Ten Months…

Today I had my Groups: Recover Together meeting.  It’s basically weekly group therapy for opioid addicts trying to get clean, and in recovery.  I have been going to Groups now for over 6 months, and today got my 6 month token.  Its’ just a little pocket coin to fiddle with and remind yourself that you are in recovery and yes, you can do this!

2017-09-13 19.46.10I’m pretty proud that I have managed to kick my opioid addiction and stay clean for almost 10 months now.  Oct. 28th will be my 1 year anniversary.  It hasn’t been easy, I’ve had some really tough days and brutal nights.  I am currently in the Suboxone program. Suboxone is a drug used to curb the cravings and block the effect of opioids.  Basically, as long as I take my daily sublingual strips, which are paper strip that I put under my tongue and let dissolve for 7 minutes without swallowing — yeah, TRY to go 7 whole minutes without swallowing, it’s a real trick!  Anyway, as long as I take those I don’t have the hellish cravings for the drug, and even if I did do any dope it would be “blocked” by the Naloxone in the Suboxone strip.  Rendering doing it absolutely useless…I wouldn’t get high, so why bother?  It’s a phychological thing as well as a physical thing I believe.

Going to the weekly group meeting, where I am in a room with 8-10 other addicts all in the same boat, and all doing the same basic thing – trying to eliminate addiction from their lives.  We have developed a pretty tightly knit group at this point.  We’ve come to hold one another’s feet to the fire.  When you arrive at the office for the meeting you have to take a piss test, and they test it on the spot for any drugs.  It’s a 6 way test.  As long as you don’t test for any drugs except for the Suboxone (buprenorphine) you are good to go.  You go into the group meeting and when you are finished you pick up your weekly prescription from the coordinator on the way out.  You can test positive for marijuana also, it’s legal here so they don’t dock you for having it in your system.  Plus, many of us use it for pain relief, which is why many of us started using the opioid drugs to begin with.  Marijuana isn’t considered to be a problem in this program, and I don’t believe it’s a problem drug if used smartly.  If you test positive for any other drug you are pulled aside and have to meet with the counsellor before you can pick up your script.  You have to explain why you are positive and generally they will give you a break and a chance to continue.  If you habitually test positive, or have a “dirty” or “hot” result you can be tossed out of the program.  And no one wants that!  Going to these meetings in order to get your prescription, being tested weekly, and bein accountable has become pretty damned important to me.  I need the Subs, so I follow the program and it’s kept me on track very well.

The opioid crisis is a nationwide crisis affecting all communities regardless of age, race, gender, religion, social status, or wealth.  It doesn’t discriminate.  I know many very prominent people in my community that hide secret addictions to these powerful drugs such as Percocet, oxycodone, Vicodin, Heroin and Fentanyl.  Once the drug gets you hooked you are in a fight for your life.  Too many times I have seen that fight end in death.  I didn’t want to be another one of those statistics.  Maine has an unusually high number of addicts, and a very high over-dose rate.  It’s a rural state, and for some reason has become a very big state for the trafficking of these potent drugs.

Tonight on ABC television here in the US there is a show that’s going to be on that’s called “State of Addiction” which will talk all about the epidemic we are facing here.  I plan to watch it and have encouraged my family and loved ones to do the same.  I can tell them things, but I think that hearing them from people who combat this every day will be even better for them to understand.  I am very lucky to have a very good support network of family, friends and a very supportive and loving girlfriend.  Without them I don’t think I would have made it back to sobriety….I thank every single one of them, and especially my dear Mother who I put through hell and back with worry and angst.  I’m sorry for all of it, but an addict doesn’t see those things or the way they are affecting people around them when they are actively using.  It’s not til one gets clean that we can look back and realize the damage we have done, and just hope and try to fix it somehow.

Peace.  ~MB

 

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Personal Stuff, Updates

Hello my fearless readers! I hope you are all in the very best of health and spirits – wherever you are on this big blue marble we call Earth.

The weather is turning here in southern Maine.  It’s beginning to feel a lot like Autumn, or Fall as we call it here.  Morning temperatures are pretty cool, down around 50F and it does warm up into the 70F range by mid day, but summer is now behind us as well as her very hot, humid weather.  Personally, I love this time of year. I love the smells, like fresh cut hay, newly fertilized fields, pumpkin and apple pies being baked, and that crisp clean smell of the ocean as the tides roll in and out.  Yes, this time of year just feels good.  I like being able to wear my sweatshirts and flannel shirts, and dressing in layers is key as you want to shed some as the days warm up.  I  like that I don’t have to run the air conditioners in the house – and have actually removed them and stored them for the winter – yet, I also don’t have to run the furnace for heat either.  Living with the ambient natural temperatures is perfect.  Sleeping is great, the cooler weather makes it so for me anyway.  And days are just comfortable.

