Psyche is powered by Vocal creators. You support Arielle J by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Psyche is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

The Beginning

It’s amazing what loneliness and embarrassment can do.


Being awoken by police banging on the door at 6 AM when you’ve been hiding for a month is surreal. In that moment I knew shit was about to change. My 3-year-old is freaking out as they cuff her dad right in front of her, who she’d only just gotten back after witnessing the same thing 23 months prior. Only this time, they’re taking me too. I had never spent a day away from her. Not one. And I had to make sure she’d be fine. They waited for my friend's husband to pick her up to handcuff me. By this time I can already feel the dope sick. It had been 12 hours since my last dope shot and heroin just doesn’t last the way you’d expect. 

I wasn’t mad or sad or surprised. We had been jumping from place to place and begging, borrowing, and stealing from anyone and everyone to get our next shot. They got me for selling something he had stolen. A $50 pawn landed me with a $500 bond which turned into $20,000. I was certain my grandma would get me out. Jesus, was I wrong. The next month was spent writhing on the cold jailhouse floor in a fishbowl with officer checks often. I was naked and sick and would have done anything to simply die. I couldn’t eat and spent most of the time shitting and puking and praying for peace. No one wrote me. No one sent money so I could call. No visits. Which didn’t matter the first month. Nothing mattered but not wanting to die. And they certainly didn’t provide me with anything to hurt myself with. Once the first month was over, I finally came to. The gravity of the situation was clear. I was stuck and facing 40 years in prison. I had never even had a speeding ticket before this. Before, Jake told me if I just admitted to doing what he had done, they’d let me out and give me probation. Should have know his lying ass was a liar. I sat and sobered up for 6 months. My birthday was spent detoxing in a cell full of strangers. Then Thanksgiving. Then Christmas. I hadn’t seen or talked to my baby this whole time. It’s a very empty feeling knowing that there was nothing I could do. No way to talk anyone into putting up the money to get me out. No one cared anymore and I fucking deserved it. 

It’s super easy to see where life went sideways. My father was wrongly accused of murdering my mother and her boytoy when I was 11. My first daughter died in my arms at 6 months. And Jake. Jake was beautiful and evil and smooth and hands down the most terrifying human being I have ever known. I could never say no to anything he ever suggested. He had a way of making me believe I wanted to do whatever it was he was doing. Shooting up morphine in a hotel room in Michigan when my baby was only 3-months-old. Jake said, “let’s go get a box of needles.” I said no. And we did. I am needlephobic. Hardcore. He had to do it for me for the first 6 months. It was okay at first. He made so much money and I was very good at being a normal person despite our addiction. Then the job went away and quickly we found ourselves homeless with a 1-year-old and a $200 a day habit. Laws were broken and he ended up gone for 19 months. I got clean and made a really good life for me and my girl. Then he got out. And I wanted my family back, believed he had learned his lesson and wanted to be the man he was in the beginning. Such fucking bullshit. 

Before I realized he was just trying to get me back for letting him sit in jail and dating a mutual friend, I woke up in a hospital with tubes down my throat. Clinically dead for 7 minutes. My eyes popped open to my baby sitting on the foot of the bed and no one else in the room. He left her there to get high. But it was too late. I was hooked and he had to hookup and all the money. It took 6 months for him to not only sell everything I had worked so hard for but this time it was heroin and homelessness in a different way than before. I was willing to break the law to get well. Dope sick is something that you would rather die than feel. So I went to insane heights to make sure I didn’t feel that. Living in scummy motels and lying to everyone to get close to valuables or a handout. No more family that I had worked so hard to earn back the trust of. No friends. Just him, heroin, and dragging my poor daughter along. That’s truly when you know no one cares about you. When they would rather disown you than take your child from you. I had her in more fucked up situations than I care to admit. Going to jail saved my life but mostly her life. This is about where the beginning begins.

Once my vision was clear in the worst jail in Indiana, I decided to ask for drug court. Everyone told me there was no possible way I’d graduate. 22 percent success rate. But I needed to relearn how to be a functioning member of society and more importantly, I had to learn how to be a good mother. The last four generations on my mother's side hadn’t raised their children. The father's parents did. Four fucking generations chose booze, drugs, or freedom over their kids. Not me. I wanted to break the cycle. So I flawlessly complete drug court in two years. And have been clean for six years now. I have so many stories I want to share but this is the first. I have to get all of this off my chest because just changing my life doesn’t feel like enough. I want to at least try to change someone else’s life. I still feel so stuck in my traumatic childhood and awful 20s. My choices weren’t ideal after I went through the total hell, that was my life, but I’m trying to make things right. Maybe no one will read my stories. Maybe none of this matters. But I truly believe in being brutally honest about myself and my past. Even when it’s raw and ugly and embarrassing. In hopes that I will be freed. In hopes that some of you will either identify or choose a different path before it gets as dark as I’ve been. Here’s to hoping.