Saturday, January 31, 2015

I had been ripped off before

I had been ripped off before. When you buy drugs on the street, that is part of the daily grind of an addict. This time, it was particularly painful. I thought I had found someone I could trust. I was wrong.

I am a solo user. I have no problem using alone. I am not using heroin as part of some broader social experiment. I am not interested in having it enhance sex because the lower half of my body is completely numb. I guess that isn't entirely true. It does come alive when I am in withdrawal. Or from time to time a bowel movement the size of my forearm decides to rear it's ugly head, ripping my ass apart until it feels like I gave booty birth to a premature 4 pound stool baby. I sometimes masturbate in dirty gas station toilets because there is no where else to go when you live outside. My period has been gone so long I used the last tampon for the cotton when I had no filter. There is no room for anyone in my life. Heroin sucks the oxygen from my lungs. It steals the blood from my body. It places blinders on my eyes. I can no longer see anything for myself.

I can't believe I fell for the oldest trick in the book. I let him walk away with my money. I was never one to fall for a pretty face. But, he got to me. There is something about the collarbones of a junkie boy in a baseball hat and a wife beater that always catches my attention. Plus, I really, really needed him to go in on a gram with me. Have you ever had that situation where you are just a few dollars short? Should I really call Flacco or Marco or Sancho or Lil Man or Big Man or Ray Ray or Big Jay knowing full well I don't have all the money? Well today, I was about to do it. Fuck it. I'm short.

"Are you waiting?" he asked me.
No, I am just standing around at a fucking gas station in the baking sun for my fucking health.
I roll my eyes and try to ignore him.
"Are you waiting, too?" he asks me in a HEY I'M TALKING TO YOU voice.
I snap "Yeah". I start to put some distance between me and him.
He is about six feet tall, maybe 150 pounds with his shoes on. If he wants to rob me, he better have a knife.
He doesn't. He has an idea.

I can tell as he starts walking to me, he is in full on scam mode. I see the scam walk. I see the hat tilted to the side. I know what is happening here. Yet, I really need him. I need him. If I come short one more time, this dealer is going to cut me off. I don't have much more room to wiggle.

"How much money do you got?" he asks me.

Who else besides for junkies strikes up a conversation by asking all your personal details. Instead of what is your name, we want to know what you use, you who score from, and how much dope you have.

I had $57 dollars. I needed sixty.

"How much money do YOU have?" I asked him.
He moved a little closer. He whispered "I got five bucks and I am getting something. He will give it to me".

I laughed. I laughed out loud. This dude was fucking crazy.  I was sick, it was hot as fuck. My underwear was stuck to my ass it was so hot. I could smell the vinegar coming out of my pores. The sweat smelled like chiva and fish and chips. This dude was fucking CRAZY. You can't get anything for five bucks.

We waited and waited and waited and called and waited and waited and called. Somehow, in thirty minutes, he convinced me to go in with him. This dealer hated me, I told him. He was pissed I wouldn't suck his dick for one bag. Not just suck his dick, suck his dick without a condom in the hot sun in his crown royal while his balls had baked inside of his gym pants all day. Fuck that shit.

"One bag?" he asked me "Are you fucking serious? That is like $30!"

He convinced me. He did it. He smiled and talked to me like I was special. He convinced me he would come back with the dope. He was just going to the next corner. He didn't want to be seen with me though hang out RIGHT over here until he got back. Fuck, I can't believe it. I handed him the money.

I had been ripped off before. I knew when to give up. He had been gone twenty minutes. It was done. I was fucked twice. I could not call my dope boy again for ditching him. Now, I didn't even have my $57. My face was wet with sweat and tears as I started the painful walk back to the Tenderloin when I felt someone tap me.

"Let's go!" he told me, pointing me down a side street. He handed me back my money.
"I don't understand..." I told him.
I followed him with my heart pounding out of my chest. He was walking so fast, like he was trying to get away from something.

 "Give me chivah or I will give the el sida!" He told me later as we mixed up our dark shots. He shared a gram with me right down the middle.

"I was thinking about robbing him but when you told me that shit about the blowjob, I made up my mind."

We never hung out again but when I would see him I would smile. I had been ripped off before, but on that day, it wasn't me. And I was grateful.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I have a great life

I am appreciating my life at the moment. I kicked heroin, the drug considered to be the hardest to kick. I escaped HIV. I survived overdoses. I have been raped, beaten, had someone try to kill me more than once. Yet, I am resilient. My life is pretty fucking good. I got people who love me, clean clothes, and some self esteem. 

I hope you feel good today. I hope you are safe. I hope you get the love you need and the life you deserve. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Headed in the right direction

It feels like I only closed my eyes for a minute. I was so tired. The chair felt comfortable after I put my legs up on the bench. I was resting for a moment when I woke up to someone shaking me. I could barely hear them, like a whisper, until they yelled my name.

