Saturday, August 31, 2013

International Overdose Awareness Day

I wondered this morning how many lives Have I known that were lost to an overdose? The list seems to long to even count. It seems so easy at the time- let me just slip off and take a hit. Many of my friends died some where alone with no one to save them. What were the last things to cross their minds?Did they understand that they were dying? Would they have wanted to change their fate? Were they afraid? These questions will never have answers.

Today I think about my on life. Was I worth saving? I am married with three beautiful children. I am a good employee. I supervise 19 people. I have helped numerous people get clean in the course of 15 years. I am a friend. I have friends. I am the PTA treasurer. I am a loving and caring human being. What would the world be missing if I would have died of an overdose before I made it to recovery? Aren't we all worth saving?

We need more access to naloxone, available to users in the US in 200 different location. This may sound like a lot, yet states like Pennsylvania only have two locations for the entire state. There are still parts of the country where they is NO access to clean needles. I get these emails from readers. I will post one here. Please be safe readers.

 Im not an IV user, but my bf is, and its very hard for us to get them here. He will often use his until its very dull, and a few weeks ago, he had a needle break off in his arm. I was hoping that would stop him from wanting to go that route, and although he has slowed down, he still prefers to use the needle. I just want to help make sure hes doing it safely.



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Anonymous from Arizona- Guest Post

 I'm 17 years old, I started smoking BTH when I was 14 and within a year I fell into intravenous use. It was a daily struggle, and to make matters worse, I lived right next to the border in Tucson, AZ! Everything there was inexpensive and of fair quality (50 - 60$ per g of black, gave nods and pins/needles off of just one point with a high tolerance, knocked you out otherwise), and before long it became a daily struggle of fighting off sickness and finding ways to get money so I could pick up. 

 Thankfully, now I am about 6 months clean now off chiva. My parents moved me to Phoenix earlier this year in February because I OD'd real hard after getting out of a 60 day in-patient rehab program. I didn't have any heroin connections here, so I resorted to doing whatever I could get my hands on once I got here; I downed fifths of hard liquor every day, smoked eighths of bud in one sitting, popped oxys, dillies, percs, k-pins, xannies, whatever I could find to fill this empty void. The only thing that even came close was listening to Lou Reed while crushing and banging 8mg dilaudids one after the other until I would overdose and black out, wake up bruised with a bloody nose from falling over, have a throbbing migraine, n puke covering the tile floor. My apologies on being graphic.. but even then I kept going, trying to fill that void which I mentioned earlier. I couldn't stop myself, and nothing could satisfy me as my beloved chiva out of my reach, so I resorted to going to great lengths in order to imitate that high, or that "low," rather. 

  In the end, this attitude of not wanting to face even a hint of sobriety ended up hitting me hard. On May 17th of this year I did some really stupid shit while I was under the influence of many substances, and I was arrested and detained, and placed on roughly 3 months of house arrest (ankle monitor and the whole bit). August 5th is when this house arrest ended, and I was placed on one year of probation. Twice a week I have to go to this place called TASC and piss in a bottle while some guy watches me. 

 I don't know when I will be able to stop going and submitting these drug tests, but I must say, this is really what's been keeping me entirely clean for the first time. I've tried in-patient and out-patient rehab, didn't work, I've tried NA, I resorted to fixing in the bathrooms during meetings, I even tried getting a sponsor and the whole bit! Wasn't my thing, unfortunately. It wasn't until I saw the documentary (Black Tar Heroin) for the second time this year that I actually had a legit desire to stay clean. Not some "oh I should get clean" attitude, but a "I really need to figure my life out before I fuck up and OD again, what if I end up six feet under this time" kinda thing.

 Yeah, the drug tests keep me in line, I can't fuck up or I'll get detained again. But there's like a bigger picture than that, like.. life, for real. "What am I gonna do with my life," panhandle on a daily basis and live my life as a heroin junkie, from fix to fix? No, I'm better than that. And you helped me come to such realization. Being a junkie only ends badly if you can't escape the strong grip of addiction before it's too late. Now that I have this opportunity, I'm going to try my hardest and make the best of life. A sober life. 

