Saturday, April 29, 2017

Loathing

There are reasons that many individuals chose drugs. Not only do they feel good, the alternative can be a blend of emotions that swirl into a potent cocktail of misery. I am not shy about my mental health issues. While many days are fucking fabulous, there are also many days like the one I recount below. I am attempting to give a broader picture of whys of drug use.


I make myself a second cup of tea. The first is for the dose of caffeine. The second is combat dehydration. This is the height of self care for today.  I check my phone for the twentieth time this hour. No texts. No calls. No social media likes telling me that I am a likeable. I feel myself leaning into that spiral that only ends at an emotional bottom worthy of suicidal ideation and dark chocolate. The self loathing has started again. I am forty six years old, I tell myself. Why do I give a flying fuck about the opinions of others. Yet I do. I absolutely do. If it isn’t a comment under my picture then I am wondering why my article didn’t get a hundred shares. Why didn’t the person on the train acknowledge my attempt to squeeze by them. Why didn’t my co-worker see my name on that project. I am taken aback by my what I feel is my own shallow need for approval. Aren’t I above this?  Despite all my efforts fuck it level of independence, I am filled with the gripping feeling that tells me I only exist if I am seen through your eyes.My curves and track marks and imperfections can only be relieved by a few gentle words from a random stranger. I am not waiting on the connection this time. I am waiting to CONNECT.
They told me I needed to work a “program of recovery”. They not being one person, but the collective “they”, the voices that started to replace my own in what they called my “diseased mind”. I would lay in bed at night for hours wondering how I was going to make it through the rest of my very very long life without another drink or dose of that sweet misery wrapped in the form of intoxication. This life, the sober life, I was finding is part miracle and part prison.  I had been naive. I thought taking away substances would be the solution to the problem I knew was myself. However, when the chemical veil is completely pulled away, I am left with an overwhelming dread known frequently as my mere existence. My feeling self loves kittens, rainbows, and the joy that comes from not stabbing the soles of my feet with syringes. My brain has different ideas. The world inside my mind spins on an axis of criticism. It is working against my best efforts at acceptance by chiming a chorus of my mistakes whenever I stop long enough to give it a listen.
I catch myself feeling alone.  If only I looked like her. If only I had what he has.  If only I would have stopped, stopped before I was willing to suck a dick with my knees on wet newspaper between two cars as the sunlight barely trickled over the horizon. The collective “they” is incapable of understanding me. Even worse, why do I care what anyone else thinks? As I twist myself into a familiar miserable cycle, I hold my coffee cup a little tighter willing it to make me disappear into a pool of fuck you. I trail off into my unconscious, I remember what “they” tell me over and over. “You belong here”. I belong in a fucked up set of diseased individuals- addicts?  That doesn’t seem comforting.  As I walk out of the 12 step meeting, one of the men in the program graciously offers me his embrace. I feel the back of his hand quickly and deliberately brush against my breasts as he reaches for my neck. I guess I should feel grateful someone gives me the kind of attention I secretly know I deserve.
I shuffle through my life with crippling doubts. “They” say that I feel “terminally unique”. Is it all jargon, more drinking of the kool aid. All these catch-phrases designed to make me feel included have a tendency to make me feel more isolated. In 12 step, to become part of the collective “they”, we give up surrender some of our individuality for the sake of belonging. As a woman with a shadowy past, my history avails itself on a daily basis. The brief smell of vinegar as I pass by the fish and chips place reminds me of the dope I pumped into my veins. The cheap cologne that permeates the air at the bus stop reminds me of the man who tried to murder me. The darkness that trickles into my dirty window reminds me of the streets that used to call my name. In the early stages, my sanity hangs by a weak thread of hope. Can I force myself out the door when ever fiber or my being tells me happiness is an illusion? I do and I did. Incrementally, I find I hate myself less and like my life more.
The days become weeks, the weeks become months, and the months become years. The consistency in my narrative is the uneasy relationship I have with myself. Drugs and alcohol are no longer the stones strapped around my neck pulling me to the bottom of a lake of self delusion. The issues I face are not ones of food, shelter, and the weak determination to live. The main issue I face  involves a fundamental belief I hold that makes me ill equipped to deal with a planet full of humans. I seemed to have been born with a section of DNA that codes me as less than every other person around me. While all evidence points to the contrary, no amount of positive affirmations or mindfulness can sway me in the direction of truth when I am in that space. In that moment, in that spiral,  I am utterly convinced that I am not enough.
That pain is real. That pain is dangerous. That pain can make the difference between participating in my life or becoming a passenger. I get driven around by unhealthy behaviors. Scratch offs, over eating, over texting, too much porn, too much isolation, it is just too much.  I can allow myself to be pulled in so many directions it eventually tears at the fabric of whatever joy a drug free life is supposed to provide. Despite having the tools to turn down the stereo of self hated, I can sheepishly admit a portion of my life in search of validation, like a cure for the emotional hangover. I define addiction as the constant state of longing for something you have never had. For all my achievements, what I have never achieved is inner peace.



