Here I am

I have been procrastinating on writing this next part. My mother is wondering where her daughter was. Where I was. It’s hard to think about. I suppose I should start with actually how I got to that place. The Missing Place.

Fall of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 were…rough.  I do not know exactly when I relapsed or what it was on. All I know is by the beginning of March I got to the point where I picked up a needle again. I hadn’t shot anything into my veins for a few years so, I was excited and nervous and scared.

On the third day of using a needle, I got high with a fellow addict. Now, it was his dope so he insisted on making my shot for me. I have done permanent damage to my veins so, the only place I could inject it was my foot or my neck.

After my friend (yes, I call him a friend) cooked up my shot and “hit” my foot for me, my throat felt so strange. Like I had just inhaled smoke. I had the warm fuzzies of the heroin but, there was something new.

“Oh, shit Smash!”

He looked at me with fear in his eyes. Turns out my buddy had accidentally given me one of HIS shots. So, I had just been injected with methamphetamines in my heroin.

I was horrified. I didn’t sleep for two days. I ended up picking at my scalp until it was completely raw.  My WHOLE scalp.

I hated it and yet, I did it again. And again.  I was, consequently, out of money and incapable of functioning.

In my desperation I reached out for help and was graciously accepted to a shelter for women.

Now, keep in mind how awful I told you detox was. Well, at this particular shelter you’re not allowed to take anything. Not even a Tylenol. There is also a requirement that you participate in all groups and activities. I had, however, snuck in some drugs with me to help me detox. Unfortunately, those did not work.  Eventually I ended up telling on myself after I took all the pills I smuggled in.  My Confession was fueled by the hopes I would get sent to a different program, perhaps one with the detox. Alas, they were proud of me for being honest and kept me right there. So, two days later  I packed all my stuff up and I walked out. Once again, I was so skinny and frail. Yet, I found the power of Mighty Mouse to leave that place- knowing very well I could get high in a matter of minutes.

I trudged over to the local Shopping Center. I was dead wrong about my calculations. Nobody would come and get me. I was stranded. And sick. I had to rest so I decided to set up camp behind a gay bar. My logic was because they’re gay I’d be safer than I would have been around a bunch of drunk straight men. They would buy me drinks and give me money, offer me Uber rides. They took care of me. The only thing I didn’t do was eat or bathe. I had forgotten about those two basics. I was down to a twisted survival regime.

I used to make jokes with an old friend about a dirt path we saw between our house and the bus stop. Our joke was if we ever relapse would go sleep on that path. Well, turns out I relapsed and I slept on that path. For five days I stayed between the gay bar and the dirt path. High on methamphetamines and heroin, completely insane. Alone.  I was able to get high, though.  Nothing else mattered. I wouldn’t let it. My heart was screaming to call my mom while my brain told me it would hurt her more to hear me like this.

I finally was able to get that same friend that I got high with to come get me. Once again, I did his drugs with him. This person whom I have looked at as a little brother. We got clean together years ago and had held each others hearts while we wept; going through early recovery with someone cements your hearts together. I would have done anything for this kid. And now- here I was. Getting high with him!  Again!!

Luckily, I had a moment of clarity. My entire being knew that I would not survive the night. I decided if I didn’t get into treatment I was going to take a shot that would be too big. One that would stop my heart. I started frantically calling my old treatment center for a bed. I finally was able to get a hold of an old friend who worked there.  I was told that there was a treatment center in Riverside and I was then offered a thirty day scholarship.

I broke right then and there.  I had no way to get to Riverside (an hour car ride away), no money, no strength, no friends. No hope. I was wailing on the phone and praying to God. A God that I was so angry with. Please, I begged. Please, kill me or save me. With the utmost sincerity in my heart-set me free or rescue me.

Five hours later, by divine intervention, I walked through the doors of another rehab.

I was filthy. My scalp was one big scab. I had an abscess on my foot. I weighed ninety pounds…maybe?  I hadn’t eaten in at least five days. All of this and all my head was yelling at me was, “Wait!!  One more shot!!  Just. One. More.”  Luckily, for the first time in what seemed like a decade, I ignored that voice. The demon that dwells inside my brain. The monsters inside my head.


I checked in to that treatment center on a thirty day scholarship. I ended up leaving over a year later.


There, but for the grace of God, go I.

One thought on “Here I am

  1. Ash, I am so proud of you for starting this. I know it will be a tremendous help to others affected by this disease. You are the strongest human I have the privilege of knowing!!!! I can’t wait to read more. I love you!


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