Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Raw and Uncut

I had a flowery story but I stratched it off today's list. This story is raw and uncut. The last day I used, I used speed heroin cocaine weed and booze. It was the day before check day. I had settled in with a half ounce to sell. I shot a half gram and two dimes. I was fucked up beyond reason. There wasn't a big police chase or much drama. I went out of that room in handcuffs with a whimper.

It took a awhile in processing for the high to start to wear off. I ignored the girls who pulled crack out of their pussy and smoked it in the cell. I knew what was coming for me- pain. Kicking heroin is a living death. I have seen grown men beg to be suffocated by a pillow, too weak to stand.

By the time I made it to the kick tank after stripping naked in humiliation. Inmates are forced to spread their ass cheeks and squat and cough. Some drugs are dropped or found. Most are not. I was processed into the kick tank. The kick tank is a large multi person cell with mattresses on the floor. Plastic bags are provided to hold your vomit. The first day I was fine. By the second, chills shakes vomiting. The jail provides an ibuprofen, Tylenol, belladonna. You have to provide evidence you have puked to get a shot of compuzine. I was not smart enough to lie. Alcoholics also get Librium. Shaking starts. The ride began.

I was hallucinating so bad I was looking for my outfits aka needles in the blankets. I started master bating any time I was awake in hopes I could sleep for ten more minutes. All of the feelings that have been numbed seem to arrive in your crotch. The utter humiliation of having the deputy ask you to take you hands out of your pants to get your tray. A total animal. Years later, I used to see that same deputy when I worked in the jail. Did she still think I was nasty? Who knows.

Around the third day, I was paralyzed by muscle cramps. I was wishing I could die. The worst part of the detox is that now your mind is clear enough to flood in memories of all the terrible things that have ever happened. Why did I do this to myself? If I get the chance to get out of here, will I do it again?

I don't recall the argument now. Another inmate jumped on me in my vulnerable state. As I grabbed her neck and reached back to beat the living hell out of her with my last bit of nervous energy- I froze. I had a moment of clarity. I AM NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE . I am not fighting her. I not fighting -period. I am going to get out of the motherfucking kick tank (that's how I talked back then) and ask to go to a program. Fuck this life.

And I did that. The woman from the story ended up passing through my life some point. She had apologized to me the moment after the altercation ended. She did not remember the moment my life changed. I certainly remember. She later lost her arm to an infection that left her bone exposed before she got help. She lost her arm but eventually got clean.

As for me, you know the rest of the story.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Feelings

Feelings are inconvient. Feelings are in the pit of my stomach. Feelings put me on the edge of tears for lack of reasons. I can talk myself out of most things. I'm a suppressor and debater of all things emotional. But feelings, they do me in every time.

Feelings are like a handsome face that cranes your neck to see it passing. Longing for something long gone by you saw out of the corner of your eyes. Some people call it depression. I call it repression- those feelings bubble up at awkward time. Feelings are like a houseguest your forgot was there that shows up needing more attention.

I share my head space with a select few. I have my boxes, my compartments for you and you and you. My inspiration, in a sense my salvation are the little faces that smash the packages I try to keep still. In the light, I really am not wrapped too tight. Feelings feelings feelings. No medication, no sedation, just relations. Feelings. Again?

Today is four years since the death of my father. My son is also four years old today. Cycle of life.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Drug Porn

For some reason I am super emotional this morning. For the most part, my emotions are pretty muted. I am not the type of person to cry at weddings or funerals. It is hard to solicit a laugh from me. I spent a good portion of my life numbing my feelings. My children can easily break through whatever protective veneer I have placed over myself. Instinctually though, I have survived in this life by stuffing my feelings or purely ignoring them.

Out of the blue, a thing or a person can smash through whatever denial I have of my human condition. I work in an environment where jaded is a required job skill. Counselor who are not jaded end up killing themselves or relapsing. This situation is counseling though. It is my real life. I see a reflection. I see a mirror into myself. Suddenly, I am forced to deal with my own pain and it is glorious. It is the feeling you get from picking at a scab. Some people would never understand but but I do not want to smooth my hurt over with a band aid. I want to dig it out and look at it.

I am so relieved there was no Internet or cell phones when I was using. However, in a sense the movie Black Tar Heroin is nothing but drug porn. It draws people in looking for a brief encounter. You tube had made individual frames available. In many ways, the movie should have helped my recovery but it also could have completely sabotaged it. You know what? I am a mother fucking addict. Sometimes, even the worst seems like a plausible reason.

Here I am though. I am putting more blood on the pages. Cutting my heart out for you to examine. I am clean but I am not cured. I hurt for you. I can cry for you. I have these feelings.

Below is some education porn

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Today's guest post: Ruvi from Germany

You asked me if I wanted to keep myself anonymous, and for a minute I was tempted to say 'yes'. There are still people who don't know I was a heroin addict, or maybe just people I like to believe don't know I was a heroin addict - I was, after all, so very subtle when I begged them for money or fell asleep in the middle of lunch!

Actually, though, I not only don't want to remain anonymous, I don't think I can. These are the things I did. These are the people I fucked over. These are the places I wasted my time. It is frightening but it seems to me that there cannot be a way forward if I continue to deny or hide my past - because to hide things from others is also a way of evading consequences, and hence ultimately another way of hiding from oneself.

I want to say here that I am still afraid of the fallout from my addiction. I hesitate to take an AIDS test. I know this is stupid, even possibly wrong. I have the referral for testing from my substitution doctor on my desk. I don't think that I caught HIV. I was always careful with needles, spoons, filters but - you know? There were times…I shudder to think…there were times when I was sick and did whatever I had to do. There was no thought about tomorrow. Only about being well. And despite being now in a treatment centre, and being off heroin for 6 months, I am still too frightened fully to know the wreckage I am going to have to deal with in the future.

It is only really now that I am realising how addiction is a disease. While I was on heroin I would tell myself that I used because I didn't want to get sick. It was as simple as that - begging the question why millions of people never touch heroin in the first place, much less end up sticking needles in their private areas. Now I struggle with boredom and depression, and it tempts me to do everything excessively - anything with a quick release, like shooting smack. Drinking, eating, gambling - never did I think that some twirling lights on a slot machine could be interesting in any way.