I’ve been doing all the regular stuff.  Working, keeping up with the house and taking care of the dogs.  Everything is going pretty well.  I get to talk to my girlfriend every day, and we are doing really well.  Thank goodness for Skype!  And messenger of course.  what the hell did we do in days before cell phones and computers?  Dating was very different back then for sure, you were relegated to dating only those you could meet in your local circles.  I’m really glad that’s not still the way it is.  I never would have met this awesome woman had it not been for social media – this blog specifically.  And I’m really glad I met her and have gotten to know her.  She’s planning to come here in late November.  She’s got a lot of work between now and then, thus we are waiting.  I’m really looking forward to us spending a week just hanging out together.  It’s going to be great.

I decided not to bounce the friend of mine, who is staying here, out of the house just yet.  After giving it some careful consideration I decided to make a rule that politics are not to be discussed and told him to please be considerate of the fact I don’t want to hear it.  I felt bad cuz I know he doesn’t have much choice other than moving back to the motel.  Thus my choice to give it another try.  So far so good…although I am having some issues with his excessive alcohol consumption.  I don’t think that he will be here very long, too many things tell me this.  He’s planning to head to Florida the second week of December, and I think I can deal with him until then.  We shall see.  Regardless, he won’t be coming back to this house when he returns to the Maine coast, and returns to fishing, in the Spring. I’ve already decided that definitively.

I’ve been feeling really good.  Met with my doctors, each of them, in the last week.  Been having some issues with my c-spine, pain radiating down into my arms and hands.  So I am on a non-narcotic pain reliever called Celebrex and I have a brace on my left wrist.  We think I may also have carpal tunnel in that arm, thus the brace.  Both have seemed to help, I am in far less pain now.  Then I met with my HIV specialist yesterday.  My current tests just came back from the lab and I’m doing great.  T-cells up around 790 and my viral load is remaining undetectable.  This makes me really happy.  It means the cocktail of drugs that I am on is working and keeping my immune system healthy.  I’m feeling excellent, although I still battle a little weight gain, but I’m not real worried about it right now.  I know it’s a result of healthier living and being on the Suboxone…got to give a little to get a lot, so I’m just letting it ride.  I’ll work on losing the weight along the way.

My dogs are doing great.  Here’s a cute pic of them invading my spot in the bed…

2017-09-02 13.25.44

Well, I’m off to Groups…my weekly check in is on Wednesdays.  Things are going well with it and I’m continuing the program.  Staying clean is pretty important to me right now.

I hope you all have a great night!

Peace!  ~MB

An Addict in Your In-Box…

candleSo, you see a lot of articles and television stuff about the “opioid crisis” in America lately.  This is a real, serious epidemic here.  Let me rant on a bit here and give you some of the scoop from inside an opioid addict’s life and mind…bear with me, this may be a bit harsh to some, and I also offer up a trigger warning – some of this is very graphic.

Let me dispel some basic myths first.  No one “wants” to be an opioid addict.  It happens for various reasons.  I have seen the gamut of people addicted to heroin and prescription opiates.  From high-school aged kids – both from up-scale homes and street raised – to doctors, lawyers and pharmacists themselves.  I know addicts in every kind of job and walk of life. The addiction doe NOT discriminate at all.  YOU can easily fall victim to this powerful drug epidemic.  Break your leg, they will prescribe you oxycodone, probably 15mg tablets, 4-6 times a day…take those for 4-5 days and POOF you ARE addicted to them and when you stop taking them you WILL experience withdrawals, irritability, nausera, and depression – stay on them long enough and those things will all occur at once, sending you into a desperate need and search for something to stop that pain and agony you are going though.  You either get a new prescription, a refill, or you “borrow” some from your neighbor, sister, brother, other relatives, or kids.  Everyone seems to have them nowadays.

Not only do opioid drugs like oxycodone or heroin, morphince, methadone and Vicodin help to block pain in the body, they also induce a euphoric state; a feeling of well being and they boost your energy.  Doesn’t that sound like something we ALL would like to have?  Wouldn’t you like to simply pop a little blue pill and have your day go 100% better, have lots of energy, have a nice warm feeling in your body and feel at peace?  THAT is what opioids do, they enhance the sense of well-being, feeling good, and energy and those become feelings that you need every day.  I’m sure there is a chemical thing that happens in the brain that causes all of this, I am not a medical professional – I am an addict – and thus I can only give you a very personal view and personal first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to BE an addict; how I got here and how it entwines with my life.

