Addict · Addiction · Bloggess · Childhood · death · Family · Farmer · hopeless · Life · Life story · love · Recovery · Uncategorized

No More Numbers….

I haven’t written in a bit- anything that I have put here that is. My time has been spent on numerous applications and Statement of Qualifications along with Cover Letters and Resumes; over thirty so far. All of that dedicated writing has garnered me six interviews in the field I am attempting to enter, two within just the past few days. Those who know say I am doing great since it takes determination to enter this field at the level of which I am attempting to come in at. Perseverance. Do you know how different my life is now than it ever was before? It is evolving daily- still. Gratefully.

Today marks a few things to remember, December 19th is my daughter Marina’s birthday- she is now 28 and December 19, 2008 was the date of my last sentencing for crimes committed- to date. I say to date because – well if I fail to remember where I came from or what I was like I may be doomed to repeat. I do not forget. I was given a gift, a gift that took a few years to grasp with my thinking and stubborn head; I needed to bleed a bit more before I surrendered.

I remember the day well when I surrendered for the first time, actually I was just trying to get to my mother’s computer where I had hidden a check writing program. That was all I really needed, her computer. My laptop had been stolen 24 hours or more earlier- not sure of the timing. Who pays attention to the timing when they are released from jail on a heroin charge in a small town like Jackson in Amador County, California? Who hails a cab because she has no wheels and heads straight to the casino? Did I mention hailing a cab in Jackson is not the easiest thing to do? This was way back before things like Uber and Lyft. Oh, and the who – that was me. Just a bit of what I was like back then. I was a nightmare who scared many in my path, especially those I loved the most. Family.

The surrender as I mentioned did not look like a surrender- it was just a manipulation for what I needed. The outcome became willingness. Willingness to enter detox for the first time ever. Detox. That is for addicts by the way- I was not an addict at the time. Or so I thought? I was just tired.

She was there for me, my Aunt Lily. She opened the door for me and thousands of others just like me. Lily ran the detox at the Effort for many years. That first time in detox was like a vacation- I just fell out. When they took me to a meeting after I was well enough it was like a field trip. The meaning behind all that is, I don’t think I took it all that serious. I did in my way. In my own little dope fiend way.

Lily passed away Monday night on December 16, 2019, a few days ago. It is fresh, the emotions are real and so is the gratitude. Lily knew me before I was even born, she is family. My father, a little known secret, was the very first to get her loaded. She often joked and reminded me of that and my dad corroborated it at least once in jest. It was more like a blackmail and the rest of the story I will save for another day maybe. This is about the numbers.

Not the numbers of times I ended up in detox, which would be four. My calls from another county or better yet someone calling for me and making arrangements for me to come in again. Lily always said the same thing, “come in well.” If and when I made it there I was safe for a while. One time I recall shooting up at the little VFW just at the corner, I just needed one more. After the fourteen day detox that in the end would become a ten day detox until the very end when I bounced on day three; there was usually a residential program she had already arranged a bed for me at.

Seeds. The seeds were planted long before I knew, long before I was willing, long before I came to believe.

The numbers of which I am referring to are the little gold numbers I wear around my neck. They will not be there again. The numbers are gone. The numbers that passed from woman to woman on their clean-dates are gone- but not the memories. The strength is still there. The wisdom is still there. The courage is still there. The commitment is still there and the love. The love that she showed me, the unconditional love- no matter what.

I cherished those numbers and the date they were always given to me by my Aunt Lily- my clean date, September 5, 2008. I now have over 11 years clean and I have Lily to thank for that and so many others. Lily would give me my number representing my years in recovery and I would surrender the previous year’s number to be passed down to the next woman. Lily had numbers up to 19. She had faded into a coma throughout those past few weeks and woke on the day she celebrated 20 years, December 3, 2019. The tradition is over and will fade.

Lily knew me. She knew where I had come from and she knew the people I had run with- she knew my family too. Not many people can say that about me. My Aunt Lily hand-picked my Sponsor and sent her to me in that very first program after she delivered me from the detox. She also stopped at the pawn shop from the detox to the program so I could pick up some things- you know how we do it. Lily knew. She knew what I needed before I knew. Although I didn’t stay way back then, I eventually made my way back. I am so grateful I made it back, that is not always the outcome for addicts in recovery who choose to go out.

I was afforded a gift in the end with my Aunt Lily and that is time. My beautiful mother cared for her since they, to this day, have always stayed the best of friends. She stayed in mom’s spare room until my mother delivered her back to the hospital. She was younger than my mom. How crazy is that? Lily was good and so full of life one day and then she was gone.