"Tracey...." I heard a male voice urging me to come back to the present.
I felt him grasp my arm again. I can't go back into my shell again.

As I open my eyes, I see his face. For a junkie boy, he has a beautiful face. Those crystal blue eyes surrounded by long lashes. He has a baby face, so round it makes you want to pinch his cheeks. He tries to grow a mustache but it comes out like a broken pattern of fuzz that looks as if it was drawn on after a drunken night of beer pong. I love his face.

Things are coming into focus, I can tell he is pissed at me. What now? I ask myself. I was just waiting here while he went to see his probation officer. He asked me to wait here in the Mc Donald's next to the Hall of Justice until he got back. I must have fell asleep at the table. I was curled up with a Mc Shamrock Shake and some french fries.

Then, it hits me. The shake is dripping off the corners of the table. How long have I been passed out here? The shake is spilled all over the table, slowly making a way as droplets onto the floor. Fuck, it was so delicious too. That methadone hit me extra hard. Or maybe it was the crack we smoked last night. I am not sure but I am extra tired.

He pulls me up angrily "What the fuck did you do Tracey? I thought you just went to the clinic today?'

I am not sure if he is angry because he thinks I have been holding out on him or because I told him I wanted to get clean. Love between two junkies is a balancing act of lies and half truths. He needs me to help him navigate the junkie landscape. I am much older and wiser to the ways of the game. I need him to remind me that I am lovable. It is a delicate relationship, one always one hit away from implosion.

I have decided I need to get clean. More than needing to get clean, I want to get clean. While he smokes crack, I tell him about how I am sick of shoving needles in the soles of my feet. He pretends to listen. Last month, he was in the hospital dying from hepatitis and I brought him a few grams to keep him "well". We are both tore up from the floor up. But now, I want to get clean.

As we walk back to our room, he holds my hand. He likes to hold my hand in public. No one has ever wanted to hold my hand. When you see two junkies walking down the street to cop, one is always walking in front of another. This shows they are together but it also shows what comes first. It shows "I am sick and I will leave you to get this drug first". He always likes to hold my hand. If I am too fucked up on klonopins, he will half way carry me because he loves me. If I lock him out, he will scream for me to come down "TRACCCCCCCCEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYY!" I guess I love him because he never lets me down. He is just as fucked up as me. It makes things easier.

I scratch my wrist using my free hand. I feel like I want to scratch the damn thing off. I have seen him use nail clippers to dig at every little spot along his hand until they are one bloody constellation of scabs.

I assure him "I did not else except my methadone today. I promise".

I squeeze his hand tighter. This was the truth. I drank my methadone as prescribed. This won't last long. I know where he is taking me. He isn't walking with me, he is puling me. He is pulling me like a dog on the way to the park. I have $80 in my pocket. He is pulling me to the dope track. I don't know it yet but he is going to convince me to spend all my money on a hit that I won't feel. Then he will talk me into skipping the clinic tomorrow since we will need the money. The love we have, it just won't work if I am clean. So I guess I am heading in the right direction.

This is one of the places where he and I used to sleep outside. It is a half a block from the hustler alley where the men would turn tricks. I met him right around here. He kept using. He tried to get clean many times. RIP. I got clean a month after the shake incident. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Questions and Answers

One of my followers suggested I do a new video where I answer questions. If you have a question you want me to answer, send them here our to my email No question is off limits.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

High Note

"Why are you here?" he asked the group.

The group leader was a smaller man with a fire in his eyes. He talked with a half smile. He wore a baseball hat, Levis, and a modest amount of jewelry. When he talked, he gestured. It was if he was trying to pull me into what he believed. I wasn't sure why I was here. I knew I had been arrested. I knew I was being forced to come to these classes. I knew if I didn't attend them, I was going right back to jail. I wanted to believe the things he told me. However, the group members made me more dubious than hopefully.

One man raised his hand. He started the conversation "well, I am here because I got caught with a few zips. I was never a user. I was just a seller. My P.O. thought I might benefit from this group".

I roll my eyes. Such fucking bullshit. I knew this dude. The only zip this dude knows about is unzipping his pants to piss behind his shopping cart.

The facilitator looks around again. No one wants to raise their hand. He calls on the chick in the half shirt trying to hide in the corner. She breaks out of her trance to answer.

"Well," she starts "I needed to come here to get my kids back. They are in the system. I am lucky because my mom lets me visit any time I want. If I finish this program, I can get them back."

