“But You’re Still On Something”

When it comes to trying to get off of heroin, actually it’s fentanyl now, well, let’s say, opiates, because it’s all the same really. I have tried pretty much everything so when it comes to opiate maintenance drugs like methadone, suboxone, vivitrol, sublocade and subutex, yes, I not only tried them all, I have been prescribed them all. Since the first time I tried using methadone pills “met pills” is what the streets called  them then, all the way to the sublocade shot that I use now. As people who are addicted to opiates for extended periods of time we really mess up our brains and pain receptors, as well as the pleasure receptors. The purpose of the opiate maintenance drugs is not to transfer addictions, but to control that part of the brain that was so damaged. The maintenance allows for the addicted to live a normal life. I never sucked a dick for suboxone. The brain addicted to heroin is much different than a normal brain. Being addicted to heroin, and crack and meth are similar, the drug becomes the complete and only obsession. Only thing on the addictions mind is the drug. I say addictions mind, because as someone that was addicted to drugs, I hated the word addict, well and junkie, cause there is much more to us than the drug addiction.

I really did try to get clean the same year I started using heroin, that was 2008. Life could have been much different but then I wouldn’t have all of this awesome information for everyone. I did buy the methadone and suboxone off the streets, and did use subutex illicitly in a rehab environment. That is a valid point, but I also was prescribed all five of the maintenance drugs and luckily for me because the vivitrol is a shot in my ass and the sublocade is a subcutaneous shot in the abdomen. The first time I tried to get clean through a rehab place was 2011, shows how long I tried on my own and just could not get it. But I left the detox facility and was prescribed suboxone.

Initially suboxone worked well, it does help with the cravings but I was not doing much work that was useful for my recovery. I was prescribed 16mg a day originally, which is and 8 in the morning and an 8 at night, but as I recently found out; a lot of factors go into this. Diet, exercise, weight, and not taking it at exactly the same time all contribute to the buprenorphine which is the active opioid flooding the brain in waves so I would still wake up really sick, or feel nauseous. Suboxone was the one I bought the most off of the streets and the one that I knew would work to get through detox in the short term. I went to the ER from my primary doctors office when I got clean for the last time. Per the primary doctor the ER flooded me with about 32mg of suboxone to tone down how sick I was. Mind you that I puked for about 96 hours straight even after all of that. I was viciously dope sick. I was prescribed suboxone since 6 months before I got clean but I would sell my subs or I would sell my subs. LOL, That was really the most difficult part at first, I wanted to use, so there was that, and I could sell a lot of them, still use, and still have subs when I couldn’t get high. Even trying the suboxone the correct way I would get sick and having the option to take it or not everyday.

At the same time that I was deciding I want to be able to use when I want to but also I want to be able to not be sick when I don’t use. LOL. That was my idea of a perfect world back then. I decided to switch from suboxone to methadone at the clinic. No longer was I going to the suboxone clinic, now like Kid Rock, I was waiting in line at the methadone clinic. The methadone was a liquid dose that I would have to drink everyday, that was whatever and it did work. But I also could just get high on heroin on top of it. I started shooting my take home Sunday dose. I got one take home dose a week and by Monday morning I was sick. Methadone is bad for your tooth enamel and it is bad for your bones. Some people are on it and it saved them, and I think that is great. Sometimes the minor side effects from the methadone are better than being dead from heroin, so I never tell anyone to stop something that is working for them, if it is really working and only they know that. I was only at 50mg of methadone and the detox was horrible and long and it is really like two weeks of hell. I used heroin to detox off of methadone and then detoxing off of the heroin was easier. Either way, I never liked going to the clinics everyday and those programs are optional and for a lot of people having that option is not good for us. During a few of my detox and rehab center stays towards the middle of my use I would ask for subutex instead of suboxone.