All of this makes me wonder what addiction really is and how it works. For me it is a short-cut to some form of satisfaction. I am a lazy man. This is not to say that I cannot work hard, but rather that I look for quick pleasures, fast responses, extremes that happen now rather than take time to work towards. This is the opposite of my actual interests. I love reading, writing, taking my time to learn. The conflict between impulse and interest drove me to using drugs, and now I am trying not to use drugs, it drives me to other places far darker and more difficult than the shittiest shooting gallery I ever wasted my time buttering up a dealer in exchange for a fix.

And this is where I am. Methadone helps but defers problems and I know that. But it is not like heroin. There are no highs and lows. Being in treatment gives support psychologically which in the past I would have rejected but which I now think I need. The days, though, stretch out in front of me and I don't know how to fill them. I have gotten in contact with old friends who avoided me and I am scared they won't understand or care about everything I am going through.

Maybe it is not entirely true to say there are no highs and lows. Just not the artificial ones created by shooting dope. There are times when I feel as if I am waking up emotionally. Last weekend I went to a Psychic TV concert, and the beauty of the music, the performance, the atmosphere, was so intense that it made me start crying. Then there are the frequent times when I panic looking into the future. Often I am manic, irrational, prone to fits of rage or raging sadness. 6 months into treatment and I am still learning how to deal with an emotional life I have spent so many years suppressing.

I would like to say something positive, Tracey, because I know that other people may read this who are suffering similar or worse things. But what can I say? Solidarity is a wonderful thing and it can change the way you see things. To not be alone - isn't that what everyone wants, always? I'm nowhere near clean - dependent on a doctor's prescription, going 3 times a week to a clinic where I have to pee in a cup so that they can believe me when I tell them I'm not using. I sometimes wake up and my first thought is 'Shit, another fucking day'. The alternative, though, is to go back and get high and watch another year stick its ravages in my body and mind. No alternative. So I am keeping going because there isn't any choice. And I wanted to write this so that other people know how hard it is, and that you're not alone

Friday, April 26, 2013

Guest post from B from USA

Before I post, I am inserting a caveat. I  am completely abstinent meaning I do not drink, smoke pot, use drugs , etc.  However, in the real world, not everyone else is completely abstinent. I like to get divergent opinions from others. I also have been prescribed medication for pain after surgery. I took it as prescribed by the doctor.  I also have anxiety and have been prescribed ativan as needed for panic attacks. I have only taken three of them in a full year. However, if I need them, I WILL take them.  My point is- everyone is different. Recovery is different for everyone.

Even now my insides kind of die thinking about it... truly one of the most powerful films of my lifetime and many others.
What can I say? Was I a Suboxone success story? Have I been a "success story"? To those who follow a certain strict abstinence-based path... perhaps not... I of course disagree, and thank God for the lovely people of San Francisco and other progressive cities working to further the harm reduction movement. I actually weaned off three years ago. I do enjoy some alcohol from time to time. Mostly it really is the "glass or two of wine", but I have been blackout drunk a couple of times. Hey, I'm bipolar. I simply don't like pot. No opiates, benzos, coke, etc. for almost three years. I weaned off suboxone maintenance in January 2010. There were a couple of very short term binges but.... I just didn't have it in me. I am a nursing student, almost done. Nursing and medicine is my absolute favorite thing in the world. It has been in my life before and after drugs (and no I didn't do it do get drugs!) The nursing textbooks will tell you that most opiate addicts will "mature out" of their addiction in their mid to late thirties.
Well, that was me.
It was either my age or Black Tar Heroin.
I have absolutely no idea how I found the documentary. And really? Why should I? Do you remember much of life under the influence of an oxycodone and Soma cocktail? I only pray that you weren't as foolish as me. If you are reading this you have most likely seen the film. I was living in Santa Fe, chugging along in my prerequisites for school, working at a grocery store, actually a perfect life for an addict. Northern New Mexico has had the highest rate of heroin overdoses in the country for decades- or did before everyone started carrying naloxone in their car- and the local culture was very amenable to addiction.  While we didn't coddle each other, we didn't ask questions of each other either. 
The life of a junkie. I was blessed. I would give anything to have the beautiful 2 bedroom duplex with the little yard in Santa Fe again. I live with my Mom and stepfather in DC now. But I will. I just gotta finish school. Anyway, I digress. My point is, it wasn't exactly the San Francisco SROs or streets... it was both where I was headed and where I was. I felt intense love for all five of the film's "protagonists." Also like many, I figured most were no longer alive. I know that Tracey has spoken of feeling disappointed that the film never mentioned her eventual recovery in any way...but when I googled her that first time seeing the film back in 2008, for some reason I wasn't all that surprised to see that she was alive and doing very very well for herself. Despite everything I saw a sturdy individual....and DEFINITELY a smart one! Jessica truly brought some of the most horrifying moments of the film for many of this I think. I watched my uncle die of AIDS before the new medications of 1996.  I cannot imagine the horror of coming off a nod in jail, detox, oh you're positive... As an aspiring RN I know the virus can be extremely unpredictable. The most pivotal movement of the film?
Jessica lying on Turk Street. In broad daylight. Was it Turk Street? I don't know San Francisco all that well. Of all the homeless people you pass every day, you don't always know that their grandfather raped them as children. That their mother allowed it. That that could be your next stop on the heroin- or opiate- express.
I made an appointment with a Suboxone doctor the next day.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The highlight reel

I am sitting in a doorway. My feet are pounding. My shoes are two sizes too small. I scored them on the sidewalk. My socks are wet from days of rain. The sweat from walking the miles of the city has made the flesh start to peel off my feet. My veins are throbbing. I have no options left. I have been sticking needles in the soles of my feet. My arms and legs are covered in tiny blood spots. I have poked myself over and over looking for that sweet spot. There is no mercy for junkies and fools.

They put me out. They promised me I could stay the night. I paid to get in. I shared all my drugs but at three am they kicked me to the curb. I am tired, too tired to argue my fate. I am sitting in this doorway. I am wet again. The tears are rolling down my face. There is no place for me to go and no place where I am wanted. It slowly starts to rain. I shiver, I shake. I have no jacket or blanket. I am staring at my reflection in the pool of dirty water. What the fuck happened to my life? The shakes . My flesh crawls. Sick, no money. The liquor store is closed. I hold my legs for warmth. Fuck my life.

Addicts don't want to play the whole tape. We want to run the highlight reel- a snap shot of the good times. Think the whole thing through. In the picture below illustrates damage I did to myself from shooting up in the arch of my foot.

Guest Blog Questions Answered

I have received 15 questions on guest blogging for my site. These are the major categories:
What is the theme of the blog?
My blog is about addiction, depression, family, transition, horror, humor, filth, and self forgiveness. I hope that you have been reading regularly.

