He was a terrible man my Mother pronounced today in a moment of pure honesty. I admire her for being so honest – perhaps this is the source of my brutal honesty. There was no emotion, she said it the same way she would say “It’s raining.”
My father will be buried next to my brother who died of AIDS 14 years ago. My brother was not gay, but he lived a high risk life style of an addict.
Many of my friends and colleagues are gay. I live in a predominantly gay area of Baltimore City. In fact, it was a handsome young gay man, my former neighbor who is in the medical profession who reached out to me and said you need to write about PNP. What? Huh? “Party and Play”he said. This is a phenomena in the gay community. It is where gay men meet up with other men on Internet dating sites to meet to have prolonged sexual encounters. The code word is PNP and the slang names Tina or Crystal is code for methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is a potent aphrodisiac, euphorant and stimulant. The typical meth high lasts about 8 hours and the drug increases sexual arousal and inhibits ejaculation. With continual meth use the party can go on for days.
So, what’s the problem? Well the first is a practical one in that meth use inhibits penile erection and because it does meth is often used with drugs intended for sexual dysfunction. If this combination of drugs is within itself not deadly and dangerous the behaviors resulting from its use are. Gay men who participate in PNP are twice as likely to go “bareback”. Going bareback or without a condom increases the chances of spreading sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS. In fact there has been a direct correlation between PNP and the rise in the rate of HIV infection. This is in part because the use of methamphetamines causes sores and abrasions in the mouth. That in turn makes relatively safe practices such as oral sex dangerous and often times deadly.
PNP has moved beyond the gay community into the heterosexual community. This does not make the effects “worse” it has broaden the sphere of the possible consequences of spreading the behaviors and the possibility of disease. This is what’s so bad. More chances of contracting a deadly diease, AIDS, of which I watched my brother die of when he was 34.
With all risky behavior there is a price. So PNP might become Party and Play and Pay the consequences- period.
Finally as I opened with my father’s recent death and I conclude with my brothers death- there is no gracious way to end this blog. I have no defining words of caution. Just remember there is always a price to pay for play. Be smart.
The Addict Writes
After I wrote that my father had died last night – Monday night- and the hospital had called to say that they could not keep him alive even on a ventilator- at 3:00PM today he was still breathing. My sisters were in disbelief. There was no way he should have survived. Yet there he was- a breathing facsimile of my father- alive but only technically so.
It was a turn in an already dark tale. Now my sisters all gathered from different parts of the country would have to support my mother in the awful desicion to take my father off of the ventilator.
At 5:30pm the desicion had been made. We were all there. My sister kept her fingers on his neck to monitor my father’s weak abd diminishing pulse. He struggled in what appeared to be his last breaths- but he had stopped breathing on his own hours ago.
We watched and waited. He died at 5:55PM.
The officiating physician pronounced him dead at 6:36PM. My father was no more.
My Mother wept bitter hard rugged tears. I never realized how tiny my mother is- five feet. She was dressed in a violet faux suede suit with a tourquise blouse. On her feet were soft fawn colored ballet flats. As she leaned over to kiss her husband of 61 years good bye she was as beautiful as I had ever remembered seeing her.
My little sister with her hair in a French twist- looked like a taller version of my Mother- both incredibly beautiful with their faces shocked, eyes opened wide in disbelief.
And me, always separate and forever the observer and story teller watched it all happening as if someone was shooting a movie. I wanted to say ” I forgive you.” But that would have been selfish of me to bring my troubled past into the room on such an already surreal moment.
I cannot say I will miss him- I removed myself away from him 40+ years ago. I never bothered to find out who he had become. I know nothing of these past 40 years of his life.
I wonder what he might have said to me, if that dark secret had not kept us apart. I wonder if he would have said he was sorry. I wonder if he would have shared the tortuous tale of how or what caused him to turn towards the darkness of life. I hope that he knew that I had forgiven him. I wish I had simply told him. I’m sorry that I didnot.
May you go gently unto the Eleysian Fields, my father who I did not know.
The Addict Writes
I was awaken this morning at 1AM. It was my sister- the doctor- our father was technically dead, his heart and lungs being moved by a machine. I was sad. He died alone and I am sure he was afraid. I know however that he has been forgiven and that he is wherever souls go to comeback or go to rest.
He was a complex man, charming, intelligent, funny but violent and cruel and dehumanizing. He was my father.