Made mostly for pregnant women, subutex is suboxone without the naloxone. The naloxone in the suboxone acts as an opiate blocker. The user can no longer feel the effects of using an opiate because of the naloxone. It is also the main drug in Narcan, the life saving nasal spray or injection, that everyone should have, to reverse overdoses. The active opiate in subutex and suboxone is the buprenorphine and it is used for pain and to curve cravings. I would ask for it because it did not have the blocker we could technically abuse it and of course I was always still trying to get high. However, I am not totally sure about the science behind giving subutex to pregnant women but I think if the baby is born addicted, it’s a quicker detox process if the baby is just on the subutex. I was prescribed it a few times at the detox centers I was at but they quickly realized why I asked for subutex so towards the last 5 years I really was trying to get useful tools out of treatment instead of just using it as a pit stop to get healthy for more drugs.

In 2016 I had my car stolen and was in a high speed chase in the same week. Needless to say it was a bad May but after I bailed out in August I jumped right into treatment and they had recommended the vivitrol shot. In my ass, now mind you, vivitrol is from 2006 and was developed for alcohol dependence treatment but they found out it blocks opiate use. I was in outpatient treatment but I was also scared because I was out on bail, still with the vivitrol, I did not relapse before I was sentenced to jail time. Now out on Huber, I did relapse, so maybe I should have pushed harder for the jail to keep me on the shot. That was the first time on vivtrol, the second time was after my first overdose, there were 4 total, but after the first one February 20th, 2019, I was clean long enough to get the vivitrol shot, which was rare. The one receiving the vivitrol shot has to be opiate free for 7 to 10 days, they use to say 14 days, but most people that are struggling with addiction, that is not enough time. Anyway, besides that factor with the vivitrol, I started it in February of that year and by May I was depressed and felt suicidal which never had happened to me before that. I knew I could not use heroin so I started smoking way too much crack. That was changing addictions. I got off the vivitrol around July and by the end of August I quit the crack which was what I was hoping would happen. Again though, I was off drugs but I was not doing any work to stay clean.

Getting off the drugs for a little bit is not enough for most of us to stay clean. A lot of us need help with every part of our lives when we get clean. I think using sublocade is the best route for when it comes to being able to stay clean but also focus on other things. Sublocade is a subcutaneous once a month shot that they give me in my stomach. It kind of burns going in but then it’s fine after a few seconds. The sublocade does not have the peaks and valleys of sick feeling that I got when taking a daily medication. The sublocade releases an even dose of suboxone and getting the shot once a month is nice for me and everyone that worries about whether or not I took my medication that day. The shot may have some first month side effects where your body is just adjusting but I mellowed out the second month and then the third month they lower the dose. I have been able to live a normal life on each one of the medications.

I always hate when people who are not educated say ” you’re just substituting one drug for another.” I never had a heroin prescription. Fun fact, Bayer, you know the apsirin people, their first product was Bayer Heroin. I have been prescribed and medically monitored on the treatment plans and was able to live a much different life then the one I lived on heroin, well fentanyl. Because the heroin we think we are buying is actually just cut fentynal. It’s hardly even heroin at all anymore. These treatment programs are not substituting one drug for another. The trade off for a normal life is very much worth it. ‘But you’re still on something’ I hear all the time. To that I say 90% of the population is on some kind of medication, or smokes cigarettes or, drinks caffeine or drinks alcohol. Those are all psychoactive drugs. The trade off for a normal life is worth it.

Trying all of the opiate maintenance treatment programs was not the plan, I just kept trying to do the next thing that I thought would work. I also was not afraid to try the program again. I tried suboxone a lot of times thinking I could just “do it myself” and I did do it myself for the most part, but I had to use a team of people to help guide me, I used everything I learned in 13 years of using, treatment and rehab, I really did try it all, and I have been through it all. Really is amazing that I am even still alive. It takes a team of support to help heal the addicted mind but with the right medications, treatment and guidance, We do recover. 