Hold on to your loved ones and cherish them while you have the time. Just love….

The Chicken Lady11222444_416677725194743_1751676487993896391_o

Addict · Addiction · Bloggess · death · Family · hopeless · Life · Life story · love · Recovery · Uncategorized

Death….

I come from a place of darkness, trapped in my insanity for so long. I smiled at you with a look of death hidden beneath my eyes; a death that was felt deep into my soul. The fire was gone. Had it ever been lit? Those choices that I made at a very young age would lead me down a road I never knew existed- it was called my life; the life that I chose. Gratefully I came to the end of the road one day and someone showed me a new way to live.

It has been seven days and a wake up since I got the call. It was my late night to work, I run a youth group and it was barely 6:00 pm on a Thursday, I still had an hour to go until I could leave. An hour to smile, to keep the youth I work with engaged, on task creating yearly action plans and mapping out goals; I even intrigued them enough to take on writing a small grant themselves with my tutelage. All the while knowing there was a dead body in a room that had been sitting most of the day.

I have witnessed more than my fair share of death. Some would even say I may have been the cause or catalyst to a few, but I know that was addiction and their choices. Sure I gave them the first one, maybe even at times the last one- at least one that I know of. I didn’t know then what I know now. I played a part in so many lives that I ran through for so many years and yes, I still play a part. The reasons why we continue to do the work, so we can continue to identify the issues. I always say, as long as I am not doing an issue I will always be OK. That part is true; but sometimes I still do not want to feel. So much lately I have not wanted to feel- yet I am so happy I get to.

As soon as the last parent drove away with their child that Thursday night I was in my car. I knew the paramedics had come and gone, there was still emergency services there- the Firemen. Everyone was standing in the drive as I flew in and parked the car at the neighbors, there were so many cars everywhere. I knew the neighborhood would be glued to the windows watching in the darkness curious. My friend, my best friend; it was her house. She had called me. We had just spent the most beautiful weekend away at the ocean and had only been home a few days and this. Reality was back of what life is like.thumbnail

Julie was walking around arranging things, I joked on how clean the house was. I knew this mattered at this moment. The moment so many people were walking in and out, looking through the house, asking so many questions. I am sure all the questions had been asked a million times by the time I arrived. It was almost time for a million more. The coroner had not even arrived yet. The call had been made by 3:00 pm, it was now at least 8:00 pm and the coroner had not even arrived yet. He had probably been dead since at least 10:00 am. The facts are not out yet, the autopsy results are not in, and the time of death had not been called. I knew the how he died. So did Julie, she was just not willing to say and it was not my place to assist at that moment.

My assistance was just to be there. To hold the woman who at one time disliked me. To be there for her, it was her son who was in my friend’s house; he had only been there 10 days. I had only spoke to him a few times, through the walls of the rooms as I made my way through the house. Jacob had cleaned the house so immaculate. Jacob. His name was Jacob. I will not tell his story, although I know it. I will not tell Loretta’s story, although I know it. I will tell mine.

The coroner finally showed, it was our turn. Our house was the third on the list for pick-ups that night and by the time they left there were even more bodies to gather. This was our turn, it was Jacob’s turn. The questions started all over again. Now his family were giving the history, the present was obvious. More time was given with the body, the goodbyes before the morgue. That time seemed to drag on forever. Julie made jokes with me in the living room. I knew this was her way of dealing with the insanity of the moment in her home. All I could do was listen, a few times I said shhhh Julie, not so loud.

Finally the moment came, the moment I had missed with all the death that I left in my wake. The moment they struggled to bring his body out of the room to the stretcher. Jacob was already wrapped in the plastic zip-up bag, it was white. I imagine his toe tag was on under there as well for identification. There were a lot of bodies that night for a Thursday we were informed. He was wrapped in a white sheet around the plastic bag, for the purpose of lifting and grip. That was so apparent- Jacob was 31. Then came the fitted burgundy cloth that covered the body over so the neighbors glued to their windows with the lights off while they watched could not see. The coordinating commands. Turn, lower, on three, lift. One side first to set the wheels and ensure he was steady before she lifted the other side- go. Set the wheels. Roll out, step one, step two, set. I closed the screen door behind them. Loretta asked me to close up the bedroom, she couldn’t go back in- I did. I gathered her things and put them by the door. She was tired. Her tears I had wiped, I had held her, comforted her. What else could I have done?

Today I have to get to school. I teach. I teach a variety of things to help our youth make better choices and I have to get to class so I must go. This week has been rough, these past seven days have been rough. The flood of memories from death have not stopped. I am so grateful I have chosen to live.

The Chicken Lady thumbnail (1)