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