Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sixteen Years Clean Today

I don't write about my recovery as often as a I should. Sometimes, I feel as if it is not that interesting. I have a fairly ordinary existence. I get up in the early morning. I try to juggle the insanity of getting three kids dressed an out the door. Generally one is throwing a fit while another doesn't like what they have to wear while another is upset because I won't let them bring a particular toy to school. I try to block off at least ten minutes to cuddle with the smallest one. He still wants to spend time with me in my lap.

 He will point forcefully " I want to cuddle with YOU!" I generally comply with his request.

It is difficult to explain how much my life has changed. A little over sixteen years ago I was paying to stay in a hell hole of a hotel in the Tenderloin. I paid almost $900 a month to live in a place that would put you out in the street by 11:00 if the rent was not paid. The manager had tried to bring tricks to my room to "help" me pay my rent but I had insisted on making my own money. The place was filled with large rats. This was not mice, but rats with shiny coats because they were well fed. In addition, there were other creatures, monsters, and rock stars that roamed the halls 24/7 knocking on your door asking for matches.

I was extremely emaciated. I was shooting speed heroin and cocaine into the soles of my feet. I had no more veins left. I had refused to use my neck after a friend killed someone injecting him there. The guy died a few days later of a blood clot to the brain. They were tweakers so I imagine he was digging in the guy's neck until something broke off. I was having heart palpatations from smoking crack. I could envision my death. I had no ID so it would take weeks to identify me.

When the police arrested me, I was not rescued per se. I had been to jail before. I had made a choice. I had made this choice to get clean. I was willing to try. If that fell throgh, I made a commitment to myself I would get on methadone for the rest of my life and be okay with it. That was sixteen year ago. I never went back.

I love this picture 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Binge

" I hate my life "
 I mumble to myself.
There is no one around to listen. The first thing I try to do is move my hands. They are swollen like hard rocks. I slept with them over my head on a pillow in hopes that the swelling would go down. My fingers look like sausages. They are bruised around the knuckles. I try to use my hands to push myself up but I am stopped by the intense throbbing pain in my hands.

What the fuck have I done to myself this time. I see myself in the mirror across the room. My eyes are also slightly swollen. The bags below them are creeping up like the rolling tide trying to keep my eyes closed. The last four days have been a blur. It started with the innocent idea of a little binge to reward myself. Somehow, I managed to have five days in a row off work. It started with a few shots and the bar and ended with me in this condition.

If I smoked, this would be a good time for a cigarette. If I could find my wallet, I could survey the rest of the damage. Surely, it must be empty. My chain wallet is still attached to my pants which is next to my mattress which is on the floor. These hands can't open the snaps on the wallet. I use my teeth to open the snaps. What is in here? Two dollars and a phone number written on a piece of paper. Who the fuck is this? I don't recognize the name. Some dealer I am sure. The world starts spinning. UGH. I better lay back down.

The throbbing in my hands is nearly unbearable. Four days ago I had this idea to celebrate. I could not find dope so I bought some coke. I had been shooting coke in my hands with an old battered syringe for four days. I had sharpened it on a matchbook in hopes it would magically slide in my skin like butter. The fishhook needle bore into my skin with vengance. But I could not stop. I needed more, I needed more, I needed more. By the time I finally found some dope, I was broke. AH- the number. I owe this person twenty dollars for a front. They want me to call them as soon as I get paid again. I owe them $20 for half a point of shitty dope plus I think I might have let them feel on my tits at the bar. 

I put my hand across my eyes. Both are throbbing in unison. I am going to go back to sleep and pray for better luck. Good thing my phone was cut off so I can have some peace. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Repost- Drugs an Illusion

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

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

Addiction is a selfish bitch. She requires all our attention. Addiction is a jealous lover- do not EVER try to leave or you will face the consequences. I am leaving this time. I am leaving and I am never coming back to this life. You will see the metamorphosis, the evolution of a stronger person. I am can be myself without you. Drugs are an illusion. I am ready to start something real. I will pack up my shitty attitude, my poor dental hygiene, all my fucking resentments and start something brand new.

Your writer in the news

Excited to see naloxone in the news

Monday, February 17, 2014

Out on the street again

Breathe deeply into the night air. I can barely catch my heart from beating outside my chest. The ribs are holding in my lungs. They are pushing against my shirt. My skin in dry. My lips are cracked. My eyes are beams in the night air. I stand against the brick wall. The heat burns against my skin.