Will you revise my submission?
 I am not an editor so I suspect I will publish your post without my comments. Although I do retain the right not to publish something I personally find offensive.

What would I need to talk about?
You do not have to be a freakishly open self discloser like me. I think that this site has a sense of community for many that read it. I get people from all corners of the world with a variety of different perspectives on drug use/addiction.

Why should I do it?
Why not? You have all these thoughts, why not put them out in the world? You can publish anonymously if you so desire.

You can email me at traceyh415@hotmail.com or traceyh650 on twitter if you have more questions

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Clean Sock Appreciation Day

A pair of crusty discarded socks are pictured here. These socks are so hard and stiff, they can stand at attention. This poor pair deserves a post of their own. They are a testament to the struggle of their previous owners. Sadly, some other homeless person will come along on put these on because they are less offensive then their current pair. I would like to declare today as clean sock appreciation day. The clean sock is seriously under appreciated by all but a few. Dear socks, I salute you.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Crash course in cravings

I was looking for a picture to post on here or an image that would inspire me.I thought about taking a picture with an old syringe we have here. It is used to give the animals their flea medicine. It comes without the needle thankfully however it is strange drawing up fifty units for my cats. I put the empty drum against my arm to take the picture. Stupid, I thought. I wonder if this triggers someone just to see the image. It makes for cool art but certain images are religious artifacts to current and former addicts. Just a glimpse of their outline in our peripheral vision recalls euphoric cravings.

In my years off of drugs and alcohol, my process has been a unique one. I get cravings, yes, but in odd situations. I would like to share a story of my own stupidity and callous complacency.

I was walking to work from my apartment to the methadone clinic. I worked at a top notch clinic for many years that was free and supportive of clients. I used to walk to work in the pitch black. I am telling myself this is to get exercise but there is a stillness before the sun comes up. I am more comfortable among the scurrying rats, junkies, and immigrants searching for a days wage then I was in the presence of strangers. These streets, all two miles of them, I traversed in comfortable vigilance.

Working at needle exchanges made me keenly aware of the sharps scattered along my path. Cats are attracted to shiny lights. I am attracted to small opportunities along my path. A smile in the darkness, a redirection, a referral. The clients expect me there at 6:30am but I frequently come in at 6:00. You can sleep on my couch in my office, use the bathroom, be a human again.

A few blocks from my work, I stop. What is that? Under the awning I find a few scattered syringes. I'm going to take this into work. Kids and recyclers can get stuck by these all out in the open. I can drop my bucket off at work. I'll drop these in my bag.

A few more blocks. I turn off the alarm and get in my door. It's early today- is it six yet? No clients, no staff. No one but me. I empty out my bag. Wtf? My heart literally stopped. I have picked up a fully loaded syringe. These were used works that were left in haste. This was a carefully crafted wake up that was dropped in error. In a moment of agony, my stomach turned. I am alone with a syringe full of heroin.

There was no one to call. I had plannedto put the empties in the sharps container. Now I was in touch with a much larger dilemma- my stupidity had lead me to the precise fear? What the fuck have I done. I get cravings. Alcohol. The smell. I put a full syringe down the fucking toilet. I achieved the unachievable. I was ready to see my first patient.

I never collected needles again unless it was needed for safety reason. I had haphazardly played with my life. A client asked me once to hold a thousand dollars in cash for him. He was in a klonopin blackout. What did I tell him? I am not well. No. Just because I am clean, I am not cured. That is why I need to follow rules. I need to follow my own instincts.

You get the picture. Here it is. A lesson learned not to play around with things that are so unsettling.





Cabbage Stew

This is a guest post from England:

Before i opened my eyes in an early morning, i would think 1. have i got alcohol next to the bed or wherever i was, 2. Have i got gear or enough money for gear, next swallow a few diazepam to help alcohol withdrawals then spew up then drink my vodka.This was everyday the same.
After drinking maybe a half litre of vodka i or my wife at the time would argue who's going to score as nerves were always bad in a morning.So we got the gear, had a dig and fell back into the same usual feeling and eventually would go out to find ways to make money but thats another story..I am 50 now and have been clean 99% of both drink and drugs well heroin! but still have the odd downer and i am capable of drinking one beer or two if i go to the pub but no more, this is once a month at most as i was in hospital last year through a brain defect wich made me forget to take my methadone and also my insulin.I was seen wandering around my town with odd trainers and pyjama bottoms foaming at the mouth.Eventually so i am told i got home and was found by my Mother who had been informed of my situation. I was admitted to hospital where i swore and spit at fellow patients and nurses so i am told.
My stay in hospital (this is all long term alcohol and drugs effects) was a collapsed lung, fluid on the other, pneumonia, pancreasitis and diabetic problems which all together put me into an induced coma for 5 weeks.
After 5 weeks i came round but was a cabbage and could not do anything except breathe.
I had 7 tubes in me and would eventually start to get better over the next 7 weeks in hospital.
It's now a year later after being on a peg feed am alot better but walk with a stick but i remember thinking many a time in hospital that i was going to be a cabbage(bad term) for the rest of my life.
I would one day hope to educate children and youths on the ills of both drink and drugs as i have had many brilliant times but also many hospital stays - DJ

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The evolution of happiness

I was not going to write anything this weekend but I wanted to put in a few words about how incredibly lucky I am. The family life I have is too wonderful to describe in a few adjectives.

I was at my daughters softball game today. The field is a mixture of sand and grass. It is all fenced in with gates that are slightly rusty from the sea air. As I was trying to think of some type of profound advice to provide to her , I looked down and saw animal tracks. The tracks were clearly not dog or deer. They were from a bobcat. The tracks let to some kind of natural crime scene where some slightly smaller tracks ended. As I reflected on the natural order of the world, I thought about myself. I rose above the world of predators to walk upright again. I relish my place among the humans.

I took my place on the side of the field. I let the other parents step in and teach while I observed. Sometimes I just need to watch and enjoy the progress I have made in the past fifteen years. Yet I am completely exhausted. It is the type of tired that comes from actually caring about every single day. Goodnight or good morning readers.

