Showing posts from 2016

The Sweetest Thing

Finding a vein the first time. Isn't that the sweetest thing? I don't want to look at your face because I know what you are thinking. You are thinking you are so much better than me. Better as in well. Better as in you have the strength to resist all of life's more primal urges. You want me to understand that you excel in the art of "NO". You can hold back when my whole life revolves around GO. My heart is just a frozen sacrifice. I threw it in the dumpster next to the blood wipes. I passed by the smell of rotten air. I knew I belonged to this. I belong in this place, altered and alone. My confusion is only temporary. My focus is clear. Everything I need in life exists in little bags spit out by fragile men on street corners or hidden underneath the nut sack of some man I would never want to ask me for a favor. Life is funny that way. It has the sickest sense of humor. As sick as me on a cold morning waiting for my man. Not a lover. The only really man in my

Happy Holidays

Hanging with the spirit of the season 

The Semantics of Happiness

This is a work in progress. You are drug free- you are supposed to be happy- right?!” The man seems to get more angry the more he talks. He is a well dressed man in his mid-forties. I can tell right away that if he gave me a hug, I would pull away with the slight scent of some hair care product or perhaps some kind of fancy deodorant, anything to signify an upgrade from his prior circumstances. His well manicured fade and crisp flannel drew my eyes to him right away. Underneath his collar, I see the poorly chosen tattoos peeking out from a strategic location on his neck. He is a mixture of post addiction swagger and relatable social acceptability. It isn’t how he looks though that catches my attention. It is what he says, vocalizing all my doubts outloud.  His words are like a chorus of angels singing in my ears. Finally, someone is saying all the things I have been thinking all this time. “Well I am not fucking happy…” he takes a pause to take a sip of his coffee. I can tell h

Please Consider "The Big Fix; Hope after Heroin" in your holiday shopping

There are recovering folk, treatment facilities, detoxes, and families struggling with addiction that would love a copy of my book. Here is the amazon link  The book is also at Barnes and Noble, Indy bookstores, and I have a few author copies for sale.

All The Good Stuff

I received a special request to make a positive post. Ask and ye shall receive. Let me start out by saying, this blog is my therapy. I let whatever comes to my mind go through the keys and out into the universe. In my ten years of active addiction, I experienced horrors beyond the average imagination. I am not being dramatic- just stating facts. I am not sure if the streets of San Francisco are unique in that the lengths of human depravity on display here are enough to provide a lifetime of nightmares. I suppose my experience of a user in active addiction could have been very different if I would have stayed in Ohio but it was headed down that trajectory. I am a person of extremes. I use hard, I love hard, I am loyal as fuck. When I get involved in something, I do it until the wheels fall off. I'm up in the projects buying crack, I am turning tricks if necessary, I am walking the city with one shoe on and one shoe off out of my mind on meth. That is the essence of my brand. T


There are echoes inside my head Telling me I am alone  There are ghosts from my past  They follow me where ever I go I have memories like spiderwebs  They trap me every time  I breath out my insecurities  I try to still my spinning mind  Though bruised, this life can't break me Though angry, your words won't choke me I will stay up, find a come up  I will find a way to fucking shine. 

Fuck the Holidays 2016 Edition

Every year since I got sober, I get to experience individuals on all sides telling me how grateful I should be during the holiday season. Let's get this out of the way, I AM grateful. I am grateful I am not walking in wet socks and a scratchy wool blanket to park my shopping cart outside the soup kitchen to get a plate of slightly overcooked holiday food. I am grateful I did not wait in line this week for 2-3 hours for a box of holiday food I would then walk down the street and sell for $10 to put in for a bag of dope. Not that I had a kitchen anyway, or wanted to eat, or had anyone to celebrate it with (see: heroin). I am grateful I am not getting my last $19 I spent all day panhandling ripped off by another dopefiend with red hair and slightly green teeth. Yes, I let my money walk on Thanksgiving. I couldn't go to the open air because I had ripped off the only Mexican dealer there willing to work on a holiday. That's right. Not only do dealers have families but I got burn

Two Junkies at the Holidays

Gathering 'round the yule log, a massive erection caused by 16 hours without a fix, my boyfriend and I laid on the bed. We were reaching that magical place where the sickness made it nearly impossible to hustle, yet hustling was the only thing that could end the sickness. "Can you call your mom?" he asked. "Negative," I told him "She already sent me a card with some cash in it. Remember that $60?" I had taken out $40 to fix before he got home that day. What he didn't know wouldn't hurt him. I sneezed in rapid succession. I know deep down he wanted to fuck. I had been awhile since his dick had gotten anywhere near functional. The very last thing I wanted was someone hunching on me. The thought of anything pushing again my stomach was "...Fucking ridiculous" "What babe?" I asked him. I was laying on the bed in a pair of his boxer shorts. My body was starting to ache from all the hits and misses from the bottom of my feet

