My Day - My Choice

A mother, a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, an ex-wife...... rehabs, mental hospitals, psychologists, AA and a few beautiful years into my sobriety. This is my life, my daily life.....

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I came home from Hampton Behavioral with no boyfriend, no friends and no shoelaces. To be quite honest I probably wouldn’t have stuck around either. I could barely even stand myself and I rationalized it by thinking I would be better off alone. At least then I would only have to answer to myself.

I came home so doped up on anti-psychotic medications that I could barely remember my middle name. I managed to stay away from a drug or a drink for a few weeks. From what I can remember, this was probably the only time I was able to put together a few consecutive weeks of sobriety.

To pass the time and quiet my mind, I decided to get a second job. My master plan was to wear myself out, divert my thinking, earn extra money and then all of that would ultimately bring me happiness. I was hired as a waitress at the Cracker Barrel. I had enough sense to choose a restaurant that did not serve alcohol and I thought what kind of trouble could I get into serving corn bread and chicken fried chicken.

I was a terrible people-person. I would rather stub my toe on a metal bed-post than have a conversation with another human, let alone a stranger, so I am not exactly sure why I would think this would be the best job for me. This was also a family restaurant and I had the emotional warmth of an Arctic Hare.

I spent most of my time watching people. Not in a weirdo kind of way but I would always observe peoples behaviors, their mannerisms, their emotions. I would watch them and often wonder what my life would be like if I lived their lives. How happy they seemed to be laughing, smiling, giving and receiving affection. I would watch them live in that single moment. They probably went home and tucked their kids into bed, read them a story then watched movies and ate popcorn. They would wake every day to chirping birds, sunny skies and pancakes. I wanted all of that. I would just sit there with my bleeding heart just wishing to be someone else. I never felt that I would ever get that life. I always felt in my heart that my fate was in death and I would live this hell until the day I left this earth.

As an addict I can smell this illness a mile away. It is like we all have a connection. An unspoken dialect and we have this ability to seek each other out. I think it is in the eyes, I find truth in the saying that your eyes are a window to your soul.

So ultimately I found one, someone just like me, a wolf in sheeps clothing.

Her name was Brenda.

One night I ended up working a shift with her. I knew immediately what she had inside of her, just like she knew what was inside of me. If you met her you would have never thought that every time she went to the bathroom she became that wolf, in her sheeps clothing.

Naturally, we became friends. We would meet in the bathroom from time to time to grab a quick smoke in between tables. One morning in the midst of the morning rush she was fumbling through her cigarette pack for that butted out half smooke. As she pulled it out, a tiny folded up square fell out and onto the ground.

I knew exactly what it was before it even hit the floor. The wax paper square had a red stop sign stamped on it and a small amount of beige powder remained inside. I quickly picked it up off the floor and held it in my hand like as if it was a newborn puppy. Comforting it like it had a beating heart.

There you are I thought, I’ve been waiting for you.

Of course I would only snort it, like as if that made heroin use any classier. We all say that, almost every heroin addict I have ever met had said the same thing. We would never shoot it. We would never go to those lengths. Like as if we could be that small percentage to beat those odds. Just like every drug, over time it loses its power and you go on to pursue bigger and better things. Even if that meant sticking a needle into your hand, frantically poking around for that live pulsating vein.

From that day forward this would be the reason I would wake up every morning. The reason I would live, breathe and exist.  This would be my life partner, my lover, my best friend. This would be the essence of my life. I would be the hostage and it would be my captor and this monster made Alien look like Lamb Chop. My addiction had meet its match and this would be the beginning of the end.

Today, at times, I still think about her. I don’t know where she is or where her son is but I hope she is alive, that she has surrendered, that she has found the mortar to fill the cracks in her soul. I believe that day she was relieved of her secret, it was brought to life as it lie there on that cold bathroom floor. She was exposed, the jig was up and from my personal experience there is a sense of relief in disclosing your addiction. Giving it an existence outside of your head makes you feel less crazy internally.

Despite what that day has brought to my life I truly hope she has found her freedom.

I hope the real Brenda has been resurrected.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

I was put in a room with white walls, white floors, a cot and a white sheet. There was no furniture or tables, or pillows, or curtains, and you were not allowed any clothing other than the hospital gown you were given. The cot was bolted down in the center of the room and the door was locked.

