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 🌙⬇️

——————–

Amandivan

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?

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 🙃 ||•

Graveyards.

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. ✌🏼😘

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.

Kidding.

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. ✌🏼

One Year A Warrior.

I’ve been having a hard time starting this. Mostly because my emotions are so mixed and crazy when I think about all the chaos going on this time last year. December 2017 was like the worst of my life and a blur and I just don’t know what to say except thank you God.

There is a light, we made it through.

Today Riley is one year post op for a ventricular septal defect (vsd) repair.

I’m not going to write some big sad post because today is not about that, today we are celebrating her remarkable recovery.

Riley and I spent about a month in CHOP awaiting her surgery – in short, it was terrifying and nerve wracking, but one of the most amazing hospitals.

One of the things I most appreciated while I was there were how families of former patients made it a point to give back to current patients. For instance, there were snack bags in certain waiting areas, or like face wipes and chapstick, Riley even got this beautiful hand made quilt on the day of her surgery. They were simple acts of kindness, that just reminded you there was still good in the world, that you weren’t alone.

So today after work I’m dropping off some gift bags a bunch of us put together for a few families of other heart babies, in hopes of making their stay a little more comfortable. CHOP was so good to us I decided to do this every year with Riley to teach her the importance of giving back.

It’s kind of wild when you think about it – CHOP is literally a giant kids hospital where everyone is super sick so you think it’d be this super heavy place and it can be, but the amount of love and light inside that place is endless.

Now I sound like a sap. But seriously. They took care of Riley , and they took care of me. Everyone did really – my friends, family, even my interwebby friends made it a point to check in on us, to offer support, prayers, good vibes and Netflix passwords. For all this I am truly grateful, it made our stay and our situation more bearable.

Riley left the hospital at maybe 8lbs at about 10 weeks old. She wasn’t even on that chart thing your pediatrician does, she was like negative five for weight.

Well. If you follow my child on social media, then you know this kid loves food. She took bulking season seriously and caught back up to a normal weight in no time.

(That is freaking filet man. She not only got healthy but also developed an exquisite and expensive taste palette 🤣)

She was a little behind with a few things like rolling because of the surgery but wasted no time learning other tricks. She is thriving and healthy and doing so well that she doesn’t need to see the specialist again for another 2 years. She is a miracle.

Almost ironically, Riley happens to have one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen. She just like loves people and animals and is so damn sweet. I hope by teaching her the importance of these small acts of kindness and to pay it forward, she will grow up and do amazing things.

( I not so secretly would love if she became a heart surgeon.. just cause it’d be cool but I digress).

Today as we celebrate Riley’s recovery, I ask you make a point to say a little prayer or send good vibes or rub a crystal ..whatever you’re into, for all the other babies and children having surgery today.

And Riley, my sweet angel, my best friend, the love and light of my life. You are a warrior. I love you.

Be the light.

Lexie PS

(This was about an hour before her surgery, I’m dying 😭 – she was the cutest patient).

(She won this during a raffle at CHOP… how did I know she would be wild 😜).

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.

😘✌🏼

LOVE AND LIGHT AND SCUMBAG NONSENSE<3

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).

The Unraveling.

April 2015

We start talking again, Jay and I. It’s been over a year since I left Philly for Florida. Some days I feel like this isn’t real life, rather i’m away at a really weird adult summer camp. But for the most part I’m happy – I’ve be clean since I left, I work in treatment, I hand out raffle tickets at meetings, I sponsor people – I am living breathing proof that recovery is possible.

I am also proof that you can be clean and still manage to act like a complete fucking moron.

I honestly don’t recall the specifics but it goes something like this: one day I’m out floating around on my pink recovery cloud, thinking all the world is good and pure when BAM I’m hit with the idea that since I’ve been clean a whole year and have abided by my sponsors rules for guys with me, the next logical thing to do is repair that which is broken!

As in my shitty halfway house marriage. Genius right?

