Ashley, Addict

Recently , I’ve been invited to share on this blog by my mother.  The catalyst, perhaps, is that she doesn’t know the truth about a lot of what happened. Unfortunately, that is a huge part of this thing. The lies and the darkness and the loneliness and the deceit. So, we are going to collaborate and I’m going to tell my side of the story, as well.

I suppose what’s most fresh on my mind is a response to her last few posts . It’s so hard to know where to start; mom and I have gone back-and-forth on just that issue. Do we start with my childhood? Do we start with my first time in jail?  Where does it all begin?

I moved back to Virginia in April 2012. I packed all my things up into my SUV , rented a U-Haul , attached it to the back and had the plan to drive from California to Virginia in five days.  Tops. I had bought enough heroin to last me a full week and a half. I even color-coded my syringes. Yellow for morning, red for afternoon, blue for evening, black for night. By my third day into the trip, when arriving to Flagstaff, Arizona I was already completely out. At this point I had no veins left and I was covered in track marks. I started to get very sick. I had to stay in the same hotel room for three days,incapable of moving.  I was detoxing. Hard. I fainted every time I sat up. I was dry heaving constantly. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t move without puking. Detoxing also comes along with excruciating body aches and uncontrollable diarrhea. Imagine the worst flu you’ve ever had and multiply it by probably fifteen.  You might have a vague idea of what it’s like. But, probably not. I decided to tell my family that I had swine flu. Yes, swine flu.


I was far too ashamed to tell the truth. The truth that I had been shooting heroin into my veins for well over nine months.  The truth that my 135 pounds was now a dismal 87.  I was quite literally dying physically. Spiritually, I had been dead for years.

The whole trip consisted of me googling places where people had been arrested or had overdosed to see if I could find some more heroin. I was never successful. That just goes to show though, how sick I was. How sick I am. It took me twelve days to get back to Virginia. Twelve days of stealing drugs along the way from family members , including my father. Twelve days of standing up and passing out and hitting my head every single day. Twelve days being on the edge of taking my own life to end the suffering. I was so  incredibly alone.  I like to call it the twelve days of death.


It is a miracle I didn’t die in a hotel room. Or kill someone while trying to drive. It’s a miracle I’m alive just based on that trip alone.


When I got back I was constantly in a state of detox. I would have things mailed to me (predominately heroin) but between packages I was super sick. I would drink or smoke pot in order to barely function.   I couldn’t hold down a job because I kept on getting sick . I was going to twelve step meetings every day with an underlying motive that somebody would hopefully relapse and get me high with them.


When my mom eventually found the bottle of wine the jig was up. Funny thing is , the stuff on the mirror was dust. The irony is, it will never be dust. Anytime anything pops up in my life from here on out-if I’m late, if I forget to call, if my room is too messy, if I’m acting funny or tired or get sick. It will always not be dust. I will always be a suspect. And I’ve earned that title. I’ve done that damage.  I’ve led my love ones to see dust and think drugs. How sick is that? The other funny part is, I really was licking the furniture. But it’s not funny. I was so desperate to not feel sick anymore. I would go to my storage unit with Q-tips and try and scrape off heroin to put into a shot. I scoured my car every day for FOUR MONTHS after I knew there was nothing left. I was licking my furniture! For God sake, how sick is that? But those are the things addicts do. Those are just some of the lengths I will go to in order to feel better.

The worst thing I’ve ever heard come out of anybody’s mouth was when she told me I had to leave and that I wasn’t her daughter anymore. And she didn’t mean it in a disowning sense. She meant it in the sense that she didn’t know who was standing in front of her anymore. The daughter she loved and cherished and raised had vanished. I was but a ghost. Swinging in and out of life, shifting from task to task, floating amongst the living but much closer to the dead.


When my mom asked me to leave I did go to my friends house. I stayed there for a night and then at another friends house for a night and then slept in my truck for a night. There was one night I knew my parents were out of town and I snuck into my backyard and crawled into the screened in porch of my childhood and slept there. I wept like a baby the entire night; asking myself, how is this my life?  So many beautiful memories in the backyard now tainted. Now stained by my addiction.




I, too, must stop now. It is not easy to recall those empty days. It will be even harder to tell you of even emptier days. I do this so you can see. I am you in your nightmares. I am an addict. I am also someone’s child.  We all are.

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