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Are you grateful to wake up without the insanity of active heroin addiction?

Maybe you don’t now the feeling. 

I’m Grateful to sit an type this without the obsession to have to run and get a bundle of heroin today.

I think this thought every morning when I wake up. Actually its the first thought of every morning. Before my feet hit the floor I look around me and feel the gratitude deep in my bones. It used to be my best shot. Waking up feeling the early stages of withdrawal running through my body, smelling the spent dope escaping my pores, and a burning in my throat.

Sitting up, grabbing my kit, dreaded working up a 5 bag shot, the fear of being too cold in the squat mixed with the dehydration from the night. If I took the time to, walk around or do some exercise it would’ve got the blood flowing, and then a vein would pop out for me to hit. A sweet-long sip of water would’ve helped too.

At times, I wasn’t the smartest of homeless crusty street junkies, but I could hit a vein in my neck foot or groin in the dark. Yeah, it might’ve been frustrating, but I loved it.

So I ask again why and how am I sitting here typing this without my heart racing-pounding like waves breaking against a barrier? What happened to the hurricane that was my life?

It all started years ago. From the instant that needle slid into my arm I was hooked. The dope climbing in my young body washing over me caressing the insides and for the first time in my life I felt safe, loved, okay with myself.

The smell in that small bathroom, the cheap yellow light glowing off the sweat forming on my body, the anxious fear rising inside of me, The smell of sulfur being taken over by the dark heroin heating up in the spoon. It’s in front of me like it was that day.

The only regret I have is to the 14-year-old me holding out his arm to the man who would create 30 years of hell with just a little pinprick. In that instant, the pain, fear, and anger inside my head were gone. I had found peace in hell.

The years passed into a blur. I’m still in love with heroin. I sometimes think if I’d ever go back. I’d like to believe I wouldn’t. I’m not sure what it would take but we all we know this world has a way of testing our security systems. I mean last time I blamed it on a shot of morphine because my fingers were torn from my body because I recklessly used a table saw (well that’s how the courts decided I acted), but that was an excuse. It happened because I wanted it too. I was ready to let her back inside and run with me.

It happened because a skillfully engendered the relapse with grace. Strategically pushing everyone that gave a damn about me away. In isolation, my demons play. My thoughts stir, and the darkness comes.

So If I had to tell you what was keeping me from sinking that sharp, hard needle into my arm on mornings when I wake, and I’m foul and pissed off at the world?

What’s stopping me from holding an old lover and letting her deep inside of me telling her all my fears while feeling safe in her embrace?

I can tell you. It’s a series of things I do on auto-pilot each day, but there is always a sense of gratitude when experiencing my

  • Energetic spiritual and physical morning routine.
  • Guided meditation and mindfulness practice
  • Cathartic brain dump to help clear the subconscious or doubt, worry, and fear
  • Consciously connecting with those whose recovery I coach and aide

Its faith in myself, my husband, and that the universe wouldn’t possibly put something in front of me that I couldn’t handle.

Today I hear the birds singing outside of my door right now. In the past, the birds would’ve been a cue to get out of my sleeping bag and start the day with a big shot of dope. A reward for making it through the night and not doing my wakeup shot.

Oh, it is just so tiring fighting obsessions 24 hours a day. The nights become long and arduous. My morning wake-up seduces me all night long begging to be fixed up and worked on my arm. Tossing and turning looking out a crack in a boarded up window for evidence of the sun starting to rise.


Insanity- doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I couldn’t tell you how many times I shot my morning wake-up before it was time and then dragged my ass to find the money to get right.  Self-limiting beliefs and doubt still come but now I’m prepared to overcome the worry and anxiety.

Today, I’m in love with life no matter how good or bad it gets. Nothing compares to waking up in the morning without the pain screaming in my body begging for the cure.

Waking up no longer writing the words on a sign- homeless, alone, hungry, and cold.

image of robert smith of the cure reminding me of my gratiude to waking up and needing heroin any longer.

Years ago I would’ve said I don’t know I just sick and tired of waking up sick, but that’s what brought me find the nerve to say I’ve had enough. And hell that wasn’t easy. I was never sure if I had enough.

That’s just part of it many things keep me from picking up the phone and calling a junkie friend. Jumping on a train, so I can instantly become the train speeding through my mind and time. Free?

The mind is incredible. I can remember the feeling so well, but before that memory was enough to let me throw everything away and run. I’ve reached a place where I’m happy with who I am.

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I still have self-limiting beliefs, fear, and can get myself anxious in a split second, but I do my best to smile and recall where I’ve come from.

I sit here alive 6 O.D’s later, alive just started my second cure for Hepatitis C (failed the first), a child prostitute and lived to tell the tale without HIV. Yeah, I was luckier than most. *sigh

Some say it wasn’t my time to go, but I don’t know anything about that. I know that I’m here after knocking on death’s door voluntarily for 30 years.

Every junkie has climbed through some heavy shit to get where they’re at today, but not everyone will get the chance to find a way out of it. It makes me sad. It hurts. When I walk by kids begging on the street, nodding off into the night believing how great life has become. A part of me aches. If I could, I’d take each one home, feed them, and try to give them some of my best advice, but it doesn’t work this way.

I have one secret for you no one tells you this about getting sober.

The first time you hear music after you’ve kicked dope it’s the best sound in the world. You might think shit sound great on the nod, but you only hear what you want to hear. Try it just for the ability to listen to music again for the first time. It’s worth it. Kicking dope is possible and your right it sucks.

But when it’s done, you are free to do what you want. I never understood jails institutions or death, but dope gave me the key to all three of those places. I was just an ass and refused to stay; you might not be that lucky. Find something to be grateful for today. I use to be thankful for the dope dealer, the score, or the john that didn’t hurt me. Let me tell you there are so many better things to be grateful for and if I didn’t figure that out I’d be running downtown to find a bundle right now.

So yeah, gratitude keeps me from obsessing. It keeps me working harder and making through each day, even when I don’t want too.

What are you grateful for today?

Learn More about heroin’s ability to conquer and destroy and how you can start to get on the road to recovery.

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