Saving Lives

I hope my blog is part creative outlet and part education. In addition to my writing, I answer questions from 50 or more people per week. One person had heard about naloxone distribution in San Francisco from something I wrote in a forum. We became friendly and I agreed to send them one vial of naloxone last week. 

Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of an overdose. Sending it through the mail may have been foolish but it was something I felt compelled to do on that day. This is not something I have the ability to do on a regular basis. I have also sent clean needles to people who have no ability to obtain in their city. It is hard to believe we still have places in our country where people have no access to clean needles. They refuse to sell them to non diabetics at many pharmacies and many places do not have needle exchanges. How is our society so advanced yet so backwards at the same time. Harm reduction saved my life. I simply try to give back what was given to me. 
 
If you would like to get involved in harm reduction by volunteering or making a donation, please email me traceyh415@gmail.com. The naloxone was used to save a life. Below is a screenshot of the story. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Now what?

I am in a similar place as I was when I came off drugs 15 years ago- a questioning place. I finished my book on Sunday. Honestly, I thought I would feel happy or relieved but it is more of a sad feeling. I had this whole relationship with my words. I was constructing them in a way to illicit a response from the reader. I felt a certain amount of importance in those moments. In some ways, it was almost as if I was visiting with old friends. I cried at points in the writing process. I laughed at my own mistakes. Most of all, I felt something and that was exactly what I needed when I write about my struggles.

 It is a good book. I am confident of this fact. I have let some people read it, although no one had read the final version because I completely rewrote the last 15 pages. I want people to hear my story. The goal of the book is to revisit the horrors of my addiction knowing there is a happy ending. I did my best to describe on San Francisco in the 1990's in vivid detail. Most of all, I attempted to describe my thoughts and feelings at the time. I know many people read my work are looking for some insight into the addict experience.

Now what? The crushing question of how to get my book out there. Honestly, I am not sure how rejection my fragile self esteem will allow in the process. Mostly, I am strong. However, there will always be this piece of me that feels less than others. Just like the fat kid that got picked last for teams at Hopewell Elementary. Or the only woman who lived outside with a shopping cart at my treatment facility. Am I somehow flawed beyond repair?

My determination will not be silenced by doubts. One way or another, I am getting this book in your hands.


Monday, August 26, 2013

The Extremes

Are you dedicated to the cause? Will you do anything for dope? I felt like I was completely dedicated to my addiction. However, things take a darker turn at despair and completed desperation. I was not as dedicated as other folks. They went to the far extremes.

I have never let anyone pull my teeth for a Vicodin script but I have known many people who have done it. I knew a junkie who prostituted with a colostomy bag to pay for her needs. I knew another who was out getting loaded with an infection in her arm going down to the bone. I've known men to have sex with other men knowing they are heterosexual. I have seen people shit themselves in public but have to keep moving to get the drugs to cure their illness. 

Addiction is full of extremes. It is full of highs and lows. Not everyone has been the places I have, seen the things I have witnessed in my time. The thing is- many of these people have not survived. I must stay clean. I must be the historian to junkie history. I must be able to tell the cautionary tale of drugs and the extremes humans go to to use them. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Guest Post- Ruvi from Germany

