Posts Tagged ‘using’

The Magnificent

December 9, 2015


Is so much better than fantasy.

I was listening to someone who was fondling the idea of drinking a martini to celebrate an anniversary.

It made sense.

But it also creeped me the fuck out.

I am grateful I don’t go down that path.


I hear a lot of folks talk about it this time of year, the holidays.

I didn’t really need an excuse to use or drink.

I was happy.

I was sad.

It was a holiday.

It was Monday.

I had a great day at work.

I got fired.

It didn’t fucking matter what time of year, it could be any holiday, Arbor Day was a fantastic day to do blow.

I have no idea when Arbor Day is, but I was ready to celebrate.

As I round the corner toward my birthday, Christmas, New Years, I see how that old story used to work with me.

It’s time to celebrate!

Hey, I know!

Let’s celebrate all my rent money going up my nose!


It was a white Christmas, a very, very, white Christmas that last year.

And I’m not talking  about the kind of powder that makes skiers happy on the slopes.

Although I was carving out some lines in the snow.

I started out with a martini that night.

Top shelf.

High end shit at a fancy pants restaurant in the SOMA.

I ended the night at some bartenders house in the Tenderloin playing strip poker with my dealer and some “friends.”

Actually, that is not true.

I ended the night a day later hiding under the covers in my bed having stolen a bag of blow from a friend and shoving it all up my nose and then resigning via e-mail to my job.


Bring me a martini now, motherfuckers, because that shit looks so good.


So very grateful to not be in that place.

I shared about that, in a rather vague sort of way, I only had a few minutes to speak, and how I was much more fond of reality, the magnificent reality, all around me.

Sometimes it’s hard.

And often times there’s feelings.

Fucking feelings.

Can’t I just feel good all the time?


I know that’s not the answer, not by far, and I’m ok with that too.

I used to drink and use to not feel.

Or I would eat those feelings away.

Or fuck them away.

But the thing is.

They never went away.

They just got bigger and blacker and heavier and denser, compressed at the bottom of a very dark, very bleak, very black well.


The nightmares I was having.


I remembered that today.

How horrible the nightmares I was having.

So, well, nightmarish does not even begin.

In fact, what I find wonderful, amazing really, is that I don’t have nightmares anymore.

The worst I had was an anxiety dream a few weeks back and I am fairly certain that was stress related around school.

I am feeling a lot better since that point.

And that dream was unicorns shitting rainbow butterflies in comparison to the nightmares I used to have.

I recall one that made me so afraid I was going to lose my mind.

It was close to the end and I actually am not willing to write it out here.

I prefer to focus on what’s in front of me right now.


The lovely conversation I just had with my darling Parisian friend.

I am so grateful to have her in my cohort at school and we talked things to do and places to go in Paris and school and life and got caught up and I feel connected to not only my graduate school program, but just to a new important person in my life.

I love connecting with people.

Being human is what it’s all about.

Having this amazing human experience.

It is amazing.

I actually shared that I had cash and prizes tonight.

They just rolled off my tongue.

Graduate school.

A new scooter.

A trip to Paris at Christmas.

Getting a raise at work.

Who is this person?

I have worked super duper hard to get here and it just feels like it’s really just now beginning.

Of course I wouldn’t have wanted to hear that when I was newly sober, who would, ten years of work before I get some pay off.

No thanks.

And of course.

That’s not true.

The payoff has been happening for years now.

It just hasn’t always looked like it on the outside.



How I have changed.


How I have changed in this last year.

I got out of a relationship that was not working with the most honest and kind break up I have ever experienced.

When we saw each other for the first time two weeks ago, it was awkward, but we  hugged and it was fine.

No hard feelings.

Just gratitude for the experience.

I wasn’t going to Paris last year at Christmas.

I wasn’t in graduate school.

I wasn’t riding my scooter–it didn’t work and I was too gun shy to get on and try to make it work after barely healing up from the accident in June.

I wasn’t happy last year.

I was in a sad, lonely, terrible place, but I knew it would pass and that I would get through, I could fantasize about it being different.

Or I could do some heavy lifting and do some work.

I chose the work.

And I am amazed.

Just amazed at what this last year has wrought.


There’s still been ups and downs, I suppose there always will be.