Now float along the cloud with me for a moment. There are these things called the 9th step promises. Which basically say if you are diligent about your recovery, you’ll be #blessed – like everything you could ever have dreamed about comes true. 🤷🏼‍♀️🤣 anyway.. I have busted my ass thus far. I did my steps. I am livin the recovery life. I think I’m a good person, I deserve this. Pony up god, hit me wit that happily ever after shit.

God literally backhanded me – twice – the way your parents did if you said something fresh when you were a kid. He was like this first slap’s for sayin pony up and this second one is cause you clearly didn’t learn the first few times, but if you insist, here ya go, have your rehab romance i’ma just sit back n watch.

Naturally, I insist.

Jay has about 6 months clean when we manage to really reconnect – he lives with some chic he met in rehab but says he wants to be with me, wants to start a family like we planned. It’s all I’ve ever wanted – a family, but he’s up in PA and I’m in Florida – worse yet, he’s on parole.

Now some would say, hey there cowgirl (actually no one I know would say that) but they’d be like yo what the fuck, that is red flag central but where most people see red, I see green. Someone could literally be one giant red flag and I’ll be like, no, there’s gotta be some green under there, let me uncover it 🙄 lord Jesus help me.

Anyway.

After a few weeks of rekindling our romance via phone calls and texts, Jay tells me he doesn’t think I’m serious about wanting to be together again – part of him still fuming from when I “cheated” on him with my taco bell lover, he tells me to prove it. Prove I love him.

Bet.

I love a good challenge. I catch a flight the next day.

I am. Fucking. Crazy.

We spend the weekend together, the girlfriend is back in rehab and we are once again stupid in love, keyword stupid. But I am on this cloud and believe in my heart that since we are both clean and doing the right thing, everything else will fall in line. I’m not even being sarcastic, I was just that naive.

The weekend is good -I was hesitant, unsure how I would feel at first but the moment I see him, all the hurt and the anger I’ve ever felt toward him disappears. I fall back in love with simple moments like dancing together in cvs or laughing till we have tears in our eyes – it feels so real.

I vow before I leave to help get Jay to Florida, I am willing to do whatever it takes, and I do. Within 2 months I slowly secure the essentials for him – a job, a halfway to stay in, coordinating his parole transfer, paying off some of his fines, setting up a therapist for us. I want this to work, and even though I’m being pretty dumb, I’m still cautious, hence the living in a different house than me.

We talk every day, he sounds normal, he sounds good. We have big plans for the future. Everything seems to be going in the right direction.

I fly back north in May for Mother’s Day, the first few days like the last trip are amazing, I can’t wait for him to be with me everyday. But on my last few nights there things get weird.

The second to last night I am there, we sit outside the Marriott smoking (cigs this time not crack 😢). It’s late – Jay seems exhausted – from the corner of my eye as I exhale my smoke, I think I see him nod. It’s nothing, he had a long day, I tell myself. He begins to talk, his words the slightest bit slurred, I stare at his eyes, trying not to be too obvious that I’m checking if they’re pinned but they’re poopy brown and so hard to see.

“Whatsa matter lex? You’re lookin at me how my mom does when she thinks I’m high.”

shit, I think, don’t be stupid it’s fine, he’s fine.

When we return to the room he steps into the bathroom, I hear the door lock, weird. I check his pant pockets, his wallet, nothing, no drugs. I’m paranoid. It’s fine. Stop.

We go to sleep. I wake suddenly during the night in a cold sweat, ive had a nightmare – the only part I remember is seeing one of the therapists from 1st step saying in her raspy New York voice, “Lexie ya know betta.” And then I wake.

I look over my shoulder- Jay is sitting up on the side of the bed, his back to me.

“Jay.”

He doesn’t answer.

“Jay.”

He jumps a little. “Oh man I musta been sleep walking or somethin.”

“Yea…,” I go back to sleep, I have a gut feeling something is wrong but I don’t want it to be, so I do what I do best – ignore it.

