Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Twenty Years of Recovery

I took my last hit(s) over twenty years ago. It is strange typing this out because there are times when it seems like yesterday. There should be no question in your mind- I was 100% dedicated to getting high until I wasn't. From 1998-1990, I started my career as a blackout drunk. I spent from 1990-1998 deep in the grips of addiction. After a failed relationship, my self esteem and prospects in life were so low, I gave in to the spiral. I wanted to feel different. I wanted to be someone that wasn't me.

Using in the 1990s was risky. Needle exchanges were rare. HIV/AIDS was killing off IV drug users. We knew nothing about prevention of overdose. Hep C was known as non A, non B. We were giving each other shitty kitchen tattoos and sharing needles because we had no access to new ones. Heroin was expensive and not very potent. The cost of living was fairly cheap. Drug users built little communities. We had "shooting galleries" and dope houses were usually a room you paid $5 to smoke crack in at someones grandma's house.

If I would not run out of veins, maybe I'd still be using. I can't really say for sure. I wanted to stop. I had tried to stop. No place to put my beloved medicine made me despair over my life's choices. The bottom of my feet, my stomach, my tits. I hit in the jugs (jugular) a few times but I had actually had a friend die from an aneurysm from that so I avoided it as much as possible. I was alone in the world. I had isolated myself from everything and everyone I ever cared about. But whatever the reason, I made the choice to try recovery "for real". Luckily for me, it worked out.

I have made lots of friends, lost lots of friends. I have had career highs and emotional bottoms. I am still a work in progress. I just want to say don't give up on yourself. There are folks just like myself, caring humans, who want to see you get better (whatever that means for you). I believe everyone deserve a healthy happy life. I am flawed and I am a work in progress. I am grateful to be your advocate.

XOXO Tracey H 415.

This is me in my booking photo 2/27/1998

Sunday, February 18, 2018

When People Said I Should Have Died

As a junkie in active addiction, I was told more than once that the world would be better off if I died. I see these hurtful comments at the bottom of articles about naloxone but this was stated directly to my face. As a person who was under the grips of a full blown heroin addiction, I have to admit a part of me agreed with the statement. I was tired of living the life of an active user- wake up sick, look for a vein for an hour, hustle all day for a few bags- the cycle of life. There was no "bottom" for me- I could have easily leaned deeper into the spiral. How much lower could I go? Isolated from my family, having engaged in sex work, willing to absolutely beg for drugs, allowing my limbs to rot from unsafe injection technique. They call that suicide on the installment plan. I called that another day at the office.

If I would have died, there would not be three beautiful children in the world. There would not be the 300+ people saved through the little program I run. Some folks would surely have Hep C. There would be a voice missing for drug users. Most of all, I think I am a pretty rad person. I am relatively entertaining. I am a loyal friend. I am a decent cook. I also enjoy memes. This is starting to sound like a Tinder profile.

I don't want you to die. Don't give in to the stigma. I want you to be safe. There are so many things you have left to do! There are so many people that love you. Please take care of yourself. The world needs you.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Harm Reduction Goes to DC

I am making an East Coast Trip next month to Washington DC and to Boston. I plan on meeting with policy makers and a judge. If there are any points you feel need to be covered, let me know here or via email.

I started a go fund me to cover the costs of my harm reduction and the travel expenses here. It costs anywhere from $3.50-$10 per care packages. I am putting money aside for the future.

Love Tracey

When you corner a dog

"I could lie my way out of anything..."

I sat on the steps in front of the coffee shop, eating half of a cheese sandwich. I washed it down with a chocolate beverage. It's lunch time. The business men and women stream by me. They are in search of instant gratification in the form of a quick bite. As the sun reaches the highest point in the sky, I adjust my fishnets so no passerby get a free look up my skirt. I haven't shaved my legs since winter time, if you can call what we have here winter. I see a man with a blanket running, breaking the glass from the drink he stole. Maybe he was thirsty.

My life has been one lie after the other. There are the lies I tell myself. These are desires enveloped in fiction. There are the lies I tell you. These are facts that simply aren't true. Then, there are the lies in live in. The lies that exist in daily living. The lies of comparison. I don't want to live in a space where everyone is superior to me. More money, thinner, prettier, smarter, they are just MORE which makes me much less. Yet these are lies too.

If my heart was scarred from the life I lived, you certainly pried away at it. There was a moment when I achieved the feeling that anything was possible. Nodding on a street corner is a fantasy. While my ice cream melts in my lap, the clock is ticking until I have to get up to make money again. The lies you tell me make perfect sense to me. They are everything I ever wanted: you are safe. You are loved. Everything is going to be okay as long as we are together. Six hours or eight hours later, I realize these things aren't possible. I come to my senses then realize I'd rather bask in my delusions.

When you corner a dog, you might get bitten. When you corner a junkie, you might not get the truth. We are on the defense, supporting the thing that makes us whole, even if that love is a lie.

As I walk back to my office, I carefully dodged the broken crack pipe but I almost stepped in the human poo. (THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED. SF is an interesting place).

As a side note, I saw a man in a wheelchair light a crack pipe with a magnifying glass this week.