I was cold and thirsty. My throat burned from vomit and my head was pounding. A nurse came in to check on me and I asked for something to drink. Remember those little plastic cups with a peel back foiled top? I drank probably ten of them. I remember opening and spilling each one, my hands unable to stay still.  I remember this like it was yesterday, how the facility looked, how my room looked, what corners of the sheets were stained. Institutions were starting to feel like home. I felt safe in them. It was the only place I knew that I could not get high or drunk and should my possession surface I had help readily available.

My mom and sister came to see me. My sister was nine months pregnant at the time and was about to give birth to her first child. She sat in that room with me and cried. That was the first time I had seen her cry since we were kids. My mom kept asking me over and over why I would do this. I had no answer for her. I barely said a word.

I was there less than a day before I was strapped down to a gurney and transported to Hampton Behavioral Health Center. There I was placed in a dual diagnosis unit for addiction and mental illness.

Now this place was more than a rehab, it was a mental institution. We were allowed street clothes but we could not have any laces, belts or cords. That meant we all wore shoes with no laces and the majority of the guys spent half their day pulling up their pants.  Everything was bolted down and each room had two people living in them. Girls were with the girls and boys with boys. We had our own bathroom and a night stand and each night we were locked in our rooms.

There was a quad outside with trees and benches and we were permitted supervised time outside for exercise and fresh air. All units went outside together and all units ate together.

Every day I would watch this one boy walk the perimeter of the quad, over and over. He would mumble to himself something about CD’s and radios and it seemed the whole world did not exist to him. I felt so sad for him yet so envious at the same time. He probably had no clue how sick he was or how different he was from everyone else. He more than likely did not see the pain his illness inflicted on the people who loved him. He was in his own world, a world he created and even he knew how to self soothe. His ritualist chanting was calming, I assume. Now I, on the other hand, of somewhat sound mind, did not. I had zero coping skills for life and pain and my self soothing included self destructive behaviors that magnified chaos in my life like a nuclear explosion.

When you are institutionalized your privacy is essentially revoked. Whether it is an IOP, a rehab, a mental institution or a hospital stay relating to suicide, you have surrendered those luxuries. Your every move is observed, your every word is hung on, and you cannot just leave your room or go outside should you choose. You would think that all of this insanity would have deterred me from ever wanting to return to any behaviors that would bring me here, but you have to understand addiction is not normal. It is not something you can just get over or become stronger than. I fucking hate when people say addiction is for the “weak.” That statement is weak and they need to take their own damn inventory.

I lied the whole time I was there. I told my doctors and therapists everything they wanted to hear and I managed to convince them that I would be ok if I left because I was not like everyone else. I was different and this had been blown way out of proportion. I agreed to everything they asked of me, I would take the medications they prescribed and I would complete another IOP. This would now be my third IOP.

A few days later I was released. I was sent home with my beefed up vices and those vices were doing push-ups the entire time I was away.  

Sunday, November 5, 2017

I lived with my brother for about three months and then returned to New Jersey. Within that time my parents sold their home and moved to Chesterfield. Of course I went with them, I had no place to live, no money and no job.

I was a “dry drunk.” I had no treatment, no program, and no higher power. I was an emotional disaster; I would eat, sleep, cry and repeat.

Somehow by the grace of God I was able to get my job back. I have no idea why they would want me back but I could come back under one condition, I would have to pass a drug test. Desperate to get some sort of normalcy to my life, I was able to put together a week of abstinence and I passed.

So now I am a dry drunk with no treatment, no medications, no program or higher power and now I have money. Shocking as it may be, I relapsed. It came on fast, it came on strong and it came with a fucking vengeance. It was like I was trying to feed a meter than read fucking zero.

I imploded. I wasn’t sleeping or eating and I was losing my grip on reality. My senses were always heightened because of my lack of sleep and my body was not being met with any nutritional needs. I would hear things and see things that weren’t there. I was emotional and suicidal and these would turn out to be the darkest days of my entire addiction.

There is a lot to be said for that statement because this was not nearly the end of my addiction.