Behind the wall

Todays guest post is from the UK:
I often think of a situation that happened quite a few years ago, and wonder why the person involved agreed to do it? Forced, owed money, or maybe it just appealed to him.
In the North of England there are rows upon rows of terraced housing, over a hundred years old. There are small back yards to the rear, and 'ginnells' we call them, which are like a big pavement to get you round the back of the properties. This particular area was pretty run down, there were as many empty properties as there were people living there. There were a lot of squatters, and a lot of drugs.
So basically a group of dealers came up with an idea to stick someone round the back of a disused property to sell dark and lemo. (heroin and crack). But instead of leaving this guy exposed, they gave him a mattress a bucket, and built around him and his new found items with bricks and cement, so he was basically "bricked in". There was a small hole so he could make his transactions, and people used to pass him through food.
He couldn't empty the bucket, so it stank in there, and has there for a good few months before the police found him.It took them a while to knock down his new home, and a lot longer for them to retrieve the drugs from his person, as rumour had it, he slept for a solid week.
I wonder how long it took them to find a suitable candidate for their idea? drugs,food,and a bed...I wonder if they were inundated with offers? I wonder if I would have been desperate enough to do it??
Paul Payne

Friday, April 19, 2013

Looking for guest bloggers

I try to be superwoman. I am maintaining this blog, writing a book, working full time, and spending time with my wonderful family. It occured to me after reading some of your emails, I would like to highlight some of my readers as guest bloggers on a Saturday or Sunday. This is when, in theory, I should be paying special attention to my family. There is no money or compensation. However, your writing would get exposure to 100-150 daily readers from around the world. Posts would be around 4 paragraphs so 250-500 words. Total abstinence is not a requirement. Email me at traceyh415@hotmail.com for more information.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just don't cut my face

I completed my 28 days of methadone detox. I was feeling pretty good about myself. When I kicked the $50 a day habit, I was able to slow down. I was sitting on the rocks at the civic center one night. The rocks were part of a public structure with a fountain in the middle. The night breeze in SF changes the water from fountain to hose. We moved higher up to stay dry. I am drinking a 40oz when I find my new boyfriend. He had a black eye and a bald head. These were all the things I needed to know.

My new boyfriend was not a heroin addict. He would drink and lose his mind. He was not used to someone like me. I was not a social person after coming off of a year in a nod. I have maintained by room through a combination of county welfare and tricks. I was recovering from a horrible case of hepatitis A that allowed the county to maintain my welfare checks with just a phone interview.

I am going out. Where are you going? I need money. Chipping again. I thought you got off that shit. I am off of it. At least for a few days. I took some pills Kat gave me. I am okay but I need some money. Don't go. Yes I have to. I'm telling you not to fucking go. You are all fucked up. I will be right back.

As I head out from the hotel, my legs became heavy. How many pills did I take anyway? Two or three? I lost count. I was feeling shaky so I took a few more. I guess I took eight klonopin and three Xanax. As I cross in front of city hall, my vision is more and more narrow. I need money. I am walking with weights in my shoes through six feet of snow. Like a blizzard. I am frozen.

Can you tell me what time it is? What where are you? A few feet down in the stairwell. If I wasn't so close to death from the pills I would have noticed. I am boxed it here. Then I saw his friend at the top of the stairwell. I get this. I saw the kitchen knife. You know what honey, we do not have to do this. I can take my pants off. Please don't cut my face. I need my face, that innocent face that draws men to me. As I stood against the wall, he did his business. He did not need to rape me. I should have seen this a million miles away except I was too loaded to even see.

I'm putting my pants on now. As I sat and listening to him smoke crack and ramble on for what seemed like an eternity, I slid into a fog. Yes, you are right. Maybe I will come see you again. I am leaving now if that is okay with you. I do not need you to walk with me. I'm home now. No, I did not make any money. Yes, I never should have went out. I do not need anyone to hold me. I don't feel anything anymore. I guess you can hold me. i am sorry i did not listen to you. Just don't touch my fucking face.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Some times it makes me happy"

I go on you tube and other film sites once a week or so to see what people are saying about the movie "Black Tar Heroin". This may be how you found me, found my blog. When the movie came out, I was one bitter bitch. The first week it showed on HBO in the US, it had like two million viewers. Suddenly, I went from anonymous person in early recovery to poster child for junkies everywhere. The exposure was painful.

The first few years after the film came out, I had some regrets of slitting my wrists in front of a camera with no chance of being saved. My mother was quietly embarrassed as was my family. Many people admired me for being honest. Mostly, the fact that the film never mentioned that I was clean stuck in my throat like a splinter. Would the painful piece expel itself or lodge deeper in my core.

After a few years, I entered a long fuck it period where I was rarely recognized. A few times friends had viewing parties of the movie. I would get pissed as if my life was a big fucking joke but then I realized the brilliance of the irony. I have this record of a horrible time in my life done by an Academy Award winning director like a dysfunctional home movie.

A few years ago, this movie reappeared in bits and pieces on you tube. I ignored it at first. I would get random friend requests on Facebook which I mostly ignored in haste. It finally occurred to me something was going on. Spanky directed me to a you tube page. I saw a ground swell of support for the IDEA that someone in the movie could recover. I made a decision to come out of my cocoon of normalcy and share myself. I am embracing the legacy I left to many. Unless you know I have been clean and others are, the story is not complete.

There is a scene in the movie where I am looking out the window. I remember being there, that moment. The feeling of desperation. Some times it makes me happy. Being the carrier of hope can be a heavy burden because I am imperfect. However, just by existing I provide insight on the human ability to regain freedom from substances and thrive despite no evidence that I would survive. I embrace the story. I rewrote it for you



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Relationship Question

After the question of can I stay off drugs, the next question is the relationship question. If you have a relationship, a person may ask how can I convince this person to stay? If you are separated you wonder if bold sober gestures can return your lover's affection. If you are alone as most of us start off, we begin to plot and scheme our way back into some type of relationship.

I was quickly formulating ways to manipulate outcomes. Although I had never had a healthy relationship, I was sure I could secure one with all my prowess. I was staring into a pool of water. The reflection I saw was not myself but the person I hoped I could evolve in to after I found a man. I needed to see myself clearly before I could begin to find a relationship.

Of my early recovery suitors, one relapsed. Another discovered he was gay. A third was a sex addict. The final one, the one I thought had some possibilities, beat the girlfriend I did not become. A victory of common sense saved me from that man. The years I spent celebate pursuing my own self interests was time well spent. I needed to reset my dead beat magnet - turn it in the off position.

Meeting my husband was a happy accident. Sometimes I just need to clear out the damage in my life to make room for the opportunities.