They put me out into the world. I guess I got a little crazy. I did some speed and coke and dope. Nothing too unusual. I took my backpack and dumped it out. Everything started to look shiny. All my things strewn on the floor. Take them out and put them in. I thought I was organizing all my stuff. The bags, the socks, the needles with broken tops. Spread all over the linoleum. Spread all over the kitchen.

I was in the bathroom for far too long. A day? An hour? A few spent fishing. I had taken an x and marked the last place I hit a vein. It was truly a treasure and I needed a map. I have no place to sleep tonight so I need to go fast. Stay up, stay awake, be aware.

They told me I had to go outside. The put me out into the night. I was keeping the kids awake. Fumbling through my things on the floor. My heart is beating through my chest. My face is wet. I am sweating tears. They are rolling down my swollen face. I hear a ringing in my ears.

Out on the street again

I think I will quit tomorrow

I think one of the biggest misconceptions about drug users is that they are completely invested in drugs. To the outside world, the devotion to a substance seems fluid as if one day turns into the next without questions. In reality, there are moments in every day where they user questions themselves or their decisions. The addiction, the physical dependence, forces you forward towards another bag.

I don't think it is possible to wake up completely broke one morning after spending all your money on drugs without wondering what is going on in your life. I don't think it is possible to miss multiple family functions or have to cover up being high without some sort of "what the fuck am I doing" feeling. The mistake that loved ones and non users frequently make is the assumption that the user no longer cares. The user DOES care. The user cares to the point that the pain of disappointment needs to be buried deeply beneath the layer of depression, guilt, and occasional fits of desperation

 Addiction is not the state of apathy. Addiction is the place where we lose the inability to find a solution to the broader problem. Yes, I was aware my arm was falling off from an abscess. Yes, I was aware I had not seen my family for years. Yes, I was aware that I was completely isolated by continued use of a substance. But solving those problems seemed completely beyond my daily abilities. I focused on my smaller realities- I am a junkie and I have a monkey on my back that needs feeding. I am in pain and I cannot manage my feelings. My life is a mess, so why try to fix it? My best efforts result in failure.

When a person gets beyond the experimentation phase, a subtle shift occurs in the life of the user. Success becomes measured in the short term. Could I score, could I get a hit, could I manage my limited resources? Could I function and still achieve the high that I desired? It is a delicate balance.

Did I think about quitting? Every day. All the time. But I was able to stop when I was finally prepared for that transition. Until that time, I am so thankful people were able to help me remain safe

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The revival of the Greedy Dope Hog

I woke up under a table one day. Someone was slapping my face. 
There was fear in his eyes. 
Fear that I did not recognize.
Fear told a story. 
I ask "why am I laying on the floor??!" 
"You died bitch!" He screams. 
I was asleep.
I had these dreams.
I was just nodding!!! I protested
My face hurt from his assault 
My appetite for drugs was not arrested 

My mind was black but now I'm here. 
I noticed I was under a table. 
The carpet held my pounding head. 
My friend was barely able 
To save my ungrateful self
"God damn it - Trace. You were dead!" 

Like a lady, I pulled down my skirt, 
I twisted my legs when I fell out, 
Luckily I was not hurt. 

The near death of the greedy dope hog. 
I just wanted to get high. 
I nearly died in the dirty shag, 
With my friend nodding nearby.

Guest post- Christopher NYC

My name is christopher I am 30yrs old and I live  in nyc. My addiction begun as a teenager like most of us,  it started mild and got really bad. Addiction destroyed my life and my family's. I got sober at 28 after a overdose, drugs was the worst relationship I've ever had it takes everything from you, it steals from you, pulls your family apart, destroys your Hopes and dreams and then finally it tried to kill me and it almost did. I thought I had just had bad luck for all those years I was using and that's just plain sick that I actually believed that.

 After my overdose I went away to treatment for 3 months in a great place called St.Christophers upstate Ny. I needed long term treatment to get my head right, I've done other ones in the past and they never worked, not because it couldn't but because I didn't want it. You really have to want it to stay clean. So I followed the suggestions when I left, I went to meetings and most important in my case I stood away from people, places and things. Sounds corny but that's a must.