 One morning I lay in bed still awake from the night before. The birds were chirping outside and the sun was rising. People’s homes filled with light, rested from the nights sleep, they woke to start their day. For me, it was just the ending. I hadn’t slept. Dawn to me was like the creeping death and to this day is still unsettling to me.

Cocaine is one hell of a drug. You cant sleep, you cant eat and the detox is horrendous. The only way to describe it is like you are crawling out of your own skin. My body temperature would drop, I would shake, I was weak and my eyes burned from exhaustion. I could barely swallow, I could barely talk. My nose completely raw inside would burn and sometimes would even bleed.

Lying in bed that morning I smelled of old cigarettes and alcohol. I was thinking about my life, what it had turned out to be and what it would have been like had I not been given this cross to bear. How better off my family would be, how better off my boyfriend, my friends and my employer would be. Everything I touched turned to stone, I hurt everyone around me.

For years I would carry around this vision of myself, I would be driving down the highway on a beautiful warm sunny day, nobody else on the road, just me. My windows down and the wind in my hair. My music blasting as I sang along. In this dream I was free, I had made it, I had arrived. I would be blissfully happy and at peace with myself. This is all I ever wanted.

That particular morning however I felt that dream would never come true. I decided that morning I wanted it to be over. I could be free, I could end it all right here.

So I tried. I took twelve Trazodone pills, I counted them. That was all I had left. I would just pass away in my sleep and it would be painless. In a matter of time it would all be over and I felt an excitement in that. What I hadn’t thought about though was just how long after I took those pills would I have to sit there and be with this decision. Your body has to digest it, it has to hit your blood stream, you have to wait for it. That gave me time, too much time, to think about things like, would I feel it? Would I suffer? Would I suffocate? Who would find me? How long until they do? Would it be my mom? I hope its not my mom. This would kill her.

The what if’s kept running through my head like a freight train tormenting me over and over. Ultimately I second guessed my decision.

Unable to quiet these thoughts, I made I half way down the stairs before I nearly passed out. It was beginning and I could feel it. My parents called 911 and I was transported to Lourdes Medical Center where I was treated in the emergency room and shortly thereafter placed in their SCIP unit. This is a unit for crisis intervention and mentally ill patients and this would begin my second stint at a rehab facility.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Family is the most important thing during recovery. It is even more important when in active addiction. They may ride your ass, they may stand in your way, the may force you to take a look at yourself and you will probably resent them for this, but they will fight for you. If you had friends that stuck around long enough, consider yourself blessed.

My parents refused to sit back and watch me slip away. They never gave up. They prayed for me, they cried with me, and they provided me with a warm bed and food, on the occasion that I ate.

This is my family story, how my addiction affected their lives.

My Father

This man would not co-sign my bullshit. Tough love in its purest form.

Every day my father came face to face with my addiction. He portrayed fearlessness and strength which I understood it to be then, but now I can see was complete and absolute fear. He watched my every move. He watched me suffer. He watched me drop down to eighty nine pounds, decaying right before his eyes and he could do nothing. He was helpless.

I was a liar, I was a thief and I was dying. He wouldn’t stand for any of it.

He was forced to do things he probably never dreamed he would have to do. He would lock me in my room, he would break my cell phones, he would hold me down so I wouldn’t leave, and he would pick me up off the floor when I refused to get up. He took pictures of me when I was drunk or high and would hang them in my room so when I woke I would be forced to see myself. He was desperate, he was humiliating me and I am sure it killed him every damn day that he did it.

He was at my bedside at every hospital and would have been with me in every rehab if he could. When I lived in Maryland he drove three hours to meet me for lunch, that’s it, lunch. He then drove all the way back.

After all I’ve done, all the pain and fury, he is still a huge part of my life today. This is love in the purest form. This is my father and I would have died without him.

My Mother

This woman would co-sign my bullshit. She knew it was bullshit but she did it anyway. She was my mother, she was a mother, and she would do anything for her children. As a mother now myself I will say will absolute allegiance that I would do anything for my son and she did what she instinctually knew to do, she protected me.