We stay at Jays place the next night, there are some things that happen that I’m not going to divulge but ya shouldn’t be falling asleep during said things if ya catch my drift. 😏 I ignore it but this time, I can barely sleep – I wake constantly, my body subconsciously trying to make me aware of the obvious. Each time I wake Jay is hovering over the side of the bed. Around 4am I question him – why hasn’t he slept yet, what is he doing. He swears he’s been asleep all night. I know what I’ve seen though.

He gets up to go outside and smoke, I lay there for a moment, then without thought, jump from the mattress and head directly to a random pair of pants by the door. I reach in their pockets, I feel a small ziplock bag, I pull it out and am face to face with 8 bags of heroin. What the fuck.

My blood pressure skyrockets – I try to wait till he comes back in but I’m fuming. I calmly walk outside, try to think of some petty smart ass shit to say but I’m so mad that I just shove the bag in his face and demand to know what the fuck he’s doing with it.

That’s not mine that’s my roommates

Why are they in your pants?

We wear the same pants.

But you wore those pants today.

Yea but so did he. I’m gonna kill him I can’t believe he’s using in my apartment.

(The AuDacity!)

Jay storms into the house, pretends to rummage through a few things then goes directly into the one room and grabs a bag of needles that were hidden in a box of clothes. How dare his roommate do this to him.

I say I’m going to flush the drugs but I let Jay convince me not to, to let him confront the other guy with them. ( I am dumb)

I try one last ditch effort to get him to fess up,

let’s do a bag together,” I say, half laughing, “like old times.”

I stare at him. I can tell he’s unsure if I’m joking – by the way my anxiety builds, I’m not sure I am either. If Jay agrees, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop myself, I am already straddling a very thin line.

He senses my fear. “Yea right lex, get outta here, we both have so much clean time.” I let out a sigh of relief, maybe they are his roommates.

I leave for Florida, if we are being honest, I know in my heart he is getting high, but I want so badly to believe it’s not true.

When I return I try to have other people talk to him, I ask my friend Jimmy to give him a call, just to see how he sounds, to offer him detox if he needs it. I trust Jimmy, think he’s a good judge of character, and he’s been in recovery for years, he should be able to tell if Jay is high.

Jim gives him the clear. He sounds fine.

That’s the problem with Jay, I can’t always tell when he’s high, cause sometimes he’s not high, high, he’s just well. (If you don’t know what that means it means he’s not drooling on himself and has done the bare minimum he needs to, to function aka he sounds normal).

I let the lie go on a few weeks more, he only asks for money one day- it’s $20 for his contacts so I don’t think much of it, everything seems normal again.

This is the beginning of my relapse. The part you hear about in meetings where you “pick up,” before you actually pick up.

The unraveling.

I remember it was a Friday in June. I was working and going to be dog sitting my sponsors new pup that weekend. On my lunch break, I took a call from Jay, he was out driving with some people, he asked how my day was going then out of nowhere said, “oh I have to go, call you later, there’s a cop nearby,” and hung up. I didn’t think much of it.

I went about my day. My entire day. Work. Dog sitting. Netflixing. It was around 11 when I realized I never heard back from Jay.

I call his phone – no answer.

I call again and again.

I know in the pit of my stomach something is wrong.

Eventually the phone shuts off.

I call every single hospital in Montgomery and Philadelphia county. I call the jails. He is nowhere to be found.

I stalk people on Facebook, trying to find friends he’s mentioned. I message them like a psycho. I wait up all night a mess of snot and tears.

Around 5 am someone answers me, says Jay got arrested in part of a sting operation at some motel in Pottstown. He gives me the other guys names.

I’m about to kill someone.

I call the police station, they finally have him processed, I demand details as his wife. They give me what they can but it’s not much. I stalk the court dockets and newspapers – I piece what happened together over the next few days.

Exactly a week later I get a call from Jay in jail.