This is a combination post and email that perfectly explain the struggle

It is now that I am on the journey to being clean that the darkness of my innermost temperament starts to haunt me. I was always, since childhood, remarkable for my morbidity. Nights were perpetual sources of terror, and I was afflicted for many years with the conviction that everyone I loved would die before I awoke. I was only when my mother and father really died that I become both less superstition and more desperate in my attitude towards the world, myself, and my chances negotiating between the two.
I really was always inclined to being morbid, and depressed, but 5 years living only fix to fix has a tendency to not only make Poe's rich morphine addicts irrelevant, but also your own self-image of poetry, beautiful decay, and whatnot. Life is not short, it is long. Thank god, and if only it wasn't. Let those statements sort themselves out.
Now there is no escape plan. I am determined only on one thing - don't fucking use. I still drink, I would probably smoke a joint if I liked doing it. I would probably cry on friendly stranger's shoulder if I saw one.
This is the mess after the decision, and to be honest I'm not even very clear in myself why I made the decision in the first place - not to take heroin any more - but I cling on to the decision itself because I know too that thinking I forget the reason is just one of the games that my addiction plays to get me back where it wants me - smoking the foil, which is a prelude to sticking in the needle.
The needle. I fucking hate the needle so much. It haunts my dreams. Sometimes my father is there selling me the best gear with points on the package. This is the mess of my subconscious where once it was all valleys of beauty and Keats with his Grecian Urn.
I am joking at myself. I am trying to see the funny side because, 10 months into this therapy programme, if I don't find it all humorous, myself, you, my loved ones, everything, then I might get a bit confused.
But Tracey I know that you know all of this. I know I wrote you last week that I can hardly get out of bed in the morning. I also wrote that I'm horny and yet the thought of anyone touching me makes me feel strangely repulsed. I went to my doctor and he put me on citalopram. After much thought, I tried it. 6 weeks later, nothing, so I went back. He doubled the dose….
The concept of doubling down on a dose is one I am very, very familiar with, but since anti-depressants aren't bags of brown, I didn't go with his advice. He hardly knew me anyway….
Maybe it's different elsewhere, but here in Germany virtually no psychotherapists or analysts will see patients in substitution programmes, and they are generally wary of anyone with addiction problems. One of the many invisible realities of dealing with the Aftermath. Like being treated like a dog in the methadone clinic and wanting to cry or grab the worker and ask him or her whether they would ever treat a non-addict the way they treat me….
I know I'm complaining a lot here Tracey, and I know also that this isn't much of a coherent post. But it's how I am going. Getting fat on methadone, scared to open the door, fucking up my relationships, reading and re-reading the same 19th century novels because they give me an obscure comfort. This is not much in the way of insight. But I'm sending it to you anyway, and you can post it if you like, because if I've learnt anything from your blog, it's the value of knowing there are others who are feeling, have felt, or are doomed to feel, the same…..

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Body Remembers

A popular refrain from actively using addicts is that it has been SO long since the last time I used how could I possibly understand what it is like for them. Um, wrong my friend. I had to go through withdrawal in October 2007. Let me explain my last bad experience with drugs.

I was admitted to the hospital in September of 2007 to induce labor with my first child. I was experiencing high blood pressure and with my advanced maternal age, the doctors thought I needed to be admitted to the hospital. In the middle stages of labor, I really believed I could have a simple pain free birth. I accepted the epidural and the fentanyl. After 27 hours in labor and three hours of pushing, it was clear I needed a c-section. 

I was upfront from the minute I landed in the hospital- I am a addict. More like- I was a junkie. They already could figure it out when they could find no veins for my IVs. They debated putting a line for medication in my neck because they could find no other veins. Luckily, I insisted they find another doctor. He found a vein in my arm. Pain medication pumped like liquid gold into me for four days. I was to be released with a bottle of Vicodin, a newborn baby, and no plan for pain management for me. In fact, I insisted they give me half of what they wanted to prescribe- 30 Vicodin instead of 60 pills. 

The next few weeks, it was me verses the pills while caring for my baby. I NEEDED those pain meds. I was in pain from major abdominal surgery I had gone from fentanyl to Iv morphine to percs to Vicodin. My addict was revived from a deep sleep. The junkie inside of me was saying feed me bitch. In addition, my baby had some health issues. Stress upon stress was felt in those days. The pills and I were at odds with each other. I had to figure out a way to use them for pain, not relief of my emotions. 

Within the two weeks of my taper, I realized this was a problem. I called people to let them know I was taking my meds as prescribed to me, but I needed help. I had someone hold my pill bottle. I called a friend to come and sit with me. I did what I needed to do to nit abuse my medication. I was rewarded with a nice case of withdrawal at the end of my taper. I went to a meeting. I cried and I suffered for a few days. I did not use and I did not give up in my struggle. 

Yes I know what it feels like to come off drugs. Yes, the body remembers the ecstasy then the agony. I did it all and stayed clean. So yes dear readers. I DO remember what you might be feeling today. How could I forget?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Have I Ever Been Close to Relapse- A cautionary tale

The only time I ever seriously thought about relapsing was in Ohio. I had like 10 months clean and I was visiting my family. In retrospect planning a vacation to visit for ten days was probably way too long. The tension started building the first night. My mother settled me in. I was to sleep in the room where I spent my earliest childhood. I became flooded with emotions. I was in the room next to my father. I could hear him snoring as I had as a young child. I was reflecting back to my life. All the things that had passed in that house. I was overwhelmed, unable to communicate my feelings in brief calls with my friends.