She would lie for me, she would cover for me, and she would go out all hours of the night looking for me. Unable to sleep until I got home, she always looked rundown. She always had dark circles under her eyes. She would come home from work with puffy red eyes like she had been crying the whole way home. She was probably terrified to see me.

She held me often and told me how much she loved me and how afraid she was that I would die. Unable to feel much of anything, I would still embrace her open arms. I still felt safe with her.

Inside I was always having this internal struggle of not caring and/or caring too much. I cannot really explain it any further than that. It was like I would come in and out of this possession. I would surface briefly but only until I felt that first ache in my heart. I would then desperately search for anything to push it down. That brief moment of clarity, that first sober breath was too much to endure.

My mother is my rock. She is my strength. She is my mother and I would have died without her.

My Brother

If he grew his hair long and shrunk we would be identical. Identical in mind and heart. We share the same passion for music and we are pretty deep thinkers. We dig deep, sometimes too deep for our own good and we both found some darkness there.

He moved out of state almost ten years ago but was very much involved with helping my parents through these times. I know my mom reached out to him a lot for guidance and it was probably because of how closely our minds worked. He got me. He knew how I felt. He knew that pain.

He never wrote me off.

He was always searching for any good that was still left inside of me.

My Sister

Her love, well that came in anger. She hated what I was doing to myself and to the family. She started to detach herself from everyone. Not out of hate but merely of survival. She was bracing for that phone call that I was no longer on his earth. She was preparing herself and her family by creating distance from the chaos. I was like a cancer that spread to each household, consuming everyone and nobody came out intact.

In my early sobriety I had met with her to make my amends. We spoke at length about what my addiction had done to her and the pain she had endured because of it. She told me a story of when it came down to picking a Godmother for my niece she wanted nothing more than it to be me. After much consideration she decided against it. She decided against it because she was not sure how much longer I would be alive. This would then force her to tell her daughter the story of how she had an Aunt and a Godmother and that she was no longer here.  


I will tell you this much, if it was not for my family I would no longer be alive. They gave me a sense of hope and I truly believe I fought only for them. It was not for me, it was for them. I could give a shit if I woke up the following day. Their love and compassion kept feeding my blackened heart, like water to a dying flower.

So to my family, I thank you. My son thanks you, for his life would have never begun had I chosen my own path. I love you more than words can ever be spoken or written. See in recovery it is not words anymore, those have been invalidated years ago, it is in action. I show my love, I show my gratitude, and I show up. That is all they wanted and I owed this to them.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Written by Nancy Carr:
Visit her blog@ Last Call

When I walked into my very first 12 step meeting, I sat in the back and had my head down the whole time.  I didn’t want to be there nor did I want to stop drinking and using.  I went there to get a court card signed for my 2nd DUI.  remembered the gal who spoke and I related to everything she said. At the end of the meeting, I ran outta there quicker than you can say Alcoholic and drank two bottles of wine and continued on for the next week drinking.  But during that week, I had my moment of clarity, my own a-ha moment, where I realized (and mind you I was drunk and crying) that everything bad that had ever happened to me was because of my drinking and drugging. That was it for me and decided then that I may as well give this sobriety thing a shot.  But what really resonated with me was the HOPE; Hang On Pain Ends, that I heard at that meeting.  It was that meeting that got me to go back to a second meeting and that’s where I heard more hope and I related again with the speaker.  I got sober over 13 years ago – and not every day is rainbows and unicorns with smiley emoji’s.  I’ve had numerous instances where I wanted to say fuck it and grab a drink or snort a line.  Just because I’m sober, doesn’t mean my head doesn’t go there.  It does – a lot! But what I do for me is I play the tape through.  I know that if I go to an upscale ritzy restaurant bar that within hours I’ll be looking to score drugs from the skanky dive bar on the other side of town.  I know this because it’s whatI did for over 20 years.  This use will then continue for hours and into the next day – without fail.  One of the hardest things about recovery is asking for help.  We think we know best and most likely we are in too much fear to ask anyone how they do it or what works for them.  I was thinking recently about what keeps me reaching out for help; vs reaching for the bottle or the drug.  Besides playing the tape through, these 7 things have helped me immensely!  

