Dancing with the Devil.

Some of this is from a book I started a decade ago called Dancing with the Devil, I wrote about six pages before I decided I’d rather shoot dope than write about it. Maybe one day I’ll finish but for now enjoy glimpses of my story.

July 2008. Cold turkey detox.

There are days when everything feels like it’s too much, when getting up doesn’t seem possible, when all I want is to lie in bed and let sleep caste itself over me, erasing the long hours ahead. On these days I force myself up, though I move rather reluctantly. My body feels tense, anxious – there is a sensation similar to having bugs crawl beneath the surface of my skin, but I know there are no bugs, I know it is only me crawling through myself.

I want with everything in me to face the day, but the discomfort surging through my body makes any effort seem almost pointless; still I try to gather myself. I watch the time inch by ever slowly, I try my own little pep talks, “you can do it, you are better than this,” or sometimes more bluntly, “get the fuck up.”

I spend a good portion of my day in the fetal position shaking myself in an attempt to generate a rocking feeling – it reminds me of having someone hold me like when I was a child. The rocking doesn’t make the pain go away or stop the cravings but it seems to take my mind away from them for a little, offering a small amount of comfort which is all I can ask for when I feel completely out of place. All I want is for someone to hold me and say it will all be okay, and for me to actually believe it.

I am rarely hungry – my appetite has practically diminished and the little weight I did have on me escapes with each meal I skip. On the rare occasion I do feel a pang of hunger, it is not food I ache for; food nauseates me the minute it touches my lips. The hunger seems to be a craving I can only fix with a few bags of golden brown, a taste I will attempt to fast from for the rest of my life. I know I have to eat; I force feed myself breakfast and dinner, though not in very large portions – a small bowl of cereal has become a challenge for me to finish. Out of all the things in the world that could possibly defeat me, I never thought a simple bowl of corn pops would be one of them, but they do each and every morning as I watch the remains of my half eaten cereal wash down the drain.

I sit at the kitchen table and stare out the window, it’s a beautiful summer day, the sun shining and here I am, casually dying and fucking miserable.

I did this to myself. I know I did. But no one told me. Sure I’d done DARE, had a family history of addiction, but no one really explains to a ten year old what heroin detox is like. Also, NO ONE TELLS YOU THAT DRUGS FEEL FUCKING AMAZING (at first and let’s be honest sometimes for a while after). Most people just tell you to stay away from them, which is fine but for some of us, like myself, that doesn’t fucking work.

I started with cocaine at a party – I was 18 and terrified, (a story for another day), but once I tried it, it seemed harmless – it kept me up, helped me get shit done, it numbed my nose. BIG DEAL. That’s when the dabbling began, when I assumed the drugs weren’t as bad as I was told, so I tried others – ecstasy, LSD, crack, IV coke, and then the big no no – heroin.

The first time I used dope, I snorted half a bag – I was scared to overdose – you always hear really awful things about heroin, but curiosity got the best of me, and I had to try it. How bad could it be?  It wasn’t bad, not at all, in fact it was fucking amazing. I basically melted into the couch, my body cloaked in warmth. This was utopia, this was what I’d been in search of my whole life, the missing piece – with heroin I am whole.

I used for 8 weeks straight, with no real concept of what I was putting in my body. It felt good, really fucking good and that was enough for me.

I remember waking one morning after an intense binge with my boyfriend – I didn’t feel good, I was nauseous, I hadn’t really eaten in a few days, save for a late night slushie from Sonic – I threw up pure bile.  I told him I felt like shit, “yea you’re getting sick,” he said, “you just have to do more.” I didn’t understand what he meant – sick? I didn’t feel this way after any other drug, what did he mean?

I didn’t bother to find out – I had money and an ever growing habit I was still able to support.

As my habit increased, I started to lose my mind, like I said I had no concept of what was going in my body. I liked the initial rush when you shot it – even if I was high out of my mind, I’d sometimes still shoot one after the other, or better yet 2 or 3 at a time just to fall out into oblivion. I built a two bundle a day habit ridiculously quick out of pure ignorance. (that’s 24-28 bags a day)

I also go into a drug induced psychosis. I begin to hear and see things, like scary things as in ghosts and demons and what have you (pause, maybe this sounds crazy but my boyfriend at the time also heard this voice thing in our house that screamed at us to get out so it was totally real and you can suck it if you don’t believe me). I lose my mind. I unravel, convinced there is some sort of evil coming for me (it talks to me through my laptop.. a lot of times on AIM .. 🤣🤣😭) by all accounts I am dancing with the devil, and he’s taken the lead. I know I have to stop or this wont end well.

The problem with heroin is when you can stop, when its all romantic and edgy and Hollywood glamour esq, you don’t want to, and when you want to stop, you can’t.

The realization that I cant, the lack of control over my body, frightens me. So I do what children do, I seek reprieve at the mercy of my father.

I stay the night sometime in July, I am not myself, I feel like I’ve disassociated from the world. (Also I am super paranoid about the ghost that’s stalking me through my computer cause he apparently followed me to my dads house). The next morning I don’t want to leave, my dad can tell somethings wrong, I can’t stop myself from crying, I don’t want to disappoint him, the words just come out, he barely has to push me. I’m sorry, I’m using heroin, I need help.

As my father, as my protector, he wraps me up in his arms, tears in his eyes and vows to help me quit.

NOW. This is the summer of 2008, right before the “miracle drug” suboxone started making its way onto the big pharma scene. Its methadone or cold turkey, and I don’t know, methadone requires a clinic or a detox and both of those seem pretty under the bridge junkie esq and that’s not me. Back then I’m a college student from the suburbs where you don’t do heroin and you sure as shit don’t go to rehab.. at least not publicly.

We sort of plan out our own little home detox – I’m not sure what I’m in for, neither is my father. It’s the blind leading the blind. I go to my PCP who god love her, has no clue about heroin – writes me a script for Xanax (taken as prescribed & distributed by my dad), and a script for ambien to help me sleep.  Also, I don’t give a fuck what anyone says cause neither one of those drugs helped my detox at all so I still count this as cold turkey.

Back to the detox plan.

Like any good father, my dad googles and scours WebMD for little tips and tricks on how to detox from heroin. Which according to his research go as follows:

– LOTS of Gatorade – orange preferably, I don’t know why maybe cause its got some extra vitamin C in there like orange juice who the fuck knows

–          JACCUZI – he says I can use the jets in the hot tub outside

–          Rockband, like the game, to keep my mind busy, focused (also helps with some restlessness)

–          Do not leave the house

–          Lay on the couch and die

–          Gatorade.

I think that’s it, we have a shit plan.

Which brings us back to the beginning.

The days are long, painful. For seven days straight, I sweat heroin from my pores – its this weird sweet yeast like scent, I don’t know how else to describe it. I smell it everywhere. I want to rip my soul from beneath my flesh and hang it out to dry. I’m cold, I’m hot, my legs are restless – I lay on the couch and kick relentlessly.

Now imagine feeling this way and knowing you could just do a one little bag and be better again – a quick simple solution, BUT you have to WILL yourself not to. Major Mind Fuck.

The first 3 days are the worst, I know if I can get through them, I can manage the rest.

The Xanax does nothing, it calms me down for maybe an hour – I get one 2mg Xanax a day, so obviously I still have another 23 hours to get through. The ambien sucks, it knocks me out for like 2 hours and then I’m wide awake at 2am. I watch movies on a mattress on the floor of my sisters room, she has no idea what’s going on, my family is good at pretending everything is A-Okay. I try not to be a nuisance, to be quiet so she can sleep but its so hard, I cant stay still. Sometimes I find a way to sleep a little longer. Other times I just lay there kicking, tossing, turning, wondering why did I do this to myself. I swear up and down I will NEVER use again. This hurts too bad.

Somehow I make it through on sheer willpower.

I go back to my house convinced I will be fine but willpower alone will not suffice. Within 4 hours of being home, my running buddies are calling, and I’m on my way back down the Boulevard.

And that’s the nature of addiction, the insidiousness, how it grabs ahold of your soul and morphs the pain of a month or even a week ago into a distant memory in the blink of an eye.

That was the first time I tried to quit.

My names lex and I’m an addict.



Lexie PS

(^ This was when heroin felt romantic – michael, pictured, died a few years later, so much for Hollywood glamour).