Devil on your shoulder

I have been working around addicts since before I had less than six months clean. I consider myself to be relatively jaded however my walk to work today provided some new levels of sadness. First of all, in the San Francisco Bay Area we have a train system known as the Bay Area Rapid Transit or BART. This BART is not to be mistaken with the other BAART. The other BAART is a string of methadone business well honed into a money making machine. Anyway, upon arrival at BART, the smell of piss is completely overwhelming. Three of our four escalators are out of service. It was recently documented in sensational headlines that the escalators are breaking beacuse they are getting clogged up with urine and feces. I hope you are not eating breakfast readers. That is the reality.

As i got a few blocks closer, there was a man standing in front of the donut shop. I smelled him long before i saw him. he smelled like feces from a half a block away. This many clearly had a devil on his shoulder.  He has some sort of mental illness tormenting him. The devil sits on his shoulder whispering hateful things into his ear. And all the while he listens, unable to to raise his voice loud enough to create a silence. San Francisco is full of people like this man. they can function JUST ENOUGH to stay out of the hospital but have issues taking care of them selves on a daily basis.

Finally, as I turned the corner, I saw a homeless nest where a woman was camped nect to her wheelchair shooting dope next to her dog. None of these things should shock me anymore. I see all of them on a daily basis. I try to help my little corner of the world. The saturation here can be so overwhelming at times. Sometimes, I cry for the dogs because I can no longer relate to the people. I have lived in many states, many places. I have visited slums, housing projects and crack dens. But this is all out in the open. When people focus on the tragedies of the world, I see the tragedies at home- the devil  on the shoulder.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hey Readers!

If you are from Russia, Thailand, El Salvador, Norway, Mexico, the UK or anywhere - I would love to hear from you in comments or email.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Jesus Jim

What type of man will go searching for the company of another man? A man like Jesus Jim. Jesus Jim was a kind soul, or at least he thought he was, and generous. He met my boyfriend at the hustler spot. I am not sure how they struck up a conversation. My boyfriend was gorgeous. I would have wanted to fuck him myself. In fact I did from time to time when the drugs did not take my appetite away.

My boyfriend and I had an arrangement. He was a hooker. I was a hooker. We pooled together all of our money and misery. We both had the same dos and don't- no kissing, no anal, do as little as humanly possible to get the most money. At night we clung together nodding off and eating ice cream. We were in love and unashamed because we had each other.

Jesus Jim fell in love with my boyfriend. This man lived his whole life "in the closet". He was a youth minister, a pastor , or some other title that frowns on fucking boys off the street. He was mildly attractive. He was employed. He could have easily found a boyfriend in a perfect world. However, the world is not perfect. Jesus Jim was alone in his predilection and preferences. He liked my boyfriend to put lube between his legs while they were tightly crossed. He would hump the wet spot. This is also known as "trick sex". Many prostitutes have learned that straight men get so excited they don't even realize they have not entered the female. But this was two grown men in a painfully embarrassing embrace. He would give my boyfriend the money. Jesus Jim would hug my boyfriend for tolerating his ridiculous needs.

Jesus Jim wanted to be our friends like one big happy family. It made it easier for him somehow that my boyfriend had a girlfriend. That was what HE wanted! If my boyfriend could do it, maybe he could too. There is nothing worse that a straight person coming around two junkies trying to work out their issues. Hello! I have issues of my own. I was dating my seventy year old sugar daddy at this time. My only saving grace was that Viagra had not yet been invented. That is a whole other set of embarrassing stories, I digress.

I am not sure what happened to Jesus Jim. He took us to Disneyland. I am not sure if I am the only one that shot dope in the parking lot there or if it just feels like it. I am sure I will burn in hell for that one. Anyway, we had to call the whole hooker thing off when we got on methadone. The tricks, our relationship. My boyfriend and I spilt soon after. When you do shameful things, it is hard to look at that person everyday and remember. It is what it is. In that moment, I was like Jesus Jim. I wanted to hide a part of my self so others could like me. Except now dear readers, you know the truth.

Choices

My week at work was fucked. It started out with a client assaulting a staff member. Glass was everywhere in our lobby. When a client is taken away in handcuffs by the police, it is never a good feeling. There is a serious downside working with addicts and people with mental health issues. They are unpredictable.

The person was crying way before the police came. I know that cry. There is a particular cry that we all have when we KNOW we have fucked up. Whether it is a relationship or missing an appointment or using again after periods of abstinence - we just know we fucked up something good. For many people, this begins a cycle of depression and self- loathing. It is easy to feel worthless. It is much harder to face our mistakes head on. Opiates lend themselves to stewing in your own brew of negativity. Opiates create a hatred marinade. And the flesh that gets grilled is tough. It will not yield to delicate handling.

There is a scene in Black Tar Heroin where I am laying on the bed with a red face. I have just used heroin for the first time after six months. Yeah- that feeling. I can pick myself up or roll with the downward spiral. I chose option number two there. Today, I accept myself as capable, lovable, resilient. If things happen, I am going to roll with them in a way that is working towards a solution. Chose wisely friends.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Inspired by my Readers

I am truly inspired by you readers. I love reading your comments and emails. If you do not Speak English, email me your questions. I will put them in google translator and send the answers back to you. traceyh415@hotmail.com

A Typical Mourning

The children get up around 5:45 to 6:00 am. Yes, that is extremely early. I am a heroin addict so I really enjoy sleep. Now, I really enjoy coffee. The three kids like to watch television before they go to "school". I had made a promise to myself that I was going to be a responsible mother and fight obesity by not letting my kids sit in front of mind sucking programing. Ha! That still makes me laugh. with one child, there was a certain amount of novelty and ability to cope with things. With two children, we could spilt our attention. Now, we went from man to man to zone defense. If it was not for "Dora the Explorer" I would not be able to get ready for work in the morning. Really, I have tried it. Between them jumping off the furniture and hitting each other with toys, I can barely get my bra on with out breaking up an argument.

I never thought I would be in this position in my life. The first five years of my life were just focused on staying off drugs. I was in treatment for six month, four years in a shared transitional house, and six months getting acclimated to living with a partner. Having the children makes my life so complicated in many ways. First, I am forced to give a fuck. I have to care- about people, about the environment, about what people think of me. Most of all I have to give a fuck about what these little people think of me because I love them and I do not want to ruin their lives.

Secondly, I have to work. The children require things such as a place to live that is somewhat stable. I lived in a room with no bathroom for four years and was fine. I do not require many things. I love my children but quite honestly they are in daycare and school because I do NOT have the patience to stay with them every day. Sometimes they talk to me as if I was crazy. the whole street mentality kicks in "who do they think they are?- ah! They are five!. I am more than willing to work and have the care givers care for them. It makes my time with them more special. I get torn. I cry at my desk. I am being realistic.

