Every year since I got sober, I get to experience individuals on all sides telling me how grateful I should be during the holiday season. Let's get this out of the way, I AM grateful. I am grateful I am not walking in wet socks and a scratchy wool blanket to park my shopping cart outside the soup kitchen to get a plate of slightly overcooked holiday food. I am grateful I did not wait in line this week for 2-3 hours for a box of holiday food I would then walk down the street and sell for $10 to put in for a bag of dope. Not that I had a kitchen anyway, or wanted to eat, or had anyone to celebrate it with (see: heroin). I am grateful I am not getting my last $19 I spent all day panhandling ripped off by another dopefiend with red hair and slightly green teeth. Yes, I let my money walk on Thanksgiving. I couldn't go to the open air because I had ripped off the only Mexican dealer there willing to work on a holiday. That's right. Not only do dealers have families but I got burned. I spent the rest of that day walking around sick as fuck. Finally, I am grateful I am not going to sell every ounce of Christmas shit this year for dope after I PROMISED myself I was just going to keep this ONE thing because I DESERVED it yet it would go up my arm anyway. *SIGH*.
I have about ten years in the books of these types of Holidays. Crying in the rain holidays. Sleeping on the sidewalk holidays. Injecting meth in the soles of my feet to keep me from freezing outside holidays. Getting arrested for prostitution on Christmas Eve holidays. Those memories make me think about my brethren in the fraternal order of the burnt spoon out there struggling to cope. These days are hard for us. Whether you are kicking, or sober, or somewhere in between sometimes we are just not feeling it. These days pull up a lot of memories of guilt and shame. They remind of of promises we have broken. Friends we have lost. Places where we are no longer welcome. It can be overwhelming. With both my parents gone, I spent a lot of my time thinking about the cherry squares my mom used to make that I will never taste again. Kinda sucks. She LOVED this time of year. There was at least seven years I wasn't home at the holidays. Maybe that is a kind estimate. Now, I'm the mom making some new memories. Still, I can never forget.
I am not going to participate in some manufactured joy. I spent from Thanksgiving to New Years Eve raising money for harm reduction causes while the average person is felling generous. I am grateful that many of them think of us at all. This year, I am providing author copies of my book "The Big Fix" for anyone who makes a $20 donation or more to a syringe exchange. I am constantly surprised by the generosity of strangers. There are people out there that love addicts. You may not SEE it or even FEEL it. They are there. The Holiday season to me is about reflection. It is about compassion for self and for others. I love you readers. I am thinking positive thoughts for you. It is 100% to say FUCK THE HOLIDAYS. You don't need a day or a season to remind yourself that you are deserving of love. I can tell you that every god damned day.
I hope where ever you are, you are safe. I'm thinking of you. I'm pulling for you.