Guest post

“It won’t happen to me”

or

Party animal

I live on a steel bunk in a warehouse. Everything I own in this world is in the footlocker beneath me. It ain’t much; a photo album, a stack of letters, a few books. I’ve been in prison 10 years this time. My release date is 2032. A few hazy, drug-soaked months of strip bars, casinos, and fast living cost me most of my adult life.

I run across old friends and associates from that era on the yard sometimes. They look bad — rotten teeth, track marks, gnawed nails on shaky hands. They give me news of other old friends who weren’t as lucky: overdoses, shootings, suicides. Occasionally I’ll recognize the names of women in the arrest report of my hometown newspaper. Those wide-eyed college girls who were just beginning to experiment with coke and ecstasy in 2003 are now haggard streetwalkers, hardened repeat-offender prostitutes.

This is the natural evolution of drug abuse. Cause and effect. I know you’re thinking it won’t happen to you. I thought I was an exception too. Believe me, no one plans on destroying their life and coming to prison. No little kid daydreams about growing up to rob gas stations for dope money, or getting doused with pepper spray and beaten half to death by abusive guards in a confinement cell, or dying alone in a motel room with a needle in his arm… We call getting high “partying” and like any party, there’s always a mess when the party is over. In fact, the bigger the party, the bigger the mess.

The irony is that the kids we label squares and lames and dorks because they refuse to party grow up to be the doctors who resuscitate us when we overdose, the psychologists who attempt to help us put our broken lives back together, the lawyers who represent us in court when we’re arrested, the judges who sentence us to prison, and the men who step into our families and become the fathers and husbands we failed at being.

So if you’re 15 (or 17 or 24) and you’re popping bars, snorting Roxys or dabbling in meth or molly or whatever, this is what middle-aged drug life looks like. Guaranteed. And if you think it won’t happen to you, we can talk more about it when you move into my dorm. The bunk behind mine is open right now. We’ll leave a light on for you. The one from the gun tower.

From a brother of a brother @ malcolmivey.com

7 (or so) things I will only cautiously write about

I’ve been wanting to climb up into my writing perch for such a long time, but there don’t seem to be many things that I can write about, just now, or that I’m sure HOW to address here. 

I’m not feeling certain about describing my work situation, save to say that I am eager to arrive and not in a hurry to leave. It feels like I’m supposed to be there. I get to work alongside of some genuine individuals who feel the same about their jobs as I do mine. 

My boys are each developing into their own characters. I’m too far from one to have any real contribution, and the other…he just turned 17, and is having more than the usual struggles of that age. 

My cats seem to be developing a resistance to the flea stuff I put on their necks. The most disturbing thing about that is that I’m itching all over but can’t see any reason for it. Thinking about putting a couple of the tubes of medicine on the back of my neck. 

My extended family(s) (including non-blood relatives) have issues coming and going: various ailments and conditions, both mental and physical. Mostly age-related, but some not. As with my older son, I’m too far away from the other relations to be in a position to be of any assistance. 
When we first moved to the Eastern side of the country, I had thought that finding a job wouldn’t be too hard. Yet, here I am, just over 2 whole years later, and just 90 days into this position. And I really REALLY like my job. It’s more than a job: it’s really who I am. 

Thank God my husband’s job is pretty good, and he’s remarkably skilled at what he does. I’m proud of his willingness to do what he must, to care for us. 

God has been patient as ever with me. I told someone earlier tonight that it seems like I’ve been in the LONGEST transitional period ever. As the wise man said “His grace is enough for me.”

Actually, the only occasionally irritating part of my life (phantom-flea bites not included) at the moment has to be some of the ways the Stigma rears it’s ugly head among some of my co-workers. That’s it! I can’t think of when I was so content – like 85%, I’d say- with my day-to-day. 

In the morning I’m gonna go check out a church down the road. Word has it that the preacher is an ex-alkie. I like the sounds of that.

Thank you for coming by. I hope to have something more to say soon, but no promises. 