As I was saying, anyone – YOU – can become an addict in a short few days.  Prescription opiates (pain killers) are the gateway to addiction.  It’s a double bladed sword, we need something to relieve pain when necessary.  Suffering with severe physical pain is never a good thing for anyone.  Some pain, such as that associated with cancers eating away at a body, must be combatted with prescription opiate pain killers.  I would never want someone who is going through that kind of intense pain to NOT have what they need just because a doctor is worried about addiction.  Addiction at that point is mute.

When one goes from a prescription pain killer addiction to street drug addiction it is always for one reason – they were cut off; denied further prescription medication.  THIS is the part that the medical community needs to really, seriously deal with .  When you develop this addiction by “accident” because you are put on prescription opiates they need to EDUCATE the patient – YOU – about several things.

  • #1.  The chance is VERY good that you will develop both a physical and mental addiction to the “feel good” pain killers.
  • #2 You cannot just STOP taking them without going through what can be severe withdrawals, like vomiting, the shits, shakes, yawns, sneezes, watery eyes, irritability, depressiona and yes, sometimes even suicidal thoughts.
  • #3 Over time you will require higher and higher doses (usually in milligrams, mgs) to achieve that same pain relieving, feel good feeling.
  • #4 Never mix opiates with benzos…cocktail for death…Google it.  This can also cause some weirdness and has frequently lead to suicide in many patients.  Same goes for mixing these powerful opiate drugs with alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamines.  Always consult your doctor – or google if you are a street user – for information.  Even better, don’t be stupid and mix ANYTHING with your prescription pain killers just to be on the super safe side.
  • #5 When it’s time to stop the pain killer you need to talk to your doctor AT LENGTH about HOW you are going to do that without going off the deep end, or seeking them (or substitute drugs) outside of medical care.  i.e. on the streets.  You should develop a “plan” to taper down your dose slowly over a couple of weeks until you can stop without going into withdrawals, without having the DTs and without having serious “cravings” for the drug.

Addiction is serious.  It’s easy as pie to become an addict too.  As I have explained above it can happen in a snap with the simple injury that requires opioid pain relief.

Not all addicts entered the world of addiction via this prescription route.  Some started directly with street drugs, heroin, fentanyl, dilaudids, morphine, or opium.  They (we) start this way for other reasons.  But generally there IS pain involved – it might just be emotional pain one is trying to mask with the use of the drugs, it might be the remnants of a traumatic incident or situation in their (our) lives.  There are many reasons, each addict of this kind has their own.

My story:  As a kid I started to “dabble” in illegal substance abuse at an early age – 14.  I was emotionally disturbed, hiding my sexuality and identity all the time and under stress from doing that.  Doing recreational drugs with people I saw as “friends” at the time was an escape for me.  It made me feel good about myself and took the “pain” away for a little while.  I messed with a wide range of substances, pot, LSD, mushrooms, PCP, cocaine and prescription (illegally gotten) stuff like Vicodin and Percocet.

To keep it brief here, I stopped for a number of years.  But I was still an addict in my mind.  I still had the cravings, still had the inclination to “slip” although I did not for many years – 18 all told.

Then I fell into the prescription drug rats nest. I had degenerative disc disease in my back, herniated discs in my cervical spine and lower back as well.  I have neuropathy (a pain and tingling feeling in arms and legs) and I was miserable.

A doctor in Boston one day handed me a prescription for Oxycodone, 30mg tables (magic blue pills) and said, I quote, “They make these for a reason, you are the reason…you shouldn ‘t be in pain, these will help.  Let me know when you need more.”  unquote.  On that day I became a prescription opiate addict.  Those little blue pills helped me a LOT.  But not only did they mask all of the pain, they gave me a feeling of elation, lots of energy and took away my depression.  I thought they were gold.  And for the next several years – about 7 in all I guess – I got refill after refill, legally.  AND he added Morphine 30mg, 3x a day tablets (long acting contin) to my regimen.  My pain was under control.  But what I did not realize at the time was that I was becoming a serious prescription drug addict.

In my mind I was a recovered addict.  I quit the “drugs” I had been doing recreationally years prior, so I didn’t have a problem anymore — or at least so I thought.  And I was living a pretty “vanilla” lifestyle with my wife on the farm during those years, so I  definitely wasn’t an “addict” again.    Hell, I had a legal doctor’s prescription for the magic pills.  AND I had NO idea that I was actually part of the beginning of a huge epidemic in this country.  Yes, it was a rather naïve time in my life.

