Sunday, July 5, 2015

After the bag chase is over

Someone sent me a message recently to ask me about my life now. I try to comply with readers' requests. Here you go:

I wake up everyday next to a man who loves me. I sleep with one ear plug in my ear. His snoring is enough to wake a small army. It sounds like a combination of a tortured rhino and an industrial accident involving a saw. I don't sleep well at night for a variety of reasons. His snoring is one of them. Another involves the older male cat. He insists on trying to sleep on my feet. It doesn't matter how many times I move him or put him off, he comes right back. He is a smart feline. If you try to put him out, he will bang on the door with his front paws until you are forced to let him in. If I sleep past dawn, he will start licking one of my appendages with his abrasive tongue.

Sometimes, I have nightmares. I dream I am back in a dark place of my own making. I picture myself shivering on a curb somewhere too sick to move. I have dreams about my parents' house. I dream I am in the backyard, playing with leaves of grass. I am all alone, there is no one around me. As I see the clouds go by, I feel afraid. I decide to go in the house. My mother isn't there. The house is empty. It is ready for sale. I realize I am in my thirties and my mother has just died. I reach to touch her in the casket. Her hands are stiff, yet the fingers are the same. I smell the vinegar, I smell the tar choking me. All those years, I put up my arm. I am crying. I wake up to a paw in my eye.

I sleep with a sweatshirt over my face. I sleep with the sleeve over my eyes. Just like I did in jail. You don't get a pillow, just a rolled up sweatshirt. It works. It makes me feel at home. My bedframe is semi broken from children jumping on it. If the cats haven't woken me up, the alarm or the children will let me know it is time to rise and shine. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day for the past few years. Barbara's Oat cereal with vanilla soy milk. I like routines. Addicts like routines. I am older now. My back hurts a little. I eat my food while I give my kid's a chance to get up.

I drink tea instead of coffee. I started having panic attacks around four years ago. Recovery is not always fair. My panic attacks cause these mental loops where everything makes me feel like I am either dying of a heart attack or having a panic attack. I have trouble breathing, like a vice or metal corset is around my ribs. Everytime I breath in, it gets pulled a little tighter. My panic attacks haven't been as bad since I quit coffee and switched work locations. There is an open air crack market at the doughnut shop by my work. Everyday for a few years, I would walk through that area. It made my hyperviglant. That is life in the big city.

I have a dog. She is older now. A 48 pound lab mix. She loves me. She follows me from room to room. She sits right next to me while I tend to the children. The three of them love me, too. The first one was planned, the second one was planned, the third one was planned too. I like a life full of plans. I like to not be scrambling for my next bag. Who am I going to get over on next? How am I going to have to degrade myself today? The past is gone though- POOOOOF. Like a puff of the smoke I used to blow in your face as I snarled "fuck you" and told you that you "could never understand."

I have a good job. I didn't used to. I lived in room in the Tenderloin for four years with no bathroom after rehab. There was no swanky apartment. No roommate situation. Just me in my tiny little room with almost no possessions. That was fine for me. That was all I needed. I own a home now. I own a home with my husband in the San Francisco Bay Area. I achieved the financially impossible. I took a bunch of my student loans and put them in the bank when the interest was 2% and 3% after I got tattooed and went on vacation. That was some of the money we used to buy a house. The hustle didn't die in me. The hustle in me is fucking strong. I just use it for good. I just got approved for some student loan forgiveness, too. Fuck yeah.

I am fat. I have all kinds of scars. The scars can't be hidden. Oh well. I am a convicted felon. That sucks but I still found a job. You can too. It isn't easy. Not saying it is. It is possible though. I like who I am. I like helping people. I like being the person who can volunteer for my kid's school. I like being able to be present. I still have depression. I try to walk around 10 miles a week to help with it. I force myself to get outside. I garden. I pet cats. I go on reddit. It seems to help.

I don't know what life is like for you. I hope you find some things you enjoy. Do you have hobbies? Do you have pets? Do you have dreams? I bet you do. I did, too. I would love to hear them. My life today isn't perfect. Anyone who says recovery is consistently great is ready for a huge fucking disappointment. I am happy though.

I am doing research for my book. These two facts really stood out- 1. 60- 80 percent of people who were addicted in their younger years were free of illicit drugs by their thirties. 2. most people that quit drugs do it on their own. The news isn't dire, the news is good. If you stay safe, when you are ready, the world is open to you.

Enjoy life, using or not. Thank you for reading.

