Wednesday, September 30, 2009
To me, harm reduction is causing less harm to yourself--my pregnancy was the motivator for me to get clean. Hopefully I will be able to stay clean once I give birth.
Now I am also graduating from a peer program and will begin an internship. I hope to be a good role model to others in the community.
For me, being clean works, but I know this can be so hard.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
IN Y 10TH YEAR,WITH AIDS I WOKE UP AND REALIZED THAT I WAS STILL HERE,AND TOOK STEPS TO REGAIN MY HEALTH.ITTOOK SOME DOING AS I REFUSSED TO STOP USING . IWENT TO SUPPORT GROUPS AND REHAB,I FOUND THAT I WAS NOT ALONE AND 8 YRS. AGO I FOUND HARLM UNITED AND HARM REDUCTION I WENT FROM 26 BAGS OF CRACK DOWN TO THE 4 I USE ONCE AMONTH. TRUE I HAVEV GONE TO NONE BUT FEAR OF CHANGE HAD ME. SO NOW I JUST THINK THAT IWANT TO LIVE IT STARTED WITH A SLIVER OF LIGHT NOW THE DESIRE TO LIVE DRUG FREE IS NEAR BLINDING.I FOUND WHAT WORKED FOR ME HARM REDUCTION TRYN IT AND COME IN FROM THE DARKNESS!!!!!!!!!!
Once I began using using, I was off and running. I started using heroin on the weekends with friends and then I began using it alone, and then I HAD to do it alone. Several times a day. I was working at the time and I never needed to steal. Lie and manipulate, yes. I lost my job and several jobs after that. I got into many fights and I got beat up a lot. I owed people money and they owed me money. It was all from the addiction.
I have been through over 10 detox's over the past 10-15 years-but I left detox and went straight to get high. It got me nowhere, save for a few days clean. I have never been in a long-term treatment program because I wasn't ready and I didn't want to have to go away.
I learned about harm reduction about three years ago when I came to Harlem United. I have tried quitting cold turkey, but it never worked for me-I always fell and fell hard. I went right back to using. Then I learned about harm reduction, and that's what has worked for me. Now I just use less. I'm not up all night partying anymore. And I don't go to my program intoxicated because I take it seriously. When I am intoxicated I am uncofortable and my program is my escape-Harlem United and FROST'D have taught me how to live without being intoxicated. Before I knew nothing else but getting high, but now I am motivated to do other things. I still use, don't get me wrong, but only 2-4 times a month. I use coke intravenously, but I am enrolled into the SEP program and always use clean needles. I know how to be safe.
I have also started looking to religion, employment, and volunteer work. This all helps me. Harm Reduction has given me a feeling a self-worth.
Money is still a big trigger for me. I still have problem with that, so I have gotten direct deposit and a debit card. This way I don't need to cash a check and I don't have "cash money" in my hand. I still ahve access to it, but it's different. This is also harm reduction.
All I want to say is harm reduction works. Try it, you're gonna like it.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I had my first HIV test at 18 years old and while filling out the initial questionaire, I came across the question "How many sexual partners have you had in the past year?" I answered as honestly as I could. My answer was 50. That was aproximately 1 a week (give or take). I tested negative that time, but at the rate I was having anonymouse sex, many times unsafe, nothing could prevent the inevitable. By the timeI tested positive in 1993 I had already experimented with all kinds of drugs. The one that changed my life for the worst was Chrystal Meth. It intensified the sex to indescribable proportions. It also allowed me to overcome my inhibitions about getting fucked, an issue that in my recovery is still an obstacle. I became all consumed by the compulsion to get high and get fucked. I lived to get high and have sex and got high and had sex to live. Many times without protection. I am sure that I must have infected others and that is something I am still trying to accept and deal with.
By the summer of 96 I had lost everything. My job, my home, my dignity and self respect. I had pushed everyone out of my life except for those that I was getting high or having sex with. Most of the sexual partners I rarely saw more than once so it became a lonely existance. That October I checked into a long term drug program. I was there for a year. I attended 12 step meetings. 12 step was not a perfect fit for me but I was able to take what applies and let the rest fly. I made it work but since I still drink and smoke weed socially, I felt hypocritical when it came time to share clean time. That's where Harm Reduction plays a vital role in my life. "Harm Reduction" allows me to claim and own my recovery. Yes alcohol is a drug and so is pot but they are not the drugs that take me to that place of complete and total self destruction. As if with cancer, my sex on Crystal Meth addiction is in remission. I have survived.
At 38 years old I realize that I have yet to have a healthy and mutually loving and caring sexual experience. In that sence I am still a virgin. lol. I have made the conciouse decision to abstain from engaging in sex until the right situation comes along. Truth be told I'm not sure if I would even know how or what to do anymore without the drug. The 3 attempts I have made at casual sober sex since Nov 96 have been disasterous. Someday he'll come along.