The facilitator smiles at her and nods as if her understands her. No one her can I understand her. None of these 12 men can certainly understand what is like to give birth to a child then lose it to addiction. I don't understand either. I knew a few women with children. They would ask me to watch their kids while they went to re-up or turn tricks. The children would smile at me through the slats of their cribs. They seem completely oblivious to the fact that their mom wasn't normal. They just wanted her to come back. I would try to be a good friend, to change their diapers on time. I dropped my heroin in the crib when I put the baby down one night. The mother found my drugs and flushed it down the toilet. I was so mad- that was perfectly good heroin. It was also the last time I ever babysat a kid. I was not the person for that job. Anyone desperate enough to have me watch a kid might not be the best person to have one.

The facilitator wanted me to talk but I told him I would "pass". I wasn't ready for all this. I knew he had been clean five years. That seemed like an impossible amount of time to me. In my world, any time clean was just a period of rest in between runs. I had tried to stop many times before. The first time I made it six months. The last time was a few days.The length of time I could manage between binges got smaller and smaller. I hated the way I felt when I was not on drugs. I hated all the emotions that flooded over me. My mind would run through all the horrible things that had happened over the past few years. It was crushing to me. It was like a horror movie I was the evil villain. I had a perfectly good life. I traded it in for a powders, bags, and numbness.

In these groups, I hear people call themselves and addict. I don't see myself as an "addict". I never even heard that term applied to myself until I went to jail. The staff were always trying to reassure me by telling me I was an addict. How the fuck would they know? I saw myself as a junkie. A junkie was a pioneer. I refused to embrace the conventions of normal society. I choose my own path on a daily basis. It just happened to be laced with heroin. It is not like I don't know I have a problem. I have a problem with drugs every 6-12 hours. But an addiction, I see that as something else entirely. Addiction is for old people. I am young. Maybe I will stop. Maybe I die with a needle in my arm. I don't know the answer.

 Instead of sitting down, the facilitator liked to pace back and forth when he got in front of this group. I was in awe of this man, I had to admit it. He could get up in front of group of people, tell the truth, and not give a fuck. He told us last week about how he had been molested as a kid. He was able to put the past behind him and stay clean. My life was no where near as fucked as his. Maybe I could do it too.

As the group ended, he shook my hand. I know he wants to talk. Unfortunately, I have things to do. I walk to the side of the building to collect my belongings. Under a bush, I find my paper bag. I stashed a syringe with 20 units and a 40 oz. I figured if they didn't take me to jail, I would need something for the day. The best part- the beer is semi-cold. As I shuffle back to the streets, I am grateful for my stash. It is going to start today out on a high note.

This story is a composite of two stories. The facilitator helped me immensely in early recovery. He did not end up staying clean, but I did. I thanked him for what he did for me. 

FYI- if you are interested in more true stories about heroin, Shane Levene from memories of a heroin head is releasing a book called "The Void Ratio". The link is here if you are interested.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Just a Girl from Cincinnati

"Just check" he asked me.
I didn't need to check, I already knew the answer. I don't want to get out of the car. It is cold as hell outside. He is fiending. Fiending is when drugs are the only thing on your mind. Your thoughts are completely consumed with acquiring some type of substance. Nothing else, no rational thoughts can enter.

I grab the car door "Fuck. Okay. This is pointless " I tell him.
I checked my balance, hoping it would say something difference this time. Nope.
Now I have to wait and see if the machine is going to take my card.
 Luckily, it spits it back.
"My balance is -$2.03" I informed him. Nothing had changed.

I had put an empty envelope in the ATM last night to get some money. My paycheck from my little retail job is long gone. I am going to be completely fucked if my mom checks the bank statements. She has another card to this account so she can make deposits.

He starts banging on the steering wheel."FUCK. What are we going to do?"

Not we, I tell myself, he means what is he going to do. We used up all my money first. Whatever he gets now, he is not going to share with me. If he does share something, it would be some watered down bullshit anyway. We went through $120 of my money to get all the dilaudid and morphine we could scrounge. That is the only thing you can find around here without driving hours to another town. I am content having a some cheap gin. I can fall fast asleep until my shift tomorrow.

"Just drop me off" I direct him to my apartment. It is too cold to walk the rest of the way home.

My apartment overlooks the University of Cincinnati. This was supposed to be a good thing, although I never seem to make it to class. I had gone to the bar after class one night. I wrecked my car going 70 miles an hour. I hit one guard rail, spun out, and hit the other guard rail. They said I was drunk when they breathilzed me. I thought I had just fallen asleep. I can't drive anymore with 16 points on my liscence so my parents got me a cheap apartment across from campus. I am such a massive disappointment to them. I managed to avoid fuck ups until I was out of the house. That makes them much more willing to forgive me, I suppose. The worst is yet to come.

The family is no stranger to addiction. My mother spent summers and vacations with her father, the alcoholic. I only met him a few times. I remember him calling our house at midnight randomly to complain to her about one injury to him or another. She had told me he had been an actor, which made him self absorbed.