This is where I turned my first trick

Monday, April 24, 2017

Natural Habitat

"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken"....

"Is that from the Bible?" I ask "Are you quoting the fucking Bible to me right now while I am in the bowels of hell?"

He takes a drag from his cigarette "yeah, it's from the Bible. How did YOU know?" He leans back against the brick wall, pushing his long bangs back into his hat. He is a handsome man. At 5'9" or so, just a tiny bit taller than me. He has that untamed muscular body that comes with an angry energy. His blue eyes peep out from underneath unkept bangs. In another life, In another place, he would be riding a skateboard not chasing a bag. The skateboard and the guitar and the xbox are long gone, just the Thrasher shirt and the Van remain. He doesn't have those blood stains yet. He isn't quite that seasoned.  

"Um, that would be from four years of Catholic School..." I throw down my blankets next to him. "Are you seriously trying to impress me with some Bible shit when I am dopesick? What kind of perverted motherfucker are you? " The kind I like I think to myself. 

He reaches out for my shoulder "...I am trying to make you feel better darling..." he leans in for a kiss. Between the sores on his lip and the sickness on mine, it is an awkward moment in infectious disease history. Hopefully, it isn't herpes. I've already the Hep A<B<C. 

The prospects for the morning are dismal. He doesn't care, I think to myself. He is a tweaker, a completely different type of user. When he doesn't get his fix, he might turn grouchy. He might fall asleep. He might go steal something. I am not really sure. We are just trying to feel each other out in the game. I have sworn off tweak since my last four day run ended up in a suicide attempt. Those voices swirling around my ears, telling me the things I already know- YOU ARE WORTHLESS, NO ONE LOVES YOU, WHY TRY. These are the same things I have heard replayed since I was twelve years old. 

"You do realize I am sick," I tell him. I feel the heaviness start to creep up in my legs. If I don't get moving soon. I never will. Just for once, I would like to sit here. I would like to not be controlled by the magnets in my brain that are pulling me to find more drugs. I like the man sitting next to me. I don't really know him, but I would like to. He has a pleasant face, a hard shoulder to lean on. He gingerly rubs my back the way I would like him to rub my front if dope hadn't made me a sexless creature. I could see myself with him , I can see it would be easy to succumb to a wave of emotions, drowning out all reason. 

I feel the dry heaves coming on, telling me it is time to move. He grabs my hand "wait here" he tells me as he hands me the last of his cold coke. The ice in the cup feels good against my head. I feel hot all over. I wish I could crawl into this cup of ice. The sweetness of the coke is soothing for a moment as it makes the short trip to my empty stomach. I think he might like me, this one. As I was walking down the street, he was looking back at me. Looking so hard, in fact, he ran into the back of the bus stop *whack*. It was a bit of levity in a long week of broken luck. We had been hanging together for a few days. The literally ups and downs of street life. 

In less that five mins, he has returned red faced. He quickly pulls me up "let's go". Uh ok. 