I went through the things I had left there. I found old drug evidence- acid wrappers, a syringe . My heart sank to imagine that my mother had left my things perfectly preserved as I was going to return in a few days. Those things had stayed frozen in time. Although I did not use in the house, I had came back loaded when my parents let me move home as a lost 20 year old. More and more feelings came over me like a wave.

Then came the real celebrating-  when different branches of the family met up at my brother's home.They all were drinking- toasting to my recovery and the return of the prodigal daughter.  I hadn't seen them in 7 years or more. I wanted to drink so fucking bad. I was in a room full of people and I felt so alone. the guilt and shame created these cravings. Why can't I be like everyone else?  I went upstairs. I was desperate at this point. I prayed to whatever to provide me with some type of guidance. Then it all became crystal clear to me. See, I told myself,- they can drink and have jobs and homes. But I am not them. If I have a drink I am going to want 10. Then I am going to find a way to do what I really want to do which is find some drugs. Then, I'm going to walk in the snow to the housing projects because in any major city in America, I can find some crack. Because that is who I am. And the cravings left me. I am not the victim in this story. I am fully aware of the pain I have caused others. That day, my recovery really started because I was accountable for my own actions. I was not blaming anyone else. I had acceptance and I was at peace.

This is a picture from that trip, maybe the same day, as this story.





Friday, August 16, 2013

Cravings

One of the questions I recently received from a reader : Do you still have cravings? This is an excellent question. The answer is complicated but i will attempt to explain my view. There are two types of cravings. The first type is the fuck it all cravings. I may have a day or a week clean but something sets off that feeling in my brain. I know the drugs have some power of me. Why? Because I am willing to say fuck it all. Fuck you, fuck this, fuck it. I need a hit. I can not take this shit anymore. At this point, it takes some type of near divine intervention to stop the process ie you can't find it, you can't get money, your kid or mom calls you at the last second, you car breaks down etc. 

After the compulsion to use ends, you get different kinds of cravings. These are the kind I experience today. They aren't quite fuck it- I'm clear using drugs doesn't work for me. They are like - damn I wish I could have some relief right now. I may be upset, tired, angry, or whatever and having something I could use to fix my emotions would be appreciated at that moment. Those feelings are temporary. If I run with those feelings, they can turn into a fuck it all craving. So I don't let myself marinate in my own misery. I find something to relieve my stress. Many drug addicts turn to food, shopping, sex, gambling, coffee until we learn positive outlets. I am clean but I am not cured of my behaviors. 

So as long as I keep myself removed from drugs and deal with my emotions, I am preventing those fuck it all cravings from taking over my body. We can do this thing. We can take control of our lives. I love you and you know this...


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Love is My Drug

I worship all your flaws as you fall before me.
You stagger in my direction and fall to the floor.
You laugh at all my jokes but you don't include me.
I just make you bored. 
Love is my drug and your smile gets me high for awhile.
But I can't entertain you anymore.
I can't rearrange you. 
I can't control your urges, splurges, and purges. 
I'd bleed for you if you would only stay,
My recovery pushed you away. 
Love is my drug and your smile got me high for awhile.
Our affliction, your addiction.

Monday, August 12, 2013

My inner critic

I am in a very fragile place in my mind. In the process of writing my book, I have dragged up a wide assortment of painful memories and real life horror stories. What I do not need right now is critics. There are always critics and haters. Generally, I have a pretty thick skin. Now, right now, I am not in the mood to deal with critics. I am not listening to you.

Long, long ago there was a young girl named Tracey. She was very naive and she still believed in love. She met a man. He was a hustler. This was long before drugs. Long before the Tenderloin. This was naive Midwest love where it is supposed to have a happy ending to the story. 

This man claimed to love me. I let him into my being. I absorbed him. He conned his way into my life, my heart. He promised me I was the one. Instead, I was one of many. Most of all, he made me question my confidence in myself. He told me I was fat, I was stupid, I was never going to be shit, I was never going to do shit, and I was nothing with out him. Then he promised he loved me. He got my name tattooed on his neck. Then he fucked my best friend. Yeah. Ouch. 

