You Ain’t no Addict- The Daily Struggle We Share

Dear Readers,
Years ago while in rehab, I noticed that most of the inpatients did not look like Halle Berry in Jungle Fever. In fact, I was one of the few black people in rehab. (“Most of yall go to jail”, said the pasty intake  person.)
No, I’ve not gone to jail, prostitute myself for drugs,but I am an addict. Recently, the folks who create the criteria for what constitutes addiction removed the criteria of “trouble” with the law. I guess they realized that some of us addicts have quietly managed to escape brushes with the law. There are addicts whose lives seem perfectly in order as they drink a beer to start the day or fall asleep drunk in front of the television or quietly give themselves a “bump” either up or down. The pill to wake up… You get my drift.
But here’s an example of my addiction: Nothing went the way it usually does. No train to catch, no work today and immediately I think of consuming large quantities of caffeine and sugary pastries. And maybe after that I should get my nails done, after all its been almost been a month since I’ve had them done. Never mind the turn off notice for the electricity or the unpaid car insurance. Yes folks, I am an addict.
However, because of you, and because after 20 years I can manage my impulsive affictive behavior. Instead I bought a cup of coffee and sat down and wrote this blog for us. So, no I didn’t think of calling a dealer and the sugar would have only made me sick and feel bad- not kill me. Its a struggle- not the same as when I wanted to have a glass or bottle of Chardonnay or a hit of crack- but its a daily little struggle.
The Addict Writes

Lost in a Crack Pipe – A Simple Definition of Addiction.

Dear Readers,
It was a very dark night as I weighed the cost of dealing with my crack cocaine addiction or simply committing  an “accidental overdose”.Years ago, when a fellow crack addict, who  introduced me to crack cocaine, told me that I was an addict, I sneered at him and told him to give up his role of amateur therapist. I  believed that I could stop using anything at anytime.  And look how successful I was, I had just passed the Washington State Bar- so no way dude- and pass the crack pipe.
I really didn’t get it, until the night it hit home that my crack use could kill me.

So for those who don’t know the definition of addiction I chose this one from the American Society of Addiction Medicine:

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological,psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

While this definition is  dry and scientific it captures the whole scope of addiction which affects all aspects of the addict’s life. It’s complex biology and brain circuitry, but the patterns can be broken and addicts can get the monkey, dragon or whatever you want to call it off of their backs.

For me on that night in February of 1997, I recalled something that a psychiatrist had told me years ago: If you commit suicide  your children’s chances of committing suicide increase by 50%.  I had already harmed my children who were 6 and 8 at the height of my drug addiction. I did not want to add an increased risk of suicide.  Living and fighting my addiction, at least gave me the hope of someday explaining to them what happened to their mother who got lost in a crack pipe.

The Addict Writes

A Cautionary Tale.

Dear Addicts who Read,

This morning as I super womaned my way to catch the 7:00AM MARC train from Baltimore to Washington DC.
I realized that my ‘ audience” is “recovered” or functioning addicts like myself. While I am not a “mental health practioner” in fact I am a lawyer who once was on television.
(Yes, all true.)
I am also a Mother of 2 adult male sons who have completely cut me out of their lives for years.
So, in the world of addiction I am kinda of a peer expert.  Over the years I have gained spirituality, wisdom and self-love. Am I perfect? No, I am extremely flawed and I know it and own it.  Everyday I try to learn from the last day and do better.
I write to share, I right to let you learn from my mistakes, so you won’t make my stupid mistakes.
I will show you all of my ugly that I have learned to own so that you may use my life as a lesson and a beacon of hope. After all, my life has been a cautionary tale.
The Addict Writes.