Saturday, August 19, 2017
Story time. Pull up a warm fuzzy blanket and some sour patch kids.
Young Tracey was not the Tracey you know today. I was full of insecurity.
I had gotten involved in a relationship with a man I barely knew.
He swept me off my feet with his constant attention.
He was also kinda sort of homeless.
He had nothing else to do.
He told me he loved me and fucked me ten different ways.
He then told me I was fat, stupid, lazy.
Kept me alone in the house for days.
When that relationship ended, I was just on the border of suicidal. Perhaps you have experienced this type of suicidal. It isn't the post strung out suicidal when you low key wish you would die but maybe this hit will fix me suicidal. It was the type of suicidal when I actively went through the A,B,Cs of killing myself. Alcohol wasn't helping. Alcohol always seemed to amplify the worst parts of my personality. I am *almost* joking when I say a night of drinking would end in either 1. crying in a bathroom somewhere 2. trying to stab my friends 3. a combination of both. When heroin came along, I was beyond depressed. I was frequently contemplating the merits of running my car into a brick wall when those delicious powders came into my life.
Heroin probably saved my life. It gave me a purpose. An incredibly dysfunctional one, true, but a purpose. What would have REALLY saved me was some adequate mental health treatment to deal with both my depression and PTSD. These options were not available to me. I found something that seemed to work until the solution became a much larger problem. In dealing with the broader issue of opioid use, it seems like our policy makers are completely out of touch with the fact that drugs play an important role in the daily life of users. Not only do they feel good, they replace what is missing- love, food, security, and at times even health. In any attempt to prevent drug use or discontinue it, we have to be providing some kind of solutions.
I eventually got the care I needed many years later. I am proud to say I survived eight years of active heavy drug use. I am not embarrased by it. I get sad around some of the extremely poor choices I made but getting sad can't actually change a mother fucking thing. I have to put in some work around amending my behavior to not go down those roads again.
I love you friends.
I don't know why you are using.
I just want you to be safe.
Friday, August 18, 2017
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Glass pipes with a rose in it for my gal
Graffiti on the sidewalk from a Pentel
The smell of rotten food on a hot summer day
Homeboy playing Parliament in his 49ers gear
The pigeons all gather for a piece of my tortilla
The ocean so cold, the train is so warm
The dealers ask me "que pasa mammi"
Fog rolls over the hills
I'm nodding in my friends(?) car
Cotton fever givin me chills
Antibiotics and a Nestle quik chaser
I tried to call home but you didn't answer
I tried to fall in love but I have nothing to offer
I have this room and you have a clean outfit
Tap on my shoulder while I pick at my skin
I read a book by William S Burroughs.
I'm the authority on vices and sins.
Let's go record shopping while it's still ironic.
I'll be RIGHT back with your money. 3,2,1,...
A pack of Newports and a dream please
A Mountain Dew to swallow my lies
My blue eyes pinned to the wall behind me
An alcohol wipe to scrub you out of my life
The City I Love
RIP TO THE ONE AND ONLY STAK.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
"Dude," my friend yells as she tries to fan the smell away from his nose "how can a person live like that?" He takes a sip of his coffee, a watered down hazelnut blend. It is hot, steaming up his broken glasses. The arm no longer exists on the right side. His ego has given way to a utilitarian desire to see.
I point to the clock "that dude is waiting until the liquor store opens at six am. He probably passed out before he could hit the store before they stopped selling..." I try not to look at the man and his predicament. It can't avert my eyes from the wet stain on the back of his pants.
He continues "that dude...that dude is fucked..."
I chuckle to myself. THAT dude is fucked. We are sitting in this donut shop because neither one of us have a place to stay tonight. We are pooling our money to split a gram from the only connect who will come out this late. This mfer has an abscess so ripe, I can smell it across the table. I haven't had a period or a phone call to my family in over six months. Both of us are so sick, we can't finish a pastry, which would be the only thing we ate today if we could actually eat. I touched a dick for my money, he stole from a mom and pop store while they followed him out into the street screaming. Yeah. THAT dude is fucked. Not us.
As the old drunk walks past me to hit the door, we briefly lock eyes. How did he get to this place? How did I get to this place? "You got a cigarette?" he asks me. I honestly don't smoke. As he shuffles out, killing time, I push my food into another circle waiting for my own sweet relief to arrive.
I am kind of a crazy cat lady. I have a dog too. She is great, just 13 1/2 so she sleeps all day.
Saturday, July 29, 2017
OH HOW I WISH YOU WERE HERE. There was a time when we promised each other that our love would last- forever? Forever wasn't really that long ago baby, was it? As soon as I pulled that needle out of my skin, all the hellos in the world could not feel as good as this. You kissed me on my dry lips. I swore that I would never do it again (again and again and again). I am better off without you, I tell myself as I think about you walking away with someone else.
I wasn't born a junkie. What made me this way? Was it the vampire that made me- another lost soul that didn't want to experience death alone. They turned me out into the cold cruel reality of love in thirty units. It manifested into fifty now, eighty on a good day. Add the water, draw up the universe and pray this gets me. We are all interconnected through the brotherhood of the traveling spoon, of the constipation, the tiny pupils, the friendly discourse that comes as we wait on the same dealer. Of the artists without a canvas, the musicians with their equipment in pawn, and the frail kid in long sleeves serving cocktails so he can get a fix with his hard earned tips.