1. Meetings
For me meetings have been the backbone of my recovery.  That’s just how I got sober the AA way – 90 meetings in 90 days; I got a sponsor, worked the steps and connected with other alcoholics.  I know when I walk into a meeting someone else there has it much worse than I do. It’s then easy for me to have some gratitude for my situation and empathy for another.  I usually always leave a meeting feeling better than when I walked in.  

2. Treatment
One of the biggest ways to ask for help when you are feeling despair is going into Treatment. I personally have never been, however, I do bring a meeting into a Treatment facility once a month and I know it’s the weekly bright spot for patients that are in there.  Treatment is a great option for anyone needing hands on care and putting themselves first and foremost.  You are surrounded by people that want to help you and by other patients that are in the same boat as you are.  There are a lot of different treatment options available out there and researching which one is best for you is important.  Feel free to view my resources page on my blog at,

3. Going to see a Recovery movie or reading a Recovery Memoir
One of the first things I did when I got sober was watch a bunch of recovery movies (28 days, Clean and Sober, When a Man loves a Woman, Barfly, Leaving Las Vegas)and read some recovery Memoirs ( Dry, Drinking; A Love Story, Lit, Dharma Punx).  I wanted to see how others did this and how they got sober and how they found hope! I also wanted to see that it’s a mainstream problem and that others do share and talk about their addiction.  It helped me immensely and made me feel better as I wasn’t as ashamed that I too was an addict.

4. Working with a sponsor or spiritual advisor
One of the first things I heard when I got sober was that I needed a sponsor.  I had no idea what that meant, and I was super scared to talk to anyone, let alone another woman and ask her for help.  But after a couple weeks, I did ask a woman to be my sponsor and she was exactly what I needed.  She and I did the steps in my first year and she was loving, supportive and wise and I was so happy that she said yes when I asked her.  I’ve gone through a few different sponsors through the years and each time it’s a process in building that relationship, and its been a stepping stone to a different level of recovery.   It’s been my touchstone and my barometer as to how I’m managing my sober life.  I couldn’t manage my sobriety without one.  Some people who aren’t in the 12 steps use a spiritual advisor or life coach and I say more power to you – whatever works for you. We are all on the same journey together, no matter how you do it, but asking for help is key.  

5. God Box
I’d been journaling before I got sober, so it was fairly easy for me to continue to do that a few times a week. I always felt better after banging on my keyboard complaining or hand writing in my journal to share my angst and my happiness.  I was also told early on to use a “god box”.  Which I found very useful and it’s just the exercise of writing something down that’s troublinyou and putting it into a box.  This could be a small box, a shoebox, the box I just received from Amazon or a coffee can with a lid. I found this to be quite liberating and what usually happened is the problem worked itself out and life went on.  

6. Calling a Friend who’s sober
This is what I refer to as my “Bitch Buddies”.  It was suggested to me early on to have 5 women, besides my sponsor, that I can just call and bitch to about what’sannoying me.  These are usually woman I’m close to and who understand me.  It’s helpful to know that they too struggle and not all of us are crazy on the same day! 

7. Self-care
This one is imperative for me.  I need to make sure that I’m doing ok regardless of what’s happening around me, i.e., the drama of life.  I can easily find myself trying to control and manipulate others in my life to get what I want.  This is a huge red flag for me and I need to practice my self-care.  Self-care for me is meditating, going for a walk on the beach, hanging out with my dog, calling a friend, taking a bath or even going away alone for a couple days, whatever it is for me to not fall into my mode of wanting to fix or help others – that’s what I call self-care. 

I hope some of the above ways to ask for help are useful to you as they have been to me.  I don’t take anything for granted in my life today and it’s all because I was that scared girl who thought there was no way out, but I reached out my hand and asked for help. 

Nancy L. Carr
Writer/Sober Blogger
Truth teller and lover of all in recovery....