(This is when I was a few DAYS into shooting dope , take note of the black eye from getting punched by some angry pregnant dope fiend. Red flag central but ya know it was so edgy and cool).


Bonnie and Clyde 2013 (True Rehab Romance).

It’s no surprise that addiction makes you do strange things.. strange crazy fucking stupid things. Like for instance marrying someone you meet in halfway. This is a story of true romance, one to tell the grandchildren about . 🤣 not really but here it goes,

Once upon a time…..

It was the end of June 15, 2013 when I stepped off the treatment van, I was supposed to be getting married today, instead i carry my bags toward my very first halfway house. The wedding has been off for months, and the relationship long dead due to my heroin use among other things. Before me a three story victorian esq house sits, I hesitate before walking up the porch stairs where I rest my bags. I ring the door bell – this is it, this is the next step in my recovery – meetings, the steps, a new life – I am hopeful.

Upon my entrance, I’m given the grand tour, not as lovely as I’d have hoped but its not terrible and then comes the list of a thousand rules – for a place called Choices, most of us joked that really we had none – no phone the first 30 days, don’t even look at a boy cause this lady legit has spy’s everywhere in town stalking your life oh and you can’t walk anywhere alone… yes 25 and need an escort to the turkey hill. Fucking obnoxious. But thems the rules and I try to follow them, that is until he comes into my life and then breaking them becomes the next best sober high.

I remember walking into the one meeting in town that goes on every night – I can’t recall the name but there are always people gathered in the lot behind it. Lora* and I walk through the alley – as we get closer to the crowd, this guy waves her over – he is tall and tan and he smirks at me – I blush like a second grader. I’m not supposed to talk to him so i don’t, I stand there awkward until he says to Lora, “aren’tcha gonna introduce me to your friend?”

She apologizes, “this is lex, lex this is Jay*.” We smile at each other perhaps somewhat mischievously then Lora* and I walk into the meeting. I don’t think Jay* and I interacted again until a few days later, but everything happened so fast.

In a few days I came to know him better, and while I didn’t know a ton, there was something about him that hooked me in – he had this deviousness about him, that was hidden just below his smile and warm heart, his tattooed arms bore tracks like mine and he understood the craziness in my head, something I wasn’t used to. So basically my demons that were resting quietly beneath the surface saw his and were like haaaay ya’ll bitches ready to play? And his were like bet. Let’s go.

Jay* and I snuck around for a week or two – in alleys, the woods, the library, you name a place we snuck there to see one another – there was this thrill about trying not to get caught, but in chasing cheap thrills I quickly lost sight of my recovery something that was still very new to me. At about two weeks into our ever budding romance Jay* relapsed. I was banned from seeing him which like maybe would work for a sane person but that just made me want to see him more and not only was I going to see him, but i lex p, 60 days clean, was going to save him. ✋🏼🤣😭

(I’ll pause so you guys can get your laughs out. )


Okay ya good?

Back to it..

In my heart of hearts I really believed I was stable enough to help Jay* I went to school for addictions counseling, clearly I knew what needed to be done, so I packed my bags and went to get him from the recovery house he was being tossed out of. My very well thought out plan was to abandon ship at my own recovery house, go get him, stay at the local super 8 and then get an apartment the next day. Seems logical right? I had about 5k in the bank from selling my car and I foresaw no hiccups in my plan.

Well hiccup number one came very early in the night. I took a cab to go get Jay* , as we pulled up there were literally tons of luggage and bags being tossed in the alley, he apparently wasn’t the only one being thrown out or the only one making their way to the super 8.

When we arrive it’s only about 40 minutes before Jay says to me “hey, one of the guys that got kicked out is staying here too, I’m gonna go get a bag from him.”

No. I say no. But my lips keep moving and the rest of the words aren’t mine, “No. You’re not getting high without me.”

Jay tries to argue, he doesn’t want me to throw my time away, but I don’t care, the switch has flipped, get us shit.

He asks how much to tell the dealer, i shrug “2 buns and some coke.” Thats a lot he says, and I know but that’s what I was doing when I went to rehab so why wouldn’t I start where I left off? What’s the point of one bag? So he gets what I say.

I am nervous as I mix up – my head gets loud, am I going to throw this all away? I know I can still not do it, but at the same time, I can’t not do it. I put the needle in my neck, one of the few working veins I have left, I watch the blood float back in the syringe, push forward and my demons fall silent breathing relief.

The next few days are a blur as we blow through five grand dangerously fast. I fall out standing up at the dealers house, I learn how to smoke crack and also a fun little fact that my boyfriend doesn’t have real top teeth from baseball. Well somewhere in that time frame Jay* and I decide the next logical step for any up and coming Bonnie and Clyde is clearly marriage.


The grand marriage plan happens like this – we get the idea, then dress up and go to the court house. It happened as quickly as you read it. I think we spent more time picking out our clothes than actually thinking about what we were doing. But hey We looked so fucking cute – all fancy and strung out. Shout out to York county court house for giving us a marriage license when we were clearly wrecked, like I literally nodded out onto the paperwork and yet somehow we walked out of there with our license, very disappointed we could not marry the very same day.

About a week or two went by after we got our license, we had yet to go through with it because we were very busy hustling and trying to maintain our high. It was $50 to get married and the two of us were so sick that it became a daily fight. Jay* was very much the jealous type, which I found both annoying and appealing, I liked that he was possessive over me but he would ask every day if I wanted to use our money to get high or get married and I never knew what to say. Sure I wanted to get married but I didn’t want to be sick either and it never mattered what answer I gave because it was a fight either way. Oh you wanna get married and then be sick or you’d rather get High than marry me? Yea try fighting that battle everyday.

On August 6, 2013 we convinced someone to send us a big chunk of money- I put the water works on and smiled happily as I hung up the phone. JACKPOT- we were getting married AND high today.

We called our dealer Javier – we needed a ride to the courthouse and a fuckton of heroin and crack. Javier, who had somehow become our friend, quickly pulled in front of our place, our chariot awaiting us. As we drove to the courthouse Javier looked in his rear view mirror and said “I’m so happy for you guys. I threw in some extra.”

That night wedding bells rang and so did our ears like Holy fucking bell ringers – we were so in love and so fucked up. Bonnie and Clyde had nothing on us – we were on top of the world.


I called my dad a few days later to tell him – I could hear him shake his head through the phone, “why am I not surprised?” he said, as if I were always this crazy. I guess nothing really surprised him anymore.

But what was anyone going to do? It would all unravel quickly and it did as Rehab was just around the corner- 7 days post wedding to be exact. Again Javier arrived to take us to our destination only this time he said, “i love you but y’all fucked up.”

To be continued…

A Journey to My Roots.

A Journey to My Roots.
by Jen B. 

Growing up my parents always tried their best to provide for me and keep me safe. I had a warm, cozy house, that was always full and never knew what it was like to struggle financially or be “less fortunate.” My mom always kept the house clean, cooked and worked hard to take care of us. My father worked long hours to provide the best life he could for my brother and I but no matter how many meals, or warm blankets I had, no matter how much love or how many things I was given, a part of me felt like it was missing something. And it was. That’s just facts.

My name is Jennifer and I was adopted.

I was born in Denver, CO, in Aug 1992 (yes I’m a Virgo, we’re the best), and shortly after I was adopted by my parents. I grew up in a nice neighborhood right outside of Philadelphia in a tight-knit cul-de-sac with my brother and both parents. I don’t ever remember a time in my life where I didn’t know that I was adopted. My parents always had books for me that would educate me on what being adopted meant, and would always answer any questions I had.

Growing up I wasn’t the most stable child. I struggled in school and I was rebellious. I suffered from several traumatic events and mental illnesses that were hard to diagnose due to not knowing my biological history. Not to mention, I was picked on a lot in school. Because of this, my mom decided to wait to tell me something that would change my life.

I remember the day like it was yesterday, but I believe I was in my early teens. One day my mom told me she had something to inform me about, and pulled out pictures. “These are your birth parents” she stated as she pulled out the pictures of my birth mother and father. I remember thinking how beautiful and handsome they both were. “And these, these are your sisters” Instantly tears filled my eyes. I felt my heart drop and my insides burn with emotion. My mom went on saying “you also have a younger sister that we were going to adopt.” Three sisters??? The emotions took over my entire body. So many thoughts and questions. What would it be like to have 3 sisters? I never had one before.

