Saturday, September 9, 2017

Social Isolation and Overdose.

I got a message this week from someone who I've never met. That isn't unusual. I get lots of messages and I try to answer all of them. What was unusual was more the content of the message. Essentially the person said I was the only person outside of his dealer that knew he was using heroin. They knew nothing about me really except they thought I might be a person who would care.

That fucked me up family. NO ONE KNOWS you are using heroin except your dealer? That person is at SUCH high risk of dying alone from a fentanyl overdose. It made my heart hurt. Also, thinking about the feeling of keeping a secret like that from everyone in your life. So much stigma attached to heroin use. You can go to any club on any weekend and see people freely blowing lines of coke. Heroin makes a person a social outcast where people feel it is necessary to hide the valuables. This person works, is attractive (from what I can see in pics. I'm not trying to look too hard), has so many "things going for them". Oh, and they use heroin.

I thought about you, dear readers. How many of you have no one to talk to except folk you chat with on the internets (yes I said internets)? We are socially isolated and afraid. In that situation, drugs are a logical conclusion. The drugs are a solution of sorts that create a whole new set of problems. In looking at what we can do to reduce overdoses and increase the health of people who use drugs, it is becoming clearly to me that addressing social isolation needs to be a part of that strategy. I don't know the answers but I know we desperately need connection besides for the connection.

I love you friends.

I won an award this week for my public service. 
This is a pic from my flight with my bff. 

11 comments:

  1. http://think.kera.org/2017/07/20/finding-hope-after-heroin/

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  2. I k ow someone who was in that exact situation. The isolation and shame kept her from letting anyone in. She overdosed in a locked college dorm room. Thank the universe she survived. She's in treatment. It's not a secret Now, but I think there are more and more people in that situation. My heart breaks for her because it feels like her battle will be harder than mine and others. I don't know how this can be addressed. I really don't. You are the first person I've seen write about it. Maybe it will start a dialogue.

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  3. Hi Tracy,

    I'm in a hard place right now and i need some help. After reading your blog here I feel 2 different emotions. Agitated a bit because yes, its true that there's a lot of users out there that are really good people (ex1.my gf) but there is very good reason why the stigma is there. And sad, because i go thru this everyday of my life. I'm not the user (addict) here. I've got plenty of experience with all kinds of drugs n party favors. Concerts, fests, raves. Been around the block too many times to count. But my GF is just like the person that messaged you. 3 and a half yrs and I love her so greatly but she hides her addiction. She didn't start her addiction til we had a bump in the road just over 2yrs ago. Since then it's been a twisty ride. I've helped her in so many ways. Been her Rock thru it all. I just don't kno what to do Any more. I know she's ashamed because I don't approve. I've only got extremely mad about it once. It was the first time I found out what she was doing and hadn't done my research yet on the life of an addict. Since then I've always been supportive and been by her side to get clean. Every time I've found her rig or just knew she was high I've confronted her very loving and calm. The only 2 things I've ever asked is to not do it in our house and to just tell me when u start thinking bout it or get a craving and we'll work thru it together. But low n behold a couple mos go by and there i find a rig in a can or a cap with some cotton. It makes me sad for a few reasons. One is that I can't trust her 99%of the time. I'm gone at work 10 or so hard a day so I'm always thinking she's doing it while I'm there. It's turned this very passive, down to earth, chill guy into a control freak where I feel I have to go thru her things all the time. Sorry so long. Please give me some solid advice I can run with. She's my heart, soul, light and life. Treats me so amazingly besides this. I just want her to lean on me a little. Oh, and as far as I kno her dealer and I are the only ones who really kno. Her mom and I think her sis knows of past use but are horrible enablers with giving her pain meds n what not.


    I'd really like to talk to you more about this tracy one on one or something more private then this anyway. Hope to hear back! Again, sorry so long..