My father was a late in life drunk. He started drinking heavily after he lost his advertising business. Raised in poverty, he ended up becoming an engineer. He never left that county life behind. Even after returning to school and making good financially, he never saw himself fitting in there. He likes to have his friends that were missing a finger from a tractor accident or bookies that hustled out of the back of their Oldsmobile. He drank like I used drugs. It must have made him feel like the world was a safer place somehow.

He drops my off in a hurry. I am of no use to him now. I got a bottle stashed away down upstairs for "special occassions like this one. As I sip on my gin, I can't help but think about the last few days. Oh those pins and needles. That feeling of being wrapped in a warm blanket. I want it again. I use my school books to prop up my ashtray. That is about the only use I have for them right now. I look for left over weed and find none. I flop down on the bed in disgust. I  feel my heart race. Now, I am fiending.

 I wish I had a phone to call someone for some money. I guess I can just sit here in the dark. I can get drunk until I fall asleep. The gin makes me feel warm, fuzzy, and sad. Why do I do these things to myself. I see the little bruises in the light of the street lamp. The holes where the joy went in and my money was sucked out. I want to feel that feeling again. I down the gin and close my eyes.

 In the morning, I will drag my ass to work and start all over again. Five days until payday. Fuck my life.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I wanna be your dog

"So messed up I want you here
In my room I want you here
Now we're gonna be face-to-face
And I'll lay right down in my favorite place " The Stooges 1969
The Stooges pound in the back of my mind. There are days when my life seems like it has a soundtrack that loops over and over. It is hard being a fuck up. At least I am a fuck up with a series of theme songs. 
Love among junkies is a hard. I cannot say romance is still alive just because you share syringes. That seems to be a sign that two people are truly a couple. It isn't enough to swap sex fluids. You have to share your blood. Somehow that couple seems more hardcore even though they are more foolish. Sharing needles is a matter of convenience, not a matter of affection. It takes two minutes less to get those drugs inside of you when every moment counts. 
My first boyfriend was a red haired punk rocker with a chain pad locked around his neck. I had lost 50 pounds between my junior and senior year of high school. Suddenly, I became interesting to boys. By this point, I was going insane with loneliness. I was a cutter. I used to cry over the shitty way other kids treatment me and slice up my arms. Then, one day I heard music. The music spoke to how I felt. The music told me fuck what everyone thinks. I believed it. Fuck what everyone thinks. If you hate me, fine. I already fucking hate myself. I might as well enjoy my life. I went deeper and deeper into the world of the living with my sunglasses on and no fucks to give. He was part of that world.
 When I met him, I never gave him a second thought. He was one of those guys that drank until he got puke on his boots. Someone had to help him home. That wasn't for me.
He kissed me on a dare. He didn't even really like me. Everyone knew me as that uptight virgin bitch. So, someone dared him to kiss me.It was a hot night in downtown Cincinnati. Everyone was in the city that night for the fireworks. Kids knew they had 3-4 hour tops to drink and sober back up before their parents picked them up. I was waiting patiently for my friend to take me on the long ride back to the suburbs  I was so confused by him. I had only kissed a few other boys. Why did this person like me? I had no idea. I felt his kiss the whole way home. 
It felt good to be wanted by someone. No one had every really wanted me. They might have wanted to get into my pants but they didn't want ME. They wanted parts of me. He told me he wanted to get to know me. I had never really shared my thoughts with anyone. 
He got drunk one night and called me. 
"Tracey" he said "I got something to show you."
We would stay up until midnight talking on the phone until one or the other fell asleep. 
"What is it?" I asked.
He was very coy "It's a surprise!"
We only got to see each other on the weekends. When I saw him I wanted to know- what was it?
He pulled up his pants leg. He had used a straight razor to carve
"Tracey, I wanna be your dog " on his leg. I knew I loved him then. He showed me that love is pain. 
In reality, heroin was my first great love. It gets inside your heart. It inhabits every part of your body. When it leaves, it leaves you longing. That boy fucked me over, of course, as all boys seemed to do. He wanted to get fucked up with his friends. I wanted to go to school. We hooked up a few more times. I found him to be an embarrassment. Like how could I have ever been with such a fucking mess? Until I became one. 
One night, I was sitting in my room with blood streaming down my arm from pulling the needle out the wrong way. I had been digging in my arm trying to get the very last of a beat cotton. I was sitting next to my boyfriend. He was in klonopin cruise control so he didn't notice me then. I was using a chain necklace to tie off my arm. A drop of blood hit my foot and I heard a song playing in my head. 
"So messed up, I want you here...In my room I want you here...Now were gonna be face-to-face...And I'll lay right down in out favorite place..." 
I thought about what it was like to be with the freckle faced kid when I was young. I missed my innocence. I missed that time when I still believed love was a mystery. My life was just a bunch of junkie cliches with no end is sight. 
The guy in this story ended up commiting suicide over drugs and legal issues. RIP.