My father was very cruel and brutal and violated me sexually when I was 12. The repercussions of that act have been numerous- but I have forgiven him- long ago.
My mother and I have been at odds ever since I told her about my rape and violation, but she did not believe me then, she does not believe me now. I understand her need not to be believe. I know what it’s like to desperately love so desperately to the point you forsake your own child. I’ve done it. I forsook my two boys for a 5 time drug rehab failure crack addict. So I know of desperation that we wrongly call love.
My father- and there is strong suspicion that he’s not my father- he told me that decades ago. It doesn’t matter- he’s been the only father I’ve known. I’m sorry he died alone. I will honor him for the good he gave me- my sense of style and presicion- and I mourn his sad lonely life of secrets and shame.
You are as sick as your secrets. Good bye, Daddy, I will now step into a world that no linger contains your physical realm.
The Addict Writes
I have a love/ hate relationship with food. The pendulum swings from super healthy to I dont care, Im going to eat donuts, potatio chips and ice-cream until I’m sick. And then, I dont eat anything else, because Ive consumed so many empty calories. However, my body has had no nutrution and I’ve forced masses of insulin to be pumped into my blood stream, which must be stored in my fat, so as not to overwhelm my liver. Sugar is now my crack.
My earliest memories are associated with ice-cream and cake. It’s sweet, cold delicious and comforting. There were so many cousins and siblings there was always food. No body said, you shouldn’t be eating nothing but coconut cake and cherry vanilla ice-cream. But I didn’t need anyone to tell me. I knew it wasn’t healthy, but every hour or so, I would take two table spoons of ice-cream and a sliver of cake. I would repeat this until I was sick.
No amount of education or information has stopped me from consuming sugar. And sugar is in everything from the obvious baked goods to meat-yes meat contains sugar!
I spend a great deal of time looking at food packages checking for sugar. I buy everything unsweetened and I don’t eat food with sugar substitutes, because I know that they have an even worse effect on the body than real sugar and actually increase one’s desire for sugar.
Like an alcohol that switches drinks- only scotch- or only champagne, I ve done the same thing with sugar. I have given up my childhood favorites like Good and Plenty, Starbursts, Dots, Sugar Babies, all the stuff I ate as a child- all colorful and filled with corn-syrup. I avoid corn syrup whenever possible- but there are plenty of equally damaging substitutes like agave, maple syrup, honey, molasses and stevia. I always use lots of those alternatives to hopefully ameliorate my shame- I am a sugar addict.
This shame is increased because my public self- is always searching for the milk alternative- like almond milk or soy milk.
The public me is seeking tofu and salad.
The public me wants gluten free bread and organic everything . Late at night when at home, when I’m tired, frustrated or just want to treat myself- I’ll eat the entire $7 gourmet chocolate bar and chase it with one of my alternative milk substitutes. I feel guilty and satisfied. I am grateful that there is only one candy bar or I”d eat the second one as well. My name is Brianna Clark and I am a sugar addict.
The Addict Writes
You are not a using addict, if you are reading this blog. You might be high or sipping something. Either way is fine by me. I am not an advocate of any type of abstinence or moderation or drug rehabilitation. (However, if you need these services, get them.) You are likely to be educated, with a four year college degree. You are creative and an Aspirant-someone who is always seeking. If you know me personally, you are a reader, you are also likely to be either a lawyer, an artist or an entrepreneur- perhaps all three.You might also, be asking “Who does this B–ch, think she is?’ Answer, “Nobody but a survivor- of much trauma.”
I write this blog for entertainment and for educational purposes. My facts are usually researched and accurate- and you can check me- and let me know. Besides being of service, My role (dharma) in life is to seek information and disseminate it. I am hoping this blog will make you think, question, shake your head or smile or tear up.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, my life is a cautionary tale. I write about my own flawed self so that the reader will not follow in my footsteps. I hopefully bring some mirth to an otherwise dark subject.
Yesterday I wrote I would write about the effects of alcohol on women. I will fulfill on that promise.
For Adolescent Girls: Physical damage from early chronic alcohol consumption is not overcome even when alcohol consumption ceases. Adolescent girls are more likely than their male counterparts to experience cognitive impairment despite less alcohol consumption.
For Women of Child Bearing Age: Women of childbearing age who drink more than 1 alcoholic drink per day (the definition of a moderate drinker) are more likely to experience infertility with heavier drinking, painful periods and irregular periods and are at an increased risk for miscarriage.