I had a mild nervous breakdown after this relationship ended at 20. The drugs started within a few weeks. I was nothing, nothing without him. Or so I thought for many years.  My ego is much, much stronger now. But I still want YOU to love me. I still want you to understand me. Why her- why not me- what the fuck is wrong with me. I am over those questions. Your praise is important to me now. You deserve me. You love me.

I'm writing my story. I digging into these painful details. I am not listening you right now. My inner critic (my outer ones too) can fuck off for the time being while I live my life. I Iove myself today. I accept myself. I am tuning you out. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Repost- Morning Meditation

I AM NOT GOING TO USE TODAY. THE END. Or, if you are feeling extra determined- I AM NOT GOING TO FUCKING USE TODAY. Another popular one from my collection- Please do not let these people try me today. I am not using but I am still crazy as fuck. A meditation does not need to be a jumble of spiritual catch phrases. It can be whatever helps you get through the day. Make a statement about your intentions. Make it personal. Use your own voice. THIS IS MY LIFE. I AM NOT USING. I GOT THIS. 

 If people are encouraging you to use or getting in the way of your recovery, they are in the way. Forget get them. Ignore them. Better yet, tell them to fuck off.  I AM NOT KILLING MYSELF TODAY BECAUSE OF YOU OR ANYONE ELSE. Your recovery is just that- your recovery. It is a precious gift that other may not understand or appreciate in any sense. Do this for you. Wake up and live. 

I think it is probably a really poorly kept secret that I attempt to help some of my readers get clean. I enjoy interacting with all my readers. I do work with people at all points of addiction. All I can do is provide a little bit of moral support and some hope. Love Tracey

My life in pictures.

Age 12 Diagnosed as depressed. 
Food Addiction
Ten days old









Friday, August 9, 2013

Book Update

I have finished writing all the stories for the book (this morning). I am starting to do revisions and rewrites on existing stories. I am probably going to have to raise some funds by selling 10 electronic pre-copies of my book. If you are interested, email me traceyh415@gmail.com

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Jake

Jake B. came into my life around 1993. At the time that I arrived in San Francisco, scores of young adults and teenage run always were arriving on a daily basis from all over the United States. San Francisco was alive with activity at the time. As my boyfriend at the time and I would walk around the city drinking our 40oz bottles of Mickeys in brown paper bags, we saw flyers for big shows we would never see because we were way too strung out. Beer was a cheap and easy socially acceptable way to get the sick off. It never did much except make you feel slightly full and sick to you stomach. It was fine if you were splitting a beer. A full tall can was enough if you were alone.

When the boyfriend and I went our separate ways after a successful methadone detox, I felt like I needed a change of scenery. I needed a new hotel to live in. Plus, I was behind on the rent at the Civic Center. I moved into the horror show known as the Ambassador Hotel. Within a week of my relocation, I became a tweaker injecting speed as much as possible in the same way that I had used heroin. At night, I would wander the hallways in search of drugs and adventure. That was the first place I saw Jake. I didn't meet him. It was more a tuft of curly blonde hair popping out of a room. I knew that he was new in town. All the Tenderloin street kids became familiar with each other through various connections. Here he was- a new Southern bumpkin from Alabama. I felt bad for him as i felt bad for my own situation.  Like his hair, he looked like a lamb in the den of lions.

I am not sure when I meet Jake again but he became a regular fixture in my life when I gave up on living inside. I became friendly with all the Polk Street Hustlers. They would come to my shopping cart and hit me up for clean water, syringes, companionship or to share their drugs. I liked three kinds of dope: my dope, your dope, and more dope. Jake could relate to this love of the drugs. He used to tell me how much he hated speed. It always brought out a side of him that was tortured and he would pick at himself. Speed makes you think, think, think while heroin makes you forget the world for a brief moment. He would always ask me "how can you do that shit?" as I would change my clothes over and over in my meth comas. He would try to get me to eat something. One day I was rearranging all my belongs for the umpteenth time. Jake came see me in his Teva sandals and grateful dead shirt. The symbols of San Francisco were there except we were a block away from the hustler alley, another tourist attraction. As he tried to rearrange my things with me, I got increasingly frustrated by his interference. "Quit fucking with me Jake." He backed off. In his Southern accent, he cracked "I'm not trying to fuck with you Tracey. I'm just trying to fuck you". I respected his honesty but that was the last thing on my mind.