He nearly pushes me up the hill, passed the parked cars, and back into an alley. He grabs my hand and pushes a bag into it. "here" he tells me "But you can't shoot it". 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That is funny. Wait, is this dope?

I don't even finish my sentence before I am ripping that shit open, pulling out my rigs, cooker. I AM SERIOUS, he tries tells me as he hands me foil. What the fuck am I suppose to do with this. Oh my GOD he really expects me to smoke dope that he just gave me. Things quickly escalate to the junkie red zone which quickly escalates in him trying to snatch the dope he gave me back which quickly escalates into the death of a relationship. As he sees me push the burning tar into the veins in my stomach, I see the blood run away from his face. It is one thing to be attracted to a junkie. It is another thing to see me in my natural habitat. As he runs his bit of crumbs on his foil, I see all the actual drugs go to waste. Thank Goodness. I don't want to share my affliction with him. I don't want to share my affection with anyone. As the sickness disintegrates, I wish he could rub my shoulders again. But he hates me. And I hate what I have become. 




Friday, April 21, 2017

The present sufferings

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us..."

The pink of the sky reveals the last bit of night that will save me from seeing myself in the last bit of sun. I caught a glimpse of who I used to be when I walked by the store front. The distortion was as infectious as the bacteria that creeps up my legs. I am an amalgam of chemicals, fear, sugar, and good intentions. I see the mother pull her child in closer as I walk by. I don't need to see myself to know how I appear to them. 

I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a woman. I am capable of love. These drugs that course through my veins provide me from a brief respite from the voices that announce on a daily basis that I am not worthy to walk along side the mortals shun me. I am godlike in that I have chosen suffering as the path to righteousness. I see a few minutes of joy in the waves of chemical satisfaction that stole me away from you. 

If I hold out my hand, would you take me somewhere? Can I sit with you despite my dipping, my slurring, or twitching? Remember when I was human once. We threw the ball on the playground. You patted my head. You told me to be careful. I am careful. I am careful not to reveal myself to you for that knowledge would make me utterly alone. I am careful not to let my pinned eyes look in your direction. You don't see me anymore. I only exist in terms of your judgement-an addict, a junkie, no longer your best friend. 

What would happen if you held me a little tighter? 
What if the world loved me a little more? 



Saturday, April 8, 2017

Promises Made and Promises Broken

I am obsessed with losing you. I am obsessed with your using.
I am obsessed by all the signs and flags and flares that were thrown up that I ignored in my almost selfish pursuit of happiness. It was too much to think that I could find another person that made me laugh that could be “normal”. I misread all the cues. I am now thinking about heroin again. Not thinking about using it. There were silent promises made and broken on a daily basis.


I dismissed myself in this process. As I received a steady diet of half truths, I settled into the idea that there must be something wrong- me of course. I thought it was me! How unsettling that is in retrospect. I blamed myself for your problems. I have become truly sick again. I have become immersed in the language and the mannerisms of a using addict believing them when I should be strong enough to recognize.


Do I enjoy the familiarity this scenario brings? The cryptic messages my brain feeds me screening out moments of truth? I have skated in this direction for many years. I have just never dove headfirst into the pool without checking the depth of the water. That water is all the tears I have cried over the past few weeks trying to figure out how I could get in this place.


Why in the fuck do I even care. Why the fuck do I keep going over this over and over again? I am so fucking mad at myself for getting caught in this fucking bear trap. Do I keep pulling at myself until I get ripped apart or do I try to strategize my great escape. These feelings are totally out of place in the fabric of my life. Who fucking cares right. Just let this go.

Like a tragic comedy, I hear the chorus inside my head telling me that something was amiss. You went back to it. While I raised my hand at the meeting, you pushed the plunger deeper into my heart. While I tried to be well, you wanted to get well. I am no better than you. We are absolutely the same person. We are both dying. The exception is that I am dying on the inside and you are waiting for the day you don't wake up.

Down, down, down. Waiting for the phone to light up. A text that tells me what to feel. I'll be there in thirty minutes. It is over, all over, again.