Older Women: Older Women are more sensitive to alcohol and display decreased tolerance and lower ability to metabolize alcohol.
Post Menopausal Women: Are more likely to develop osteoporosis which could lead to death because statistics indicate that most older women who break a hip become bedridden and die within a year of the break.
Lastly heavy drinking (4 or more drinks a day) increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 7%.
None of this is good news. I don’t want women to stop drinking, but think before you over drink.
The Addict Writes
I was ten when I sought out my first drink. It was Canadian Club and I chose that brand of liquor because it was plentiful and no one would notice that some was missing. While you are all shocked at how young I was, I want you to know, that I made this desicion with care. I had spent years watching my parents and their friends drinking. My Aunts and Mother would drink while they cooked. Christmas was all about spiked egg nog. On occasion Mom would pop open a beer on any really hot summer morning.
I hated my first sip of alcohol. Yet, I can recall sipping scotch at 12 or 13 while I waited under the hair dryer for my hair to dry. After all my Mother would drink while drying her hair.
At 15 I took diet pills and valiums along with my beautiful rich private school friends. We got the pills from our parent’s medicine cabinets. By the time I was sixteen and an emancipated minor- thank State of California- I was giving my friends alcohol and passing out on a regular basis. By the time I entered college I added cocaine and quaaludes-a mood elevator. It was easier to get cocaine, alcohol and prescription drugs than it was to get decent marijuana.
By the time, I was 25 I was trying to manage my drinking. I was driving to my Graduate Shakespeare class while drinking vodka and grapefruit juice or a Bloody Mary.
So the truth of the matter is that I would have ended up being a bloated alcoholic with cirrhosis of the liver, but for that man who gave me my first hit of crack. He told me that someday I would thank him for saving me all those years of alcoholism. Twenty years later, I am thanking him, because world wide alcohol is the number one killer and one of the top five contributors to 60% of all diseases. So thank you, anonymous crack sharer.
Also, tomorrow’s blog- the effect of alcohol on women- its Ladie’s Night.
The Addict Writes
In Baltimore we dont have a lot of conversations about “gateway drugs”. As a city we have more pressing issues.There are 25,000 prostitutes in Baltimore. 1 out of every 5 males between the ages 19-25 are in some way being monitored by a court in Baltimore City. That means parole, probation, juvenile court, office of child support. 1 in 50 men are HIV positive and only 1 in 20 are aware they are positive. And of course we have Freddy Gray and all of the young men he represents. We don’t have gateway drug conversations because in Baltimore we know the gateway drug is poverty. We know that by the time many of our children make it to the first grade, that have seen someone arrested, seen someone shot, have seen a dead body; have a relative who is in jail, is on drugs, who sells drugs, who owns an illegal weapon or is in foster care. Let’s not forget, poor nutrition, exposure to lead and just violence whether in the home or on the streets. So no one with any sense in Baltimore will have a conversation about “gateway drugs”.
So let me put it out there: Marijuana is Not a Gateway Drug. In fact the whole theory of gateway drug is flawed. It is a flawed theory of causation and does not make biological sense. The concept of gateway drug is that smoking marijuana conditions the brain and the body to crave stronger drugs like cocaine, crack, heroin, methanphetamines, etc. But this is simply not true. Most people, meaning teenagers, who smoke marijuana stop when they enter adulthood, or never use any other drug. Moreover there are myriads of studies that have proven the medical benefits of marijuana, including the fact that marijuana can help people with opiate addictions.
Now, I am not promoting smoking marijuana. I am promoting that marijuana the decriminalization of marijuana, because an arrest for marijuana is more detrimal than the smoking of marijuana. And let me get more real, I would rather catch my child smoking marijuana than smoking a cigarette or drinking alcohol, because both have a whole lot more negative physical effects than marijuana.
So in Baltimore, we don’t have conversations about gateway drugs, in Baltimore we know our number one issue is poverty.
The Addict Writes
There is such stigma and misinformation about crack. Crack is cocaine. Cocaine is a naturally derived substance from the cacao leaf. It can be chewed or snorted- inhaled through the nose. Crack is cocaine that is heated with water and baking soda. This process eliminates the hydrochloride, which is salt. The only chemical difference between crack and cocaine is salt.