Jake had a birthday so he got a piercing in his dick. In my addiction, I did not find dick appealing let alone a huge dick with an enormous piercing. I imagined that freakishly large penis tearing me to shreds. No no no. There were people interested in Jake- the dates were VERY, VERY interested in him. I have rarely seen a hustler pull in money like him. Men in search of encounters would flag him down just to SEE it. He had a reputation as both well endowed and as rough trade. I am not sure many of the dates knew what they were getting themselves into if they took him home. Many time the dates would give him speed to "enhance" the sex. Unfortunately for them, they were more likely to have to pull Jake out of the bathroom where he would be picking at himself than to have sex. Jake would be wandering the area a few days later tore up, skinny, and in search of heroin.

When I went back to heroin after waaay too much time awake. Jake was living at the Hartland hotel. Jake was the kind of driend I needed- he was the kind of person who used a ton of drugs, up to four grams a day some times. I person that uses that much drugs usually doesn't mind putting in money with a person with a lesser habit like me. I could take my little twenty dollars and really come up if he went to his pager connection. We would walk back to his place and hang out. It was nice to be inside for a little while and be normal. Jake had action figures, and books, and seemed much more normal at those moments. He was so stable in fact, he vouched for me for supervised pretrial release for one of the many times I was arrested in my addiction.

I didn't see Jake much while they were filming the movie. He was living with someone. Jake got very depressed and hard to deal with at times. He was a whirlwind of emotions: screaming and crying and crying and screaming to the point that the host might decide to send Jake back into the streets where he felt he belonged at the time.

Years went by, I got clean. I found a message on my message pad. A person named Jake B. called about a job, He was in a program doing well. He would even work as a volunteer. A few months later I saw Jake at Gilman Street which is a drug and alcohol free venue in Berkeley California famous for pun rock shows. Jake was working there as a volunteer. He told me he was going to meetings and staying clean. "I'm tapering off methadone too Tracey." Why, I thought to myself. "How come?" I already knew the reason. People are very judgemental about methadone. Jake felt he was not really clean because other people were telling him he was not because of the methadone. He has been tapering slowly but was starting to have a hard time. He told me about his girlfriend, about going to City College. I wished him well and went my way.

The last time I saw Jake he was slumped down on market street wearing the same sweatshirt from the last time I had seen him. He was dirty and his face had pick marks. He looked defeated, as if life had finally been sucked from him. He had tapered off methadone and relapsed on heroin. I was on my way some where but I told him it would be okay, just get back on. I had hoped the same people who encouraged him to get off would now help him get on.

A few weeks later, a friend told me Jake had died in his room alone. He was been dead in the room for four days when the police had to open the room. Two people from recovery were there, just too late to save him. I was pissed, so pissed at his memorial service. Your judgements killed him. Why couldn't he be clean the way he needed it? Within a few months I got a job at a free methadone clinic, the one Jake had attended because I wanted to be the person that taught others recovery is what makes you better, makes you have a better life. I will never forget him and his memory inspires my work today.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ben (revised)


Ben was heroin addled fantasy from a time when I would rather be with someone that barely loved me than be alone. I had just been released from jail after six long months. I had been using in the jail up until the last 45 days. This is did not give me much time to construct any type of recovery. I had spent most my time of planning for things that would never happen. My first week in jail was spent recovering from surgery. When I was arrested, I had four large abcesses. An abcess is a place where bacteria gets under the skin and the flesh starts to rot. I had to have surgery on my arm. When I took of the bandage, I cried. Not because I was in the hospital, not because I was in jail. I cried because they had sliced open my tattoo! The horror of it all. I used to take a sterile needle and cut them open myself. Needless to say, my nickname was the abcess queen.