“Hello? ”

Hey babe, he says, how’s it goin?

“What do you mean how’s it going? You’re in jail.”

Oh ya, these guys I was drivin had drugs on them and I got taken in with them.

My blood pressure skyrockets. I vow to remain calm. But I can’t listen to the lies.

“Jay, I’m gonna give you one more chance, why are you in jail.”

He says some bullshit.

“Let’s start again, keep in mind I know the stamp and color of the bags you had. You were getting high?”

No.

“Your coke bag was red, they found that in your pants with some dope. They were YOUR drugs.”

Yeah.

“You were high when I was in philly?”

No. Yeah.

Yeah… i know he knows he fucked up.

I’m not sure what I say next, I have no tears left to cry. I hang up and just kinda stand there stunned- why is this happening to me? Why can’t I have what I want just one time.

(If you look closely I apparently was googling articles on being a prison wife 🤣😭 I hate myself bye) 😘✌🏼

Love and Light

Lexie PS 💙☀️

My therapist said I’m an asshole.

I tell Naz to give me a few days before I agree to get on the plane, I say I need to get the apartment packed up (half cleaned sorry Derek) but really I still have a little money left over and a part of me that wants to die. But the day has arrived and I’m still breathing, so I guess it’s time to take the plunge. I have two bags left – I shoot them the second I wake, there is no relief in them, only a brief interlude of calm before I am reminded that was the last of it. I tried to save more for the day but like any good junkie I had little self control and the compulsion to do them the night before.

I throw some clothes on and make my way down the stairs out our front door which is adorned in bullet holes (came with the place free of charge! 💁🏼‍♀️🤣) It’s still really fucking cold for March – I pull my north face tightly around me; the air, bitter. I need a cig. I stop some random kid on the street (kid as in like 23), “you got a cig?” He says no but that he’ll get me one. I follow but he’s walking opposite how I need to go. This motherfucker. I need the cig, and I’ve walked several blocks by now so I better just get it. He buys me a loosie (I used to think they were Lucy’s and who the fuck was she?). I try leaving, “I have things to do. I’m going that way.” I point north. He looks me over again, his eyes fixate on my neck- there’s probably dried blood, or he’s noticing the tracks by my jugular, either way he gets an idea. “Well uhh, I can get you some her-ron, if you wanna .. ya know do somethin. There’s an alley over there.”

Mehhh. I pause. Jay* would never allow something like this. It would piss him off. I say no- I don’t want to make my inmate lover mad. I say no because it’s the one thing I haven’t done for drugs. My yet.

I walk north, half regretting my earlier choice cus this is a bitch of a walk, and I’m short on time. I told Oz and Pony I was going to rehab; asked if they would throw me some bags to stay well on the plane. They’ve been looking out for me since Jay went away, say it’s no problem, to come through.

Pony tells me not to come up on the spot just go to his house – he and Oz meet me there hand me some bags and give me a hug. I say thank you as I’m wrapped around Oz, he pulls back and says, “I got you. Call me from Florida mami, keep in touch.”

( Prob to like have pillow talk cause why else would I call my dealer from Florida 🤷🏼‍♀️🤣)

I walk back to the apartment, I’ve got 6 bags – I’m trying to do the math, my flight doesn’t get in until 11pm. It’s 11am. That basically equals “fucked. And just taking the edge off”.

I mix two bags- my veins are shit, and my needles dull, i’m scared to go around my neck with such dull tips – they’ll break off and then I’ll be pissed. I try and find a vein in my arm, I dig around, there aren’t many good ones left. My barrel fills with blood from veins that won’t take, I worry it will clog and I’m not about to waste this dope. I get frantic, I need to hit and I think I do but quickly find out Ive hit a nerve – i wince, it burns. Fuck me dude . I have to do more immediately – that didn’t count. I try to relax, to pack. I am a ball of nerves, I think maybe I’d rather just be dead but I suck at killing myself.