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Buy her book: Last Call: A Memoir

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The summer of 2008 I moved to State College, PA to live with my brother and his family. They lived in a beautiful home on the outskirts of the college. From their home you could see in the distance green rolling hills with livestock and horses. It was stunning. It was peaceful. It was safe. How could I ever get into trouble here? I lived with my niece and nephew both of whom were young children a the time and their two dogs. I was hours away from New Jersey and any potential threats on my sobriety. I celebrated thirty days there. My journal entry read something like “I celebrated thirty days today and I want to use.” These accomplishments and accumulated days of sobriety meant nothing to me. These were just days I was unable to get what I wanted. Nothing more. I was far away from any dealer or friends and that’s basically the only reason I was able to put together thirty days consecutively. It wasn’t because I was officially done or that I was becoming spiritually fit, it was because I was out of touch with any means of obtaining these substances and I was absolutely terrified. 

I tried my best to be a part of their family. I was grateful they had opened their home to me and that they trusted me enough to live with their children. They trusted I would do the right thing and inside I desperately wanted to.

I would always wonder what my niece and nephew thought of me or why was I living there. I was ashamed. I was that Aunt. The one who couldn’t get her shit together. I was a letdown and I felt like a failure everytime those little eyes looked at me.

I landed a job at Penn State bakery decorating cakes for the college. I always had a passion for desserts and at one point in my life I toyed with the idea of becoming a pastry chef. I was actually a little excited to start this job.

I must have gained 15 pounds working there. Every cake that broke or crumbled, I ate. I would go into the freezer and I would eat these peanut butter crumbles we made for decorating the peanut butter cakes. I ate that shit right in the freezer. I had no shame. They probably always wondered why I was in the freezer for so long.The break room had broken cookies, cakes and pastries. I ate those also. I was filling the void. I was feeding the pleasure sensors that hung in my brain like frayed live wire. I was a fuckin glutton. Disgusted with myself my depression set it. It was hard for me to be a part of anything. I started detesting my job. I was exhausted all the time. My clothes didn’t fit. I starting blowing my pay checks on clothing and food. My addiction had manifested into different behaviors, different self-destructive behaviors. I traded one for the other.

I tried to carry and I failed miserably.

Around the second month I got arrested for a DUI. I blew a 0.15. All I remember is being alone in the home, my brother and family went out for the night. I was left to my own devices. I don’t remember what I drank but I remember cough medicine being involved as well as alcohol and pills.  Of course there was pills, there was always pills. I might have also failed to mention earlier that not only was I drinking and taking drugs, I was also on lethal amounts of prescription medication. I was taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety (benzodiazepines) pills. At that time, according to my journal, I was taking Lamictal and Kilonopin. For the majority of my drug use I was taking Kilonopin and for those who don’t know what that is, it’s a “controlled substance” for anxiety and it’s highly addictive. You cannot just stop taking this medicine, you need to be tapered off.  I was up to about 3mg a day and I weighed all of 110 pds. Why I was prescribed this medication in the first place blows my mind but at the time I went to whatever doctor would give it to me. I was literally under the influence everyday regardless if I had ingested illicit drugs or not.

I went to court and qualified for their IDRC program, got probation, community service and lost my license for thirty days. Here’s the catch, I only lost my license in Pennsylvania. So what did I do? I left. I came back home because ummmmmm I can drive in New Jersey.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

To break up the story a little I figured I’d write about past relationships throughout my addiction. I was recently at my parents house and grabbed all of my journals out of the attic, all of which I knew would be entries I had written during my years of active addiction. It took me almost a week to read them. They sat in the corner in my room and every day I looked at that bag and every day I was just not prepared to open them. Inside those journals would be a story I would read about a stranger, a girl I never wanted to know.....and that girl was me.

I started journaling in the ninth grade. All I wrote about was how much I loved my boyfriend, how he was the love of my life, I couldn’t live without him, he was my soul mate...blah blah blah. I also  frequently wrote about how I felt he didn’t love me as much as I loved him. As I continued to read all these journals, this would turn out to be the exact same entry with every guy I was in a relationship with. It is clear to me that I never believed that anyone could love me. I never felt deserving of love and therefore I couldn’t see the love they had for me. Ultimately I chased them away. I sabotaged all of my relationships because I was always searching for something to be wrong in them. I always thought I did something, that everything was my fault. I was always apologizing when in fact I had done nothing wrong. This was all brought to my attention by my therapist and is now more apparent then ever.