The story is one I know many can relate to.  As time went on I required more and more of the pills, higher doses.  My doctor happily obliged and upped my dosage so I wouldn’t run out of  pills.  Everything was going along swimmingly.  I was working, living and having a good life.

My life changed one day.  My marriage ended.  My friends were gone (with the ex). And I found myself alone.  I struggled a bit.  I ran into “old friends” from my younger days.  Some were not so good of influences on me.  One showed me that the magic pills (oxycodone 30’s) were great to “get high” on.  You could crush them and shoot them intravenously.  Somehow, at the time, my mind thought this was just a novel idea!  And thus began my “abuse” of my prescription drugs.

This lasted to the end of the 7th year on them.  Then, I changed doctors.  The new doctor wrote me for a while…then she got suspicious that I was abusing them and started to cut me back, told me I needed to wean off of them and find new ways to deal with the pain.  I worked on this, I did inter-skeletal injections, in my back, in my neck, and in my shoulders.  I continued to get the oxy’s for quite a while, just fewer of them, and by this time my “friends” were always around begging to buy them off of me, too.

I ended up at he Pine Care clinic.  Another name for legal prescription drug abuse in my opinion now.  They continued with the morphine 30’s and Oxy 15’s (yup down to 15s!) and I did that tight-rope walk for a while.  They would only give a 1 week supply at a time.  My “habit” – the amount I NEEDED to not be sick with withdrawals – was MORE than they were prescribing.  So I began also buying the thru other channels.  You can get anything you want if you know the right people and have the money.  I did that for a while…then the Pain Care clinic cut me off – COLD.  NO taper, NO weaning off, NO help whatsoever.  It was sheer, utter HELL for me.

That is when I took my addiction back to the illegal substance market.  I swapped out the oxycodone and morphine for heroin and fentanyl.

I tell you all of this to give you a personal chronology into the making of an opiate addict.  I just want people to be aware that ANYONE can be an addict.  This shit doesn’t care WHO you are, how much money you make, what kind of high powered job you have, who your parents are, or what your “social standing ” is in the world.  It will sneak up on you and bury your ass.

Today I am in recovery once again.  I no longer use any of the prescription or illegal substances.  No oxys, no herion, no fentanyl – and no other recreational or illegal drugs.   I am in group therapy weekly and on Suboxone strips daily.  Suboxone is a maintenance medicine that blocks the effects of opiate drugs in my system and helps control my cravings / urges.  Its’ working very well for me.  How long I will have to take it I do not know.  Could be 2 years, could be longer.

One day I will be free of all of it.  THAT I know.  In the meantime, I am here, I am fighting the good fight and I am winning.  I made it this far for a reason, as to what that reason is  remains to be seen.

I hope you got something from this.  Even if it was just a little better understanding that addiction is a disease that some of us have to battle for whatever reason.  We’re not “bad” people.  We’re not “criminals” just because we use.  We are your family, your neighbors, your grocer, the guy at the gas station, your lawyer…maybe even you.

Be kind to one another, because you never know what another person is dealing with behind the scenes.

Peace & Love.  ~MainelyButch   aka Ang

 

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Whoa!  It was some fucking hot here in Maine today!  It got up to about 95 here where I live in little town southern Maine.  And that is not only very hot, but very unusual for this part of the country.  We generally don’t see temperatures in the 90’s until late July, early August, and even then they are short lived.  Good summer temps here are generally in the high 80’s and the humidity can vary depending on rainfall and how close you are to the water.  I get a lot of ocean breeze here where I am, which is kind of nice.  You can always tell when the tide is rolling in because you can smell the salt in the air.

My moods have been fucked up lately. But I am feeling better overall.  I know that the moods are affected by my various medications, and that’s to be somewhat expected, but still it can be aggravating to me.  I am going to try a new product, called Kratom.  I’ll be doing a bunch of research on it this weekend and hopefully finding some quality product to try out.  It came as a recommendation from a good friends in California who uses it for pain relief and a mood booster — which is close to exactly what I would want to use it for.  It’s an herbal productr from Asia, and isn’t FDA approved, but it’s legal and it has been shown to have significant benefits used in the correct manner.  I’d love to hear from any one who has any personal experience with Kratom as to how you like it and what kinds of benefits it has brought to you.

The house looks pretty good.  I am getting ready to paint the font and back porches, spruce them up a bit.  They could use a good coat of new paint.  I did get the skirting done on both porches, so that animals can’t easily get under there and bother me.  We have some resident ground hogs that live under our various neighborhood sheds.  Hopefully they will stay out of the veggie garden!