Monday, August 17, 2009
My drinking escalated at at 15 I started going to bars-more drinking and partying. When I was 16 I met an older man who introduced me to Cocaine. It was like an amazing rush. But after a while the Coke lost it's affect. I tried Crack Cocaine. I used it every other day and it was draining my bank account. I was spending up to $600/week. I also got fired from my job for using. But my boyfriend took care of me so it seemed ok. I kept using Crack until I was 21...but I still dip and dab every now and then. I still drink, but not like I used to. Maybe 4 times a week. As I got older, my system didn't respond as well to hard alcohol, so now I just drink beer.
My substance abuse issues have also landed me in jail. I was incarcerated for drug trafficking-I spent 30 days in Rikers, then came home and went back to my same behaviors.
I have also gotten very violent as a result of using--I have wounds all over my body from getting into fights. But it was like I'd fight with someone, and then the next day we'd sit down and get high. I have battle wounds all over my body.
I think I'd like to stop using, but it's so hard. My husband uses so it's hard for me not to. I will say that I have decreased my alcohol and crack cocaine use, so I feel good about that. If
I'm not using and my husband starts, I just remove myself from the situation. This works sometimes, but sometimes I get weak. I go to Harm Reducition meetings, which help--it relieves so much stress for me. I also get acupuncure a few times a month which helps with my stress.
I've been to treatment and was 7 years clean. I was hanging around the wrong people and I knew I had money. So I picked up again, both crack and alcohol. At this time, I know that I could go to treatment if I want. There's a facility right around the corner from me. I know it's there when I'm ready. But not quite yet. I have figured out how to make it work better for me--no more altercations, no more jail.
For me, Harm Reduction has worked.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
There was one time a year later that I went and bought half a pint of gin and a beer--but I never touched it. I remember how I almost died when I was using.
Today, I don't drink or use drugs. This is my choice. But, yet, the temptation is always there. I realize that my recovery is somewhat unique. My friends still use and I am able to hang out with them--but I have chosen not to use. I lost so much when I was using.
I knew I couldn't quit until I was ready--but once I was ready, I did it.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I grew up in the country (not here in Manhattan). My friends and i found access to beer and pot. We partied in the mountains of upstate NY, on the shores of rivers and creeks and deep in the woods.
At 18 y.o. old I first dropped acid (LSD). I had a 'good trip' and it was enjoyable. From 1985 to 2001 I had in my mind a correlation between certain music groups and psychedelic drugs. These included LSD, "magic mushrooms", and mescaline. Particularly important was my connection with Jerry Garcia and The Greatful Dead, the most famous psychedelic jam band ever with a huge following of LSD users. The sold out shows would play until 2am or so, and while the music might be confusing to some, it made perfect sense to the LSD user. It sounded as though Jerry Garcia was speaking directly to you through his guitar. You could almost eat, taste and smell the sounds.
Cocaine use started early when I was 14. A little heavier use when I was 18. Even more during college. After college I moved to Florida where cocaine was plentiful and cheap. Eventually I got bored with sniffing cocaine and started smoking it instead ('crack cocaine'). At this time it is the only drug that I slip up on and start using again. Even though I know it is a 'sucky' drug, waste of money, damaging to the brain and body. My trigger is being around other users. However the trigger(s) are not excuses. I do not use excuses for getting high. I get high because I like to get high and I want to get high.
Then there was a start to my worst drug habit:HEROIN. I coincidentally started using heroin on September 11th, 2001. The day the World Trade Center was hit. But again, this was just a coincidence.
Heroin was the best high I ever had. When I began using it my psychiatric problems of anxiety and depression were cured by the drug. But then I had another problem - I had become a heroin addict. By 2002 I was on methadone. Whenever I went off methadone, I started using heroin again. I also tryed Suboxone for a year or so., with the same result. Anytime I went off maintenance, I went back to using opiates in pill form or heroin itself. Currently I have been on Methadone nearly 2 years. I have not used heroin at all during this period of time. So for me, methadone works.
I dont know when i will stop my methadone maintenance. There is no point of going through the uncomfortable experience of getting off methadone if I am going to end up using opiates again. I have been through that cycle several times, and dont wish to go through it again.
If, and when, I am confident that I will not relapse when I go off of maintenance (Suboxone or Methadone), I will begin to ween myself off the maintenance with medical help.
As a side note I have been on psychotropic medications for 17 years straight. I still take the same or similar medications. They are helpful to me. So even if I am "using", I take my medications. I always check to be sure, however, that I am not mixing medications and drugs that are a cocktail for death.
I dont regret much in my life. But i regret ever using / getting involved with opiates.
So as I said in the beginning of this blog, this is not a complete success story, but a story with some success and some continuing struggles. Such is my life.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
As September is National Recovery Month, we are kicking off a Harm Reduction, Recovery Readiness, Relapse Prevention, and recovery Campaign.
The idea behind the harm reduction/recovery campaign is to empower clients to share their stories of harm reduction/recovery readiness/relapse prevention/relapse/recovery. We are piggy-backing on the
This is a great way to empower clients to let their voices be heard.