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Showing posts from July, 2013

Things Every Junkie Needs

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I am going to make a simple list:1. New needles. After shooting up bleach by accident and shooting up bleach on purpose after accidentally putting it in my hit, I cannot endorse these enough. In addition, having them break off in your neck, groin, or other sensitive area truly sucks. And, caught out in the world without them, you might be desperate enough to boot up with someone's that provides you with the gift of Hep C or HIV. A brand new needle should be sealed at the top with a matching seal in the plastic and the cap. (Maybe a reader can throw a pic up in the comments). It also has a tiny bit of airspace at the top. Check your needles!!!!! I have known people to see or give needles that were "new" to people that had blood still in them. One guy was tweaked out of his mind and gave me a "new" one. He was HIV + and I could have gained the same infection if I would not have checked.
2. Clean water. I have shot up with booze, gutter water, grape soda, water fro…

Lunch with a reader

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I had lunch with a reader today. I love meeting people who read my blog. We were in the hood today so it made me a tour guide of sorts through junkie history. There is so much stigma around addiction, he had to hide his face. I was so happy he agreed to hang out with me.

Lonely

The room can be full of people yet I feeling like I am the only one. My bed can have another body but I turn my back to their side. I was born a lonely person. There is no flowery or poetic description to tell the world what it is like to feel trapped inside myself. Loneliness is a sensation like taste our touch or smell that leaves you wanting a bite of something. It is like my skin is too hard to penetrate the sweet core. I can be surrounded like a swarm, yet I feel cold while you feel warm. SNAP SNAP snap out of it. If I snap anymore I will break in pieces. I am fractured enough from my chemical moods. I feel up then down. There is no ceiling when you hit the floor. Or the bottom.

Turning Blue

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How many times will you overdose before it is over? How many times will you wake up on the floor, in the jail, or behind the wheel of your car going down the highway? When did the doe start doing you?

Yes, yes. I really do not understand you at all my friend. I have NEVER fallen asleep will crackers in my mouth. Oh wait, yes. Yes I have had the pleasure of a little fire on my arm from someone smoking and nodding out into me. Fuck yes I have bashed my head on the concrete walking in a nod. You think you are the only one who jabbed a bloody bent needle into your leg when you couldn't find a vein. Uh no. I have sucked the dope man off AND lost everyone that care about me. Yes, I see your misery and raise you. I bet you never lived outside with a shopping cart. Trump!

Cut all that...you have been clean so long stuff. TIRED! So tired. The circumstances may be different but the feelings are the same. In the end, the drugs do not care if you are employed, rich, poor, where you live, or w…

Drugs are an illusion

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You ever have a day where it seems like everyone has left? Where did the time go? Where did my life go? I was just sitting here trying to get a hit. Then, one day I looked up and you were walking away with someone else. There is no one who can stop the pain I feel knowing what we had was real but now you are over me. I see the grayness in my skin and the ashes that burn like the spoon in front of me. Just add water to my reality. I can give you forty units of my time as long as you surrender to the fact the person you knew ran away.

Most people are running to something. We like to set a goal and reach for our assumptions of happiness. I found this ONE thing that makes me happy. This ONE thing but it kills me just the same. Have you ever seen someone turn blue? In their glassy eyes you see the future. Do I give them what they need to live or do I walk away from life. The decisions we make change the course of galaxy. While we are looking into the stars, other people have their feet o…

Kicking

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I would estimate that half of my emails from readers involve questions around withdrawal from opiates. First of all, by the time many of you have decided to kick the habit, there are not that many people left to for a conversation. You may be isolated in your room, on your couch, locked in your grandmother's basement, or staying with a person willing to give you ONE last chance. You email me thinking somehow I understand you.

Secondly, you are desperate for a connection. When you withdrawal from Opiates, all your emotions come pouring out at one time. You are angry, crying, and confused. Then, suddenly, you feel like you are going to puke or crap or both at the same time. Even if you have decided to go on suboxone, you still need a period of no drugs. To add insult to injury, you may have an erection for the first time in quite awhile, yeah! Oh wait. No, no, no. Puking, a hard on, sneezing all at the same time. Sleep- what sleep? Legs are twitching and moving while you lay still. 

Exposed

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The movie "Black Tar Heroin" took away my privacy for many years. Everywhere I went people knew me. From drug dealers, to junkies, counselor, and strangers people all had an opinion on my condition. As the years went by, the barriers of time provided me with some shade. The spot light was no longer pointed directly at all my scars.

