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Autumn was falling again. The leaves were orange-ing and yellow-ing, and they still reminded me of that apartment in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Where all the leaves would clog the drains when the northeastern rains would fall and leave rust like skeleton stains all over the sidewalks. And the air was always cold and damp; the kind that bit at your skin and soul.
I was on the west coast looking out at the leaves when I was suddenly back there, on that night, in that apartment, and there was another kind of coldness that had been biting at my soul; the kind that comes from going without using heroin for the second night when your knee-deep in junk addiction.
I was sitting on a black futon on a wooden floor, the sun had fallen, and my mind was fraying at the seams. There was an old shitty television on in front of me, but I wasn't watching it. It was on for the noise and I was alone. The bedroom had two doors next to one another, one for the closet, and the other that led to the rest of the apartment. Both doors were open and I was looking back and forth between the two of them. My mind was swinging between the two darkest hallways it has ever swung between before.
I remember not feeling much of anything. I was just tired. Tired of swinging between addiction to dope and addiction to suboxone.
Suboxone was supposed to be a godsend. It wasn't. It was the farthest thing from heavenly. It left me in a longer (duller mind you, but absolutely longer) state of withdrawal. And try as I might, I couldn't hack that length. I had not been sober for longer than a month in a long time. In fact I could not really remember what it felt like to be sober anymore. I first used a painkiller between the age of 14 and 15, and that night I was 25.
My phone was in my hands and I was texting THE DUDE, the man that would bring me what I thought I "needed." And for the first time in my life, I gave up. I didn't give a damn anymore.
My boyfriend at the time came home a few hours later and I barely remember talking to him. I remember hearing him and looking down at my lap. I didn't think about after. I didn't think about anything. I just opened both bags of dirty dope (fentanyl laced heroin) and did them in one bang.
I knew if I did one whole bag I would pass out. But I hoped if I did two then I wouldn't wake up.
The details from the rest of that night are irrelevant.
I woke up in the ER after being Narcanned and returned home to continue using a few days later.
And then I thought, maybe I'd try running from my problems... again. And so, I went west. But no matter how fast or how far my feet would take me, they were always my feet.
So I was in California, I was nearing the end of my supply of suboxone, and withdraw loomed. I had heard and read some things about a plant called Mitragyna speciose and how it had helped others get off of opiates.
So I went to a store and spoke to the woman behind the counter. She was pregnant (pregnant enough to be having a baby behind the counter) and she was telling me that she used the plant on the regular for sore feet as an alternative to whatever her doctor would prescribe her.
I was intrigued and told her my story. I told her the truth, that I was scared shitless. I had felt there only existed two paths in front of me and one led back to that room. I didn't know how lucky one gets in one's lifetime. I had some fight in me that day, so I was ready to try another alternative. She sent me home with a bag of the weird brown green powdery shit. And the next day I was going to jump off the little orange devils and attempt to still go to work.
Still being able to go to work for me at that time was vital. I was out there on my own, and adding getting kicked out of the apartment I was staying in to withdrawal was not an option. The following day was day one and I drank the powder. It tasted awful, especially mixed with my least favorite juice (orange), and I headed to work. And then I waited.
Waited for the nausea, the diarrhea, the shakes, the anxiety, and FEAR to hit me. I was sweeping the floor a few hours into my shift when I realized it wasn't coming. When I realized I was standing on my own two feet and I was working and I didn't feel like hell. I stood a little straighter. Some little bubbles of hope rose in my stomach.
It's been over a year now. For the first time in about a decade I have made it to a year sober. Music sounds better. I use all of that anxiety to create, and I don't even think about using anymore. I made it through suboxone withdrawal without losing one singular night of sleep. And for those of us who have been there, that is huge.
In my situation, I needed assistance. I believe that the best state of mind, the best way to be, is sober. I found that the main reason I would use was because of anxiety, of depression, and of negative cyclical thinking I had trouble breaking on my own.
Kratom has a slew of positive benefits, but what really made a difference for me were the brain benefits. It increases cognitive functions and mental clarity. Clarity. That's what I needed when I couldn't shake the bad shit. A change in perspective, a broader view so one can let some light in with the shadows. Now when I need a change in perspective, I pick up the pen, or the paintbrush, or my guitar, or play a Beatles or Roots song. But I couldn't always do that.
Sometimes we need help. I know I did. And when you're fighting addiction or depression, you deserve to know that there are safe plant-based alternatives to prescriptions that do not help. You deserve the right to choose what works for you. You deserve a fighting chance. We all do.
I'm sharing my own story because the FDA—who is in bed with the prescription companies—is trying to take that choice away from us. This is not only due to a lack of information, but misinformation. This is due to the FEAR OF FREEDOM OF CHOICE.
Do your own research, decide what side you stand on for yourself. I have a whole lotta fight in me today so I will be strapping on my kickin' boots.
And dear FDA and prescription companies, have you ever heard of the phrase "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?"
You may call me woman scorned.