As my age grew, so did my curiosity. As I got older my parents gave me a folder with every detail and piece of information about my birth family they knew of. That’s one thing I’m forever grateful for. The help and outpouring support my parents gave me when it came to the subject of my birth family. My parents never once tried to stop me from learning more about my roots and the people I came from. I will always feel blessed for that.

By age 18 the questions and thoughts about my birth family had piled up heavy in my heart and mind. I remember spending hours upon hours at night searching for info about them online or searching their first names and birthdates (that’s all I had) on facebook just to try and find them. The searching continued on this way for years and years. Some nights I’d cry because of how much hope I’d lost thinking it’d be impossible to ever find them. At the time I was also depressed, sad, and struggling with my mental state. I felt so empty and incomplete. Don’t get me wrong, my adoptive parents were and are amazing. They did everything they could and the mutual love between us was and is strong. It wasn’t their fault. But on top of struggling with my own demons and issues, I yearned for my birth family, to know them, to hold them and understand who they are and what they were like. As I got older I knew I somehow had to find them. And I never once gave up.

As most of you know, Ancestry DNA has been a worldwide popular DNA test that many people know about and have bought and competed in order to find their nationality and roots. Never once did I think 49$ and a tiny tube of my spit could change my life dramatically and entirely, but it did, oh boy, it did.

In Feb of 2019, after seeing a friend find her birth family this way, I decided to order one (it was on sale for valentines day) hoping someone in my birth family took one. Previously I had tried calling the agency I was adopted from to get info but they wanted a decent amount of money to even try and search to connect me. So I took the DNA test and anxiously waited for the results.

Finally after waiting weeks, my results came back. I quickly logged into my account and entered the info, my hands shaking. This was it. This was the moment that could change my life. Instantly a list of 7 people popped up. That was good, right? That meant that I had 7 people from my bloodline on this website. I started messaging them, sending a picture of my birth parents and sisters, hoping one of them would be or have info on my birth parents. I didn’t stop there. I was determined. I started searching for the names I was given on facebook. The first name I entered of a person that I’ll always hold close to me was my second cousin, Shelley. As I searched her name on facebook I found a profile. I decided to go into her friends list just to see if there was a chance that my birth family would be on her Facebook. The next moments of my life were the most emotional, incredible moments I’ve ever experienced.

As I started searching names in the list, the correct names and birthdates started adding up. I picked apart their pictures and after texting back and forth with my Mom, I realized, it was them. My missing pieces, my empty hole, my broken heart, it was finally being filled. Tears rushed down my face and it was hard to catch my breath, but in the best way. I sat there staring at my phone praying this was really it, that I wasn’t just dreaming about it again.

I started messaging my sisters and birth parents, sending pictures of them and asking if they were who I thought they were. I surprisingly had one mutual friend with my younger sister, Sammy. I messaged the mutual friend and she helped forward the message to my sister. I’m forever grateful for this mutual friend, as she’s the reason my sister accepted my request.

Those minutes before they responded were the longest of my life. But soon enough the responses started pouring in. “Wow that’s me and my parents! We’ve been looking for you for so long ” my sister Amanda wrote. My other sister Sammy wrote “I don’t even know what to say, I instantly just started crying. I’ve been looking for you for years.” My oldest sister Christina wrote “hello don’t even know what to say right now but my sister just told me you’re our sister. We have looked for you for so long.” My birth parents’ responses were of similar nature, but a little more personal and emotional. Instantly my body felt warm and for the first time in my life my heart felt no pain.

To add to the emotional breakthrough, I found out I had 2 more younger siblings I didn’t know about. Ryan & Megan. Soon after talking with my siblings and birth parents I started receiving other messages. Outpouring love from cousins, aunts and grandparents started coming through. Excitedly stating they’d been looking for me forever. That never once did they not think of me or forget about me. My heart finally felt whole.

This was the second most amazing moment of my life, next to meeting them. The day came where I flew out to Colorado to finally have the people I’d been missing my whole 26 years of living in my arms. Holding my sisters and my birth parents was the most incredible, emotional feeling I’ve ever felt. They were finally here, in my arms, in front of me. The moment I got there, I felt like I belonged. That week and a half I spent with them (it got extended because I didn’t wanna leave) was the best week of my life, even despite the heartbreak I was experiencing. My (ex)girlfriend and I had just broken up the day before I flew out, but even as heartbroken as I was, nothing could bring me down. That week of seeing what everyone was like, how beautiful, and creative and smart they all were, was so surreal. I felt like I was dreaming. Some days I still do.

Going home was hard, but since I didn’t have any commitment where I was living I decided to make the biggest decision and move to Colorado to live with them. My mental health had deteriorated since moving to New Jersey in 2013 and I really had nothing left. I don’t know if any of you reading this believe in “Gods timing,” but I sure do. And God allowed the timing of all this to be perfect.

I now live with my birth father, birth sister Amanda, her boyfriend and their two beautiful children who I adore. I also have 7 other nieces and nephews and amazing, supportive cousins (some who are also musicians!), aunts and grandparents. I have less bad days, I don’t dwell on the past, and I push myself to be the best version of me. I love my job and am humbled by the people I work with. I do owe some of my success to one of my good friends that I met out here that continuously helps motivate and push me to do my best. I don’t have thoughts about dying and I put in hard work to be positive and loving everyday.

My adoptive family has been nothing but amazing and supportive. We still talk almost everyday and will do visits from time to time. They are no less my parents as I am no less their daughter. I just want to clarify, me leaving had nothing to do with “abandoning” them, but everything to do with finding myself and my happiness.

Everyday I’m still amazed and learning new things that I can relate to about my birth family. They get me and I think that’s contributed a lot to my success and happiness.

I understand not everyone is as blessed as me, I understand some people don’t get such positive responses and experiences, and if that’s true for you I’m sorry and I pray you find peace. It breaks my heart knowing that not everyone who was adopted can experience what I got to. I thank God every day for my supportive parents, my understanding and amazing birth family, and for the life that I have today. Although I usually have bad luck, I guess now you could say I’m pretty damn lucky. My advice to anyone searching for lost family is don’t give up and trust the outcome. Everything happens for a reason.

Now that I found my missing pieces, now that I feel whole, it’s time to be the best version of me I can be. I truly am blessed.


Pssst. Check out Jens cover of Give you the moon 🌙⬇️


Hopeless Scars with Hopeful Stories.

By Ally B.

Ever since I can remember I have always hated myself. Truly. I don’t do this for attention; I don’t do it for sympathy; I don’t do it for understanding. I say this to be truthful that there was a period of time I draped a sheet over my mirrors because I could not dare to look at myself. I hated what I looked like, how I acted, how I felt, how I was living.

There was this horrible incident in which I truly felt unworthy on behalf of someone else. I was 16. My mental health took a hit from this one. I’ve always sensed a small voice in my head telling me I’m not capable of anything but wasn’t until this moment that the voice grew louder. It took over my entire body and I didn’t recognize myself for years.

For seven years I felt no passions and had zero motivation to do anything. Nothing brought me joy. I felt nothing.

I skipped school, bailed on friends, spiraled out of control, gained a lot of weight, and even quit dance after 14 years because I couldn’t bare to look at my reflection anymore. There is not much else I remember besides feeling horrible for so long. It’s like my brain has made me forget all the sadness and worthlessness I felt. I just remember feeling numb.

I had become a shell of myself: moving through the motions, sleeping way too much, hurting myself in ways I never thought I would, and losing any sign of light at the end of the tunnel.

And then I woke up. I took back my life. I found a reason to live and a way to cope with my mind. I found my body’s capability to exercise. To feel strong. To enhance my endorphins. To ease my mind. To save me. It became an addiction in the best way addiction can happen. I am prone to addiction so I know how horribly wrong addiction may seem. But this was a healthy one. I promise.

You might not believe me, but I’m not going to tell you therapy fixed me because it didn’t. I’m not going to tell you medicine fixed me because it didn’t. I’m not going to tell you someone fixed me because they didn’t. I did all of those things and still felt broken.

I fixed myself. I saved myself. I did this.

I found writers like Rh Sin and Rm Drake who I felt were writing directly to me at times. Their books shed light on my life. They gave me words when I couldn’t speak. They exposed me and opened my eyes. They allowed me to finally heal.