Around 3 my ride pulls out front- I do my last two bags and swallow a handful of Jays neurotin and remron – I know I’m not going to make it comfortably to Florida, I hope the pills knock me out.

We fly through a thunderstorm, I wake up when we hit turbulence, and spill the drink I’ve nodded out in all over myself. This poor girl next to me is like what the fuck. Concerned.

I don’t remember much after that but someone picked me up and brought me to RTC, the detox at 1st Step.

So I’m sittin there in the tech office feeling like a blob of jello (that’s what a buttload of neurotin makes you feel like I don’t know how ya noodles abuse it on the reg but whatevs) when all of a sudden this crazy manic looking chic with a towel wrapped around her head bursts through the door during my intake. She’s talking a million miles a minute and could use a kolonopin. I barely have time to process her presence before she ballerina twirls and sashays back out the door. The minute she leaves, one of the techs looks at me and laughs, “that’s Melody, your new roommate,” in her thick Jamaican accent. What the fuck. I’m not high enough for this shit.

Detox is a few days – I refuse the full dose of suboxone – I want it to hurt, not a lot but just enough – I need to feel something. They get mad, say I’m not a doctor which is true and all but I don’t need more than an 8mg strip a day, I don’t want to detox off that too.

My roommate seems less crazy by the day but we don’t exchange many words. Mostly we lay on the couches miserable or go outside to smoke cigarettes, also miserable.

The staff says I look kinda dead, I lost a ton of weight since my last stay, and I feel sorta dead too so it fits. I don’t talk much to anyone right away, my guard is up, when in reality, this is one of the few places I actually feel safe. I don’t want anyone to know there is still a part of me that wants to be with my husband, that still thinks I can find a way to make it work if we can just get clean. I don’t have the energy to fight about it now, everything in me feels defeated, I stay quiet.

I don’t fight treatment this time, I’m tired and full of apathy, at first. Im one of those people that detoxes and bounces back in the blink of an eye. I could come in with a black eye, and broken ribs but give me a week, and I’ll look like Im late for a shift at American Eagle. The porn star looking owner says its scary how Fast I do it, as if nothing ever happened.

See I know how to swallow my demons, I’ve done it all my life, it’s keeping them down that’s the problem, I never know when they’re going to crawl out. But something in me feels like this place knows how to silence them once and for all. So I do what’s suggested of me – I surrender. It’s not this beautiful poetic process. It’s raw. No ones stroking my ego, or doing my nails and eyebrows in treatment (cough cough .. the gardens), they’re telling me I’m an asshole, that I’m going to kill myself. They make me scream at the top of my lungs, they make me cry, they help me heal.

I do 83 days in treatment – in the beginning I write Jay almost every day, somewhat secretly.!I draw in highlighter on his envelopes, they are filled with hearts and rainbows and I miss yous. But how can I miss someone I hardly know?

My heart aches, I’m a sucker for almost anyone in need of saving but I have proven time and again that I cannot even save myself.

My therapist Nancy says I’m not really in love with him that I just have love for him. Apparently there’s a difference.

It takes me a while to see but as the days pass I start to get a clear head. I miss him less and less, realize our letters are filled with empty promises and false hope. I consider the fact that maybe this wasn’t one of my better ideas. I know I am going to end it but I want to tell him over the phone, a letter feels, I don’t know? cruel. Really I just don’t have the courage or the heart to tell him, so I don’t. I wait till I’m forced to.

I am the worst.

I meet a new guy about 4 seconds after I get to halfway and casually forget I’m married. (But it was True love right? 🤣)!Jay* is out of jail and getting high again, so it’s kinda just whatever, I don’t really feel bad. The New guy has five years clean and takes me to Taco Bell, says I can order anything on the menu. My therapist says, “you’re an asshole but at least this one has teeth.”

🤣🤷🏼‍♀️

There’s always more stories and this ones not over . Stay tuned.

Love and Light,

Lexie PS 💙☀️