 Today all my friends are in recovery and I have the best friendships that a man can ask for. No more negative friends. I'm over a year and a half clean and I feel great physically and most important mentally. My family trust me today, I have a relationship with a beautiful girl, my future looks bright. I have hopes and dreams and I actually live myself today. Getting sober was the best thing i've done. I'm grateful every morning I wake up. Anyone can do it. No more jails, institutions or death. It's your choice and you are strong enough. Thank you tracey for asking me to be on your blog. Have a blessed day all.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Scorpion and the Frog

One day I met this man. He was so sad. He said he needed my help.
He had no one left. There was no one who loved him.
I knew not to let him in.
I knew he was a junkie.
I knew what might happen.
I let him into my heart.
I let him into my place.
I let him into my mind.
And the man was happy.
He said he wanted to get clean.
He wanted me to help him.
I wanted to be with him.
I wanted to help him get to the other side.
Then one day it rained.
He had a terrible flood of emotions.
"I am just going to the store " he said.
He did not return that day, or the next.
He did not return to the life we shared.

Some people would say that the scorpion had stung me.
It was in his nature.
He could not stay with me.
I disagree.

The person he really hurt was himself.
He was drowning. Drowning in his own tears.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Something Special

" I want us to do something special" he says. 

I am sitting in a doorway in the cold. I have on shorts, leggings, wet converse high tops, three shirts, a sports Bra week old panties I will surely throw away, and an Adidas jacket.   

It has been raining for days. I have been sleeping in parking garages and doorways. I can't escape the rain. My wool blanket sucked the rain off the pavement like a sponge. I woke up to pee because I was shivering in the cold, damp darkness. I am coming down from a week on a speed run. I collapsed here yesterday. Now I have to pee so badly after sleeping nine hours under a wet blanket. 

It is after two in the morning. I can tell because the hustlers are out and the bars are closed. Men circle the block to survey the selections. They are not interested in me. I am not afraid sleeping here. Well, I am not afraid of strangers. The rent boys look out for  me when they can. I woke up and found a home run pie and a milk next to my head. Someone cared for me. Cared that I existed. 

I shuffled back from peeing between two cars. I can feel eyes on me but I cannot see more than a few feet in from of me. I lost my contacts a few years back. I am so nearsighted I cannot make out anything but the edges of my environment. I sit back down on a piece of cardboard. I feel the eyes on me long before I see him. 

Here he is- the bane of my existence. My lover and my tormentor. I still have not recovered from when he busted open my face. There is blood on the second shirt. I covered it with a third. He wanted my drugs on the second day. When I didn't do what he wanted, he grabbed me by my hair. We would fight, is his version. I wasn't really fighting. I was defending myself. The more I tried to get him off me, the more determined he was to get me. Then it happened. 

"You are a punk bitch."  

My mouth always got me in trouble. Calling someone a punk was different to him. He had been to prison for manslaughter as a 17 year old. I suspect he had been a punk to a lifer. He had found a way to survive in prison. He hated that term. With precision, he punched me so hard I saw the stars and the moon before my eyes. Blood began pouring down me face and on the hands I used to shield myself. 

There was no one to help me. We were in a public area on a busy street. He stuck his hand down my shirts as if he owned me to grab for drugs. I would "hide" them in my sports bra. He took the contents- my last $20 and a single twenty of speed. He pushed me to the side as if to say he would be back. 

And there he was. He was back. Six days later. I had wiped the blood away with alcohol wipes but my eyes were slightly black. He ignored my injuries. It was if he only looked into my eyes and saw the damage. He brought me flowers. Flowers for fucks sake. I was homeless and he brought me flowers. He handed them to me as if to say everything will be fine. 

"I want us to do something special" he said. 

I threw the flowers into the doorway. Fuck you. What now. 

He asked me to open my mouth. He wanted to see if I trusted him. If I would let him in. Would I let him close to me. He crouched down. I never saw his face. I wasn't looking at him. I could smell the cheap cologne. He had been on a date. Or two. I hadn't seen him in days. I hadn't eaten in days. I wanted my milk. I wanted my home run pie. I closed my eyes. I tasted the bitterness. Acid. He gave me acid. I haven't eaten and he gave me acid. A date must have given him some acid. Now I am going to trip through a world I can't see with a man who beats me and yet I am forced to trust him because this is my life. What a trip. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Claw away the remnants

I am content in reviewing the events. 
I am painfully aware 
my imperfections are laid bare 
upon inspection. 
The rain beats against the window 
streaks likes scars- 
a barrier to the outside world. 
If you saw my tears,
would you wipe them clean?
Would you scrub them? 
Claw away the remnants. 
Reveal the joy inside my soul
Suffocated by the choices I made 

My Appearance on Anderson Cooper 360.

Excited to be on CNN last night click on the link. I have been doing a lot of media the past few days. Hoping to do another original piece by Saturday 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Welcome new readers

I am in the last stages of finishing my book "Black Tar Heroin And Beyond." In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the stories you find here. You can contact me by email