I been catching up on my blog reading, so if you are seeing comments from me suddenly on your blogs it’s because I am playing catch up.  This last month I have been really not reading or writing much.  I just needed time to THINK without processing every little bit through my writing.  I have been going to group still, but I think I am about done with that for now.  I’m not feeling like I am getting much out of it personally.  And it’s expensive, as it’s an out of pocket cost for me every week.  I’ve done well, things are still right on track and I feel that I can drop the group therapy thing with no problem.  I will continue with one-on-one therapy for a bit longer, until I feel that I am solid in my recovery.  Plus, hey personal therapy doesn’t hurt one bit.  It’s actually been good for me, helps me process some of the fucked up shit I have had to deal with lately.  And that is good.

Linda and I are going to take the dogs to the doggie event at the Raitt Farm this weekend.  They are having a big event to promote adoption and support for the local shelters.  Ought to be fun and interesting.  Food, games, dog stuff, dog fun events, etc.  I’m looking forward to Saturday for this reason!

I’ve been working a little more than usual lately.  It’s really gotten wicked busy at my place of employment.  Like today, we sold TONS of water and ice, seemed that everyone who came in was stocking up on hydration and ice.  We have many customers who are local landscapers and construction workers, so they need to stay hydrated as they are working ou in the heat and sun.  I still enjoy the job, enjoy the people and seeing all the locals on a regular basis.  It’s nice when people come in and know my name, greet me with enthusiasm and make small talk about townie stuff.  Yeah, I don’t foresee leaving there anytime soon.  It’s really a perfect little part time job for me.  Keeps me with a weekly schedule, holds me responsible to others and gives me a little sense of purpose and security.  The money isn’t great, but it’s enough to make a difference in my budget…I would not stay if it weren’t.  I also really like the people that I work with, and that always makes a difference to me.

On the political front…I have been keeping up per my usual habits.  I keep a very close eye on the imbicile in the White House, aka the UGLY ASS ORANGE ONE who is our “fake POTUS”.  I have had to temper my reactions a bit.  I was allowing myself to be negatively affected by the news, and that’s not good. It’s important to have good information and a measured response.  I can’t do anything about the situation on my own, thus I cannot let it eat at me like I was previously allowing.  Staying informed, watching and contacting my representatives every chance I get is how I am staying involved.  I think you will soon see another big march on the White House, especially with things getting a super hot as they are there.  Just in the last 10 days alone things have begun to spiral out of control in the White House.  Trump is feeling the pressure and doesn’t like it one bit.  While he likes attention like no one I have ever previously seen, he is not as fond of “negative attention” – even though it still serves it’s purpose in getting him to the front and center of everyone’s minds.  He would rather be adored than abhorred, but he’ll take whatever he can get at this point, I believe.  It’s AMAZING how he can lie daily to us, and yet there is still a loyal following that actually believe what this asshole is dishing out to them.  They are like hogs slathering at the feed though, sucking up his vile words like they are candy.  Yep, he is quite the con artist for sure. I am just really saddened that so many people have been  bamboozled by his insanity and daily lies.

Ah, it’s 4:21 am and the birds are starting to sing outside.  I have all of the windows and doors open, am sitting her in just my boxer briefs enjoying the coolness of the air upon my skin.  Yep, semi-naked blogging, hahahaha.  I love this time of morning, the peace and quiet, save for the sounds of nature waking up to this new day.  I feel like I can think so much more clearly and without noise pollution and obstruction from outside sources at this time of morning.

I am working at 6am, until probably about 1pm today.  Depending on how busy it gets there, I will stay as long as I am needed.  It’s going to be a bit more normal temperature wise, in the high 70’s, today.  Plus it’s air conditioned at work, so it’s not so bad hanging out there and working instead of being at home fighting the heat at high-noon!  Today is Friday, payday and errand day!  Linda and I will get together after we are done with our work/jobs.  We will go to town (Portsmouth) and take care of our weekly Friday errand lists.  Generally that entails a stop at the grocery store, smoke shop, gas station, Walmart and wherever else we need to go.  It’s become a ritual with us on Fridays now.  We team up in one vehicle as to save gas and wear and tear on our trucks.  We alternate vehicles each week, one week using mine and the next using hers.  I gassed up yesterday evening, so today I am sure we’ll use Linda’s truck so we can gas that one up and do our stuff.

