Twenty years ago, I was sitting alone in my dingy hotel room wondering what the fuck I was going to do with my life. This was captured in "Black Tar Heroin:The Dark End of the Street". I was using cocaine, speed, and heroin on a daily basis with booze and benzos sprinkled in there for effect. I was using money my mom sent my to pay my rent ($30 a day or $150 a week) while I sold drugs on the street for low level Mexican cartel guys to support my habit. It was dangerous. I was withering away as pretty much all my free time was spent digging for veins in my feet, hands, or stomach. Up to an hour per hit 4-6 times a day. My boyfriend had left me in search of greener (browner?) pastures. I was fucked up and alone. My last chance at quitting was methadone, which I had messed up by shooting dope on top of my dose instead of giving it a chance. I quit the clinic at 50-60mg (not sure the exact dosage as I was on a blind dose). That was Dec 1997.
I quit all drugs when I was 27, almost 28 years old. I am not sure how old you are but I suspect most of the people reading this are around that age give or take. I went to jail where I kicked cold turkey. Then I did the in custody program stuff for 2 and a half months. The main thing I found beneficial from that was the 12 step meetings that came into the facility. Then, I went to a parolee rehab for 3 1/2 months. Once the system wouldn't pay for me anymore, I had to get the fuck out. Period. I had lined up a place at the Salvation Army Sober Living facility. I had a job working at a market research place. I was volunteering at an outpatient women's clinic for people who had been sexually exploited. I also attending one weekly group there.
I don't think any of this is new ground if you follow me. I am running through the details to let y'all know there is nothing particularly remarkable about my story. I had a LOT of help. I was very determined. And honestly, I was just DONE. When I made up my mind that I wanted to stop, I did the damn thing. You may be questioning yourself and your choices at this very moment. Just like I did in the months leading up to my last hit. It's a tough place to be in. My "bottom" was lower than most but the pain is all too familiar.
Maybe you aren't ready to stop. You know what? I totally get that too.That was also me. I 100% refused rehab when I was 26. I knew it was a waste of time so I didn't bother to drain resources. My family was pissed. The judge was pissed. I just was not in a place to stop. So I didn't. I respect you. I respect your choices. I just want you to be safe. Fentanyl has changed the game completely. No one who partakes in what they call "hard" drugs is immune from the potential risks of fentanyl in the national drug supply. When fentanyl showed up in the crack here in the bay area, I felt immeasurably sad because it seemed like our harm reduction efforts were too little too late. I digress.
The point of this really is to say I believe in you. You are smart. You are inherently a good person. Drug use doesn't define who you are inside. If you decide you want to quit, you CAN and WILL. If you continue to use, be safe. Preserve your health as much as possible. Trust me- you will need that body of yours one day. You want it in good running order.
Maybe I am a sentimental old lady writing these posts. I really want you to live and have a shot at the things I never thought I would see in life. Graduating college (twice), having kids, having friends, finding love, writing a book, waking up every day satisfied that I did not die. There was a time that all I wished for was to never wake up.
Anyway, this is the time of year when I think of you. The person in the picture, ready for change.