Gentle readers, you’re the sh*t. 😊

Int’l Overdose Awareness Day

As someone who has attended too many funerals due to overdose, I am asking you to share this image. How many people do YOU know that would give anything to hold their parent or child just One. More. Time? 

As long as we continue to share our stories and educate our world as to the truth about drug addiction, there will be hope. 

If you are one who’s had a loved one taken by addiction, please don’t stop speaking out. The less condemnation an addict feels from those who could instead be helping them to learn how to live again…the more likely that addict is going to be to actually ask for help. 

Outside of recovery – which is available as long as there is life – addicts only have three choices for their tomorrows: 

Jails

Institutions

Death.

Contempt and disgust haven’t worked to spare any addicts life, so let’s try love and compassionate action. What can it hurt? 

This could easily be you. Or me.

This story was from February of last year. 

http://wishtv.com/2016/02/04/addicts-discouraged-by-lack-of-options-for-uninsured/

And a year later, almost to the day:

http://whtv.com/2017/02/08/mother-of-fatal-od-victim-shares-story-in-hopes-of-helping-others/ 

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I’ve had people look at me strangely, even people who are in recovery, when I talk about how it disturbs me when relapse is treated like “no big deal.” Of course, it happens, but it DOESN’T HAVE TO. “Everybody relapses” is something that just makes my blood boil. Addiction is a progressive, fatal disease. 

When I got clean/sober, it wasn’t unheard of for a recent relapser to be told to SHUT UP during the meeting. “You obviously don’t know how to stay sober, so sit there and listen. You may hear something that will save your life.” I’ve heard of much “worse” things said or done, and the people who took suggestions eventually learned how to quit and STAY quit.

I was told similar things in early recovery. They hurt my feelings!! (Insert pouty emoji here) The truth will do that when you’re not used to it. That’s where I learned about caring enough to tell you the truth even if it pissed you off. I can live with you not liking me. If there’s a way that I can prevent or at least help to postpone that next drink/drug, I will do it. Like me or don’t.

The Old-timers weren’t there to make friends. They weren’t there to pat me on the butt & tell me everything was gonna be OK (if I wanted to hear that, I could get it at the bar). The Old-timers were there to carry the message. 

Thank God there were crusty old farts sitting in those smoke-filled rooms who cared enough to confront me on my bullsh*t. If they hadn’t, I may still be lying to myself. 

So, don’t smile & joke about people relapsing. Not around me. My friends whose kids are dead aren’t laughing. The kids whose Mom will never kiss them goodnight again, they’re not laughing…

Do me a favor, will you? Say a prayer for those left behind when addiction claims another life, and while you’re at it, pray for the still suffering alcoholic/addicts. God loves them, too, you know. 

Smart People Take More Drugs

​I wish I could take credit for this piece, but, alas, I can not. However, I was educated by it & think you may be, as well.  

I’ve heard alkie/druggies described in many ways, and smart isn’t usually one of them. There’s a reason why AA has the slogans. For example, “Think think think.” – Sponsor says “That doesn’t apply to you.”

https://www.blvdcenters.org/blog/smarter-people-take-more-drugs

What happened…(Part 2)

I continued living a fast and dangerous lifestyle until I discovered I was pregnant at age 27. I was married, but since I was  a REAL alcoholic/addict, it wasn’t my husband’s child.  I knew that I needed to make some changes to how I was living, so I stopped dropping acid as soon as I knew about the baby, and cut out the drinking soon after. 

The pregnancy went easily enough. I loved the idea of having a baby growing in my belly, and I had dreams of finally being loved by someone who wouldn’t leave or betray me. 

Growing…up

I began attending IOP classes at about 4 1/2 months pregnant, and after that was over, I moved into a residential Mother/baby program. My clean/sober date fell when I was  6 months along (I wasn’t ready to give up the weed at the same time I quit everything else, so that took a little longer), on Thanksgiving of 1992. I wasn’t elated about going into the program, living with so many other (CRAZY) women, but it made sounded to me that it was my best option. I had enough sense to recognise that my child was going to need the best that I could give (him), and getting clean and sober in a place that would take care of us both sounded like a brilliant idea. 