I found my self worth and it is unshakable now. It’s my reason for living. It changed my life. It changed my mindset. I found happiness. I found light.

I fell in love with myself.

It was all I ever needed.

All I needed was me and I always had everything I needed.


a fiction piece,
By Nicholas Hawkins

Phone, keys, wallet, cigs, lighter. Quick little wake up shot. Check the phone. Marcus is up – omw. Shit, it’s starting. Where’s the cash, fuck not enough, enough for now. Ughhh ok ok ok ok. The drive is the worst part, but at least I still have the car. My mom’s old bucket. Still can’t believe she hasn’t reported it stolen yet. 

You up? 

Yea omw to the city. 

Scoop me. 

Be outside in 5. I’m hurtin. 

Quick quick quick. Let’s go. The drive is always the worst when you’re sick. That’s when all the traffic is out. When you really need to be somewhere quickly. It starts as kind of a bubble, low in the stomach, and as the bubble gets bigger it starts to eat your insides like some parasite that feeds off of misery. The bubble grows and grows twisting and tearing at your insides. Steering wheel starting to get slick with sweat. Light a cigarette. It helps. The usual back and forth of who can get the most out of whom occurs the entire drive. I win because of the car, but only after I threaten to not provide a return trip. Marcus gets the better deal but we sort it where both of us feel like we won, and really that’s what it’s all about. Who wins or who thinks they won.

This part of the city is dying. It’s not dead yet, and when something in nature dies plenty of other things find a way to feed off of that. Red brick forming boxes around living corpses. Here to do our part. We pull into the usual spot. 


Quick quick quick. The return trip is always the best. The city isn’t quite as depressing on the way out – I guess that’s why people who stop leaving the city are always dying. They miss the hope of getting out. If I did get any real hope upon leaving it doesn’t last long.

Quick quick quick. Stop at the McDonalds to take care of myself. Fuck there’s a line; I’ll do it in the car. This makes the return trip less fun, but I tell Marcus he has to do me first in the car on the ride. It’s tricky and the hardest part is not dying. The trick is to not close your eyes. But fuck is it hard not to. That’s why I have to go first, that way if I do close my eyes, he can slap me.

It works, the bubble goes quiet, my torn parts start to heal, my eyes get heavy, and my entire body ceases to exist. Everything goes numb, just like it’s supposed to.

i don’t know how i got here – he isn’t me, i am not him, i am hurt, scared and angry with him and with me – it doesn’t make sense why did we do this to me?

We meet on a late summer day. Tommy is my neighbor and a year or two older than I am, but that doesn’t seem to matter. We play basket-ball and although he is bigger and better than I am, he makes it fun. Tommy shows me his crossover move but I can’t dribble like he can. He tells me about the other kids on the street. He doesn’t go to the school I will go to. He goes to Catholic school. After we play basketball he invites me inside to play nintendo. He has all the newest games and a finished basement, which is a big deal. He invites me to stay for dinner, and I think my mom is happy about that. I think she wants a break. I was being difficult with the move, but I didn’t want to go. I liked our house with its faded yellow paint and black shutters, the crawl space underneath the back-porch, the big and wild backyard with its thorn-bushes, and of course my friends. So, I go to dinner. I have cous-cous for the first time. They all eat together – his whole family, a total of six, two parents, four kids, three girls and him. I can’t imagine all of that all the time. It’s better our way, with just mom and me. You don’t have to fight to talk over anyone, and she is always there listening to just me. I leave feeling I have gained a new friend and feel immensely better about the move.

The next week we officially move in. While Mom is setting things up I go outside to play. I meet all the other kids my neighbor told me about, and there are a lot that live on my block. Tommy was acting different though. We are playing football in the street, and I am not very good. One of the other kids, who is a couple of years older throws the ball too hard. It hits my hands and bounces to the ground. He laughs and then, they are all laughing. Tommy is standing next to him and they joke about how bad I am. We stay in the street playing games till it begins to get dark. I sit on the side and watch. As dusk settles onto the neighborhood, one by one the parents call the kids home for dinner. My neighbor walks over and we move toward our houses together. He never invites me over for dinner again.

Waking up in a new place is odd. At first I tremble with groggy eyes at the sight of the oppressive color of the wall paper. After a moment I relax into the familiar Space Jam sheets. Micheal Jordan’s face is crumpled in a heap at the foot of the bed, pillows are strewn across the galaxy, and dread begins to warm me like the sun on my back. It weighs as much as a thousand planets. Too bad Bugs isn’t here to help me through. He would play it cool, knowing all the right things to say and when to say them. I bet by the end of the day Bugs would be the most popular bunny in school. The room doesn’t want me here. It is bigger than my old room, but the light is different. The call is louder this time. I swing my feet off the bed and the fuzzy floor startles me. It is not the cool, dark hardwood that makes me feel secure, that helps me stand upright and tall, that provides a solid base from which to build upon. Instead, it is warm, soft, and slightly scratchy. It invites me to crumble into it, to vanish within its tiny gaps where no one will find me.

i didn’t know who i was but i knew i wasn’t like them. i didn’t know anything but i knew that meant something. i didn’t know what i wanted to do with my life but i knew i didn’t want to do what my mom had done. i didn’t know how lucky i was but i knew i was luckier than most. i didn’t like homework and rarely did it, i didn’t do well on tests because i rarely studied and i didn’t show up because i knew i had better things to do

One day, while sitting in my bed, I had the urge to write. I don’t know what I am going to say, but I just finished smoking a huge joint, and I lay on the bed wanting to weep. It’s cloudy and gray, a chilly fall day that is begging me to take an afternoon nap, but all I can think about is this insatiable urge. I have no idea what for, but something told me to write about it –this nagging, clawing, tearing weight. It pulls me into myself, and I want to cry. I look around my room for something, anything to distract me from my plight –books, video games, television, porn, more weed. Finally, my eyes fall upon the small metal sculpture on my bookshelf. My mom gave it to me as a gift one christmas. The statue is a small metal cat with ears of welded steel lightly brushed with warm orange, a body twisted and creased into a sitting position, again, lightly brushed with bright florida orange, paws expertly crafted and studded with claws sharp enough to dissect a fleeing mouse if need be, and a tail, a magnificent, cold, tube of orange and white stripes effortlessly curled into curiosity. My mom gave me the sculpture, as a gift one Christmas, and I do not want to write anymore. Just cry. When everything else is gone, I can sit and look at the sculpture. I can dream of somewhere else, and be someone else, someone who didn’t want so much, someone who does not need so much.

time goes on and i make choice after choice until it’s no longer a choice – i need it. i need it-  i think i always needed it – most of my other shit is just to help me get it and when i feel absolutely devastated thinking about how my own life revolves around it, i need it even more – life continues

We meet at a bar. We have one of those magical millennial romance stories. We met on 
the internet, but Hinge -so it’s classy. Her name is Caroline. We do the usual back and forth, I make her laugh, I think. I’ve always been decent at that. I ask for her number, and we make plans for later in the week. She is cuter than her pictures, and I am shy. She asks me questions about school. We both study English. We drink beers till the bar becomes noisy, then we switch to whiskey. She is wearing a pair of faded high-waisted blue jeans with frayed bottoms and black leather boots, a tight green and white striped shirt and a small silver heart around her neck. We drink until we’re drunk. We smoke a cigarette outside waiting for her car to come. She takes puffs of my cigarette. She tells me she doesn’t really smoke, only sometimes when she drinks. She passes the cigarette back to me and we both fall silent. Her car arrives, I open the door and walk home in the chilly night. 

Our second date is also at a bar. I got off work early and Caroline texts me she could use a beer, and I could use one too. We meet on the upper west side at a quiet dive bar where you can get a shot and a beer for five dollars. We talk about nothing, but in a good way because we stay for hours. Last call comes and we head out into the cold. The first snowfall of the year is quietly drifting down, and I offer to walk her home. We stroll along the park, taking our time, making jokes, smoking, laughing, and enjoying the briskness, fighting the drunk warmth on our exposed skin.

Caroline tells me she wants to be an actress. She doesn’t care if she is famous, she just wants to make enough to live. She’s applying to grad school, and preparing her monologues. She says her strongest monologue is Romeo. I ask to hear it. She makes me stand on a bench as if I am Juliet in the balcony. Oh that I were a glove upon that hand! I reach down and pull her on top of the bench with me. That I might touch that cheek. As she says it, I move her hand to my cheek. Her fingers are freezing. We kiss.