The Sickness

I got off the train to throw up. It wasn't the glorious "I'm so high I need to throw up right now" thing from when I first started. This was a deep and painful vomit that felt as if it started at the back of my heels and traveled along an electrified spine until it hit the tops of my shoes. This was beyond food poisoning puke. This was a jumping off the methadone clinic at 60 mg puke. No amount of dope could fill that void. It was going to be a few days of sleepless nights and twitching legs until my receptors conceded to the fact that the magic raspberry syrup would never touch my receptive lips again. I'm not sure why I let him convince me to stop going to the clinic. Maybe that had been the crack talking to me, telling me I really didn't need to go. I knew my life would never be the same when he convinced me it was a good idea to spend the $50 he had received from his grandparents on those magical white rocks. I was sitting in one of their slip covered

From my neck down

I am dead from my neck down. My body has experienced so much trauma. My heart is broken. My feet are aching. My greatest fear is not that I will die, that I will have to live the rest of my life like this.  Trapped in an endless darkness, I am a shadow of myself. I have taken love for granted. Given all my affections to the highs that brought me so low again. Alone. Wondering what new miseries the day will bring. 

The Lightswitch

"if you have been dead a couple times and you KNOW it is nothing more than a light switch, no romance , no judge of character or morality, its just like going to sleep, and there is nothing to fear about it, how are you ever supposed to hit "rock bottom" and turn this thing around?" The first time I ever used heroin was the first time I ever saw someone overdose. Well, I had not even used mine yet. The two experienced junkies took turn hitting us suburban pupils up with the same barbed rig. Within seconds, I saw my friends eyes roll back in his head. Before anyone could scream in fear, I saw him grip the table with so much force I was told it was called the death grip. That split second when his body clung to his diminishing life force in such a way it made an impression on me for the rest of my life. The body, it seems, does not want to die despite the ill advised efforts of the host within. In the life cycle of the junkie, there is a period at which your body

Loving an Addict

I was having a conversation recently with a friend about my minor obsession with the well being of a friend. She casually stated "the only thing worse than being an addict, is loving one." These words kind of fucked me up for a few moments. I'm a writer. I consider myself able to turn a good phrase. Yet, I had no witty rebuttal. These words stung for days.  For the first time in my life, I was experiencing what others must have experienced when I was on drugs. I have made friends with addicts before, hundreds of them over the years. Between my own drug use and working at harm reduction facilities, I have been in the consistent company of drug users for close to thirty years. To a certain extent, I always was able to put up a decent sized wedge of self preservation between myself and the other person. I always knew in the back of my mind that at any moment, the "other shoe" of overdose, murder, or other type of brutal end could happen to my people. I am a jade

For a friend

Everything about you is so perfect. My heart aches knowing you.  Like the bed is spinning  After a night of heavy drinking  I get sick to my stomach  With just a few of your passing words.  Painful to see you toss and turn,  To grip the pillow with swollen fingers.  Painful to see your empty smile.  If you could only see what I see.  Like the friend I have always wanted  Like the person I know you to be  Perfect in your imperfections.  Like the person I know you to be. 

Let me live

This is dedicated to all the fools who says that we should just "let them die".  I loved shooting drugs. I loved shooting drugs in public places.  I didn't not give two fucks if I shot up in front of your kids.  I would lick the blood to taste the last bit of dope.  I would carry rigs in my pocket like my life depended on it.  I've shot up with water from a puddle.  I've walked all over the city with no shoes high on meth.  I've turned a trick on soiled newspaper in the rain.  I've cried over spilled dope. Never over my choices.  Until I did.  One day, I imagined something different for myself.  People change. I changed.  Never, ever tell me there is no hope.  I am living proof.  I am a mother, an employee, and activist, a wife.  People love me.  I rescue cats. I help others.  Fuck your judgment.  Let me live.  