All of my relationships involved substance abuse. Every. Single. One. They were filled with jealousy, rage, lies, doubt and passion. We were so sick that we needed eachother. We fed off eachother like savaged fiends. We had to blame someone for what we had become, and it’s alot easier to point the finger at someone else rather than take responsiblity for your own actions. I held on so tight to those relationships I suffocated them and they would disintegrate right before my eyes. My very wise sponsor once old me that when the problem, as you foresee it, is removed, you are then left only to look at yourself, in your role you’ve played in the dissolution of that relationship. Now that’s fucking painful. Completely unstable as I was, and having the emotional capacity of a fifteen year old, the only way I knew to ease that pain was to push it down. I would use. The vicious cycle continued. I would go on and find someone just as toxic, if not more. My drug use intensified as did my personal relationships. We would fight about who spent more money, who did more lines than the other, who smoked more, whose turn was it to get more. Day in and day out. They were volatile and sometimes physical and I felt I deserved it all.

Sex,drugs and rock and roll....sounds so damn appealing doesn’t it? Well it’s not. It’s pure hell and you are literally sharing that space in hell with someone you love. I often wondered how those relationships would have worked out today. I was not my true self, they were not their true selves. Who the hell were they? I shared my life with these men and I have no clue who they actually were. Would I have actually like them if I was sober? Would we have even crossed paths? What was his middle name? Or his favorite color? It’s unsettlling to know that I have left these relationships as they were, violent and evil, both of who I am not today. I would love to see them again one day, to reintroduce myself, because they have not met me yet. My true self. The real me.

Friday, October 13, 2017

In 2008 I changed jobs. I probably did this at the perfect time because I’m pretty sure I would have been fired within a short time. I landed a better job, with better pay and better prospects. I was there maybe a year, maybe less, before I took a leave of absence. Basically I resigned.

I was always trying to make changes. I always thought maybe if I did this, things will change. Maybe if I found a good guy he would make me want to be a better person. Maybe if I found a more fulfilling job I may want to be a better employee, maybe buy a home or travel. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Regardless, I needed out. The damage I was causing my family and friends were becoming irreparable and I couldn’t bear to stick around any longer. I was a fucking ticking time bomb. Everywhere I went I caused turmoil. Every holiday was a disaster, I either didn’t show or I showed up in terrible condition. My family tip toed around me and every time I left the house they swore they would never see me again. So I left. I moved into a halfway house (Oxford House) in Maryland.

A halfway house is structured living for women (and men) in recovery. There are strict rules you have to follow and you live among people struggling just as you. In my house we were drug tested weekly, we had to attend five meetings a week, attend an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) with weekly visits with a therapist and you had to be employeed within two weeks of moving in. The house had sixteen females living there. There was no TV (excruciating), you had no car (for the first month), and each room had three to four females living in them from all walks of life. I was the only one from New Jersey the rest were from Baltimore, Maryland. This would be the perfect place for me to stay sober, and I say that with complete sarcasm. You want to talk about complete and utter bat shit crazy women.  Take the substance out of a fresh addict is like being stuck in a fenced in backyard with a rabid dog, throw PMS and boy problems on top of that and you have Satan. I lived with sixteen of them. I got a job at a Royal Farms making hoagies and fried chicken and I walked forty five minutes to and from work everyday. This was quite humbling to say the least.

So in this mandatory IOP I had to meet with a therapist whom I didn’t particularly like (shocker). I thought he was condescending and in my last session with him he had the audacity to diagnose me as a sociopath and bipolar disorder. I could understand the bipolar diagnosis because my behaviors did resemble those of a person suffering from extreme highs followed by extreme lows. I was an addict; of course I had highs and lows. My whole fucking life was a high and a low. I took drugs, I got high. I came off drugs, I got low. I mean could this guy be any more elementary. His next diagnosis spun me out, a sociopath? I’m sorry, a what? First of all I had no idea what it meant, secondly it sounded bad. Infuriated, I got up and left. I decided I would never come back. This would be my excuse,this would be the beginning of my relapse and I didn’t even know it, relapse start #1.

Back at the house things started to get sketchy. Women were relapsing, drugs were being found on the property, items were being stolen and one girl was going through withdrawals in our bathroom because apparently the owner of the property was giving her drugs. I started to get extremely uncomfortable living there, or this would be the lie I would tell myself. Relapse start #2.