Finally, I am in a mourning period. Soon, the house will be done with little people. They are still small but getting bigger all the time. I can have no more children which may be a good thing as I will be close to sixty when my youngest finishes school. All of these things are luxury problems. I get to be their mother. I walked my daughter to school today. For the first time, she wanted me to try it will her. her little legs carried her. I held her cold hand. the wind whipped around us as if we were alone. I was her mother and she loves me. All of our petty arguments over her sparkly shoes where behind us. I did not get clean because of these kids. However, they force me into reality every day. Life is in smiles and not in the syringe. Simple.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

TShirts Update

Thanks you for all of your interest. I have six lucky readers who will be getting a shirt. I am a  procrastinator so be patient. One has already been shipped out with more to follow. When it gets closer to the time when I am finshed with the book, I may print another batch.

The Baby Factory

Deep within the prison of my soul there was a baby factory. The baby factory was surrounded by the strongest steel. It was a dream that was guarded at all times. No one went into the factory and no one came out for thirty six long years. The baby factor lay dormant- waiting wondering - would there ever be activity or would the doors stay closed forever.

I would tell people about the baby factory. Many of them would laugh. Who would want a junkie slut for a mother? Who would ever want me? I started to believe those things to be true. The plants covered the barbed wire. Ivy grew across like tracks on an arm or a leg.

At thirty five, the heat got turned up in the factory. I began to sweat in anticipation. I had found love. I had found life. It was time. The switch was turned on. I manufactured three beautiful children. I crafted them with love and care. They received the best parts of myself. I am an artisan. I am their mother. I risked my life for these children. I let them cut me open three times in five years. My final scar a testament to a dream that would not die, a place in my heart that could not be taken sold or slaughtered. The baby factory.

The baby factory is closed now. I cut the fence, cut the ropes, let the land rest. It has produced joys beyond an addicts dreaming. We can hold still.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The hammer and the nail

One of the things I struggle with in my daily life is the feeling like I am somehow different from other people. Many times, this is the absolute truth. I sit in a staff meeting and I can pretty much be assured that no one else there lived in an alley, had survival sex, or has track marks that look like a relief map of Brazil on their thighs. The divots look like valleys while the unadulterated flesh looks like Virginia peaks in comparison.

Many people do something in their lives that they find troubling or shameful. What if there were a thousand of those things? Each street corner or song or memory or movie creates a recall of cringeworthy events. I think many people relapse because they cannot sit with the stew. The heavy feeling in your stomach as if you swallowed hot rocks of remorse. It is hard to start over.

I came to a place of forgiveness within my own paradigms. On prostitution "well at least I was getting paid for it while she was at a bar giving it away for free." On being an addict " at least I was not harming other people, just myself". These were a new set of rationalization that have changed over time.

I have come to the conclusion I survived for some greater purpose. I give a voice to those who suffer in silence. Everyone has their own narrative but mine is one of forgiveness of self. Any day I do not stick a needle in my neck is a day full of accomplishment. I have achieved what escaped me for many years- a day with out drugs.

There is a Japanese saying that the nail that sticks out gets beat down. Some days I have to enjoy being board.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

DUI?!!! DU WHY?

This is a brief excerpt from the book:
            I have been arrested 11 times. The first time was for shoplifting four packs of  Kools for a friend. They were so grateful at my attempt to resolve their nicotine cravings, they left me at the store after I was detained. I had to get myself home from the central station in Downtown Cincinnati.
             The second time I was arrested was much more typical of the addict experience. I was out late at the bar. I had been studying for finals so I had been running on very little sleep. I was not the best student at this point so I would cram and month into a day and hope for the best come test time. I was out for a quick drink and a dance at Cooters. This was a nightclub that hosted gay dance nights. I had been sampling my favorite- vodka and cranberry. I have racked my brain for many years. I honestly do no remember having more than a few drink. For you novices, one of the issues with mixed drinks is that you can not always gauge the amount of alcohol in the drink. The unspoken rule at the bar is that the better you tip the bartender, the stronger the drink. I always tipped well so my two drinks could have really been like 4-5 drinks.
            I am not sure if I fell asleep at the wheel or if I passed out. It was a long drive from Clifton, where I hung out, to West Chester. The drive was between 30-40 blurry minutes. Many nights I woke up in my bed with no idea how I had got there. Only one time did anyone ever take me keys. I woke up from a blackout in my car. I was trying to start my car with a stick. I was so pissed at my friends. I easily could have killed myself or other people at least fifty times, a years worth of weekends when I drove drunk or high. The night I finally wrecked my car, I hit one guardrail and spun across the highway to hit another. I was so frantic. Could someone just give me a ride to my friends house? I was so close. I had ripped my tights. My knees were bloody and bruised. The car was destroyed but I was only concerned with a ride. It never occurred to me that I had been drunk. Never. I was just tired. The field sobriety test was complete rigged but I just happened to blow over the legal limit. Fuck.
            I have been arrested 11 times. The first time was for shoplifting four packs of  Kools for a friend. They were so grateful at my attempt to resolve their nicotine cravings, they left me at the store after I was detained. I had to get myself home from the central station in Downtown Cincinnati.
             The second time I was arrested was much more typical of the addict experience. I was out late at the bar. I had been studying for finals so I had been running on very little sleep. I was not the best student at this point so I would cram and month into a day and hope for the best come test time. I was out for a quick drink and a dance at Cooters. This was a nightclub that hosted gay dance nights. I had been sampling my favorite- vodka and cranberry. I have racked my brain for many years. I honestly do no remember having more than a few drink. For you novices, one of the issues with mixed drinks is that you can not always gauge the amount of alcohol in the drink. The unspoken rule at the bar is that the better you tip the bartender, the stronger the drink. I always tipped well so my two drinks could have really been like 4-5 drinks.
            I am not sure if I fell asleep at the wheel or if I passed out. It was a long drive from Clifton, where I hung out, to West Chester. The drive was between 30-40 blurry minutes. Many nights I woke up in my bed with no idea how I had got there. Only one time did anyone ever take me keys. I woke up from a blackout in my car. I was trying to start my car with a stick. I was so pissed at my friends. I easily could have killed myself or other people at least fifty times, a years worth of weekends when I drove drunk or high. The night I finally wrecked my car, I hit one guardrail and spun across the highway to hit another. I was so frantic. Could someone just give me a ride to my friends house? I was so close. I had ripped my tights. My knees were bloody and bruised. The car was destroyed but I was only concerned with a ride. It never occurred to me that I had been drunk. Never. I was just tired. The field sobriety test was complete rigged but I just happened to blow over the legal limit. Fuck.