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    1. That's brutal. My friend says the only thing worse than being an addict is loving one. I think there is some truth to that

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    2. So that's it? No advice just telling me its hard loving one. Was hoping on some advise or insight to lead me in the right direction. letting her know it's ok to tell me and not to lie and keep secrets. I'm at a loss. Thx anyway

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    3. If you are looking for more detailed advice, email me at traceyh415@gmail.com. The first thing I always recommend is getting support for yourself. In addition, There are lots of support groups out there for folks with loved ones with addiction issues both in person and online. I can point you in the direction of some

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  4. Hi I'm Lulu and I'm an addict. I'm glad to finally see someone keeping it real on a blog about the truths about being an addict. It took me a long time to actually say the word Heroin. Even though it had been some time since I was using it I became such a manipulative person and pathological liar that I began manipulating myself to believe that what I was doing was different then someone else doing it. I even came up with the word Foxy and made my boyfriend call it that so I did not have to deal with the guilt and shame I was feeling. I mean what a fucking nightmare life has been the last two years. It was not until I went to detox 8 months ago for the first time that I could openly speak about my truths with other addicts and for the first time in a long time being honest had never felt so good. I mean of course everyone has their war stories (the lies, scams, day to day craziness that comes along with trying to live a life that is just beyond unmanageable) I mean the things you wind up doing and saying in a normal persons life who is not an addict just would not begin to even understand. I've never been so sick of being sick. I've been struggling with this crazy addiction for a couple of years now and I've never been so tired. Your average "junkie" is not the homeless person riding the E train panhandling for cash to get high anymore. It's me. Double Masters Degree, and a Therapist for a living. My mind is constantly running, kind of like a hamster on a wheel. From the moment I wake up in the morning all I think about is how much I'm going to be able to buy today? Oh shit I ran out of money, how am I going to buy it? Can I front it? FRONT?! I didn't even know that word had the meaning that I'm referring to until this nightmare began. My life has spiraled out of control and I've never wanted it back so bad. I'm scared that if I don't get help the inevidable will happen. I'm writing on here because I'm in a lot of pain because of this and I just want my life back. I want to be ME again. I miss all the beautiful things about life that I enjoyed. To anyone out there that is reading this- please know you are not alone. For me, I'm going to go back to detox and work the program and not make my own treatment plan... Because if I don't I'm no different then anyone else that has been battling addiction, I'm not going to lose this battle I believe there's hope for me to beat this... and I believe there's hope for all of you too that are struggling. Thanks for letting me share.

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    1. Thank you for confirming what so many readers already know- a drug user can be anyone. There are so many stereotypes.

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  5. There are so many stereotypes and its heart wrenching. Addiction does not discriminate. However, there are so many naive people out there that have no clue what they are talking about that they read an article and RESPOND without thinking who they are affecting by their choice of words. I am even guilty of it myself. Before becoming an addict I thought I knew everything. Your typical know it all. But I was the know it all therapist that thought because I went to school for this I got it. What a reality check life has been. I never had intentions of choosing to walk this path. I did not wake up one day and say "hey I want to give this a shot, how about I get addicted and become an addict"....without sounding like I'm trying to throw myself a pity party because i should have known better BUT this happened to me over time... OVERTIME because I kept going back to the doctor for a back problem and of course the doctors were going to write me scripts I mean they get kick backs from the pharmaceutical companies and that is why they make so much money. Sick is what it really is. I mean what completely healthy 30 year old belongs getting prescribed 120 roxy's a month?!? Maybe if I was a stage 4 cancer patient... I just wish there was more help out there rather then the businesses that most of these detox/rehabs have become. The problem is most of them are your cookie cutter one size fits all drug em' and feed em' facilities and they just produce the inevitable RELAPSE... I said in my post last night that I intend to get help and go back to detox which I am going to, however I know now what I did not know the last time which was my first time I went what to expect. Most of these facilities are not individualized and they put you on psych Meds to "help you sleep" without any mental health screening process and you are pretty much a zombie your entire stay that you do not realize you are just replacing one drug with another drug then it's when the fog finally lifts and you go home that you find yourself stuck which causes one to relapse... My regret when I got out of detox was I should have continued to get help with NA. To people reading this those rooms save people's lives. I am a strong believer that attending 90 meetings in 90 days is very important. It helps you learn to love yourself again by allowing others that truly care show you that there's a way. Tracey I think it's great that you try to help others by having this blog. People need to be informed.... I hope the next time I write back on here that I did follow through and get the help I need, the only person that can get you your life back is you.

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