I walk home feeling giddy. I text my friends to tell them that I have peaked romantically. That no other kiss will ever compare.

And now we’re here.

Sitting at one of those flimsy metal tables with flimsy chairs outside the airport starbucks. All these people guzzling down their jet fuel only so they can obnoxiously get up and pee five times on their two hour flight to sunny Florida. These are the type of people who are on a nine a.m. flight to Miami in the first two weeks of December. The obnoxious kind. The kind that can escape the cold of New York for a winter spent in the sunshine state. The type that drink iced caramel oat milk lattes and have designer pet luggage for their emotional service dog. Don’t get me wrong I fucking love dogs and by no means am I ever mad about there being a dog anywhere I happen to be. I just don’t want that dog to be better dressed than I am, or have a carrier that costs double my rent to piss and shit in.

Anyway all these terrible people and Caroline. 

I guess she’s kind of terrible too. Terrible in a way that is entirely human. Terrible in the way that her plan for life didn’t match up with mine, and to be happy one has to follow their own plan.

I’ve never made a real plan. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to deal with her plan not matching mine because I really didn’t have a plan and was just going along with hers. So, when this job offer came that involved her moving to Los Angeles, I just figured we’d sort it out. I would go along with the plan.

Problem is, when you don’t make a plan, someone else does. And she did.
I just didn’t happen to be in it. 

Caroline says I don’t listen. I am not present. Not that I’m not physically present, but emotionally and mentally. She says she knows I am using more, and that’s why she can’t stay and I can’t come. I need to figure it out, she says. If I don’t love myself I won’t ever be capable of loving or receiving love.

She says I love you, gathers her bags and neck pillow, and walks toward the gate.

I hit the bathroom to celebrate the freedom from expectation and mourn the loss of love.

he was good everyone else had problems but not him, problems with the way he treated them, problems with the way he spent his money, problems with the way he spent his time, problems with the people he spent it with, that’s why they were in this musty dilapidated building- it used to be a post office, now old paper littered the floor decomposing as its tenants slowly died in the dry corners – the good times of cars, money, girls and fun were gone now. the only thing he had that was worth anything was a heavy coat- it was important to have a heavy coat with lots of pockets – sometimes he would fall out in strange places and wake to people searching through his clothes, he couldn’t muster the energy to fight them off so he needed good hiding spots

When they bring you back it’s the worst.

All those terrible feelings and the bubble come back instantly. Sweat immediately begins to pour out of you and other fluids aren’t far behind. 

He was so mad. Why did you bring me back? He demanded to know. I do not want to be here anymore.

Unfortunately, he no longer had options. He had closed all the doors because he needed to. If other doors had been open, he would have been tempted to walk through them. the part of his life he kept to himself forced him to put all of his energy into one door that led nowhere. A door that opened up onto a black abyss that held all the promise of the unknown and all the emptiness of nothingness. He had to find out though, had to explore that darkness and find nothing for himself. Problem is, when you find nothing, you don’t know you’ve found it. You think you haven’t found anything and keep searching for something. He kept going back and prodding the darkness, hopeful he could stir something into existence. He wanted to keep going, but when he woke his mother was there. 

She told him she couldn’t watch him die. I felt the pain inside me. He scoffed, told her it wouldn’t happen to him. He knows what he is doing. I don’t know. His instincts know what to do. It’s easier to give up control to him.

She read a letter she had written. Her therapist said it would be helpful to write out her feelings and tell him. She had long cut him off, but couldn’t completely let me go. I couldn’t let go either, but he could. He needed to go back into the darkness where no one could see him, and only he could judge himself.

When I left the hospital that time I died, I knew it was the last time. He wouldn’t let me go back. We couldn’t go back. The only thing left to do was to go deeper into the darkness.



Hi guys. I’m Amanda. I’ve been called “Amandivan” in the past because of my anxious ass. (Combo of Amanda and Ativan for those who weren’t sure). I’m mostly sharing so others who feel like I do know they’re not alone 🖤 


Anxiety is a mother fucker right. I have these things that I call anxiety spirals where my thoughts get out of control. So, instead of internalizing it, I’ve been working on saying it outloud. Saying it out loud has made me seem insane, but keeping it all in makes me feel much worse. Just within the last month…  

Example one: on our honeymoon. We saw a beautifully important dog with an I-mean-business-type harness on running round our hotel floor. Obviously I assumed he was a bedbug sniffing dog. No other reason he was there. Nope. Couldn’t come up with one other reason. Did I ask anyone if that was the dogs job? No. Did I assume I had bed bugs? Of course. Did I ruin a full half hour+ of my lovely time in a fancy London hotel thinking ANY FUZZY OR CRUMB was a bed bug? You bet your ass – tactile hallucinations and all.  

Example two: a different day on our honeymoon I peed maybe twice in an hour. For no reason other than I can go an entire 12hr shift at work without peeing did I assume I had a UTI. Plotting, googling and planning how it was going to ruin the second leg of our trip and how IF it was a Uti that I would be miserable in pain and how to get someone from the states to call in antibiotics to a Boots Chemist in Waterloo. 🥴

 Neither of these worry examples came to fruition. But it ruined my precious time. I spend so much time fucking ruining my time.  


Listen. I’m not psychotic. I just worry. A shit ton. About nothing. And when I have nothing to worry about, I’ll find something. Achem, see above.  

 My emo pop punk self thinks of FOB lyrics.

“We must tell the best jokes

We must make it hard to

Look so easy doing something so hard” 

I try so hard to look collected and calm and funny and flexible when I’m holding. It. All. In. I am mostly happy. And love a lot. (See. Now I’m even worried that I made myself look too wompy and am trying to back pedal to make sure everyone knows I’m okay) what the hell. Worrying and people pleasing TO THE CORE. I’m working on it. But anyone who knows me knows my therapist is on maternity leave so I just need to cool it. This is a good outlet 👍🏼 (edit: she’s back now- #blessed)

I often wonder what it’s like to not worry or not be a worried anxious person. Some people just… live?? And aren’t concerned about social Norms in places they’re not familiar. They don’t get a belly ache worrying if the restaurant they want to go to might be busy so they should make a reservation but what if it’s a small not busy restaurant and they make a reservation at a mall-pizza-place and now look like an ass? I say these things because I’ve done it. Made a ressy at a DEAD restaurant in a strip mall. Who cared that I did that? Fucking no one… but me, because I still think about it.  

And I still think about the time in second grade where I had the song “ karma chameleon” stuck in my head and my teacher said “if you Sing it one more time…” and I got put in time out. In class. In second grade. So embarrassing. CLOSE TO DISMISSAL TIME which also meant FUCK what if I miss my bus?!? Can I tell you, I had that worry DAILY… from first grade to senior year of high school… you know how many times I missed the bus? Not once.  

 Anxiety is all consuming. Want someone to scare you out of doing something? I’m your girl. Need help over analyzing something? Pick me! But when you say things out loud it helps you realize what matters and what doesn’t. Thanks for listening. Also. DM me… I can also help talk out of an anxiety spiral, trust me, I do it all the time, and am working on it.

—————- ——

Editors note: I have to say I cackled while reading the part about karma chameleon, because I too got yelled at for refusing to stop singing it, however it was at age 27 on a rehab van with a bunch of other assholes. Sorry Kelsey but that song is fire lmfaoooooo 🤣 come in on the kickdrum anyone?

Trainwrecking 101

By Dave R.


I wanted to die, but I didn’t want to kill myself. That seemed like a damn hassle.

How the fuck did that happen? I was the guy that stuff always seemed to work out for. And not like, barely work out…like, amazingly, unbelievably, and with very little effort on my part other than showing up.

I was married. Had a job, the job I wanted. The house. The dog. The money. The LIFE. All before 26. I loved being the guy who was so good at stuff it pissed people off. The conversations I’d have where I knew the person I was talking to was frustrated, but not at the situation – at me. Because everything came easy. Life was easy for me.

The job was the first thing to really crash and burn. It was out of my control…which infuriated me. I tried to manipulate it as best I could to work out in my favor, I really did. But being a puppet master didn’t suit me I guess. So, my wife and I moved. Out of god forsaken Florida, back to PA… where I was important. It was gonna be great!!!