A few years ago, the documentary began  appearing in various forms on you tube. This was a fact I learned from Spanky. He used to take his little section from the movie and proudly comment on his few seconds of fame. I found this horrifying and interesting at the same time. "Who is watching this movie?" My curiosity got the best of me. I decided to go take a look for myself. After reading some of the comments, I realized that the world needed to hear my story. The powerful message of the film is that we get clean or we die. I was willing to open myself up again because I know about the suffering of the addict. I also know the joy of gett…

My Opinion on Your Habit

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Dear readers, it makes me sad that so many people who email or chat with me describe themselves as a "failure" because they are addicted to a substance. In my eyes, you are not a failure, you have endured and survived while many have your peers have perished from the same condition. Drug addiction is all consuming, hateful, and take us to lows beyond our imagination. You do not have to be pushing a shopping cart to feel worthless or ashamed. The very fact that you are willing to reach out to a stranger on the Internet shows your strength. I may not be next to you to support you. However, I care for you. I give a fuck. I am sure others care too, you just may not believe this to be true. Do not give up hope. Do not give up on joy. Love to you- Tracey
Below is another urban camping picture. The can next to them is a slim fast which is a drink to lose weight we have in the US. The irony was not lost. 

Guest Post From Lance PA, USA

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Looking back at the 10+ years of my active addiction, I never once saw faults in my relationships with people I loved with all of my heart. I always thought everything was fine and that if there was a problem it would go away with some talking and nurturing, but with the blinders of heroin over my eyes, I couldn't ever see the truth. 

 My first relationship, real, true, inexorable love, was with a blonde girl 6 months my senior and a grade above me in high school. We met through my uncle, as her two brothers were his good friends. In the beginning everything was absolutely incredible. She was the love of my life, and still to this day it's hard for me to really write this knowing what I threw away. She sat at my table at lunch alot but never took notice to me until the one night my uncle, her, and some other friends of his and I decided I go midnight glow bowling. She fed me Hershey chocolate bars, stuffing my mouth full until I could barely breathe. That's when I started t…

Guest Post Judi from US

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This story is about Judi and myself. I am the person in the story she is speaking about saving her from an overdose. We are both miracles. She runs an awesome bicycle shop. Check out her business www.spunbicycles.com . Not only do we recover, we can thrive and enjoy a full life without drugs.


This a picture of me and the guy who introduced me to the needle. Later, after we broke up, he saved my life one night


A girl I used to shoot dope with is on my Facebook page as of recent weeks and she posted that this morning. I clicked the "like" button and posted back to her 'LMAO'. I did laugh a little when I saw her post.

This particular girl and I have a history that goes way, way back. We experienced some bad things together. She now has her masters and lives out west helping other junkies get clean. She also has a family and all the other good stuff that comes when you put the dope down.

Finding a vein. When I see my new athletic veins pop out, I think back to the days when …

Shamed to Death

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After we complete at stint in rehab or in jail, the expectations set for us are so high. For many of us, there is no where left to go but down. Addiction is a chronic medical disorder. The cause of our condition may or may not be self created through poor choices in the same way over consumption of food can cause diabetes. Instead of blaming and shaming us, we need realistic support. While it may be true that diabetics do not steal things to support their sugar habit, the criminalization of a medical condition has pushed addicts into the shadow world and out into the elements.

Who is worth saving? Naloxone is a medication that can quickly reverse an opiate overdose yet it is only available at a few hundred sites across the country. Are you lucky enough to be in an area where you can receive a rational treatment for an accidental overdose? The naloxone can be administered by yourself or a friend or relative. Even grandmas get confused and take too many opiates. Are they worth saving? W…

My insecurities

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I woke up today and hated myself like I have so many days before. I am sitting in tears that I stuff deeper into all the boxes I constructed to keep you from hurting me. I hate my fears. I hate my eyes. I would rip them out and give them to you if only you could see me. You pass through my life. You slipped through my fingers. I can see your hazy reflection. You are like an outline of the life that I imagined for myself.
Some days, I wake up and I hate myself. Not dislike, not like “oh I wish you would say some nice shit about me so I can feel better.” Some days I wish I could hold my breath until I am safe. It is part of knowing you spent six years with a needle hanging out of your arm. It is part of why I used in the first place. My anxiety. My insecurities. You want to know me. You say you want to know every single part of me? The bitter comes with sweet. The tears taste like salt from the ocean where I tried to drown my sorrows. At least this story comes with a happy ending.

Belo…

News!

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A reader generously provided the funds for purchase of a chrome book. To celebrate their generosity, I am going to set up times in August to webchat and Facebook or IM chat with you readers. I will make times available for you on a first come, first served basis. You can ask me addiction or Black Tar Heroin related questions. I should be able to do ten of these chat sessions so be on the look out for details.
The picture is another in my urban camping series.