I spent last evening cleaning up my house really good, getting organized for the weekend and so I won’t have any of that stuff to do today!  I like this feeling of accomplishment that comes with having a clean, organized and well maintained household.  I’m so excited for a good weekend, which I totally plan on having, that I even got up earlier than usual this morning.  I was up by about 2:45am, and raring to go!  I went to bed pretty early, so I got plenty of sleep I am sure.

Ok, Happy Friday!  I do sincerely hope that each of your days are good ones!  Everyone have a great weekend, and I may even write more tomorrow, depending upon time and how I am feeling.  Thanks for reading!  Thanks for following!  I sincerely appreciate you, my dear readers!    Peace!  ~MB

 

A Glimpse into My Life

I know I’ve been writing about a lot of different things lately, like my political rants and things like that, so I thought I would write you all a personal note tonight, to say #1, I am very very appreciative for all of your presence here on my blog.  Thank you for your readership, comments, conversations and support.  It means a lot to me, I mean it.

On more personal notes, I’ve been doing quite well lately.  I’m strong in my recovery and have been attending Groups: Recover Together meetings every Wednesday.  It’s group therapy for opioid addicts, primarily heroin and oxycodone.  We meet weekly, voluntarily are tested for substances abuse, see the doctor once a month and pick up our Suboxone prescriptions.  The Suboxone is a life saver.  I haven’t felt this good about my recovery ever.  The suboxone kills the cravings for the drugs.  Flat out.  It’s a miracle drug in my opinion.  I had previously tried detoxing and maintaining with methadone, but I found that it made me high just like the heroin did and I didn’t want the “high” feeling.  With the suboxone you don’t get that, you just don’t have the craving for the opioid at all.  Don’t know why, but it works the balls!  I highly recommend it as part of your recovery program if you are an addict.

Also, the group therapy piece is important too.  It gives me a place where I can bring up subjects and talk about things that are challenging during this process, with other people who are in similar situations with their addictions; a place where I am not ashamed and can actually be proud of my accomplishments and have someone understand that pride.

Around home things are going really well.  I did run out of heating fuel this weekend, which was unfortunate.  I didn’t want to pay for an emergency weekend delivery so I borrowed two 5 gallon diesel fuel containers from my brother and hauled 20 gallons of diesel over (2 trips to the station) and put it in to burn until I can get 100 gallons of heating oil.  The hardest part was getting the furnace running again.  I had never had to do that before, so I watched a YouTube video on it, tried to bleed the line and get it running myself…no luck.  Several tries later, I conceded my defeat and called my heater technician.  He came by and was here all of 12 minutes, got it going and walked me through the entire procedure so that I can do it myself next time.  I just have to get over to Home Depot and pick up a jumper wire, which will help me to get it going in the future if this ever happens again.  I’m going to be a bit more vigilant now and not let it run out!  I did calculate and figured out that I am burning approximately 50 gallons of fuel mix per month, in the dead of winter, to heat this place.  That’s not bad!  And knowing this will give me a better idea of how to budget for next winter’s oil deliveries.  Live & Learn.

I have been uploading new videos to my YouTube channel.  It’s been a struggle to get back into the swing of doing videos.  Plus, of course, I have changed a little bit in the last couple of years, and the world has changed too.  I’ve gotten older, perhaps a bit wiser, and definitively more comfortable with myself.  It’s fun to go back sometimes and watch the really old videos of my younger, cockier self.  I feel like I am much more conscientious of what I am saying in my videos now.  I am more aware of my own internalized phobias and prejudices to begin with, and I fight to change those.  I never realized that one could have those types of things.  I like to think of myself as open minded and educated, but I had to admit that I, like most every person, also have my baggage and am not perfect in my thought processes.  Like today for instance, I was reading about the Russian people revolting against Putin and the powers that be in Russia where they suffer under his rule.  It occurred to me that while I hate Putin and Russian politics, I am not a hater of the Russian people, and I hope they over throw that demon.  Formerly, I would say I hated Russians…but it’s not exactly that way, it’s more a hating of the authoritarian rule of Russia and a healthy fear of it as well.  Am I making sense?

The first day of Spring was last week, but it still is very cold and wintery here in southern Maine.  I am really looking forward to some warmer weather, sunshine and the greening up of the landscape.  Right now everything is brown and dead looking, with smatterings of snowbanks that haven’t yet melted.  It will be good to see green grass and buds on the trees soon.  I always fight my depression more in the winter too.  Although this winter seemed to be a bit better on that front.  I had my best friend Linda around a lot and she helped me snap out of my moods quite often.  She wouldn’t LET me get sullen and depressed; she would refocus me on doing things to keep myself busy and not give me time to get bored, which often brings on the depression for me.  I really thank my lucky stars that she is there for me.  I’ve even come to depend upon her in many ways, which takes a large amount of trust for me to do.  She’s shown me real friendship, and for that I am grateful.

