Sunday, February 21, 2016

A junkie goes to New York

I was sitting in my hotel room Saturday morning. I was alone. I could hear the honking of the angry motorists. The whirl of the heater. There was a tiny bit of frost in the corner of the window. It was bitterly cold outside, at least to a person who has been living in California for the past 24 years. I laid on the tightly made sheets and let out a sigh. Today was going to be a difficult day for me. Not because I was going to be taping a segment for television. Not because I was going to have to retell gory elements of my life in front of a studio audience. Because I felt the weight of all the young people who are dying across this country of overdoses that are sitting at home on their couch, hoping to find some kind of connection with anyone they felt might understand them. I am hoping that person will be me, even if they accidentally see this show. I suppose they won't be watching it on purpose. It certainly hits a slightly older demographic. But maybe, just maybe, it can happen.

The insecurities start to roll in. What if I have nothing important to say? who wants to listen to me anyway. I am a haggard old junkie lady. I have scars all over my body. Scars because I used water off of the hood of a car in the rain, because I mixed up heroin with grape crush, because I used alcohol wipes to clean off my dirty face because I was sleeping outside and ignored my arm. I had to have my teeth redone from "meth mouth", grinding my teeth down until I broke the filings. I am fat now. I put down the spoon and I picked up the fork as they say. I am no longer a 115 pound 25 year old from "Black Tar Heroin". I have had four pregnancies and three live children. I have changed. In many ways, I have evolved into a stronger person.

As I feel the tears falling out of my eyes, I decide to myself "Fuck this". I didn't come as far as I have to let this shit get me down. I am here to do good in the world, to defend myself against anyone that would try to make me feel bad. In the end, I went from a cardboard box to a comfy place with cats and kids and love. If I sucked dick for drugs or did horrible shit to myself, who fucking cares. Maybe someone can learn from my mistakes. Maybe someone will use a little less or love their kid a little more because they will know a bit more of what they are going through. I spent Friday night In the City  talking about naloxone, foot care for the homeless, and the expansion of online syringe exchange services. THIS is the stuff that matters. My history isn't a mystery- it is the past.

I hope you all had a good work without me. I have to catch up with my messages etc. XOXO Tracey.
 photo courtesy of Lynn Johnston


  1. Keep up all the good work Tracey! You are living proof that this addiction can be overcome. Much love and respect! :)

  2. You have made a real difference and I hope to follow on your foot steps and do the same. These kids are not doing some harmless partying they are dying at alarming rates. Something must be done. Thank u for giving them a voice

  3. You let go and let God.. You are fighting the good fight you are a soldier dont you see what youve been through and look!!! Youve made it a long way even tho daily life kicks in kids can be driving crazy or just a shitty crappy day in general but you are ALIVE scars are the sign of being healed abd you are daily working on your inner healing as well as helping others! You will be blessed watch and see!

  4. I am happy and grateful for people like you. Let the past stay where it is and continue to thrive in the future. It is appreciated.

  5. You are a beautiful soul and I admire you tremendously. Before I started reading your blog I didn't know anything about naloxone. Now I carry it everywhere. (One save so far). That's due to you and your campaign of education. This is war. Last week my nephew graduated from an opiates rehab and on the same day I went to the scene of a 23 y/o kid that OD'd. He was a fairly well functioning addict, given that he was dead in a fairly nice car, still had jewelry etc. If you had to suck a dick to be where you are, so be it. You're reaching more people than you'll ever know. YOU ARE truly making a difference in this world. How many preople can say that? I really hope this is coming out right and you get why I'm trying to convey.

    1. It is nice to know I am making an impact. I don't always get feedback from people so thank you

  6. Sorry to write this here, I m sure it s not the appropriate place..
    I have an issue as an IV user : I broke a needle in (I was inside) a vein of my wrist. It used to hurt but it moved & doesn't anymore.
    My psych absolutely wants me to go to the hospital(or he won't see me anymore). But I'm totally broke with no insurance. & I'm so ashamed to show my fucked up arms. It occurred a month ago, & instead of taking care of myself I used as many drugs that I could find.

    I've read on the www that some people do live with needles n their bodies, my psych tells me I risk septicemia, get infected, the needle to move to the heart, swollen arms, fungus infection & so on.. But it looks ok.

    I don't ask you any medical advice,but as a worker in harm reduction I wanted to ask if you know people with needles in their bodies that are ok.

  7. I think that I have said this before, but I get so excited when I get a message that you have posted on your Blog. Reading your fascinating portraits of your life in the 90's is so interesting to me. A time and place in history that can never be repeated. It also makes me feel happy and invigorated; you have done so many interesting and strong things. You subverted the stereotype of a woman. I have some substance abuse issues but we are only human. I wish that I could meet you in person one day.