Help! Or what does that mean?! Some resources...

In the past few weeks, I have had about twenty comments and emails from readers who have questions about getting "help". First of all, I am willing to put this in print, total abstinence is not for everyone. I am not sure of your individual circumstances but I am not judging anyone. The world would be a much kinder place if we focused on helping people be happy and healthy. If you are interested in learning more about "harm reduction", here is an excellent website http://www.harmreductiontherapy.org/ . The people who run this center are kind people who really believe in personalized goals. There are some excellent reading materials and links on here as well as information on books. For overdose prevention and drug eduction materials you can go here https://www.facebook.com/#!/DOPEProject

I, personally, am completely abstinent. I feel this works for me so I do not mess with it. In addition to 12 step websites, there is a wonderful website called Lifering. They have secular recovery. I am including a link to their workbook. You can print some of their chapters for FREE http://lifering.org/recovery-by-choice-workbook/ . I used these when I had a few years clean and found the relapse prevention tools basic but effective. you can also look on the www.SAMSHA.gov website for information on locating treatment in the US. They also have a methadone and subxone locator here http://dpt2.samhsa.gov/treatment/directory.aspx

I suffer from anxiety. Here is a workshop I did on self help for anxiety and depression http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTMWxwPb9Xk&list=PLuXsTQQ2Ec5oBPrinFurFFIqqidS1l7jx

I used to work at this place. They have prostitution related resoureces http://sagesf.org/

Finally, if you have a family member that sufferes from mental health issues, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill has many resources on their website. If you are looking for per support around mental health issues, see if there is a Mental Health Association in your area.

I hope these help.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Confessions of mini van mom

So I was not afraid when a man put a 22 in my face and threatened to kill me. However dear readers, I am terrified of driving a car. In fact, I become a complete nervous wreck even as a passenger in a car.

I was in an accident in 1992. There was blood and chaos and the jaws of life. I still remember the sounds of my friend screaming. Her leg had been crushed.
It was raining. I asked Lance how my face looked. I could tell he was lying as he said I looked alright. Blood was rushing down my face. As I reached up, I thought I was touching my forehead. I went into shock when I realized I was touching my skull. The skin had been peeled back and apart

My face! My fucking face. They stitched me up with inch long stitches fifty of them in total. I must have looked like Frankenstein. I am surprised the bar Sudly Malones would serve me. Vicodin and Vodka.

They said I would need plastic surgery. I got strung out soon after. Flash forward to today. My daughter needs me to drive her to school tomorrow. I have thought of fifty ways to try and get out of it. I had a massive panic attack in the middle of driving last year. I am not afraid of what other consider dangerous but my mini van is making my chest tighter. Breath breathe better maybe. We will see.



Saturday, April 6, 2013

Stray cats

Yesterday, I had an interesting interaction with a man by my work. I walk down an alleyway to get to my job every morning. The alley is frequented by addicts of all types.

A year or so ago, I had to perform an exorcism there. A heroin dealer was meeting his clientele there every morning at 8:00am. At first, I was offended. I never found a dealer to be consistent let alone on time. Then, I was irritated that my old clients from the methadone clinic started trickling in to meet this guy. Finally, I was pissed that the guy wore eye glasses. What kind of a heroin dealer wears freaking eye glasses? This man had to go. I told his clients to kindly insure four eyes that if he did not shake this spot, I would call the authorities. Absolutely no respect for the sanctity of the detox.

Anyway, my new boyfriend from yesterday was FULL. This is a term used in the gay speed world that indicates a person is out of their mind on meth. My new friend had his things sprawled all over the sidewalk. Though he was not blocking the door, I came out because he was making the non recovery people afraid with his tweak able and general mayhem.

My new lover was tall. He had a awful neck tattoo and blood shot eyes. He had on two pairs of ripped pants, red ones under ripped black pants on top. He had various tattered garments placed around his body to create a shirt of sorts. The situation was almost comical except this was his life. This had been me. I spent many afternoons sunburnt and disgusted outside sorting through trash for treasures.

As he packed up his belongings he had retrieved from various dumpsters, he catalogued them to me: a nightgown, large panties, shoes with holes in the soles, plastic wrap, the usual. I got him a Gatorade and a banana to help move him along. He was asking me if I found him attractive as he tried to explain he was not interested in recovery. He would just get his stuff, pack in in his cooler, and try to move it along to a new spot. His conversation became more and more sexually provocative as I focused more on giving him an idea of what detox is and how to get in. We both had something to offer.

Eventually, my coworkers and I got my love packed up. The funny thing was he only made it a half a block away. I got two lunches yesterday. One for myself and one for him. This man had been up for days. He reminded me so much of myself- are you tired of this? He started eating the soup. He does not know anything else. I had forgot until that moment that if you have never been clean, you can get to a point where you no longer can picture it. He asked me if I was married. 16 years or so ago, this man and I could have been together in this alley. Not today sweetie. There will be no picnic for us today. I hope he enjoyed his cookie, his soup, and maybe a tiny bit of my story. I also hope he will not be camped out for me Monday.

Friday, April 5, 2013

My Little Family

I talk ALOT about my addiction Blah Blah Blah. The real joy in my life is my little family. I have three kids which is kind of astounding considering I was not even sure I wanted them until I was 35. My husband is a nice man. We have been together since May 2000. Honestly, he is the first healthy relationship of my romantic life. I put a ton of personal work into myself. I will be spending the next few days doing family stuff.

Giveaway- Black Tar heroin tshirts

I have some tshirts that were made to celebrate my 7th or 8th recovery anniversary. I am willing to give a few away. Email me at www.traceyh415@hotmail.com I only have large and extra large. I am going to give away five. I can ship them internationally.

Pictures

More pics from some of the areas where I used to use. These are along market street in San Francisco. The last pictures is a screen shot I took of how many people are reading my blog. I am completely shocked as I just started in late January









Thursday, April 4, 2013

The First Person

If you are wondering what it would be like to meet me, I am a total bitch in real life. Everyone thinks I hate them for the first two or three months they know me. It is not that I hate everyone. I am very socially inept so it comes across as if I am scowling. Plus, I am silently judging you. I am summing up all of our differences.