When I was back on the streets, I felt hopeless. I gave up my homeless encampment living for a hotel with some financial  help of my parents. They traded me some money for the lie that I was not using drugs. Ben was another resident of the West Hotel at the intersection of Mason and Eddy.So close to the tourists and the cable cars yet so far away. His hoodie and cut off Ben Davis pants caught my eye. He looked as if he didn’t belong there. A young junkie living alone was a rarity. People our age generally lived in packs for safety from the elements from the Tenderloin. Not him. He was completely alone in the world. He drew me in from a distance like a planet pulled into a sying star. First we were strangers, then we were friends. We both agreed that we were together as a couple with nothing more in common it seemed than the fact that we were willing to share  a half gram of heroin. No one shared so this must make us compatible. Such high standards.

Ben had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. He could hold a conversation. We liked to read and write. We did not have a sexual relationship as normal couples do. Drugs were our sex and we had words when we  were our drugs. He had a few friends that would visit. They never understood why he would be with me. I was a “hardcore junkie” by then. His friends always imagined some how he could just return to Campbell. He loved me as we lay dying in our queen sized sheets. He hated me for our disease. We fought but we had our silent agreements. We enjoyed the fantasy of having an other.

The drugs that brought us together tore us apart. That was the end of our endless discourse. We got together because we needed each other. We would lay on the bed with our clothes on. Two skeletons on the bed gasping for air. We clung to each other and wondered how we were transported into the depths of despair. We awoke daily to the pain and the hustle. One day our madness turned to his violence. The trust walked out the door and I went with it.

He called me from jail a few months before he died to apologize for all the pain that had come between us. He had seen "Black Tar Heroin" in the jail. For a split second, I almost did not accept his regrets but I relented. We all made our mistakes. My mistake in relationships always seemed to be that I was willing to settle for less. His mistake was giving up too soon.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Guest Posts

I am taking close to a week off to finish my book. I would love some guest posts. Discuss with me at traceyh415@gmail.com. Another alternative is reprinting my old stories buried deep in my site. Maybe I will do both. I can also throw up some old pics to show the changes in my life. Leave comments and let me know your thoughts.

Let Me Sink Like a Stone



No one can save me now. No one can save me from all that I have done. You were the only one that understood me. I pushed you away because I wanted to play. Now pay for the rush that swept me into the swirling ocean of despair. I see you standing on the shore. You were waving for me. I am slowly slipping under the sea. My breath is slowing, my eyes are rolling back into my head. I wipe the blood on my pants. I am stuck on the dope like sugary candy rotting on the sidewalk covered in ants. I take my piece away and go off into my colony, wallow in my misery, walking backwards off the sidewalk into traffic. I feel my skin so leathery, my nails are bitten to the bone. My hands shake as I contemplate my fate. “this detoxing thing is just not for me.” I’m more bitter than suboxone. This world  turns my stomach like naloxone. I gave you an inch and you took the whole damn thing. I just wanted to get high. I forgot the reasons why. I am invisible and unknown. Let me get this hit and sink like a mother fucking stone.

There I am-reaching out to you

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Scrounging up Money For Drugs

When I got to the Tenderloin at 22 years old, I had mostly worked or sponged off my parents to use drugs. I had never had much of a habit, unless you count booze. I could drink up my whole paycheck at the bar drinking Jagermeister shots, falling down drunk ripping my fishnets on the way home. I used to open my eyes in the morning. My first thoughts were: "where am I, who are you, where is my purse?". My first thoughts were always "get me the fuck out of here!" I feel very sorry for any man that cared about me. There were some very nice men who wanted to know me in some way. They would hold my hand and gently guide me home, half carrying me if necessary. I would come over there apartment, smoke their weed while I was detoxing from one thing or another. They say some light in me. While they saw it as some beacon of hope, I should have let them know it was actually a flashlight pointed at their things to see what I could find to continue to use.