I wasn't born a junkie.
I don't need to die as one, either.
As long as the breath goes in and out, I have the capacity to change.
I am sitting here drinking a soy latte next to my cat in the house that I own, on the computer I just bought, and I'm sober. Things can change.
Below is me getting my mic for a feature on CNN on naloxone care packages.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
He has currently logged seven weeks clean.
Saturday, July 15, 2017
There was a point in my life when every cent went to dope. Every fucking cent. I would sit on the sidewalk when my hustle was weak. I would beg for change (fuck some food) to scrape up enough money for a bag that I knew would do nothing but barely get the sick off. Then I would have to do it all over again. Work was completely out of the question when your habit is THIS BIG. It also would take me 1-2 hour on occasion to find a usable vein. Using was an all encompassing endeavor. This isn't every one's story. This is just my story.
Enter into my life a friend. Now, dear readers, we all know how isolated your average opioid user is, even if they are sober. I am not sure what it is about our taste for the opioids but we are an intelligent bunch that tends to run on the sensitive loner side. How many of us like to read books more than go out or watch a good movie over deal with people. We struggle with the outside world. For many of us, opioids are the initial lubricant for socialization that spirals into never leaving our rooms. At many years "clean" or whatever the term you want to use it, I did not think I would meet a new friend. My friends have died/left/moved relapsed. I thought that game was over. I was wrong.
I made a friend ( a few in fact) at 46 years old when I took the plunge, left my insulated over scheduled world last year. I went on book events for "The Big Fix". I spoke about harm reduction. I got out of my shell. It was scary as fuck but I did it. I got to meet some of y'all around the country. It was lovely. It was inspiring. It changed me. I did not want to be caught in the social isolation bubble again.
Fast forward to yesterday. I went with my best friend to get lobster rolls and see a movie. Seems simple but to be in a place in my life where I can not only do whatever the fuck I want (within reason) because I am not using and have the money AND be able to do that with another human is pretty monumental. For him as well. It was kind of magical really. What was more magical was walking through the city we both love without having to cop anything beside a slurpee.
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Sunday, July 9, 2017
Monday, July 3, 2017
Thinking about the last time I saw your face.
I start a text. It says "I love you".
I quickly fumble for the backspace.
I can see you when I close my eyes.
I can feel you deliberately brush my arm.
"Try it" you said. "Trust me" you said.
You're so beautiful to me. What's the harm.
I smell you in my t-shirt when I'm sick,
I taste the salt from your cheek on my lips.
I breathe you in as all my "reasons" slip away,
Here's my last crumpled twenty spot,
Get us another shot,
Promise me you'll stay.
Friday, June 30, 2017
As I head in the opposite direction, my heart briefly sinks into my Sambas wondering if I can find the strength to hold back the tears that claw at the back of my eyes. I slide down the wall until I smell the piss before I see it. A pool underneath the railing telling me this is no place for me to wait for prince charming to appear. There are no princes. There are no heroes in this life. There are only moments when I know I am doing what I need to do and emotions that boil in my insides telling me to get out. There is a breeze in the tunnel telling me that I can get away from this place. You were already gone before you even got here- a shadow of the person I once knew.
Friday, June 23, 2017
I'm lying on my bed under three different types of blankets. The window is slightly open so the sea breeze can creep across my exposed ankles. I feel nothing. I feel everything. At the same time. I am not sure why my life feels so empty when you arent around. There is a whole, as large as my imagination, picturing you here with me. There is a burning in my brain. It stings with the memory of what it would feel like to have you inside of me. You aren't a lover. You are my drug. I love you despite your abuse. I can't quit you.
I can't go on with you.
I can't go on without you.
Taste the blood.
I bite my tongue in desperation.
Switching from side to side to side.
I cry inside my pillow.
Kicking you one more time.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
There is this huge myth that getting off drugs is the solution to all of your problems. HAHA. Not even fucking close. Getting off drugs is a solution to a subset of your problems. When you quit opioids, it might fix your orgasm issues. You might be able to poop daily. You might not go to jail, get abscesses, overdose, a heart infection, or spend all over your money on little powders and pills. Getting off drugs does not make that girl/boy love you. It will not make people forgive you. It will not fix the fact that people are still peopley and somewhat scary. It won't fix your social anxiety. Don't hate me for telling the truth. It takes some work on your end.
You know what else is work? Sucking dick while you are dopesick. Working a nine to five while supporting a habit. Remembering all the lies you have told. Missing family functions while you wait for the dealer who is eight hours late. Stealing from stores. Middlemanning for people who truly hate you. Going to the pawn shop. Breaking all your "nevers". Being sick for twelve hours, then buying baking soda bunk dope, then having to hustle all over again. THAT IS A TON OF FUCKING WORK.