The dogs, Nola and Lulu, are doing great.  Of course they have been cooped up a lot with the inclement weather of winter too.  I try to get them out of the house any chance I get, taking them with me in the truck whenever possible.  They love to ride in the truck and are just as happy to wait for me in the truck when I get out to go into any place we stop at.  Thankfully they are good dogs, don’t chew or destroy stuff and can be trusted to wait patiently while I get things done.  As the days get warmer we will do more outings like going to the local beaches and parks for walks and outside time.  They also have a nice pen outside of my house that they can safely be outside in during good weather, and to do their business every couple of hours.  That pen is a lifesaver.  I built it right out my back door, so all I have to do is open the door and they can scoot out into their yard, which is like 20′ x 40′ in size.

So, there you have it.  A basic update about me.  No politics.  No deep questions.  Just a little window into my more personal side.  I’m healthy, happy and doing well.  And I hope all of you are too!  Peace!  ~MB

 

The Truth Hurts Sometimes

I’ve met more than one woman in my life journey that could not handle all of the technicalities of being with me.  I admit, I am not easy to process.  I have a bit of a troubled history.  Don’t read me wrong, I’m a good person with some high morals and ethics, but I’ve taken some forks in the proverbial road of life that others have managed to avoid.  I’ve had issues with drugs and addiction.  That’s probably the one thing that I’ve struggled with most in my entire life.  When I was young I sought out a safety net for myself and found it substance abuse and the people involved with it.  I wised up in my late 20’s and got clean and sober for many years.  I did the typical “mid-life crisis” shit in my mid 40’s and backslid a bit.

I strive to keep that stuff out of my life now.  I stay away from the “friends” that I have that are involved in that world now.  That’s a big part of how I am staying clean and following the good road now.  I tend to let myself be influenced by them if I hang around them, so now I avoid them and I avoid the whole drug scene.

It’s really hard to meet women as you get older.  Being single isn’t easy in your 50’s, believe me.  But add a history of drug addiction to the menu and it becomes even more difficult.  I completely understand that some people do not understand me or understand addictions.  That is just the way that it is.  When I begin to show interest in anyone I make sure that they know 3 things about me right up front – why?  Because I would rather they walk away sooner rather than after I become attached to them – or God forbid, fall in love with them.  what are my 3 things?  1.  I am Butch and that will never change.  2.  I live with HIV infection, which is under control but it’s a fact of life for me….which leads me to #3…I am a recovering drug addict.

Those 3 facts put me into a whole new space with people.  Either they are able to handle it, and give me a chance, or they are not, which is completely okay.  I get it.  Those are 3 major pieces of who I am.  I can’t hide them very well.   And I don’t want to pretend that I can.  Those 3 things are only a small fraction of what I am made of, but they are important if you are going to be involved with me – or even be a friend to me.  It’s important that you understand that I struggle with all 3 on a daily basis.  That doesn’t mean that I am unhappy – quite to the contrary, I am very happy in general.  But I am well aware that these 3 things make me “different” than the typical 55 year old lesbian with 2 dogs and a college degree.  I bring a whole different scene to the table.

I have lived with my addiction and my HIV for many years.  One lead to the other obviously.  Yes, I was an IV drug user and this is how I contracted the virus.  I’ve been clean for many years, fell off the wagon and got back on a few times.  So what is involved for me is knowing what triggers me to fall off and avoiding it altogether.  I’ve gotten pretty good at that, and I am proud to say that living clean and right is what I strive to do every day now.

It’s not easy being with someone who has addiction in their history, and it’s even harder when you add HIV.   I know the precautions to protect my partner from HIV but there is no protection from addiction.  No guarantee that I won’t relapse again, except for my sheer determination to stay on the straight path.  I don’t know how to reassure someone that I will stay on this path.  I guess they either have to believe me, or not.  There is no magic bullet or cure – for either condition.

I don’t want to pursue anything beyond a basic friendship with anyone who can’t deal with the baggage that I carry.  I know everyone has their struggle in life and their burdens to bear, mine are just a little more difficult for some people to understand, and that’s perfectly fine.  There are zillions of other people out there to be involved with, I am just one.

I have been fortunate to have been involved over the years, with women who gave me the benefit of doubt; who trusted me and tried to understand my complications.  I’ve sincerely appreciated them.  I’ve been lucky.