“Thank You MJ”

Also read the “Pink Diary”

Hustling on the streets of a city that isn’t that big, only 600,000 in the city limits, but as dangerous as it gets. We are only 90 miles north of Chicago and definitely have our share of shootings and armed robberies. I used to tell people I was from WIsconsin, and they would think, “with the cows and the cheese” and brats too I would say. Of course, but we also had Chicago people, Chicago Violence and Chicago drugs. Milwaukee is just a big suburb of Chicago that is just in a different state. I started selling a good amount of drugs from 06’ until the end of 08’ and then the beginning of 09’ I was raided. That’s another story. I was in a pretty cool position back then when it came to the business model. I was a mess when it came to life, school, day to day, hygiene, and direction. But the business model allowed me to get fronted anything that I wanted and I was able to just make a profit and never really have to warehouse drugs or keep drugs on me for too long. Everything that I had I would sell and just make the money, it was too easy not too and I assumed very little risk at the time. 

Well so I thought. And like everything that was going on at that time it was crazy. I had been doing heroin everyday at that point and really had no clue what was around the corner next. One early afternoon my buddy that I had known for a solid two years told me he had someone that wanted some weed. Was a typical request, seemed harmless enough. I called the weed man, and my friend called the guy that wanted the weed. A few people showed up and they just wanted to see the weed and had money. Well this is my apartment, for one, I never really had people come here unless it was friends of friends and I trusted it. Well he had brought so many people from his home town to me that I thought it was just more regular college kids. I didn’t know that he had only met them once and had smoked one bowl with them ever.

Now he’s telling them to come to my apartment where I sleep with the girlfriend and MJ. Well they had no money and in a really weird turn of events they would leave and come back about five times over the next 3 hours and still had no money and each time they asked for a little bit more weed. Now mind you, I still thought they were my buddies’ good friends so I was being patient with them and I could get any amount so anything they said was possible so we just were waiting to see the money. We went back and forth for hours and at one point they said something dumb like they wanted to put the weed in there coat so they could show the “girl” who wanted it. I just wanted to see the money, we had already wasted so much time. Anyway, eventually they left for the last time. I didn’t make a sale at all, and my buddy that could get the weed left. I was talking to my buddy who knows the kids and found out that he didn’t know them at all and I actually snapped at the dude and kicked him out of my apartment.

Later that night I was just chillen with the girlfriend and MJ and all of a sudden my alarm buzzed. I had a million clients and some rang the buzzer, so I asked who it was. And they said “hey were back we have the money.” Now they had come back more than 5 times and didnt have the money so I didn’t really believe them. So instead of just buzzing them in like I had been. I had no one else there, it was just me and the family at the time. From my second floor apartment I went to the front of the building where we had a balcony. I saw one of the kids with another guy I had not seen before. He said he was the brother of the girl who wanted the weed. I was yelling down to them about not having weed anymore and how everyone left cause they fucked it up. I didn’t see anyone around but I still prefer not to scream off the balcony about my weed selling habits. I decided I would walk down stairs by myself and approach them both and just say that it was over and I would try in the morning,

As I got down the stairs and was opening the door, I saw the two guys approaching the door and out of my peripheral I saw two other men step into the doorway wearing all black. From out of nowhere a chromed out .45 was pointed right at the middle of my forehead. “Where is the weed at motherfucker?” he said. “You’re not gonna shoot me motherfucker” I said back. Except we both didn’t say motherfucker…. As I finished those words I turned around and as fast as I ever could I hit the stairs and got around the staircase pretty quick. I was always pretty fast at doing stairs but I also never was running for my life. By the time I made it to the top of the staircase I didn’t want to look behind me, I still had to get to my door, open it and get it closed and locked before the four of them pushed the door in. I vowed to myself that after the first armed robbery, that’s a different story, that the next time someone pulled a gun I was going to make them shoot me. Bummer for these 4 black guys because this white boy was not afraid to die at that point. 

I finally got to my door, which seemed like it took forever. I had got the door open and was inside. I really moved as quickly as I could. A million things ran through my mind about what might happen if they got into our apartment. Besides robbing everything, that was the least of my worries. I had a beautiful girlfriend, MJ and a lot of valuable things around my apartment. This could  be so bad if I don’t get this door closed and locked before they are able to get in. As I opened the door and fluidly got inside, I remember thinking, I couldn’t have done that better or faster if I tried. I was slamming the door and right as I slammed the door shut. 