The Heavy Burden of Truth

I'm fat, family. Not "pleasantly plump" or "curvy" or "thick". I am fat. And I did this to myself. Long, long ago before there was a metric fuckton of meth or heroin or whatever other drugs pounding through my veins, there was a little girl sitting on the couch over indulging in food. I have some pictures under my bed that I pull out occasionally. I can see the change in between first and second grade. I went from a slim girl of six to a round girl of seven. The journey there was a complicated one. It only makes sense upon my reflection. My father was a late in life alcoholic. By all accounts, he was a quiet man with a dry sense of humor. A good looking country boy from London Ky He was raised in poverty, born 7th of 9 children. His parents were a stern couple that dealt with a lifetime of tragedy. They were a practical sort. My grandfather refused to attend his high school graduation when my father insisted on completing rather than getting a job

Anonymous Friends

Addiction is a jealous pimp that doesn't allow much time for friends. There are using buddies. There are cordial dealers, if you are lucky. There may even be a few "running partners". Friends, however, are in short supply. I was always a sensitive kid, prone to tears of frustration or anger. I can't claim to have made many friends until I got involved in the punk rock/hardcore scene in my teens. In the lyrics of the music, I found a community. We were all running from something, it seemed. Unfortunately, many of us ended up in the same exact place- the bottom of a bag of dope. Of the friends I had back then, I would estimate 1/3 are dead, 1/3 are off drugs, and 1/3 are struggling with either drugs or mental health issues are both. When I got into that police car February of 1998, I didn't know what was in store for me besides a bunch of sickness. I did know that "clean" or "recovery" could not be any fucking worse than the daily grind of a

An endless thirst

I have an endless thirst that I can't quench. I have a craving for places and faces that I will never see again. I am softly whimpering in a tone rarely heard. I cry for something I can never have again. The smell of your skin against my cheek. I drink in all the suffering. I have an endless thirst that I can't quench. I have an irrational need to be with you again.  Would you want me if you saw who I really am? If you stripped my past,  my flesh, my bones- would you choose the trembling human that lies within? Would I have to throw myself against your feet? Would you make me beg on my bruised hands and battered feet? Would you stay one minute more to provide me sweet relief. I need you now like I needed you then.    FYI not all my stories are actually about me. Some are inspired by conversations I have with other people. 

A brief encounter

You told me everything about yourself. I told you nothing. I was afraid to tell you what was on my mind. How could anyone understand all the crazy thoughts that vibrate between my ears. I didn't want someone to judge me I retracted into my shell, a reflex that keeps me isolated. I heard your stories. I instantly felt that I loved you. Not in a way that would make sense  I wanted to tell you that I loved you but I wanted to seem like a "normal person". Love between junkies- Not in a way where two people walk off into a hurried sunset. It is a different kind of love, more real in some ways. There is a connection between users. There is a bond as thick as the syrup that ran through our veins. There is a lifetime between us, yet for a few moments we were in the same place. I wanted to tell you that I loved you. It would have seemed so out of place.  I wanted to tell you that I forgive you. Not "I" as in you harmed me. "I" as in the collective "I

The Hole that Lives Inside of Me

Where did it start? When did I get the hole that lives inside of me.  There is an empty space somewhere between my lungs and my heart. It sucks my breath away. It pumps my blood so fast, I can feel it streaming through my ears. I feel the tightness in my chest. It pulls me away from everything I love. Like a magnet, I feel it drawing me away from Hope.  This hole is a vacuum, extracting every positive thing in my life. It takes away my words. I feel the syllables disappear in mid air "help me", simply becomes "me". A declaration of my independence is made out of my fear. I will be in a whole crowd full of people who care for me, yet I am standing alone. The black hole is the center of the universe. I am alone while life spins around me.  I can plug the hole. I can fill it will drugs, or sex, or you. A bottomless pit that can never be filled. I place a band aid on my rotten sore. The ache never goes away. It pools up with tears when I am alone. A well of sorrow for a

Some Days I don't want to get out of Bed

This is the time of year when depression normal rolls in. Then, I get this face telling me to get up. 

When Your Life Fits in a Plastic Bag

The streets of San Francisco are particularly ripe right now. It hasn't rained in a month of more. No amount of sporadic power washing can peel away the layers of urine that permeate the air. The trees that line the busy sidewalks have brown gravel covering their roots. Brown from a hurried piss of thousands urban dogs moving quickly as their owners rush from one place to the next. The urban planners never imagined a density of a few hundred dogs per tree and only seven of those per block. The pit bulls and the yap yap dogs share the same space, only connecting through scent.  The same could be true of the downtown area. There is an unmistakable odor, the smell of an unhealthy body known as a city. Everywhere you walk their are bodily fluids to remind you of the person who once was there. There is blood and bandages on the sidewalk. From the home bum who left a pool of blood when he cracked his head on the curb to the junkie that squirted his used rigs on the storefront, DNA evi

