The Bittersweet Dreams You Have When You Are Clean

            I never knew the joy I could have in recovery until the day the PAWS lifted, the bitterness subsided, and I finally got a chance to experience a happy life. It takes time to overcome the years of damage drugs do on our body and brain. I was coasting along in a decent zone for many years until August 2006. That would be the month that changed me forever.

            For the first nine months I was off drugs, I could not cry. I tried to cry, I wanted to cry. Everyone told me it was good to cry but I could not summon a single tear. Av hardness had developed over me. So many years of being detached from my feelings made it impossible for me to empathize with myself. I have never cried so many tears as the day they told me I had miscarried my first child. Not before, not since then. I laid on the cold medical table in the emergency department as the technician scanned for a beating heart. Yet, there was no one. I noticed immediately how my baby had grown from my last appointment.

“What does that mean there is no heartbeat? You mean you can’t see it?” I put my hands over my eyes.

            The moment I had seen that flicker of life on the first ultrasound it was as if I became alive again in a completely different way. There were so many promises, so many dreams tied up in that flicker. Now, that light was extinguished from my life. I had no friends with me, no family. I did not even own a cell phone. I sat there in a bright room and all my pain was illuminated with my only witness being a stranger.

            I was there for hours before the doctor made a confirmation. I was bleeding and crying and going to the bathroom. For the first time in my recovery, there was no spiritual solution, there was no happy clichéd catchphrase to make this right. The procedure would follow and I would need drugs. Bring on the drugs.

            Up until this point, I had take nothing, Nada. Not even a Tylenol three when they had pulled my tooth. Now I was being hooked up to an IV of benzos to prep me for my procedure. As I felt that warm rush come over me, there was no fuzzy blanket of security. There was no special moment between me and the drug God of my understanding. There was only a waterfall of tears that ran down my face and into my hair. There was no moment of clarity, only a foggy moment of recognition that my life was completely fucked up.

            When I came out of the haze, I was being handed a prescription for 30 vicodin. My first thoughts to myself was- they are trying to kill me.

            “I want to die and you are feeding me more drugs than I need…” I told the resident.

            They hastily changed the prescription.
             As I sat on my couch watching UFC with a few friends, I knew I could not survive this pain. Yet I did. I made it and I did not stick a needle in my arm, in my neck, in my groin out in some alleyway. When I hold my children today, I know they are a gift because I lost a child I cannot forget. 


  1. And your children are Beautiful, Tracey. It's so easy to fall back into old ways in times of tragedy, yet you didn't. This couldn't have been easy to write. Thank you for helping so many of us who struggle daily. I wonder if PAWS will ever subside. I can handle the initial withdrawal, but i'm on Suboxone only because I can't handle the endless hopelessness of PAWS. Anyways, thank you, and God bless you and your beautiful children.

  2. Very deep read always tracey.....thank you for sharing your soul once again...jf

  3. Beautiful piece. I couldn't cry for so long - told no one because I felt defective - now I cry when I see a certain commercial on TV. I've certainly come a long way. I appreciate your words about the goodness of sobriety and more than that, I appreciate the honesty that shines through in your work. Best to you... TR


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