My children had their own version of fight club this morning. While I was getting dressed for work, they started beating the living crap out of each other. While I packed the lunches, this started up again. "BUT HEY KIDS- I'M NOT SHOOTING DOPE". They do not give two fucks about this (well they do but not in this case). They needed me to get in there, break them up, figure out what the issue was, and get them on their way. Just like you do. You need to stop beating yourself up, sort a few things out, and get on your way.
I love all you friends. I understand the struggle. I understand your fears. I honestly, truly want you to be happy. I want you to have the whole picture. My life is not perfect but it is pretty fucking okay. Be safe.
I was hiding in the kids' room earlier. They found me.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
No. Not this time. That isn't one of my children. The cries of my children are generally followed up with a second set of cries indicating one child has decided to violently charge the other to avenge whatever caused the first set of tears.
My friend and I have dragged our lawn chairs closer to the field. We are pretending to watch the nine year old compete in this game of chance known as youth athletics. Mostly, we are happy to spend some time together. With jobs(mine) and relationships (his), we don't get to see each other that often. There is a certain comfort in having a friend that understands what it is like to shoot dope then try to transition into a "normal" life. His recent relapse has reminded me how fragile the line between sobriety and insanity is on a daily basis. The last time I saw him, he was high as fuck. I had to admit I was more than a little jealous at the time. It had been a long long time since I had been so close to that eyes rolling back in your head feeling. Now, newly detoxed, we are trying to spend a few hours to catch up on the months that were squeezed into a couple weeks of using.
"Have you ever been sick enough to shit your pants?" I asked in between watching pitches.
He looks at me as if I asked him if he has ever killed a pet. "NOOOOOOOOOO" he blurts out, grabbing his neck in a semi pearl clutching gesture. He rolls his eyes "Have you?"
He starts waving his hands with the c'mon with the story motion. I look around to make sure none of the other parents are close by. Okay, I'm game let's go.
One day in particular, I was sick so a friend convinced me to do some coke. I hated coke- but do you have some? You know how we are. Anyway- I was selling the Chivah, the shitty stuff all up with coffee etc that the low level Mexican cartel guys would front me. ANYWAY- I was all nestled in my room so I took the balloons out of my mouth. If all sold all the dope, the would throw me free coke. I thought hey, what a gift. I realize now it was so I would sell dope all day and all night for them. I invited some fuckwit up to my room 'cause I did want to do my shit alone. But there was a problem, when I did my uptown, I was so sure I was going to fucking die but I was paranoid, too"
"DUDE", my friend injects.
Exactly, dude is right.
My friend nods at me. "I like where this story is headed", he tells me. We giggle like two school girls with lots of tattoos.
Stop me if this story is too gross for you look. Silence. I continue
I get my narrow junkie ass on top of that sink. I do what we do. Except that mfing thing is the entire length of the colon. I have now delivered a five pound chinga babe. A dry grey stool without a single drop of moisture. I felt liberated from the cement oppressor that had been weighing me down. I shit in the sink and threw it out the window. Then I wiped my hands with alcohol pads cause yeah that is sterile. And fuckity fuck, that's my story. I'm sticking to it."
There is an awkward pause then we both laugh hysterically. We are laughing at us, who we are, the life we lead, the things we do. I pass him my Gatorade as we both shake our heads in recognition. My son asks to sit on my lap. I happily oblige him. As I sit at the game with my kids, my past, and my best friend in the world, my life feels complete again. I am content in the recognition that I am not in that place today. The only hits I have today came from my daughter in the third inning.
Thursday, June 8, 2017
When I make these posts on reddit or my personal blog, decision makers are reading them. They want to know what we are thinking. They just don't ask us directly. If you have ideas, please feel free to post them. I will continue to pass them on.
We need our voices to be heard, not just just read.
I love you. Be safe.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
Also thank you for all the birthday wishes!
Saturday, May 27, 2017
Death doesn't come this close to me very often. Both my parents have passed on. The vast majority of people I used with have passed on. There just isn't much of an inner circle left. My friend of 25 years was a father, a counselor, and also very caught up in the relief that substances brought him. The body can only take so much abuse. By the time he was able to pull together some self care, the damage was far too severe. My mind is struggling to reconcile the person in the hospital bed with the strong man I knew for all my adult life.
At the same time as this has been going on, the roller coaster turned upward.
I received this message:
"I wanted to tell you that following your example, I've begun personally funding a pseudo "needle exchange" by ordering hundreds at a time and making sure that the people who I can't convince to reduce their usage are at least equipped properly with alcohol pads and tourniquets and clean rigs.... I'm able to acquire Narcan discretely and for those who know what I do, I'm often used as a knowledge resource for them for harm reduction.
Last night I saved a couple who OD'd in junkie Romeo and Juliette style. Those people are alive in great part because you pushed me to be a better and more care minded user myself..."
Despite the horrors of this world, there is still great beauty. We, drug users, are fundamentally good people who want make a difference in the world. We just don't know how. We are frequently excluded, told that our talents and abilities are secondary to our self medication.
This post is not about death. It is about the resilience of our community. We push forward. We push past loss. We push past stigma. We push past our own inclination towards self destruction. We want to do better, to be better, we don't always have the tools.
I love you. Always.