Thursday, March 4, 2010


Sometimes when I think back on certain events in my past, I realize that I look at things so differently now. In the past, I was so absorbed in my own struggles, that certain things just kind of slid past me. Now that I have a child, I look at so many things with completely new eyes. Being a parent, (and a dedicated parent) changes everything we are.
There are several instances that I can remember in my days as a junky where kids were involved in the situation. I knew several addicts who were parents. At the time in my life, I never thought twice about their children and how addiction played a role in their life. Now that I am a parent, I look back on some things I witnessed...and I am deeply disturbed.
At the time, I was not a parent. I had no intentions of ever becoming a parent. Kids were something I was very uncomfortable around. They made me nervous. I wasn't sure how to act when kids were around. Friends of mine had said I froze up when their kids were around. Also, I really did not consider these kids in the state I was in. I am thankful that my life has changed so much that I have a child, and I consider myself to be a good parent.
I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had had children earlier. I wonder if it would have been my saving grace, and I would have avoided a lot of pain and mistakes. Or would they have been left to deal with me as an addict. It could have gone either way. And I am glad I did not find out. I am so thankful that by the time I became a mother, I had been clean for quite some time. I had finally gotten to a point where enough was enough. I had been in enough trouble. I was sick of it. And I just couldn't be bailed out of trouble as easily before. My lifestyle just got to be too much. I had been clean for several years when I had my son. And he has just reinforced everything for me. Now I have the best reason in the world to stay clean. I have no desire to use anymore. I just take one look at my son'd face, and I know the world is beautiful...without drugs.
Life is perfect just being with my son. I have a renewed direction. I am moving forward to provide the best life possible for my son. I feel like all my opportunity is renewed again. I know I can do anyhting I put my mind to. And I know my son is going to have a mother that is strong and constant.
And that brings me to the point I was trying to make...mothers that are addicts. I have a couple of stories. I am deeply disturbed now that I was witness to some of this. In my defense, I just did not understand. You never know what it is like to have a child until you have one. It is a life changing experience.
I remember this coulple I met at the methadone clinic. This was the first time I was on methadone. My husband was not on methadone at the time, and we both would still use sometimes. We were not ready to get clean then, and it was a feeble attempt. At the time it felt like leaps and bounds, but now it just seems like a pitiful try. This couple was young and hip like us, and so many people at that clinic in Savannah were not.
They always had a kid with them. I cannot remember how old the kid was, but I am guessing between the ages of one and three. You see how little attention I paid, I have no idea how old he was. We got to talking at the clinic one day, and they offered to give me a ride. We started hanging out with them. And we would sometimes use with them. Pills, dope, whatever. We all smoked pot.
One time in a hotel room, we were getting high with this couple and they had the kid. We are all talking, and getting high. The kid is just messing around. I wasn't paying him any attention, but then he wasn't my kid. The mother looks down, and the kid has a syringe in his hand. He has the orange cap in his mouth and the needle is out. I watched her take that away from him, scolding him. At the time, I didn't think anything of it.
But, the image must have really stuck with me because I think about it sometimes, still. And it horrifies me. Now I think about how I never let my son out of sight long enough to even put something in his mouth. I think about how I never take my son to any place that kind of thing can happen. And it scares me do death to think of a child in that situation. I am truely blessed to be where I am now.
Another time a friend of mine stayed with me for a couple of weeks. We had always been using buddies, as well as really good friends. She had a six month old daughter at the time. She just left her daughter with her boyfriend and her father. Along with her son, who was six or seven. At the time, I did not think anything of that. I didn't have kids, and I had no idea what it was like. Plus, I wanted her to stick around. I really loved her company, and I did not want her to leave. I see now how selfish I really was.
I remember thinking about this a lot when my son was six months old. I just do not understand how she could do that. I couldn't leave my son for five hours when he was six months old. I was also breastfeeding, which my friend did not even attempt. You cannot safely breastfeed a baby when you are addicted to opiates. At least she had enough sense not to even try.
I think about what she must have been going through inside. She must have been tormented, and I didn't even realize that side of it. I was so busy shooting heroin all day, and cocaine some of the days..I did not even see anything else. I still wonder how a mother of a six month old can just take off for a couple of weeks. And it breaks my heart now to see the role I played in that. I wanted her stay and party with me...that was all that mattered to me at the time.
I lived with a girl on and off, both before and after the Hurricane. She was an addict. She had two kids that lived with their fathers (different fathers at that). One was seven and one was three. She always talked about her kids and how much she adored them, but she hardly saw them. And when she did have them, she was still using and working a lot. She used to dance and prostitute to pay her bills...and for her habit. I never thought about it the years we were friends. I never once thought about those kids, even when they did visit. But, I think about them now.
I wonder how she was able to stand it. How was she able to be away from her own kids so much of the time? How could heroin be more important than your own kids? I wonder this, even though I understand how heroin can rule one's life. I know, firsthand, how dope can be the most important thing in your life. I fucked up a lot of good things because of dope. I never had kids when I was using, and now that I am a mother...I still do not understand how dope can take precedence over your kids. It makes me so sad. And determined to keep this better life for my son. I do not want him ever to see the places these kids have seen.
I knew another addict mother whose child had just grown up around it all. Her daughter knew all about the dope game when she was in elementary school; she had been watching her mom play it for years. I remember one day before I started using heroin, a junky friend stopped by with this little girl. She had been sent home from school for wearing the same clothes several days in a row. The girl's mother was too busy or too fucked up to go get her, so she offered my friend a bag of dope to go get the kid. My friend stopped by with the kid to take a bong hit before she took her back to her mom.
Years later, I too become imeshed with this junky mom. And it did not mean anything to me that this mother did the same shit as me. Now that I look back, I feel so sorry for that little girl. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be the child in that situation. I cannot imagine how awful it would be to grow up like that. I promise my son will NEVER grow up like that. My son will grow up in a world that is very far removed from that kind of life.
I have lived that kind of life. I have done lots of things I am not proud of. I have done things that horrify me today. I have lived a life in those alleys and gutters, but I am so thankful to be miles and miles away from that world. At one time I lost it all, and now I am climbing back up again. And I KNOW I do not ever want to go back. I am truely blessed that I do not have any remote desire to go back. I am so lucky.

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