Ah, but this is the key factor, removal of the salt from cocaine makes it injectable and smokeable. Smokeable cocaine hits the lungs and brain in 20 seconds. The intense high lasts 5-10 minutes. If you inhaled the same amount of cocaine it might take up to 5 minutes to feel the effect and the high could last for 30 minutes. If one injected crack it would take about 1 minute to take effect. The injected crack high could last 20 minutes.
Therefore the means of ingestion and the length of the high would mean that the crack smoker would in an hour need to use at least 6x the amount of cocaine as the person who inhales cocaine. This is why crack is so addictive and in the end is more costly that inhaling cocaine.
As for the stigma associated with crack it was created by the media. No, I don’t mean the media lied, but it was easier to talk about the effects of crack on members of communities where there was high unemployment, poor housing and schools and poor health care. Add to that lead and whole communities without access to full-sixe grocery stories. Yes, it was easier to report on crack use in the black community. However, here’s another set of numbers: A recent survey indicated that by admitted users of crack 52% were white, 38% were black, 10% were Hispanic. Surprising? But numbers can be deceptive. Yes, over half of admitted users were white- reflecting the majority of America’s population. That 38% black is staggering. Black Americans make up less than 15% of the American population, yet almost 40% of the admitted crack users were black. These numbers do not refect the cost in human degradation and loss. Nor do they reflect the previously mentioned economic and social conditions that spawned the crack epidemic in the black community and which still exist today. (That’s a subject left for another day another blogger.)
Crack is deadly and cheap and still available – today.
The Addict Writes
Sex on crack is intense and it is one of the reasons the drug is hard to quit and why many relapse. Crack on the brain makes you feel beautiful and powerful and smart and sexy. Suddenly you and everyone around you seems so charming and enticing everything seems so bright. Take another puff and you are a sex goddess who can have uninhibited sex for hours- as long as you keep hitting the crack pipe. But once the crack is gone, the ugly reappears. Your hair is stringy and dirty and the man you spent hours doing obscene things with is pasty and white and has a pot belly even though he’s rail thin. You hate him and you hate yourself. This regularly occurring “crash” might or should be enough to.make you quit, but then you remember the intense pleasure, how beautiful you felt and you and whomever you are with scheme to get more crack.
Who can you hit up for money? What can you sell to buy more crack and when there’s nothing else to sell you steal or sell yourself to buy crack. The crashes feel worse and worse and you cant stand feeling that way, you cant stand the way you look and the brain not so gently reminds you how good you felt just a short time ago. Get some more crack. Its not worth it to feel so bad and feel so bad about yourself. And because the part of the brain that causes you to make good healthy choices will now (because of the drug) tell you the most important thing on your to do list is get more crack by any means required.
Ones future therefore becomes very predictable you get crack and die using or end up in jail where its possible to get anything, but the costs gets a lot higher.
Don’t start. Never take that first hit or you will chase that high until it kills you or the circumstances prevent you from getting it. Either way the end is not happy.
Less than 3 percent of those who use crack recover. The Grip of crack is deadly while at the same time alluring you into a schackled life of delusion.
The Addict Writes
I dont know where Im running to or why or from what, but I have a need to move fast and efficiently. The need for speed and to beat an imaginary stop watch is the overarching need in my life. For example, each work day the alarm is set for 6:13am. My walking commute to the train is 7 minutes. The train departs from Baltimore Maryland Penn Station at 7:00AM. 47 minutes alotted from bed to butt in seat on train!
While on the train, I monitor its progress as I utilize my commute time to forward some area of my life. (God forbid that I use the time to nap.)
The train arrives at Union Station Washington DC at 8:00AM( Usually later.) and I sprint from the train to the metro and walk another 7 minutes to my office. 8:24AM and the time game has just started.
I have done some form of a tight crazy schedule for as long as I can remember. I don’t try to figure it out, I just observe myself as I manage the way I am hard wired. Its when the world won’t move on my time schedule, the worst of me surfaces. Woe to the delayed train and somebody please pick up the elderly person blocking my sprint down the stairs to the train.
No, I dont run the elderly person down, but the mere thought that I would like to, is enough to make me physically shudder.
I ask again, what need or fear is runming your show? Thankfully, its not crack anymore. Pinpoint one emotional need today. See if you recall the first incident or memory of that need. Own it, and become a better you for embracing the ugly side of you.
The Addict Writes