But I feel softer, sweeter, less stressed, on the path, sure in my journey, happy in my skin, and when I am sad or scared or upset or pressured or anxious, I let myself have the feelings.

Stuffing them down does no good.

Letting them wash over me like the crash of the giant waves at the beach.

Surrendering once agin.

To the ecstasy of being completely carried.



A Little “Light” Reading

July 26, 2015



Fuck me.

Aside from the hefty price tag of the readers–$208 and change, the weight of what I have to read for my first semester at grad school also nearly pulled my shoulder out of my socket when I lifted the bag off the counter.

Jesus on a flaming raft.

The bag was heavy, nearly as heavy as the three-year old I look after during the week.

He’s about 35 or 36 lbs, he’s a solid kid, stocky, strong, wily, he can throw a tantrum with the best of them or snuggle in your lap like the largest, cutest, kitten on the “Meow Meow train,” all aboard.

At least when I carry him he’s resting on a hip or holding on to me, “pick me,” he will say.

“Why does he always get to ride in the stroller?” The five-year old demands to know.

“Physics, kiddo,” I say, using the apt answer that my best friends husband gave me as a pat answer to the question, “why.”

And at least with this, it’s partly, if not completely so.

it really is a law of physics, less weight for me to haul around, easier to push, much easier to wrangle, although the smart guy knows how to get his brother to unbuckle him when he gets that glint of monkey pants going in him.


Slight sidebar.

Just that feeling.

That one there.

When you are listening to an album that you, I, I, used to listen to when writing in Paris, but now it’s on your Iphone and sometimes when I get a text, the song will pause and I will know that I am being reached out to.

I haven’t had any one reach out to me and I miss someone and don’t know when I will hear from him again.

The heart aches.

It was not a text.

It was just the song ending.

End aside.

I made my way downtown, resolute to get the readers for school.

I ignored the fact that the universe had conspired to not actually have me be in a great big SUV with my friend heading towards the Grand Canyon on a wild and wooly road trip, rather I was to be traversing the canyons of down town San Francisco.

Wending my way through the towers and condos and banks and business high rise windows.

The streets empty.

There really is not a reason to be a Mission and 2nd on a Saturday.

I got off the New Montgomery MUNI station and rode the escalator up into the blue sky, the leaves of the trees lining Market Street pressing into the frame of light coming from the square above me, the street lamp, old-fashioned and burnished with the seeing of too many tourists and the discarded cups from Starbucks stuck into the hands of beggars and street performers.

I suddenly remember the first time I came up on escalator onto Market Street, that first time it was Powell Street, and how I felt seeing a similar street lamp and tree branches–the sky not blue that day, but a mottled March grey one with low hanging clouds and cool breezes.

I walk down 2nd Street past the closed doors of the American Red Cross where I have taken so many classes in adult/children CPR and first aid, all the re-certification and tests, the small rubber babies with molded faces that pull off so that the next bored student nurse can be certain its been sanitized before she puts her small mouth to the fake child to push air into it and thump it’s chest with the first two fingers of her dominant hand.

Then, I glance to the right, I have no idea why, and there she is, The Palace, where I have had so many drinks, one was never enough and more was always on the menu, after many a shift at Hawthorne Lane, most times extra dirty vodka martinis with three olives and pints of Sierra Nevada.

Occasionally the glass of champagne before a shift to celebrate a friend’s success or bolster another friends hair of the dog before going into work.

I turn on my travels, down Mission Street, longing to walk further, the Van Heusen sign reminds me of all the starched cream shirts I bought there for my shifts at the fine dining restaurant and how annoyed I always was to spend my hard-earned money on them or laundering them.

I think about the MOMA and wish it were open.

I would go in a hot second and sit in front of a Rothko or wander through the photography exhibit on the second floor, or climb to the top and cross over the suspension bridge, or find the secret doorway to the miniature courtyard that faces out towards the Yerba Buena Center and the park.

I think of all time terrible and awful.

How, even in the utter depths of my using I was never able to bring myself to use in the MOMA.

Although, damn it, I tried.

The best I could do was use the bathrooms to wash up and brush the tears from my eyes that only seemed to surface when I was surrounded by the house full of art, art that I could no longer access because it hurt my heart too much to admit that I was down for the count.

