Thursday, April 28, 2016

Have you read "The Big Fix:Hope After Heroin"?

I am wondering how many of you out there have read the book so far?
You can buy it here
Or here

Fuck Fentanyl

Fentanyl used to provide visuals of cancer patients with patches or surgeries. Now, we are forced to wonder if every day run of the mill narcotics like Narcos are going to kill us. What the fuck is the world coming to when criminal organizations start killing off their revenue source i.e. the customers. Fentanyl makes users long for the days when the worst thing they thought they could catch was HIV. That condition is now serious but able to be managed. Fentanyl laced drugs bring death in a hurry. Two or three vials of naloxone may not be enough. 
There isn't some universal message in this post. There isn't a story of hope. This post is an expression of my powerlessness. I see and hear of people dying nearly every day from an enemy I don't know how to combat- greed. Greedy motherfuckers making money off a drug that is now killing purposeful users off by accident. So fuck fentanyl, get naloxone, and use with some one who will do something. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The More Things Change

As an opioid user, there is a distinct competitive advantage over the other drugs. Why? Opioids tell you the truth, if you chose to listen. Opioids let you know- hey bitch- you got issues- every single morning. Cocaine is a subtle drug in that you truly believe you have no issues. "hey, I didn't pick any up all week. I don't have a problem." Hmm, let me see. You were asleep for 2-3 of those and broke for the other two. And it isn't a week honey. You mean you didn't pick up coke from your last line late Monday morning to the first moment that direct deposit hit on Friday. It would have been sooner but the dealer doesn't want to give you a front. And no, they don't want to hold your laptop. They already have three. So- maybe you aren't "hooked" but clearly, there is some kind of issue?! Maybe? It is hard to penetrate that ego.

Opioids, those are whole other animals. Their dependence comes with the gift of desperation. Before I even knew I could could become physically dependent on them, I already was! Yay!. I remember an extended binge that ended in four days of being cramped up on the couch with a trash can next to me. I was hot and cold. My muscled cramped like I had run to the moon and back with no water. PLEASE SUFFOCATE ME, I told my friend. There is nothing wrong with me, he told me. You are just "kicking" BBBBut, I had thought withdrawal was some kind of psychological bullshit for week willed people. GOD, I was wrong.

You know what else is bullshit? The myth that only 1% of heroin users get clean. COMPLETE bullshit. There are 3-4x times the amount of people who have used heroin verses currently use it. People stop. They stop every day. When it is time to stop, don't let all that negativity and self stigma waste space in your head. As hopeless as I was, I can point at at least 50 people that were just as bad as me. Last night, I was at a friend's party. He was celebrating 20 years off drugs. How did we meet? He had come up to me to ask if he could use some water and shoot up behind my shopping cart. I had insisted that he pay me- 50 cents and a rinse of his left overs on his cooker. As we chit chatted over lobster pasta in the house that he owns, the irony was not loss on us. Like I said- anyone can quit.

The thing that makes me sad for this generation of users is the fatality rate. In the 90s, we had our AIDS, our abcesses, and our other diseases. Certainly, people overdosed but there were communities of users that tried to look out for each other to a certain extent. Today's users have to worry about fentanyl  spiked in dope, blues, in any pressed pill . Many use alone where there is no one to save them even if they have naloxone. There heroin EVERYWHERE, cheaper than a mixed drink. There are pharmacists that won't sell syringes, rehabs that are full to capacity, and Governors like the one in Maine, the number one enemy to harm reduction. We know the issues and are scrambling to find solutions.

I hope whatever you do today, you realize you have the gift of desperation. You can change. You are changing. In fact, change is the only constant in life. I hope today, you will be a litter safer, love yourself a little more, and find one reason to smile.

XOXO Tracey

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dear Readers

 As I am approaching a million page views for this blog, I think about the people take the time out to read it. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for following my work. Thank you for pouring your hearts out in the comment section. I read them all.

Love to you

Friday, April 15, 2016

The constant state of want

I haven't been around much for the past few weeks. I apologize for that my friends. On Friday of last week, I was in Woodstock New York speaking to a group of over 300 people about harm reduction, addiction, and recovery. It was an amazing feeling to be stopped all over the town by folk who had been touched in some way by addiction. I got a chance to meet the family of a young man names Ryan. He has died recently, a young man loved by many in a small community. Unfortunately, we all know a Ryan. There is no longer a place in this country that is not touched by opioid use and abuse. After vacationing a few days, I then traveled to Washington DC to do a panel on addiction and mental health. You can watch the video here if you are interested. One of the main points I wanted people to understand is that we are receiving NO input from users on what they feel needs to be done in this "crisis". We are mounting a large scale intervention without even valuing the voice of those that might benefit from our efforts. Sad. 