When your kitten decides to take over





14 comments:

  1. love yr gratitude tempered with the reality that it isn't easy and just cuz i quit drugs doesn't mean the world doesn't quite being unfair and not easy. it is really powerful to keep this attitude going for me. whenever i get overwhelmed with the unfair hand life has dealt me, i remember what i could have if i took on drink or drug..what i could have would b a whole bunch of ever infinitely increasing NOTHING. and that for me is the worst part…that void that drugs created in my life and that increraed with each next drug. so i have a lot to b grateful for. it is truly Empowering to embrace my gratitude in this conspicuous consumption culture that doesn't uphold the idea of wanting all that u have but instead promotes the attitude of having all u want. recovery has given me so much 2b grateful for and yr post reminds me to keep it simple. my lilfe is very complicated right now and I'm dealing with alot of heavy issues and at a loss sometimes for solutions, but i am nnow reminded of the solution of gratitude. 2 keep it real simple I'm grateful I'm not consumed with the physical mental and spiritual obsession to contintue feeding the beast of the addiction that is slowly killing me. i don't have 2 do that anymore ever again. i can b me and i can b free if i choose to do so and i do…I'm grateful i have that choice today! keep sharing the message tracey and thank u, u really started my day out bright, jenji powa

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  2. Thanks Tracey. You have no idea what your blog does for me. It literally is the only place I can talk about my addiction openly. Thanks for the space and the good words.

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  3. I was never an addict. I work with them in a round about way. I work at a specialty children's hospital as an administrative assistant and we have lots of kids born addicted to opiates and alcohol. I meet so many moms who break my heart because they want to do the right thing so badly, but circumstances are fucked up and you have a baby that is screaming and crying because they are addicted to the same stuff that you are and you have coping issues to begin with....its like the perfect shit storm. I wish I could help them all but I cant. I do offer hugs where I can. I pride myself on my hugging abilities. I love seeing your success story because it gives me hope for lots of mamas who need love and encouragement so much. Have a happy Friday.

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    1. Wow that is very deep. I was very careful at various points not to get pregnant but it easily could have happened at others

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  4. I'm so glad that you didn't. Those babies have it very, very hard. You know how you can tell what your baby needs by the sound of their cries? Well this is a sound like no other. Wailing. They can sometimes shake too. They stay here while they are weaned with morphine while mom (and sometimes Dad) get treatment. We have a group of saints from the community that are baby holders. They are volunteers that come into our facilities and rock and hold babies. Parents can say yay or nay to baby holders. I am happy to say that most say Yay and that these babies are soothed by some of the sweetest old ladies you would ever want to meet. Its kinda what I wanna do when I grow up and get rich (Im 43 and will always be poor) but hey, maybe san Francisco has something like this and you can be that too when you grow up! Much love Tracey. Keep fighting the good fight. There is not a living soul that isn't worth love.

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    1. You should write something for my blog!!!!! So interesting and scary

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  5. I knew you'd keep the kitty LOL fostering. A kitten that cute? Yeah right! You're an inspiration, Tracey. I know you didn't plan on keeping this blog going forever when you started but I'm glad you're still doing it. It helps so many.

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    1. He tricked me ;). My older cat loves him. They cuddle together with their paws around each other. I love my readers, like you. That's why I keep going. I already have a story in mind for this week about when people tried to recruit me into porn

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  6. I loved reading your current life situation....kinda sounds like my life. Except that I do not have sobriety as long as you do under my belt. I am hoping that over the years this will get easier. I would lie if I said it doesn't cross my mind or I have some dreams about it. But this time around staying clean has been the easiest for me. Like you said most people who quit drugs do it on their own. I think I have probably gone through 7-8 relapses where I was caught every time and kinda forced into going through rehab or begged to quit and gone through guilt trips. But this time around I told myself beginning the month of January I am going to make it a resolution to quit because I am done being a prisoner in this vicious cycle with black. I even have myself enrolled in a monitoring program and am getting randomized UA's which surprisingly has helped me a lot. I figure if I still have no criminal record and my nursing license in check I shouldn't fuck this up...and given enough chances before I really spiral down hill. Anyways sorry I'm rambling but I am always intrigued and amazed by your ability to stay strong. Keeps me grounded and know that there is hope for me also.

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    1. Of course there is hope. You are already taking action!

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  7. Thank you for posting this. Well done for getting clean, and getting to where you are now. I'm in the hopeless addict stage, reading this is inspirational and makes my future not seem so doomed.

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    1. It doesn't take much hope to get clean. Just a solid plan and an opportunity. Your hope will build with each passing day off the stuff

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