Right now I am trying to deal with quite a full plate of issues in my personal life.  I’ve avoided bringing anyone else into my life for this reason.  But I so want someone special in my life on a regular basis.  I would like to let down that wall that keeps me by myself.  I’ve punished myself for the past 2 yeas now and I’m sick and tired of it.  I’ve seen people who say they care disappear more than once.  I built a wall around myself, insulated myself from hurt and despair.  But it’s not a happy place all the time.  I want to learn to trust again, and to love again.

I’m a good person, I am strong, sensitive and caring.  I deserve to find someone good who can deal with life with me and who won’t be afraid of my past.  Someone who sees me for who I am now and not who I once pretended to be.  But how can anyone believe in someone who has such a history?  I don’t know if it can be done, which is exactly what I fear the most.  (although my ex did it for almost 14 years and never let it sway how she felt about me…so perhaps it could be possible again.)  I long for a good strong relationship that will endure.  Something beyond “just friends” –dammit, I want to be loved and understood.  Maybe it’s just too much to ask for at this point.

Ok, let me close this up before my mind explodes.  I am trying so hard to just be cheerful for the holiday season, and to keep on keeping on.  But tonight I was reminded of my flaws (see above) and it stung hard.  I am hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst – as always it seems.  Sometimes the truth just hurts.  There’s no way around it.

Peace.  ~MB

An Addict’s Disclosure

I got up this morning to get ready for my daily hospital visit and Jamie Ray’s post A boy and her dog was just stuck in my head. He wrote about losing his friend Ryan to a heroin overdose recently.  I didn’t know Ryan, and sadly now I never will.  I don’t know a little about the struggles that were his to bare; those struggles where using made it all better for a while.  But I do know first hand the attempt to make that happen.  Drug addiction is no stranger to me.  I battle it whenever I’m down and that little voice deep in my head says “I know what will make it better for a little while…” Fuck that little voice, it just drives me insane sometimes. Sometimes even there is no reasoning with it.

We don’t talk about some things out loud. There is a heroin epidemic in this country, it’s rampant and is just getting worse. We’re losing wonderful people over this, not just your street users as everyone pictures, but we’re losing kids in high school,  teachers, lawyers, Prince even!   (fentanal is what most heroin is cut with so the dealer can make more money, and it’s 100’s of times stronger than the heroin itself).

It’s a fairly easy drug to be stealth about.  You can snort it which leaves no trace that your doing it – except for the inquisitive person who wants to know how you get your pupils so small.  And you can shoot – or inject it.  This poses a slight problem of keeping your injection sites out of sight but believe me when you want it badly enough you know all the tricks.

Our government has this thing they cal the War on Drugs, started in the 80’s by Reagan.  I think it’s a farce. If we took the money we spend doing that and opened some quality rehabilitation and recovery programs  – both medical and non-medical (let that be up to the individual seeking treatment and recovery).   One can kick this aweful habit.  I did it back in 1992 and stayed clean for many years, but then I slipped up and started to back slide into it again.  Yeah, I admit it I am not perfect, I have this demon that haunts me to hell and back. How can such a small amount of a powdery substance get ahold of a person like this shit does?  It baffles me. I’ve been fighting like crazy not to give in to my cravings.  I’m doing pretty good, trying to keep myself upbeat and positive and away from anything to do with it.  Problem is that it seems to be everywhere up here in the coastal area. I wish it was eradicated from the earth.

I know my triggers, and am constantly working on staying clean.  I have a good amount of familial support, as well as friends who have been there that I can talk to when I have to. My doctors are pushing me to go to the rehab program and medically maintain my cravings with a drug called Methadone. It blocks the pleasure receptors that the heroin attaches to and keeps the cravings away.  I, as block headed as I am, have thus far refrained.  Seems like I would be swapping one drug for another in a way.  Plus I heard that the Methadone can be addictive too. I don’t know what’s best yet.  I’m clean now, and putting all I have into keeping it that way.  I’m just afraid of slipping again, and I don’t’ want that kind of life.  And I don’t want to repeat the cycle of using/clean/using….it’s like a roller coaster and this Butch is OFF. Plus, I don’t want to die from it for sure.

I haven’t previously written about any of this because I have a good healthy amount of shame about it.  I never wanted this to be part of my life.  I didn’t get born and say “hey I’m going to be a junkie!”  No, these things seem to happen through the course of  life events and moments of weakness,experimentation or curiousity, and sometimes even peer pressure.

So.  Now you know a shameful secret I have kept for many years.  I feel that until I said it out loud here that it was just going to eat me up inside.  This is part of my recovery, coming clean with what’s going on and has gone on.