By the time I came to San Francisco, I was a seasoned addict but not a full time one. I had binges shooting up morphine, coke, PCP, diluadid, heroin, and smoked a little crack here and there. I was not prepared for what it was like to be completely dedicated to a drug habit. As a San Francisco crusty punk, I had a variety of options. We would sit on the cold rocks at the Civic Center and plan or next move. At the time, the Mexicans sold cheap weed by the entrance of the train station. The tweakers who stole bicycles controlled the area by Carls Jr. I used to say anyone on speed in the Tenderloin ends up at Carls Junior since it was the only place open 24/7 in the area. Farther down in the plaza area was the punks and the "home bums". Home bums are generally older men, vets and burn outs, who had something horrible happen like the death of a child or visuals never lost from Vietnam. At some point, they just gave up on anything besides drinking. They were drinking themselves to death slowly but liked the social element of being around their fellows. By mid day, they would be passed on with no blanket until the could wake up and drink away the pain.

I was not these men. I was still in the partying stage. Partying my life away. On the rocks of the Civic Center, I learned about applying for welfare and food stamps. We all had a little money coming in. With a fresh face, I could still make $20-30 in a few hours panhandling if I wasn't too fucked up to smile. Some people stole, this was never my thing. The punk rock boys had an advantage. They seemed to find these naive stripper chicks willing to support their habits. Some people paired up for survival. Every night I was a struggle to find somewhere to go. Amazingly, a person could find a studio for $450 so three people might put in their welfare checks and let five other people stay there. I was rarely that lucky. Quickly, I got a reputation as a junkie. A junkie was at the bottom of the social stratus. Everyone wanted my drugs "Can I have your cotton?" When you FIRST start using, you are willing to kick other people down. You like having company. You will sit and cuddle and scratch. You listen to music. There is a warm fuzzy feeling. When the sickness crawls in, there is not a person in sight. The world gives you a hearty FUCK OFF because no one wants to be responsible for supporting your habit. But wait...you wanted my cotton.

Things are different when you are strung out. You need a running partner. I am not sure when the party ended. We used to have a saying back in the day. You could separate the causal user from the dope fiend by the things they were willing to do. "fuck, I'm getting sick." okay I start to think of things we can do for money. "well lets go up to Larkin and O'Farrell. Maybe we can catch one of those kids with money going to Larkin Street. If not, we can do a quick date and meet back here." Silence. "No." There is a difference between a casual user and where I was in that life. You needed a partner who did not say no. We used to ask "Are you down for the cause?" what that meant is are you willing to do ANYTHING necessary to make money to get high. I mean ANYTHING. While you are willing to scrounge money for drugs similar to looking for change in a couch to support a $5 habit, I need some REAL money. I am supporting a $30-$50 a day habit. The party ended for me when the shots got bigger. If you aren't making money, you are walking around sick. No one is helping you except a few in the ranks of those dedicated to the cause. You better be boosting, selling your ass, or working the hell out of any female that crosses your path. Or all of these things. You are getting your teeth pulled for pain meds to sell. You are living on the street. You are alone in the world. I need to clean my ass up, I thought. I need to get a place, a base of operations. The dates don't like me all dirty. And I'm 100% dedicated to the cause of getting fucked up. I started using to forget this pain and now it is all just fucking painful.

When squatter kids go places, they tag them up to let people know they have been there when they move on to a new city. I never had many friends. I never went many places after I got strung out. I used to tag "LOST". I would walk around the city by myself at night or in the early mornings. I would stay in the abandoned buildings and shooting galleries. I never knew where I was going from fix to fix. I was in San Francisco but I was LOST. And this was just the beginning. It was still 1992. Many years of using left in the story.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Exactly What I Wanted

When I found myself settled into my routine as a junkie, I found exactly what I wanted in you. “how do you know all these things about me?” Your skin is translucent from the ashing and the scratching all night. You rub your tattoos as if they will bring you luck.  You can barely hold a thought together as you drift off into the absence of burdens. “why should I believe you. No one even means what they say.” you light a cigarette to keep yourself propped up into our conversation. Slowly I lean in. “I’m not sure what it is.” I say this but I know it is not the truth. I do know. You are exactly what I wanted in life. All the pain you wear illuminated in scars make me see beneath the chemical facade you show to the world. As your breath slows, I hear your heartbeat beneath the ribs that poke at my nose There is some type of connection that drives me to awareness of the futility of our situation. Your eyes are glassy and pinned. Your lips are dry. Your hands are swollen from the circulation that can not quite navigate your punctures. You see me as a witness. I see myself as a participant in the drama that will ensue. You are my fantasy. Exactly what I wanted was you.