There is a traitor in the house and it is time. I have been deceived by time, led to believe as a child that I would always be young and have second chances. There are a handful of Sundays that I can recall where time stood still. The days never ended and the sun was so bright. I was happy and I felt so much love. My grandparents were alive then and nothing could go wrong. Inside I mocked the day as I thought I had some magic in its longevity. Now I mourn the passage of so many days and wish I could hold the past: The past that I neglected to mold. The shattered truth of my existence after pondering the recycled days of torture. The present that is soon to be a memory cannot be cherished or nurtured enough.

 

I sit in disbelief that so much time has passed since that fateful day. It was October 2007 and I had been sober for about 8 months with no plans on relapse. I never did calculate my demise, my failure, my hopes and aspirations to crumble so quickly. My inability to maintain long-term sobriety had already taken on a life of its own. The inconsistent patterns, severed relationships, tons of rehabs and loneliness and despair at having nothing material to show for my thirty six years at life. The emotional toll had been devastating as well, but I had always been able to bounce back and appear to be stable. Prior to 2007 I had somehow convinced myself that my drug escapades and court ordered treatment centers were a phase and that I was going to somehow wake up and get a life. Get a husband, a house of my own, a better job, and everything else that would make me whole. I did not know how I was going to achieve this because I knew at my core I was a drug addict but I wanted so badly to be happy and to make my parents happy. They had given me every opportunity and more to achieve success and the only constant in my life seemed to be sabotage.

It was during this period that I was working as a masters level social worker and seemed to be on track in the world of the normality. I went on a date and slept with a man I was seeing from my outpatient aftercare group and felt the need to elevate my mood. I decided to pick up some beer and crack on the way home. Life as I knew it was over. It still is. That binge ended with me getting in the car with some strange man hoping that he would sell me a fifty dollar rock. Instead he took me to an abandoned house and told me to get out of the car and he proceeded to shoot me three times. I still have no idea why this man shot me in the stomach, side, and face. I only knew at the time I was dying and couldn’t smoke crack again. Before I thought about my family I thought of crack cocaine. I fell into the night and onto the hard sidewalk to die.

Three months later I came to in a trauma hospital. Eventually I learned to walk again and had several facial reconstructions and abdominal surgeries. The man responsible for the shooting was never found and I could not identify him in a line up which tortures me day to day. After all, who just goes around shooting crack addicts, what a damn shame? I became depressed and addicted to the pain pills and never saw myself smoking crack again. But a year to the day , I was back out there numbing the pain and on another mission. It had become so hard to look at myself in the mirror, all the scars and physical deterioration after the shooting. I had lost my teeth in the shooting and had a very difficult time accepting that I would never look like my old self. By the end of this binge I ended up in the county jail’s drug dorm for six months. Only to get out and remain sober for two weeks and to pick right back up. I was so angry that I had been in jail and how dare “they” lock me up.

With the threat of a court order I found a therapist and worked a recovery program for a year. I found intermittent periods of peace, joy, and happiness with the year of sobriety that I had maintained.

Soon after, a crack pipe found me and the binges began. The prostitution, the lies, the stealing, the loneliness on the streets became my world.

Several years ago, I had a crack attack. It was a bitter disappointment to me because I had two years sober and was not on alert for such an attack. So hard to make sense at times because the enemy was unforeseen. The war was at bay and the mind was busy making other life arrangements. Impending doom feelings and inadequacy often won popularity contests in this head of mine but the option of returning to the low level binge crack addict I was did not seem a legit outlet this time.

Queasy feelings of disgust swim through my pores when I remember the first few times I became desperate enough for that high to continue. I could not and would not come down no matter what the cost and no matter who I hurt in the process.

A frequent flyer to the county nut house and the state funded drug and alcohol treatment centers I was : So much uncertainty rings true as it has been only four months of uninterrupted sobriety this time around. Sitting in a half-way house with the same generic people I have known my entire life. I have never liked anyone, really. The people are the same where ever I go, only the faces change. This time, though there is a sense of newness. The characters have grown in depth and spirit and evolved in the past 20 years. I have been doing this too long. Desperation seeps and misery unfolds as an addiction so mysterious surrounds my path. Just when I thought I may have some reprieve from destruction, my demonology cut me sharply reminding me I cannot go to war with gravity. The forces of darkness reside within me at times and complacency sets in far too often than not.

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When I was twelve I was fixated on this tall palm tree in my parent's backyard and I still think about it standing there by itself holding the secrets of our household. It rocks back and forth in the wind and has tethered many storms yet it still stands tall. It makes me sad to think about the old tree that still stands by itself.

A warrior I must me, determined to exist. Existing for me was a struggle from the get go , feeling so out of place and like a damaged fruit left out of the bowl. Like a stranger took a bite and spit out the rest. Not even knowing who chewed me left me feeling ugly, misplaced, and inferior. My soul was broken and I never knew why. I was hurt before I was hurt in this world. I was innately searching for my place in a world of uncertainties and never had a safe place to hide.

Drugs allowed me to escape, at least for the time being. My imagination was my drug before a real chemical was ingested into my mind and body and for many a time I went into the world of fantasy. Mom said I entertained myself for hours at a time as a child, I even had Pam that would visit every week or so. She was my made up friend but she was also me at the same time. The girl that would come over to clean my room to befriend my mother when her and I would fight. Not too sure when she drifted away from me.

Pam may have taken my innocence with her when she walked out the front door one day, never to come back. On difficult days, mom asked me to bring Pam back and I’d say she’s “gone”. Never coming back. I always had a hard time with death, like how could a person be here one day and be totally gone the next. I just could not handle this concept. Some nights I would hold my breath and pretend I was dead just to feel like a nonentity. I’d imagine my rotting corpse and picture the decay and the smell of the rotting flesh. Pretty morbid I was and the images I would concoct never seemed to cease they just grew in my mind and became obsessive.

An anxious breed I managed to make it through a rough adolescence. When I was introduced to alcohol and drugs, it was a complete relief to my obsessive compulsive mind, as I had developed rituals to ease my anxiety ridden and depressed mood. It was the only way I knew to survive on a day to day basis.

Trudging life at one time - I have now learned how to live life.