From Below the Rock in Rock Bottom

I made it out though 

Don't Leave People to Die

The title here might seem self- explanatory but I want to give more information.  When I was 20 years old, I was visiting with friends in an apartment in downtown Cincinnati. My homeboy and I had been saving a few precious bags of dope to do when we were alone. Dope wasn't cheap, it wasn't easy to come by, and it was going to be a good night. While the friends went out to the state liquor store to get booze, we thought we would be sneaky and do our issue. The point of doing it then was 1. we didn't want to share 2. fuck you. Just kidding, sort of. Anyway, since we had to share the syringe (with no way of cleaning it), he decided I would go first since I was a lower health risk. I was a few steps away from a virgin and had barely done drugs so my blood was safer. This was how we made decisions since we might have one syringe between four people for months at a time. He had been turning tricks since he was 12?13? and had a long drug history so he was willing to share my bl

A Uneasy Truce With the Past

I am 46 years old, a fossil by junkie standards. The links I have to the past, they are in my memories. They are in the faces of people I see pass me by. That person *almost* looks like...but I know that person has passed on. In the nearly 30 years since I started dabbling with drugs, I have lost more people that I can remember. An army of dead lovers and friends marching across my dreams.  Maybe I should forget the past, someone told me. Maybe I should only write about positive things, they said. That person died recently under mysterious circumstances. We all know what the social media post means when no one says why you are dead. It isn't a car crash or cancer or an act of God. Those deaths require details. When a user like us dies, we are simply left with questions.  Why did they use again? They were certainly no worse than I was in my day. Why go back to sticking that spike in your vein when you have so much to lose? Why? Because that is what we do when we try to bury the pa

Hitting the Road

I am going to be doing lots of traveling in the next six weeks. Come see me or let's do lunch.  August 20-23 KCMO Sept 10 Michigan Recovery Walk  Sept 12- Seattle Recovery Cafe @7pm Sept 19-20 Washington DC Sept 26-28 New Brunswick NJ

To Hell and Back

To Hell and Back

Cutting off Your Nose

"You are cutting your throat to spite your face," he told me in a muffled voice. We had been sick most of the evening so I wasn't expecting much in terms of conversation. After a long day of shivering and treking around with a snotty nose, there wasn't much to say.  It was creeping up to two am. I knew this because I had seriously considered chugging a bottle of vodka to get the sick off. It was 1:30 before we had made the decision to go in on the smallest piece of dope we could afford without dipping into the money I owed to my regular connection. I had been in a typical junkie paradox. I had money, $497 to be exact, but no access until the morning. He had turned off his phone, god damn him. I assume all my money was paying for him to live a normal life somewhere. The Christmas presents for his kids were paid for with $20 bills covered in the tears and sweat of prostitutes sucking dirty dicks with our condoms just to get well. As a small time dealer, these were my

I need YOUR help

I am going to meeting with policy leaders in Washington DC to talk about the heroin crisis in the US. I would love to get your input on what you feel is going on, what needs to be a priority, and what you feel is working. You can leave comments here or I can give you my email. XOXO Tracey

Sicker than Others.

When I was just finishing middle school, I was very meticulous about my appearance. This was complicated as a fat girl. However, I had discovered in the pages of Seventeen magazine the joys of camouflage. This included spending hours on my nails. I would try all sorts of combinations of wet n wild eye liners, eye shadows, and Bonnie Bell lip smackers. I would spend my free time combing the malls for just the right outfit, the one that would make people like me. In the mean time, I always carried gum or candy in my purse so people would have a reason to talk to me. It is hard to believe that it wasn't too much later than I was sleeping on a mattress that was pulled from the garbage. It was complimented by other scores. I had a recliner someone left for the trash man, a mirror left outside a retail place, and a trashcan that became my vomitorium. As I crawled deeper into the bottom of a spoon, I prayed there would be someone to love me at the other end. Would someone come and res

I haven't been writing much this week.

I am on a deadline to collect research for my naloxone program. Hoping to use it to get funding for it.  I'm starting something new tonight.  Here is a cat picture to cheer you up! 


I have said before that heroin probably saved my life. I still believe that. I know that doesn't make sense to the uniformed. How is it this substance that grabs the user by the throat and leads them around could possibly have a positive impact? Well, it was certainly true in my case. There comes the point in the life of a suicidal person where there are only sparse alternatives. For me, drugs were the very last one. The crippling depression I had experienced since I was an adolescent was pulling me under like a rip current. I no longer could paddle my way to the sandy beach. The more I tried, the more I felt the undertow. The cold blackness pulled at me until I felt as if I was walking around in life, merely gasping for air. Heroin, for all the myriad of drawbacks, provided a brief salve for my mental wounds. I didn't go STRAIGHT to heroin, of course. I had to work my way around the other opioids first. Eventually, those had become less and less effective. Never the less, th

Heroin- that bitch ain't real

I wish you could see the person I see I wish you could feel the way I feel  I wish you could feel love again- Heroin- that bitch ain't real.