Heroin Sucks.

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Heroin Sucks. It sucks the life from you. It sucks up all your time and energy. It sucks away the friends, family, and support system we need to thrive as human beings.
I am sitting on my couch drinking coffee. When I first started going to 12-step meetings, I used to get sick to my stomach. It took me months to realize it was from the smell of the coffee. Cheap black tar heroin is cut with coffee. I never drank coffee before recovery. The smell if the coffee brewing set off that craving that you feel in your guts. 
People ask me if I still have cravings to use- fuck yes . I would LOVE some relief from my daily stress.  I could curl up right now in a lovely warm blanket of opiates with a benzo chaser. My body does not work like this scenario. One is never enough. When that switch is flipped, I want more! More is not enough. It is sort of like when you are sitting in a circle of people and the crack pipe is being passed. You can not focus on being high for long because you are so focused…

Guest post/letter

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This is an email I received from one if my lovely readers living in another part of the world. I asked if I could post this because it so perfectly sums up early recovery. You are so vulnerable at that point. People can also be so harsh with judgement. Stay strong! The picture below is another in my urban camping series. The straw hat clearly blocks out the insanity of addiction. 
Hey Tracey, I went to my first NA last night, it was pretty surreal. I am so emotionally fragile (I'm still in the midst of kicking with Sub) and have been so isolated apart from being with my boyfriend these last few months that I literally cried any time somebody looked at me, and couldn't talk at all. It was hard, I'm not a tough person, all these people seemed so much tougher than me and I am like butter, plus heroin has significantly diminished my already desperately low self-esteem to the point where I feel like I'm walking around with my head down and my tail between my legs like a beat…

Things People do not tell you about Heroin- part two

Please feel free to add your own in the comments:
5. You may very likely fall asleep with food in you mouth. Amazingly, you may just re chew and swallow that same tasty morsel later. This may be something along the lines of grahamn crackers, a cinnamon roll, etc. As yummy as it sounds, it is WAY better than trying to spit that stuff out with a pasty mouth.
6. If you nod off next to a person who is also nodding, they may burn you. There is nothing more irritating that waking up to your shirt or the bed on fire. Add a few klonopin in that mix, you may wake up engulfed in flames.
7. No matter how many times you say you will cuss the connection out, you never will do it. You will wait patiently in the rain for 1-2 hours envisioning acts of violence on said dealer then thank them when they hand you your stuff.
8. If you are selling drugs, everyone hates you. Yes, I know, you also use them so you think it is cool. It is not- they hate you. Trust me. Worse than a junkie is a junkie that then s…

Guest Post From Norway

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Guest post from Norway
By Kaja Andrine Hultgren
My uncle was a very gentle, kind man. I have heard stories from when he was a child. He didn’t make much out of himself. They say he was lazy and didn’t walk until he was 2. His father was an alcoholic, and his mother (my grandmother) was not able to understand what was happening when my uncle started to hang out at night with the wrong people. I’m told that he started injecting heroin when he was 15. He told me he smoked pot for the first time at a club for teenagers in the neighborhood where he grew up. The club was started by the local church ward so that young people should have a place to hang out, it was supposed to keep them off the streets. This was back in the 60-70’s, and in Norway, Oslo, at that time, no-one had any real experience or knowledge about the consequences of doing drugs. Many teens of my uncle’s generation had their drug debut at this club, and many stories have been written and told about how a generation growin…

Things people do not tell you about heroin

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1. Chinga babies- after you have been hooked on opiates for any period of time, you can no longer poop well on your own. When you enter a period of sickness, you may give "birth" to a chinga baby. This is when you suddenly have to poop and an enormous hard poop the length of your colon decides to come out an an inopportune time tearing apart your booty. 
2. Coagulated blood hits- when you cannot find a vein, you may put a syringe clogged with blood and dope to the side. At some later time, a few hours or even a day down the road, you may rethink that hit. I have taken the liquid out, picked out the clots and stuck that right back in my arm. I also did a few of Ben's coagulated blood hits. Ahhh love! 
3. Impotence- Shhh. It's a secret unless you have ever fucked a male addict. After awhile, things do not work in the nether regions. Unless they take a hit of crack or speed. Then, he is too busy looking for white specs on the carpet to get busy. 
4. No periods. Yes ladies,…