I was harshly ridiculed in elementary school because of both my weight and my intellect. Children were very cruel to me. There were many days when I imagined myself being an entirely other person. I would sit out in the yard in the summertime. The screen doors would be open. I would listen to my parents argue. I would imagine myself as an adult but I was generally dissatisfied with my visions. There was one summer I did not take a shower or get out of my pajamas for two weeks. I am not sure what my parents thought because they did not say much of anything. There was not a word in my vocabulary for what I call it now- depression.

Depression comes in waves for me. It is not a constant. I am never entirely sure what triggers it but I have had it my entire life. I have never taken meds for it. I spent seven years in therapy. I was first sent to a psychologist in junior high school. On and off depression.

Off the drugs, I have no buffer for my feelings. I am not drowning my depression in vodka and crystal meth. I deal with the cycles the best I can. I have support from friends, I have my hobbies. I have you dear readers. I am the first person to tell you I am willing to ask for help when I need it. Even if I am afraid or shy.

Eating me alive

Part of my story- the story of my human frailty- is my relationship to my body. I became a compulsive over eater at around six. My weight, or lack of self esteem has been a life long issue.

In my addiction, I got down to 119 pounds. This may not seem small but I am 5'8". At a 119 pounds, I was completely flat chested. You could see all of my ribs and my sternum bones. I had no fat left. The last place you lose weight when you are starving is in your vagina area of which I had no fat left. Me and my boyfriend were two skeletons on the bed. Still, I would look at the fat calories on food labels. I was obsessed with being thin for the first time in my life.

Around the time of high school and after, I got down to 160 pounds. This was my ideal weight according to the multitude of weight loss programs I attended in my childhood. The first time I saw a friend eat a whole pizza and throw it up, it was a revelation. Binging, purging was a little to stringent for me. My friend and I used a combination of laxatives, enemas and blood pressure meds we took from our mothers to get to our ideal weight. All the validation was worth it at the time. No male was ever interested until then. I was very fragile before I became so strong.

I am telling you these things dear reader because the drugs and their use are part of the story. The pain we feel, the lack of self acceptance tears down the soul. I can embarrass myself for a few minutes to release you from feeling alone. Today I am perfect with all of my flaws. I can accept myself as you can accept me.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Historic Recall

I am going to spend my lunchtime at work writing more for my book. I am up to 54 pages. I would like to get a first draft complete by June. I think I will complete my goal. Writing this book has messed with my mind. I am dreaming about people I have not seen in many, many years. I had a dream about heroin last week. This is not unusual but always unwelcome.

In case you are wondering, I am the manager of a large program that helps ex addicts and people with issues such as depression get jobs within the cicil service system. We provide meaniful opportunities for employment. My salary is paid for directly by the California 1% tax on millionaires to pay for innovative mental health services. Chances are if you used drugs, you have some history of anxiety or depression.

 I have a certificate in substance abuse counseling but I do not work directly with clients on a daily basis. I am in constant contact with addicts seeking recovery as they are in my office building. I see them everyday waiting in line for detox. Many are at the worst point in their life seeking help. There is also a suboxone pharmacy on another floor of the building. I ran into an old friend there a few years ago. I used to go over to his apartment to get away from Ben when we were having our arguements.My friend had been shot in the head in the middle of the day. He was shot from a few feet away right where we used to hang out and survived. It always seems like who died and who survived is so random. Who ever shot him must have really wanted him dead. So very random. yet, he survived and this STILL did not stop him from using drugs. The motivation to stop also can be quite random. As a drug counselor, you never really can tell who is going to stay clean. Random.

I am attaching two pictures. One is the black tar heroin DVD and one is a pic of a few items I was handed down from Jake after his death. Writing this book is dragging out all types of memories. My son was pulling at his pajamas because he wanted to get his pull up off. He wanted "diaper on". These kids are so strong willed. They wear me out!



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Playing Around on my blog

First welcome new readers from Russia, Columbia, Nigeria, and India. As an interesting fact- my children speak and understand some Russian. Secondly I am playing around with new formats and backrounds. I am a writer not an artist so feedback would be appreciated. Also, ready to take your questions.

Check out time

The goal of many a street level drug addict is to find some place inside to live. This may involve a few key steps: finding a rich partner, finding a sugar daddy ie a John to pay all bills, finding an abandoned building, finding a shooting gallery that has room for you. A shooting gallery or crack den is a place where addicts congregate to use drugs. I have seen beautiful houses turn to rot and grandmothers turn a blind eye for a small fee.

I was the type of addict people did not want to share space with. I was not a thief nor a liar. I could never find a vein so I would spend up to two hours with a ten pack of needles poking at myself. Today I know I am blessed with extremely low blood pressure but then I was cursed. I would scream and cry. Residents would be in their delicate nods while I roused them with my frustration.

I "own" a home today. Really, the bank owns it but someday it may be all our. It is nice to have a stable place to call my own. The walls are pretty bare in my house. I actually have pretty few in the way of possessions. My children have filled the space. They make our house a home. I share my life with them and they keep me present.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Like Stones on My Chest

I had a friend who died last year. She used to say our troubles lie on us like stones on our chest. Just when we hope to take a breath in, the weight of our burdens crush our ability to get out from under our problems.

I try to keep my life simple. The reality is I am in a constant state of nervous energy. At first I thought all the years of drugs made me different. Not true. I ate away my feelings. I numbed all the frayed edges. Many days, I am one step away from losing my mind. I am not adverse to admitting my flaws. Holding together a family, a job, and being one hundred percent sober is a challenge.

Many of my readers ask me if I do any sort of substances. The answer is simply no. I cannot drink. It sets off immediate cravings for drugs like a cascade effect. I do not take any type of medication unless absolutely necessary. It is too easy for me to reach for a pill. The feeling is a familiar one, like a comfortable pair of pajamas. The problem is when I put those pajamas on, I never leave the house. I stop interacting with the world. Honestly, opiates and benzodiazepines make me depressed and feel sorry for myself. My problems become like the stones on my chest.
Posting the pictures of my scars was easy because you already know my pain. You know about the burden of addiction. My joy in recovery is harder to put into words. It is a stillness. It is a satisfaction. It is the knowledge that I am not going to demean myself for something that may not even may me feel better. I am safe and I am reasonably sane. I can accept love from others. The burden is lifted.

Spring break

I am spending today hanging out with my kids. They are so close in age it is hard to keep all their memories from blurring together. I love spending time with them. I am generally a person who is short on patience. They are teaching me to relax again.

The kids are camping in their room.a little different than my experience camping in a shooting gallery and much more pleasant