Turns out, when people go through tough stuff, and don’t deal with the aftermath, it follows you. Which stinks. And I really love ignoring problems and tricking myself into thinking everything is ok.

We lasted 5 months after we moved. I came home from work. The house was dark. It was half empty. The dog didn’t greet me. Her car wasn’t in the back.

We had problems. Not the physically abusive, or cheating kinds. No, these felt worse. It was resentment. We could REALLY hold grudges. We could silent treatment each other for weeks. No talking, barely looking at each other. I had decided that was ok in my marriage. It wasn’t…it never was.

My first reaction was anger. Big, dramatic screaming matches over the phone…but not because I ACTUALLY wanted her back. Because this was my first big black mark of something in my life not breaking my way. I didn’t want to be the “divorced before 30” guy. It was my pride. One big problem with pride, is that once the anger is gone, and the truth finally sets in, pride is still there.

I didn’t fight for my marriage. I didn’t fight for her. I said, “Fuck it. She’s the one in the wrong. She can’t justify leaving, so I win.”

Nobody won. Certainly not me. No matter how much I tried to convince myself.

SO…. I drank. Nothing I thought was crazy though. Maybe more than some people, but there’s always someone worse, right? I drank in the morning. I drank in the car. I drank at work. I drank at lunch. I drank on the drive home. I drank all night. Who cared anyway? I’m an adult. I do what I want.

The house sold. I moved back in with my parents. But I kept drinking. A lot.

Then I got fired. From a job I actually liked. That was a big hit. I couldn’t charm them into keeping me.

Fuuuuuuck. Now it should really start settling in right? Now it’s really bad. I’m circling the drain, right? Pffffffff. Nope. I’m good. I’ve got some money – I’ll figure it out, I always do.

I couldn’t NOT drink. I slept my days away. I would get the shakes. Baaaaad shakes. I’d dry heave for days. A little booze fixed everything. It always did. The solution was simple. But it wasn’t a little anymore… it was a lot. Two handles a day was right in the sweet spot. I could get through the night, and into the afternoon without having any problems. I’d buy 10 handles on Monday morning, and load up for the weekend Friday afternoon. Rinse, repeat.

Then on a beautiful October Friday in 2018, I decided to be adventurous. I sat in a park, and drank my Seagrams vodka out of a big blue Gatorade bottle like I always did. It was a nice morning. I killed a handle in an hour or so and drove home and started walking into the house. No big deal.

Then the cop came down my street. Said someone called in. Gave my description, gave my plates, said it looked like I was drinking. The cop asked me. I said yes. I walked the line, I talked to her about it, she was nice. Agreeable. She thanked me for being honest, and as I was turning around to leave, asked me to blow into a machine.

I obliged – knowing I was over the limit but also delusional in thinking it wasn’t going to be a big deal.

.427. “That’s high. Can’t be right. Try again, please”

.427. “Ummm… I’m going to need you to come with me.”

After a ride in the cop car to the hospital, and sitting for 18 hours while my BAC went down, my parents telling me I needed help, me saying maybe I did, but I didn’t want it… I got sent to rehab.

Are you kidding me?? REHAB?! I’m not a rehab guy. I was getting inducted into my High School’s Hall of Fame the next week. I wasn’t a rehab guy. I’m a big deal. I’m fine. LOL.

After a stint in treatment, I went to a recovery house. That’s a place where a bunch of fucked up people live together, and they look at your dick when you pee in a cup. Really fun. Except for… all of it. It was miserable. I was 30 years old and had a curfew.

10 months go by. I get a job as a janitor at a church. I start teaching music again…something I thought I would never get to do again. My life is starting to get put back together. I can’t complain too much. Well…. I COULD, but i don’t. It’s been worse.

All of these things happened because I thought they could NEVER happen. I was too proud to admit when i needed help, or other people. The thinking i could do anything I wanted and the world would bend to my stupid plans.

I guess I say all of this… mostly to be a cautionary tale.

Love completely. Be vulnerable. Admit when you’re wrong. Don’t try to win the arguments. Try to be honest… at the very least, with yourself.

I’m glad I’m not dead. I hope if you need help, you reach out to someone who loves you, and they tell you its ok.


The Comeback Kid

Hi guys here’s a piece by my second guest author – Gillian! I met Gill a few years ago while she was moving into a friends / going crazy with Christmas decorations in the best way! Though we don’t know each other that well- I will always remember how sweet she was when Riley was in the hospital- reaching out to offer to go to meetings with me or anything else I needed, which even though we hardly knew one another, was one of the most pure and kind offers. It’s been so cool to watch Gill on her journey and see the amazing woman she is today. And with that here’s a little something from Gill:

Driving on the Pennsylvania turnpike is always surreal. My first trip was with my father as a senior in college to audition for the dance conservatory at Point Park. And my journey of thousands of miles would begin. Taking the drive now, there are memories of driving with nervous excitement to see my children after a long separation. What would I say to them? There were drives to go pick them up after regaining visitation rights. There are memories of when they were babies, visiting family in Chester County. That fateful Christmas after my daughter was born and my mother’s best friend was murdered. I traveled back for a funeral and remember pulling over because I couldn’t see the road through the blur of my tears. The trip that should have taken four hours but only took three and a half after that fateful call from my boyfriend when he called to tell me he was ending his life. I was in Pittsburgh with my children, he was in Philadelphia. I raced to his bedside, only to say goodbye to his lifeless body three days later. 

One of The most recent and most profound to date was the day I was rescued from the miserable alcoholic existence I was living. One woman literally scooped me up out of the hell I was living in, put me in her car, and there we were on that turnpike again. It was a fog. I remember very little. I was terrified and relieved at the same time. She played a song – “The Comeback Kid” by The Band Perry. I remember crying as the it played – well more like wept and sobbed. She told me I was the comeback kid – though I did not feel worthy of the words of that song. I did not feel worthy of a comeback. I had just left my children. I had just disappointed so many people, AGAIN. Thirty-seven years old, is this what I had become? 

Last Christmas Day was the most painful drive I think I have ever made. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend the magnitude of the pain I would feel. It would be the beginning of the longest sober separation I would ever have from my children. I said goodbye to my children not knowing I would not see them for as long as it has been. I made a poorly timed and poorly executed amends to my children that fateful day which would set in motion the loudest most deafening silence I have ever known. It brought me to my knees as a mother. It made me question everything I am made of. I don’t think many would have blamed me if it broke me. But instead I leaned into God. And God placed in my path women who struggled with the loss of a partner or their own children. I found strength in other women who had never gotten their children back. I started to create a life of my own, without my children. Even typing those words is haunting. I believe them, and own them. But it makes speaking them difficult, nonetheless. God has kept me in solitude, with only myself for reasons yet unknown to me. I can only suppose it is to find a deeper relationship with Him and His kids. 

For as far back as I can remember as a child I was a dreamer. I wanted to be a ballerina. I did everything in my power to make that dream a reality. I worked, I stretched, I cleaned the studio, all of it. My parents and family fully supported this dream. Even when that dream ended and my life started to fall apart, I always had family supporting me. So, in my solitude, in my renewed life, I struck out to find a new dream, a new purpose. When I first got sober, I thought it would be in the treatment industry. I always thought that “hair” was a backup. But at some point, I fell in love with it. Unbeknownst to me, me dream was in front of me all along. I grabbed a hold of it as tight as I could. I have given it everything I have and what I have been given in return has been astounding. I have been given the most rewarding and fulfilling career I ever could have imagined. It is only in my brokenness that the light could get in. My life is an open book, I do it for me. But, my hope is that I give my children someone, something to be proud of. I never gave them that before. 

A few weeks ago on a trip back on the turnpike tears filled my eyes. That song played in my head and I played it once more. This time I smiled. I wasn’t crying because I wasn’t worthy anymore. I was crying because I was.


C is for ..

Connect. Idiots. 😂

And also Chris Brown.

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed over the last couple days, watching as other people reflected on the past year and some, the past decade. I briefly reflected back on the last year by posting a bunch of pictures on my Instagram story, 🥴 but I very quickly annoyed myself and deleted 🤣.

I then convinced myself I wouldn’t fuck around and would actually get my laptop out, sit at a desk I don’t have and write this fire blog post to start of my highlights idea with a bang.