Another Day in Paradise

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There is the San Francisco you see as a tourist. Then, there is the San Francisco I see as a health worker. Our city is unlike so many others. I've used in many cities across the US but San Francisco is like no other. We spend our time and energy saving the lives of addicts on a daily basis. It clearly is not enough readers.
Even in a "liberal" city like SF, we waste so much money on locking up low level drug offenders. Our drug policy fails at nearly every level. The United States needs to stop the War on Drugs. We then need to turn our attention to addiction as a health crisis, not a moral failing that deserves incarceration over treatment.
We also need to take a look at the privately run opiate replacement clinics that gouge suffering addicts for profit at the weakest point of their lives. These clinics charge up to $400 dollars a month when both suboxone and methadone come in a generic form. Why do the costs continue to remain so high so what should be standard medical…

He has my toes

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After the excitement of bringing home a newborn wears off, then begins a lifetime of parceling up parental characteristics. I have three children. My middle son has my face and eyes. My daughter definitely has my love of books. She also has my penchant for a good screaming fit from time to time. My youngest son has my toes. He loves a good, long nap which I like to enjoy with him. 
Unfortunately, I wonder on a near daily basis, which one of my children will be an addict. A better question- how can I keep this from becoming a reality? My children have never seen me take a drink of alcohol. I will never be under the influence in front of them. I am completely open to questions, including the uncomfortable ones. I take them on public transportation. I explain about homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness. Most of all, we spent tons of time with our kids. 
Will these things prevent addiction in my family? I am unable to see into the future. I can tell you that I am more than willin…

The Still Suffering Addict

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I am thinking today of the still suffering addict. I am feeling for the person who just can not stop using drugs. I am sad today for my friends that are somewhere sticking a needle in the veins, finding a solution in a problem. I correspond with many suffering addicts. Some are in recovery. Some are not able to string together more than unstable periods of abstinence in between painful bouts of kicking. I love you all the same.
I love you with compassionate detachment. My pain is my pain. I allow your pain to be your pain. I provide a witness to your struggle. I provide a voice. However, I do not take on pain that does not belong to me.
I am here to provide encouragement not a crutch. I give you my love but never my pity. I understand your shame. Honestly, I just wish you would STOP fucking using. Okay?! I'm selfish. I want you to live.
This is an oversimplified version of my emotions. But kitty agrees with me


Celebrate Freedom

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Today in the US, we celebrate freedom from outside influence, a power outside ourselves. Sounds like addiction! Today celebrate freedom from active addiction. Celebrate the ability to break free of the drugs. Enjoy a moment or a day just to think about what it is or would be like to not be tied to a substance. I am spending some time in bed recovering from a minor illness. I hope you readers are doing well. Keep sending me questions.

Cardboard Box House

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A cardboard box house aka heroin hut or crackdeville is a common sight all around the city. Here are the steps to building an effective shelter. First of all, you must be loaded a least a month of two. It is critical for you to abandon all hope of sleeping inside. Add in a dash of paranoia that the shadow people may find you. You are ready. 
The next steps are all about real estate: location, location, location. You must strategically place yourself close enough that anyone wandering by might find you and give you some drugs. Plus, you can get a kick down for your space. Veins need to be warm so space inside your shopping cart villa may pay off if it is well constructed and safe from the elements. You must select a doorway or sidewalk that has limited foot traffic or the owners will surely call the cops. Finally, rest your cardboard on the tops of a hill. I have learned the hard way about people pissing above your stuff and how it rolls down hill. 
Do not sleep next to garbage. Rats jum…

Off the yard

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I used to say I need to make a cologne called "off the yard". I could spray it on a normal man to make him attractive to me. I am not hating on men who have been to prison. If anything, i loved them a little too much. Unfortunately, my vagina is not a halfway house for wayward men. 
One of the things we learn in recovery is that our judgement is off. We need to take time. Slow down! Go beyond your first thoughts. Take time to think about consequences. I should have realized anyone who wants to be with an active addict is also sick. Whether it is going to a party where people might be getting loaded or wearing a condom, a split decision can change your whole life. 
For me, the visual set off chaos. The flash of money. Neck tattoos. The look that told me this person REALLY needed me. I liked to call them "project men". Men like to fix up cars or stereo systems. Women like to fix up men. We like to put our stamp all over that dead letter and then ship it back "retu…

Gratitude List

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1. I did not stick a needle in my neck today. Yes! The day is good 2. I am (relatively) sane 3. Three healthy children 4. A family that Ioves me 5. Friends that love me 6. Clean underwear  6. Fage 0% yogurt my favorite in the fridge 7. Having use of my senses 8. Hot tea and cold water 9. Ability to feel things 10. A job that I love 
I am eternally grateful that is is not my life today. I'm not living in a heroin hut on the sidewalk. 

 I would love to hear the things on your list in the comments. I am so grateful for you readers.