Then I would wash my hands, pat dry the wet circles under my face and go to the cafe and order a non-fat latte and sit out front on a metal back chair and put my feet up on the balustrade that separated the down trodden masses looking for scraps from the tourists like small black starlings with bright eyes hopping under the table legs, except held back by that small barrier of wealth and privilege that I pretended to belong to.

I mean I did wait on them didn’t I?

I would smoke my cigarette, then another, not chain-smoking, but so close as it became a game of semantics, drink my coffee, then head back to the restaurant to make more money that I would later spend, no matter how cleverly I would ration it out–the twenties in my left pocket only to go towards rent, not coke, ok?

Do you hear me self?

Don’t dip into the left pocket.

Or the bra cup, or the left sock.

Never mattered.

Once I got going, it was going to.

Didn’t much matter that brave lecture I gave my “sober” self (sober only in the sense of having abstained while working, which soon wasn’t really happening either), the money always flew, like pigeons circling in weary circles above the sunset lit buildings at the BART station.

I sat and waited at the front counter of the Copy Central store while the one attendant finished a job for a woman wearing navy blue and white polka dot slides and a pony tail that was just a touch too high up on the back of her head.

The stroll down memory lane exiting itself back outside, perhaps over to Dave’s Sports Bar on Third between Mission and Market, where we often ended up after a posh cocktail or two at the Palace, to really get it on.

Didn’t hurt that Marilyn the bartender knew all the words to Chicago, the musical, not the band, and if you sang along with her she would gladly sell you a case or bottle after hours, shhh don’t tell.

The memories were abruptly supplanted with reality, as first one, then the next, and the next, and the next reader was plunked down with a thud that was not satisfying so much as it was terrifying.

“Double check the readers to your syllabi,” the woman said.

I did.

Everything was there.

I pulled out my debit card.

I paid.

I left and walked back to the MUNI train station and as I did the days and ways of old were smoothed over, a soft hand blotting back the memories, a supplanting of this person with that person.

Eleven years ago when I was walking that same route there was no way I could have foreseen the purchase of graduate school readers.

I was too busy cursing that woman who had once again trembled on the lip of indulgence and instead of withstanding, fell over and promised herself, yet again, well since I already have started, I might as well do it up good.

I marveled at the weight in the bag as the readers thumped against my leg.

My graduate school student leg.

It was much less than the weight I used to carry on my back.

I can deal with this so much better than that.

That stack of reading sits on my table, just on the other side of this computer, and as I look around the sweet, safe, room I have nested for myself, I am grateful.

I am so very grateful to have walked down one side of the street and been able to reverse the wreckage to where I am today.



But free?

Even more so.

Well, I might be tied up with some reading for a bit.


I think you catch my drift.

Hello Darling

July 6, 2014

It’s so nice to see you again.

How have I missed you, let me count the ways.

Not being stared at because I have tattoos and funky hair.
In fact, my hair is less funky than many here.
Case in point, my dear friend with the shaved tribal design on the side of her head picked me up today and I didn’t even look twice at the cut, its fabulous and so is she.

I have the tattoos.
I don’t watch Nascar and I don’t have single tribal tattoo of barbed wire on my upper arm.

Yes, if you ask nicely I will let you look at them.

Yes. They hurt.


You don’t hesitate to throw down a dance party with hula hoops at the drop of a hat in Noe Valley.
That is just how you roll.

I have to dress warmly here.
Despite it being July.

Because its July and everyone, tourists excepting, knows that it’s winter time here out by the coast and the fog is thick and cool and the wind is chilly and yes, I did leave my house in a fuzzy pink sweater and a jacket.
It’s July people.
It’s cold.

It’s home.
It just plain old is.

I love you San Francisco and whenever I leave I get to return to that dear fact.

I love my best friend in Wisconsin, probably more than any other person on the planet.

However, Wisconsin is not populated with a plethora of her.
Just the one.

Now, that doesn’t mean that there are not like-minded folk there, there are.
Like her husband.
And some mutual friends, and some old friends, but overall, I am more at home here than there.

That is not to say that I did not entertain thoughts of moving back.
I always do when I go there.
It is inevitable.