Well LOL my highlights idea was made in a fit of mania 🥳 and only half thought out. 🥴 I literally just formed the idea, played around with my website for 20’min – couldn’t figure out how to reformat it, gave up and then 2 weeks ago said oops better get on that now that I have a collection of people’s writing in my email. 😬 I have no actual idea where this is going. So basically I’ve roped you all into my nonsense and am hoping something will come of it. Yeehaw 🤠🐎

My intention was to help generate connections among people.

Now please follow my thought process: 🧠👩🏼‍🦯

So many of you guys that read my stuff and interact with me online have reached out over the years to talk about similar situations or sometimes simply, to shoot the shit. So in my half manic state I planned to middle man connections . I thought if people wrote in about addiction or anxiety it could connect them to other people dealing with it, or if you wrote about your mental health, it could be a place for support. I wanted it to be a place where you could share your biggest accomplishment, something that you’re proud of and want to tell the world. It’s not really anything formal, it might not even go anywhere but it’d be cool if it did. I just know I often feel alone or like people don’t understand what I’m going through, and many times throughout my life it has been the support I’ve built through connections in person and online that have gotten me through my roughest days.

I mean its you guys that have been there while I wrote my first book, you guys were there to cheer me on while I got clean, and again when I relapsed. You all congratulated me on the birth of my daughter, it was you that prayed and sent good vibes and Red Bulls when she was sick. It’s been you guys there cheering me on to write all these years. So I don’t know I just thought anyone who wanted to, should give it a whirl. It’s pretty freeing to just spill your guts to a bunch of strangers. Plus, you meet a bunch of interesting and cool people and get to help some too – and that’s gold ponyboy👌🏼🖤

Now without further ado I will give you my first highlight: Chris. I met Chris down in a Florida treatment center about 6 years ago,- he now has a masters in social work and is working as a therapist at a treatment center. He also writes much more formal than I do, so I was very excited when he sent me this piece on establishing connections – he writes much more eloquently than I. And with that, Chris ….

Thoughts of a Therapist

By Chris Brown


Addicts experience something breathtaking when they can stretch their vision of themselves from the immediate present back to the past that shaped them and forward to a future that’s attainable and satisfying  Marc Lewis


How do you convince someone that their ability to make decisions is compromised as a result of something in their brain that is influencing the determination of their decisions before they even make them? This phenomenon becomes more prevalent on a daily basis when working with those who are suffering with substance use disorders. The predicament arises in the fact that because individuals are conscious, they believe they are in complete control over the decisions that they make. These decisions that are made, to the individual, are grounded in reason and rational thinking that is aimed with their best interest in mind. Unfortunately, these decisions have the capacity for self-destruction because due to the troubled history that each person has encountered. Memory has an integral role in decisions. Memory utilizes the past to understand the present to anticipate the future. If an individual’s past has had trauma and many forms of distress, their memory is going to ensure that their decisions are protective in nature. This means that decisions will be geared towards the avoidance of pain, avoidance of discomfort, the avoidance of stress, and ultimately, the avoidance of change. This is troubling because when exploring healthy life changes with someone, a therapist will encourage that individual to identify changes that can be made that will hopefully improve that person’s quality of life. That is where the challenge arises. Ideally, someone can gain insight and harness motivation to change to make positive life adjustments. The thing is, this does not always work out because something stops that individual from drawing power from their insight and turning it into behaviors that are conducive to a new way of life. This leads to frustration, shame, guilt, and eventually depression as someone who has all of the desire to make changes, just cannot put it together to make a difference. One begins to learn that the unconscious mind often has a completely different agenda than the individual. One learns that there is comfort in the chaos because it is familiar, even to the point where the chaos leads to complete isolation, socially, physically, and emotionally. 

When looking at the benefits of using substances/alcohol, it cannot be ignored that the effects of the high, produce such a powerful feeling of safety and security. The high is a safe experience and no matter how much pain an individual encounters, the high is there to shield them from the full impact of the situation. It is impossible to isolate addiction to one singular event in time, however, different forms of trauma arethe one trait that all of my clients have experienced. I have learned that addiction always begins with pain and always ends with pain. The high feels like that surge of warmth and protection that comes from the embrace of a loved one or the love that was missing for an individual who never had the opportunity to experience it. It is no surprise that opioids are the endorphins that are released in the human body when a mother is holding and begins to soothe her distressed infant. Unfortunately, the high turns on the user and the individual becomes even more trapped in walls of isolation that are reinforced by bricks of shame, fear, and despair, but this is still a state of being that is desired because life on life’s terms is too overwhelming and unbearable. The frustrating part of addiction is the desperation to get clean when using, but also the desperation to get high when clean. Where does someone turn when stuck in this persistent state of hopeless of always knowing where they want to be, but never being where they are?

The effects of the environment on the individual are impactful. Fortunately, this is something that can be utilized to foster change. I have heard that the goal of psychotherapy should always be security. This is a challenge in itself because if someone has grown up in a toxic environment with abuse or neglect, the body is going to not allow the individual to feel secure and thus change is ultimately prevented. I have seen and explored this problem through my work and through my own experience. The answer has to be connection. Connection to a person, who provides unconditional positive regard, like Carl Rogers emphasized. This person can be the therapist or another person, who can provide the stability and unwavering support that conveys the message that I am here with you no matter what your emotions and feelings tell you. The therapist/person has to show the individual through their personality and support, that they can be the safety net the person needs. This happens through sending cues of safety that help the other person start to turn off that flight or fight response system or the withdrawal system. This is not an easy process, but through consistent support, it can be accomplished. If an environment caused an individual to make decisions that are protective to adapt to that environment, an environment can also be fostered to illustrate to that person that they don’t always have to protect themselves and that there is so much power in vulnerability. Through trust and support, a person can learn how to tell his or her body “calm down, were not in danger,” and allow themselves to experience the freedoms that connection can offer. Through co-regulation (learning how to manage emotional states with someone else) with someone, a person can eventually learn self-regulation (self-soothe). They can learn that they can manage the pain that is inevitable in life. People will always experience pain in life, that is a reality. The growth starts when people lead that they don’t have to face the pain alone. Through connections with other people, those suffering with substance use disorders can learn that they do not need use drugs to get their needs met because they can get those needs through other people, naturally. Change will always be hard, but through support change doesn’t have to about suffering and can lead to new meaning.

•|| if you’d like to be a part of my nonsense please send your stories to theSmiLfdiaries@gmail.com ; be sure to mention if you’d like to post anonymously and please attach a photo or two if you can 🙃 ||•


I stand in front of her headstone – its huge, close to four feet and only slighter shorter than me. My dad sort of squats beside me, wrapping his arms tightly around most of my upper body – any tighter and my whole body will probably make a cute little crunch sound. My 3 year old sister stands beside him as he weeps into me. My body is tense, I stand tall – solider like – staring just above the tombstone – I don’t want to see her name engraved there, as if it’s permanent but it is -this is my new reality, my mother, dead. My insides are burning – my throat tightens, I feel tears making their way to the surface – immediately my chest tenses – I inhale deeply – my inner voice gritting it’s teeth, “don’t cry, be strong.” I hold my breath as I stare into the distance, far beyond the remnants of loved ones and aging stone and flower, – I wish I was anywhere but here.

**** this blogs going all over the place right now much like my head 🥴🤣 I decided I’ll be working on a second book of short stories and poems – while the bulk will only be accessible in the actual book, I will periodically post stuff I’m working on here! Like this little blip above ! In the meantime I’ll be featuring other writers and highlighting one dope ass person per week. Tell me your story, your deep dark and dirty and how you overcame it, your proudest moments, how you’re helping people, a business venture you started, a weird story, how you’re managing recovery, your mental health, parenthood , whatever – I want to hear it. Anyone is welcome to partake in this. Should be starting in a few weeks. Please directly email to theSMiLFdiaries@gmail.com (updated).

If you aren’t a writer and would still like to take part, I’m happy to edit what you send and am open to anonymous submissions as well. Just trying to spread some good vibes and show off all of the amazing people out there. 💙☀️

Adios friends

Stay weird. ✌🏼😘

I’m not a regular mom..

Some days I really fucking hate moming.

I hate saying that I hate it because I’m not supposed to or I shouldn’t. But I do.

I know how amazing my daughter is, she is the light of my life. But holy god can this child test my very last nerve… like the literal last one.

