came to San Francisco in April of 1992. I really believed I would go home someday. I also believed that the drugs wouldn't get me. Within a few days, I was passed out on heroin, psyche meds, Klonopin. I was slumped at the bottom of a stop sign. Some good Samaritan stopped and asked me if I needed a ride. "where do you live?" they asked. "Ohio" I told them. Well, obviously no one could take me back there. I had $900 in my pocket. I had my college tuition refunded to me so I could get out of Cincinnati. I was devious, she told me. Ungrateful and hostile is more like it. I was staying with a friend here but he had to put me out as did a series of other friends over the years.

Drugs were like a thirst that could not be quenched to me. The more I got, the more I wanted. One day, there is a subtle shift. You are not just "partying". You cannot go back to you regular life. There is no fooling yourself. When you are wiping blood off your arm with you pants ducked between two cars in an alley way, there is no more delusions of grandeur. Everything in your life crystallizes and you are frozen in the moment of complete failure- this is my life. I am an addict. You have to bounce from that moment to your next hit with out flinching. There are crimes of debilitating humiliation to be committed. I must embrace my fate fully with complete acceptance. The rush of question makes you a victim on the street.

There is nothing worse than using with an addict that talks about recovery. Nothing. Shut the fuck up! You are killing my high. I am in the moment. I suffered for this poison. Let me close my eyes. and sleep. Talk about recovery in the morning when I am sick. Tonight let me forget with fuzzy edges and sleep with no dreams.

Why write? Why now. I have a story that someone needs to tell. A collective unconscious memory for all those souls that have passed through the same misery. Some survived- most did not. We existed. We endured. And now we live.


  1. This is an excellent piece. I relate strongly to how you describe that moment when realisation dawns (and dawns and dawns - since addiction is a series of realisations and evermore extreme denials)...This is my life. Looking for a vein in the palm of my hand. Panhandling in a pair of broken-down golf shoes. Sitting in a dealer's apartment for hours watching him play videogames and laughing at his jokes in the hope that he would dish me out some gear.

    Freud said that one of the defining characteristics of trauma was that it plays itself out repetitively. Addiction is a trauma. It is enacted over and over again. And you get worse and worse. At the beginning, I thought I would never shoot up anywhere apart from my arms. Then I couldn't find any more veins. Then I looked in my feet. Then I ruined them. And so on...

    That you broke the cycle is incredible and life-affirming. As you have written before. Some have done. Many have not. But as a recovering addict, I can tell you (what you probably already know!), the knowledge that others have passed through what can seem like an utterly unpassable landscape really does give people (me!) more courage to continue.

    1. Thanks. you are very articulate. maybe there is a writer in there.

  2. I just watched Black Tar Heroin and then followed a rabbit trail to your blog here. You should be very proud of yourself for not only making it back - but thriving in your sobriety, most are not as strong. Thank you for sharing your experience then, and now.