Because none of this was “condusive” to my recovery, I left and I told no one I left and the reason I didn’t tell anyone was because I decided to get high. With absolutely no defense against that thought I would spend the next two days alone, locked up in a cheap motel getting high twenty minutes from my home in New Jersey. Complete and utter insanity.

No matter where you live in this world you will always be stuck with you. You cannot run away from yourself. You cannot move away from yourself, you cannot quit yourself like you would a job, or not answer the phone when you call, or block yourself like you would an are stuck with you. Until you are ready to be done, you will never be done regardless of where you are. This all begins with you and ends with you. Choose life or choose death....I chose life.

~~Side note: Aa few years later I googled sociopath, and this is what it said “a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.”........So I gusss maybe that asshole was right. ~~

Monday, October 9, 2017

I was in treatment for about 26 days and I met the man of my dreams. Ok- I can’t even keep a straight face typing that. I mean it doesn’t sound crazy at all right? We could save eachother. Maybe even conquer this illness together and ride off into the sunset.

How terribly wrong I was.

It is nearly impossible to have a healthy relationship with anyone when in active addiction or fresh sobriety. It’s even more unmanageable when the person you’re in a relationship with is just like you. You are weak, you’re like a walking-talking open wound and you just bleed. You may be sober together for a time, but someone may break and you may not be equipped to handle that, or maybe both, at the same time, which is exactly what happened to us.

He moved in with me shortly after we were released from rehab. We both had a passion for music and that I believed is what brought us together, like it had nothing to do with the fact that we were desperately trying to fill a void. Anyway, one day we decided to go the mall, I  guess we were trying to be “normal” people. Driving there we were talking about a band we both loved, Tool to be specific. I remember the exact traffic light we were stopped at. I remember looking over at him and asked him to grab the CD out of my center consul so we could listen to it. He took out that CD and found residue from my last cocaine binge prior to rehab. That was it. That small trigger sent us on a run that opened the gates of hell just a bit wider.

On April 21, 2007 I overdosed in a disgusting hotel room in Camden, New Jersey. All I remember is taking a methadone biscuit on top of the mass quantities of Valium and cocaine I had already ingested. A shot of Narcan later, I woke up in the ER violently shaking and unable to hear. I saw my boyfriend lean over and say, though I could only read his lips,  “don’t tell them you were with me.” To save his ass he told them he had found me like that, can’t blame him, I guess maybe I would’ve done the same. It wasn’t  until the next day that he told me the story of how he woke in the middle of the night to what he describes as me making “animalistic” noises. Trying to wake me, and unsuccessful at it, he knew there was something terribly wrong. He carried me down four flights of stairs to his car. I started foaming at the mouth as he drove me to Cooper Medical which luckily was not far from where we were. Long story short, a social worker came to see me, i’m pretty sure she told me to seek recovery or some shit. I remember she barely looked at me. She just signed a paper and left. A nurse arrived shortly thereafter and told me to get dressed and leave. It was Camden, I was a nobody, I was just another lost soul, just flesh on bone. I walked into the lobby and asked to use the phone, I called my boyfriend to come pick me up and walked down the street. I was surrounded by drug users and drug dealers. The street was live already at 7:00 a.m. and I fit right in. No soon he pulled up, I opened the door, sat down and immediately asked where the drugs were.

This behavior is the epitome of addiction. You have zero self care, you feel worthless and helpless and you would rather be dead. To me this was just another failed attempt on my life, whether it was intentional or not.

Two months later he moved out. I came home from work one day and he was gone. He “couldn’t take it anymore,” like as if I was the problem. Alone and even more damaged, I continued on, for the sense of abandonment was too agonizing. My apartment was like the devils den. Everytime I walked into that place I would get sick to my stomach. There was a dense eeriness about it and it felt like death, like someone had died there, that person was me.

So I guess the moral of this story? Choose your tribe wisely, for two flakes make a damn blizzard. You cannot make something work when you have work to do yourself. You cannot give love if you don’t know what love is. It’s just not possible. And this in no offense to anyone. It’s just the way it is and must be for awhile.  You must accept that.

You must accept that this could be life or death. Choose your people.