Some days she just wakes up and is hell on wheels. She’s not doing anything really bad, she’s just not listening, as in flat out ignoring any sound coming out of my mouth no matter what the volume and often not even acknowledging my presence. I am clearly a fucking peasant. 🥴😐

It’s probably the age, but there’s a lot of days when I’m just like bruh, (Wipes drop of sweat from brow) what the fuck did I sign up for.

I’m a single mom, I don’t get the every other weekend off. It’s me 24/7. My family helps but I am my daughters everything. And she sucks the life from me like a Sanderson sister on Halloween. 75% of the time it’s cool, she’s quite literally a mini me which is terrifying cus like I’m wild and a giant dick, so I can’t even be mad at her when she does the same shit as me.

I remember last year when I was really struggling someone asked me if I didn’t want to be a mom because I was bitching about my daughters behavior. I have never been so offended. I wasnt saying I didn’t love my kid. I love my child. But some days she’s a pain in the butt and I don’t wanna mom(verb). You’re allowed to not like being a mom , it’s a really fucking hard job.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to not having to worry about anything or anyone but me – I miss being carefree – motherhood shifted my view on a lot of things. It brought new anxieties and insecurities and changed my whole world – Riley became it. She brought so much joy and happiness to my life. I got pregnant with her when I was in a very dark place, so yea I believe my kid saved me. She saves me every day, no matter how much of a beehole shes being, sometimes, she’s the only reason I’m still here.

There’s a lot more pressure to hold it together now though, there’s someone depending on me, so I white knuckle it a lot.

There’s a lot of days where I have to remind myself she’s just a kid, when I need to relax and stop stressing about stupid shit. Motherhood turned me into a control freak, I have to hold it together, all of it, for her.

I worry I can’t.

I hate motherhood because some days I don’t even know how to do it right.

Am I yelling too much? Am I being unreasonable?

I don’t remember what mothers do.

I think I lack tenderness some days, I feel mean. I feel detached. My depression and anxiety get the best of me. I just want to be alone for a moment.

So what do I do? I dunno lmao I’m still figuring it out. I’m slowly realizing I’m not the only one that struggles with this kinda stuff but not many people openly talk about it.

I’m not the perfect PTA, Pinterest, bake a plate of cookies for my neighbor, mini van kinda mom. I’m just fuckin not. And I can’t pretend to be cause that’s just even more pressure.

I’m a nose ring, tatted up, crop top wearin, bad ass mom who curses too much, laughs at all the wrong shit, and is just winging this whole motherhood thing.

And I think a lot more people are winging it too.

It’s been rough lately, terrible twos are real, my mental health is on the fritz and I’m just flyin by the seat of my pants or whatever that saying is 🤣

But just letting all those other badass moms out there who are havin a rough time know, you aren’t alone, youre allowed to want a break, or to not like your kids some days. This is a hard fucking job, and we have to stick together and be real about shit. So that’s my spiel .

Adios friends. ✌🏼

Also anyone with tips for handling two year olds please drop them in the comment section. 😬😬 they’re a whole different beast.

Don’t fucking 302 Me.

30. Probably my most difficult year.

Every year has it’s ups and downs, but 30 really put me through the ringer mentally, and some days definitely still suck a lot, but here I am writing again (begrudgingly, thank you autorenew lmao) and trying to pull myself from a sometimes crippling depression. This isn’t a give me sympathy post – I’m good- everyone struggles, just tryin to shed some light.

Depression comes in all forms, so what it looks like for you, may not be how someone else struggles with it. I’ve dealt with this since I was a kid, some days I’m cool, but then there are days were I am just plain old miserable, and barely want to move or function- i’d rather lay in bed and do nothing, feel nothing.

The details don’t really matter at this point, there are a ton of deeply personal things I went through this year, some were reasons I steered clear of writing, while others just left me all over numb.

Right before I turned 30 I think I got a little manic.. no, I mean I definitely did, and I’m not technically bipolar (as far as I know), I think it’s been tucked deeply beneath many years of addiction, or maybe I’m just baseline depressed and then when I’m happy it feels like mania? I don’t fucking know, all I know is I felt on top of the world one day and then boom, I’m on vacation in Florida, everything feels heavy and I can’t stop crying. For no fucking reason. Like the world saw me smile and was like, “lol bitch, you thought.”

It was really bad for a while – I’d have random bouts of tears, sometimes with reason and sometimes completely unprovoked. I am someone who never wants to be seen crying about what matters so I often cry on my way home from work or when I’m alone. I’ve probably filled my car with so many tears it could be like that scene in Alice in wonderland where she’s about to just drown in her tears. (So dramatic).

I cry about a lot, I wonder if I’m enough for Riley, why this person I love is constantly lying to me, I beat myself up – you fucking loser. I cry about not getting into school, idiot, shit thats just out of my control. I cry because I’m being a bitch and I don’t mean to be, or because I’m frustrated, stressed, alone and it feels like no one is fucking listening to me or they’re listening but not hearing me- I could list a million reasons. But it just got to be this overwhelming amount of sadness weighing me down, and right under it, this cute little ball of anger patiently waiting, ready to come out and release hell on earth.

Now, dont get me wrong, I was not holed up in a dark room crying every day, there were days and weeks and months where I felt okay, sometimes even so good that I thought oh hmm this is weird, is this happiness or mania? (Idk still lol) But then there were a handful of weeks where I felt like I was drowning – I’d wake up and there would be this brief moment when I opened my eyes where it felt like I had been underwater for hours and was coming up for a breath of air only to realize as I inhaled, that all the air in the world wouldn’t save me if I couldn’t figure out how to swim.

Basically I woke up and was like, mother fucker I have to do this all over again. And I just really didn’t want to be here, (please put your 302papers away) I don’t mean in a suicidal way, I’ve just always been that way- I get tired of the world and stuff, like it’s too heavy for my soul. At times it feels foreign, like it isn’t where I belong. Is that borderline of me? Oh god. Delete. Delete.

Blah blah blah it goes on for weeks, It was to the point where I had no idea what was wrong with me only that I didn’t feel right. When i had tried everything I could think of, I asked for a psychiatrist recommendation. To preface this, Im very weird about psych meds, I don’t want them unless I absolutely NEED them, 1 because some psychiatrists are med happy and like to just prescribe any new “godsend” pill they’ve gotten from those annoying med sales people, and 2 most of them don’t fucking listen to you. SSRIs even in a very low dose have also had a tendency to make me feel like I just smoked an 8 ball of crack and like I am creepy crawling through my own skin. So whoopty doo, I go to my appointment and my new psychiatrist, after listening to my concerns ever so carefully, still prescribed an ssri and despite not being an active heroin user, also tried to prescribe me the wonder drug vivitrol. WUT. Bye bitch.


I decided that I am NOT a doctor which is something I’ve heard all my life- but sorry bro’s and hoes, I know my body best. So against my better judgment, I decided that instead of waiting a day to take my meds, I should just start them on my birthday. (I am a plethora of great ideas). Giggity goo!!

So.. this is how 30 started. Please know I hate snow.

It snowed. A ton.

All I wanted to do was go to the gym and work out some of my anger, hurt, whatever – that didn’t happen. Meds started to kick in and as the day progressed I could feel my jaw clenching and teeth grinding. I barely wanted to talk, I was riddled with anxiety and sooooo uncomfortable. When I say I felt like I was crawling through my skin- I mean that 1000%. I had some people over for dinner and I honest to god couldn’t wait for them to fucking leave, I didn’t want to interact with anyone, I just wanted to find a way to rip the already absorbed medicine from my stomach and start the day over.

The next day I felt a little better, like bitch that was close, maybe you’re not that bad after all. (Another fine coping skill of mine).

It didn’t get immediately better, I was still being a crazy ass for a few weeks following my med trial. I wish I could tell you how I crawled out of that depression. Or that people were really helpful and noticed when I was struggling. I don’t even remember when things started to feel less heavy or better, only that they eventually did.

The most I know is that some of the healing had to start with me – How can I expect others to help me if I don’t even know what’s wrong. I can’t control everything – you have to let some shit ride. And i had to be cognizant of the fact that not everyone cares about or is bothered by the same things as me, and that I and everyone else (as far as I’m aware) are only human, which some days is hard enough on its own.

So, if you’re struggling, hang in there, reach out, it will get better.

I think good old dumbledorian once said, “happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light. ”

Light it up. Deuces. ✌🏼