I get this soul enriching experience with my friend and experience a kind of joy and deep belly laugh that I only have around her.
I get her kids who I just adore to smithereens.
Especially her oldest boy who, no surprise, is my favorite.
Although the two younger ones are amazing little creatures too, it’s the eldest that has my heart.

I made a vow to always be a good person for him, to always be the best me that I could be to always practice kindness and compassion and love, generosity, humility, honesty, and to strive to be the best me possible.

His mom did something for me that no other person in my life did.
She helped me when I needed help.

There were plenty of people who wanted to help me or tried to help me, I’m sure there were, but she was the one who stuck it out and she was the one who stayed by me and my crazy when it was really, really, really bad.

She was the one I called when I hit rock bottom.

She got me where I needed to go and she said the most piercing, horrifying, awful thing to me.
A sentence, one sentence that sent it all home.
That nailed my coffin shut on my using, though I did not know it at the time, but it hurt so bad to hear what she said that I could no longer ignore how deep and how bad I had gotten into the drugs.

There was a part of me, a large part, I won’t kid, I won’t lie, I won’t try to hide it, that wanted her to swoop in like a mama bird and take care of me and get me into rehab and then, you know, let me live with her and her family until I was up on my feet again and I would have home and shelter and care until I could care for myself again.

We talked long over the phone trying to figure out what I would do and where I would get help and I don’t know if I floated the idea or what or how it came out, but the hope that maybe I could go back to Wisconsin and set up camp at her home got thrown out into the ether.

Just like the words that followed, the deeps silence that greeted my idea spoke to me and was perhaps the thing that allowed the words she said next to sink into my heart.
Break my heart.
Open me up to something else and allow for my journey to really begin.

Breathtaking pause.


“Carmen, I love you, but I can’t, I can’t let you stay in my home, I don’t think I can trust you around, S.”

Oh dear sweet Jesus.

It sunk in.

All the way in.

How bad I was.
How bad it had gotten.
The depths had been reached and I had no further bottom to dig to.

I wiped tears off my face, knew she was right.
And wanted to prove her wrong.

But her child was more important.
And that’s how it’s suppose to be.

The child is more important.
She had her priorities straight and mine were lined up, chopped up, diced up and snorted with a bloody bill that would wind up back in my sad, depleted wallet after being licked clean of any residue left on it.

I vowed that I would never be anything but sober around that little boy.
A boy who is not so little anymore.

A boy who breaks my heart with his deep beauty and grace and gazelle legs and hazel brown, green, gold flecked eyes, who told me again and again that he loved me and wrapped his sun warm limbs around me and let me hug and kiss him and squish him and dote on him.

He does not need to know any of that history.
He just get to know the love and for that I am so beyond grateful.

My friend asked after my writing and my progression with it and where it’s going next and truth be told, I don’t know.

I really don’t.

I can dream big dreams of publishing dreams and money and glory and forever and ever material success and satisfaction.

But it all matters not one whit to the important and real commitment I have to this way of life I live and what I do in it.

My community, my fellowship, my recovery.

If you had told me years ago that I would get to help save lives and not have to go to medical school and rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans to do so, I would have jumped at the opportunity.

Little did I know that doing a lot of drugs, sleeping with men whose names I didn’t know, and stealing where the prerequisites to my job.
My true purpose.
To fit myself to be of maximum service to my fellow.

I have a purpose.
I have a point.

And the writing gets to be my own little side thing.
My little hobby that maybe, well, I can still dream–will manifest in something wild and wooly and wonderful, I know that, but it’s not the point of my life, I have another calling too and that purpose and that point is the reason that I get to be a part of a the life of my friend and her family.

I get to sit on the dock and watch the boys jump in and out of the water, get to hold the one in my lap, with my arms wrapped tight about him at sunset and putter around the lake on the pontoon boat and see a bald eagle high in a tree, to help build a fire and make s’mores on the Fourth of July while lighting off boxes of sparklers (or ‘parklers as the youngest says, always dropping the “s” on his four-year old words), to go wild blueberry picking in the woods and to hug them and hold them and know that I am known and loved and trusted.

I am trusted with my friends children.

I am the luckiest woman alive.

I am so lucky to be loving you.


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