God used that tiny boy to teach my battered and scarred heart how to REALLY love. 

A week after my son was born, I was out at a meeting picking up my 3 month chip. We were still living at the Residential treatment place, and I was starting to become familiar with the little guy. 

I came in and found the woman who ran the place, sitting with my boy laying under blankets, on her chest. She said “The poor little thing just can’t get warm.” So she instructed me to take him and lay down with him on my chest, under some blankets, until he got warm. She was a Nurse, and I was learning to take directions. It was probably around 10 pm. I did what she told me and we tried to go to sleep. At about 4 am, after a sleepless night, I went to the office to the staff on the night shift to see what she thought. I found out later that she used to work at the local Children’s Hospital and it was no coincidence that she was working that night. 
She took one look at my baby and told me to get my coat on. 
We went to the closest hospital and they swept him into the Emergency Room quicker than I’d ever seen anyone go in.  He didn’t even go through triage. After a few minutes, the nurse told me that he was going to be taken to the Children’s Hospital by ambulance because they couldn’t help him there…

If you missed the first post, you can find it here http://www.abbieinwondrland.com/2016/09/17/one-grrls-story/

2 Brown Paper Bags

Adulting on a Saturday morning

It’s gonna be a hot one here, so I put on my Big Girl Panties and got up early and came to the laundromat, while the temperature is still tolerable.
I found a nice little place just up the road from us, and the price isn’t too bad. When I opened the door with my laundry basket in my hands, the cool greeted me: sweet, sweet (working) air conditioning. Ahhhh, yeah, this was a good decision.

Coolness, and quiet

Now I’m sitting here with only the swishing of the machines to keep me company, and I think I’m in that Zone. You know, the one where your old body isn’t giving you too much grief, and you’re able to focus on the Now, and, well…I’m feeling content.

What a difference

Sure, I’d be happy to still be in bed, listening to the sounds of my hubby next to me, and the softly-playing music from the radio in our room. But I would not be in this Zone. No, I’d be thinking about hauling the laundry up and down the stairs at home, and how each minute that I waited, the heat would be increasing by leaps and bounds…definitely not The Contentment Zone.

And…paper bags?

Oh, yeah. So there’s a little convenience store next door where you can get change for the washing machines. Being that I could have slept for at least another couple of hours, I thought grabbing a drink with caffeine in it sounded good. I got a large can of tea, and set it on the counter. While I was digging out my wallet, the cashier did her usual (I’m sure she didn’t even think about it, really), and put the can in a little bag.

image

Memories, right?

I smiled to myself, as I remembered (kind of) so MANY times in my early-to-mid 20’s when there was certainly not gonna be anything as benign as iced tea in that brown paper bag. I’d (felt like I) was fairly cosmopolitan, washing my clothes like a good little haus frau, getting sh*tfaced by the time the spincycle had begun. Frankly, it’s a miracle I didn’t lose my entire wardrobe. And don’t get me started on the laundromats with TANNING BEDS! Oh crap! Two of my favorite drinking activities in one?! I wondered aloud to my partner in crime “Why don’t they just add a bar, here in the laundromat!?!” Yeah, I WAS quite brilliant.

In the zone

So, today, I’m here, not “getting away with” anything, doing The Next Right Thing. They tell me that there are kids who figure this sort of thing out, maybe even before graduating high school, but I’m not buying it.
Well, my sleepy-voiced hubby just called to find out where I am. (If this were back in the day, I’d have NEVER answered my phone this early, knowing who was on the other end. Just sayin.) I told him what I was up to, and how I’m just Adulting all over the place, and he was impressed. So, I’m gonna call this post Done, and get ready to fold.
It’s funny, isn’t it, how a simple thing like iced tea in a brown paper bag can bring back memories of so many, many brown bags in the past? Yep, there are triggers, but only for memories, NOT for wanting to return to that place of chaos and insanity.

What are YOU doing to beat the heat today?

Posted from my seat in the laundromat.