As I sat on the panel Friday, I became fixated by the bowl of Halloween style mini chocolate bars that was left in a bowl in from of me. While mostly, snickers bars, there were a few milky ways to tempt my senses. As a person who has put down the spoon and picked up the fork, it was easy to distract me with tasty treats. Then, I noticed something appalling- some asshole ate a chocolate bar and left the wrapper. Here, I am supposed to be the addict, yet this is the type of behavior generally pinned on drug users. Instead of fixating or even tasting the candy bars that were there, I was focused on the empty wrapper. 

It then dawned on me that this was a metaphor for my life. My life as an addict has been constantly focusing on the things I don't have while I ignore the beautiful things around me. Someone had cared enough to gently place these candy bars in front of me for my enjoyment. Not just one, but an assortment. Yet, I was so focused on the one thing I couldn't have, I was blinded to my gifts. This is the same feelings that drove me to drugs in the first place. The constant state of want- of thinking the grass is greener inside a substance. Of my absence of pain being contingent on something outside of myself. 

In the end, I didn't even eat one candy bar. I'm in recovery now. I ate some high grade dark chocolate from a local chocolate shop. I even had enough to share. 

I hope where ever you are this weekend, you are safe. 
I hope you are able to see the gifts around you. 
I hope you live through this. I will see you though to the other side. 
I hope you find some peace. 
XOXO tracey

Panel I was on with Steven Okazaki sponsored by The Atlantic

watch here

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Race to the Bottom

What happens when you stick a syringe in your neck? Do you go downwards or upwards? Do you hold your breath? How deep do I go? These I things I didn’t ask that day. I was out in a parking lot area a few blocks from where people would sneak off between two cars to “cook” and hopefully inject their drugs before someone called the police. Many mornings, I was too sick to even bother with the cute ritual of heating up the tar. I would simply add whatever contaminated water I had to white cap that attached to the back of a syringe. I would stir it forcefully with the plunger of my syringe. On a good day I *might* use a cotton to filter the wide variety of adulterants and bacteria. On a bad day, I would draw this up and jab it straight through my pants leg. Finding a vein was becoming an impossibility, a vague hope.
One morning, I made what could have been a fatal mistake. This morning was like any other morning. I woke up covered in sweat that smelled like vinegar, cemented between two sticky wool blankets. They had been given to me by some minister who handed out food on random evenings. He had hot spaghetti in a large pot served directly out of the trunk of his car. He seemed like an actual man of God as opposed to some of the others I had met over the years. There was one who “outreached” to young men by bringing them over to his apartment. He would ask them to get down on their knees to join him in prayer. After a few words invoking his love of the Holy Spirit, he would unzip their pants and introduce them to his love of frequently unwashed penis. From all accounts, this man was creepy but mostly harmless. The men were aptly compensated for their prayer circle jerk. We all speculated the person involved was closeted and ashamed of his own sexuality. This was in contrast to another man who called himself a minister. He would invite underage boys over his house to “rest”. While they were passed out on this or that, many disclosed to me waking up to his hand on their unsuspecting privates. A violation in the disguise of assistance was far more treacherous.
Why did I let her stick a needle in my neck? I can’t answer that question. Why did I just eat those crackers when I just had dinner? Why did I cross a four lane street in the middle of an intersection? Why do I do anything. I just can’t tell you. I wish I could put my mind into words. Some days I am half past fuck it. Other days, I am afraid of my own shadow.
She was dirty. Not just her clothes- SHE was dirty. She was the type of person you couldn’t really turn your back on. Her face was full of MRSA from her constant picking at scabs. They never truly got a chance to heal before she was back at them again. The crack made her talkative. The dope made her scandalous. She was the type of person everyone used as a mental example of a dope fiend, someone quite different than themselves. Yet, in many ways, we were all the same. She told me someone had raped her out here in a doorway. Raped her dirty snatch next to her broken pipe. It seemed hard to believe yet I knew it was the truth. We used to swap horror stories as we wasted time in between the hits that might take our lives- if we were lucky. She had a grown daughter somewhere, somewhere far away from this life.
“Blow” she commanded.
What the fuck is she talking about?!
“Put your lips together and blow into your mouth…” she repeated.
When she demonstrated this technique I swear to sweet baby jesus it looked as if one of her sores cracked open. This is a bad fucking idea, I told myself.
We were looking into the mirror of a parked car, searching for the bullseye. I had spent a few hours hustling up money for these bags. I needed a hit, not a fishing expedition. Lord help me as I saw her dirty hand reach towards my neck with that uncapped needle.
As I “blew”, I saw my life flash before my eyes. My high school graduation, the years I had spent as a girl school, the purple laced comforter that used to cover my bed. I felt the blood rush to my face. I wondered if this was the end of my life. Right here, in a parking lot, next to some dirty newspapers and a used condom. No, nope. I am still alive. I felt the warm syrup burn through my extremities telling me I could live again.
As the tiny bit of blood got wiped up in my napkin from Taco Bell, I wasn’t sure if I should say thank you or fuck you. She had held my hand, helped me take one more step in my race to the bottom.