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


14 comments:

  1. Hi Tracey! I'm really happy for you. Heard your story on the dopey podcast & have been following you since. Continued success & all the best. Matt. 4 yrs sober:)

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  2. I am a recovering alcoholic so I think I can appreciate your twenty years!!! Girl!! 20 years????? That is Exceptional!! Good for you!! Astonishing how different our lives become. Good for you for writing about your experiences! I know what that takes. I do the same.

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  3. Amazing Tracey, you are an inspiration, I follow your blog and have read your book twice. I don't think it was the fact you couldn't find spots to shoot that made you quit, us addicts will always find another way. Even if its sitting in a hot shower for 3 hours dripping blood. Although i can't say that for sure, it's just my assumption, I know it made me tired and i felt fkg shitty having blood on all my shirts and tracks everywhere. But whatever your reason was im glad you came to that decision. You have saved so many lives with the work you do. I cant express how much i wish to be like you some day. To help people and encourage them to find something inside to be able to see there is more to life then being an addict. I still struggle and am working on it myself but people like yourself help me when i lose focus. Congrats on 20 girl!!

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    1. You can help ppl👀. The universe will find a way for that to happen

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  4. Your vein and abscess issues are relatable. I used my neck for a few years, and relatively early on. What I use now is tiny and wherever I can find it. Some hunts get long and extremely frustrating. Medical professionals have a hell of a time doing blood draws. Eight of ten days in the hospital with MRSA, they had me on IV antibiotics through a midline. The first two days consisted of a neck IV, I was shocked they were able to manage it, as I had to give up on that area years ago. I plan to quit and move in about a year or so, it's been almost ten years and feel I'm almost too old to be doing this, anymore. Detox will be a monster and not sure how to go about it.

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    1. Vein issues are the last indicator of poor overall health. A person deep in the bag might ignore everything else but that one is in your face

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  5. Congratulations again Tracey. I'm firm in my opinion that most of us stop when our DOC STOPS WORKING. So I beg every user I can reach to just practice harm reduction, do whatever they Can to stay alive until they are ready. To never give up as I agree with you as long as you breathe their's hope.

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  6. Just say no to drugs! Whenever somebody asks you for some of your drugs, say no!

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  7. Congratulations on your 20 years sobriety. I have no expectation you'll remember me, but I worked with you in the early 2000's through SF ACLU youth project. I'm in the early stages of starting a project to provide naloxone to people experiencing homelessness in Chicago and came across your work. I'm reminded by your blog posts how candid you always were with us. Those experiences definitely helped guide me toward the work I do now so thank you for that. I'm sure you're very busy (congrats on the book!), but if you ever have the bandwidth, I'd love to chat. -Lindsay

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    1. I do remember. that is awesome. Chicago is Dan Bigg land and the Chicago recovery alliance. message me.

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