A foot pops into the doorway stopping it from closing. As the foot made first contact with the door, I was thinking fuck. At that same fuck split second the hand with the gun came into view through the door way. It was a matter of a second before the four of the them would push the door open and my life would be flipped upside down, would they shoot me, would they rob us, would they rape her. I didn’t want to know or find out. Then. The.Craziest thing happened.

Our puppy that we only had for about 6 months at this point ended up barking viciously. 

Now MaryJane was the cutest dog ever and we never really had anyone around her that would make her aggressive. I did have her wrestle other dogs that my friends had just for fun. But we never saw MJ bark like that and instantly the gun and foot no longer were in the doorway. I was able to slam the door shut and lock it. I don’t know what would or could have happened, I just know because of MaryJane, nothing happened and she possibly saved our lives. I thought that was a pretty crazy story and I really wanted to share more about MJ with everyone. A lot of my time we spent with MJ because I didn’t work, so we really did have a bond. She could tell the situation was not right and definitely stook up for me. What a perfect doggie. I feel sad everyday about what happened to her. I miss MaryJane.

2011: inside, was by Brady St. on the Eastside; outside, is Wausau, the summer before she was killed

“Addicted”

How I even got addicted to heroin is quite the story. I spent so much time hating drugs when I was younger. What happened really is crazy. I am not here to glorify any of it, a lot of it is very intense and exciting; but some of it was also very heartbreaking. I want to inspire as well as educate. It’s not the most tragic or comedic story I will have to tell. But hopefully it’ll give u a little view into who I am. As well as giving people an idea of how it all shook down. There were so many factors that led to me becoming addicted to heroin. It was never my dream to be hooked on drugs. I definitely didn’t chose that life but now I chose to get out of it. 

My mom and I were separated when I was 4 years old, I ended up with my dad. When I was younger, I attributed my mothers absence to not wanting me, but that wasn’t true and there is way more to it. I thought it had to do with drugs and alcohol so I always swore from a young age that I would never do drugs, and wouldn’t let them ruin my life. I remember when my best friend started smoking pot the first semester of my Senior year and I was mad at him cause I thought he was ruining his life.

As a Senior in High School, I didn’t go to many parties with my friends, who sometimes would go on the weekends. I just did not want to get in trouble with my dad. My brother was in college so when I would visit him I did drink here and there and at 17 I smoked weed for the first time. That was the end of senior year, 2005, on 4/20. Kind of funny for sure, it was just me and three friends driving around in my car. They say you don’t get high your first time smoking. Well, like Chappelle said, “not me, oh not us, we were really really high.” I got so completely stoned that I put deodorant on my pants because I thought my dad would smell it and get pissed. Well I smoked the rest of the school year and into that first summer. Noone had talked to me about my ACT or going to college; no advisor nor my dad said anything so right before the end of the year I took the test and got a 24. I tested into UW-Milwaukee with just the ACT score so that was cool. The craziest part about that is, I guess on the reading part and got an 18. Wonder what my score could have been. I read more books in jail, than I did in college, true story. And wouldn’t you believe, after staying out of trouble all through high school and into freshman year of college. Four days after I turned 18 I got arrested for a pipe in Downer Woods.

Go figure, I had a semi normal freshman year of college and was really just smoking and working a little at a grocery store by my dad’s house. I had a car and some money from graduating but college was expensive and I was commuting about 20 minutes from Brookfield to the East Side of Milwaukee, it kind of sucked going to college like that at first. Then summer of 2006, about to go into my Sophomore year of college my life changed. 

I wanted to sell a little bit of marijuana and just get some free to smoke instead of spending the money I worked for to buy it. So I went and bought an ounce from the guy. After that he fronted me whatever I wanted and my business and world changed. Within a year I had quit my job and moved out of my dad’s house and to the East Side of Milwukee. Right around that time is when the craziest part of the story happened. I was driving home from a girlfriends house around midnight in Mequon,WI. I T-BONED a car in the middle of the intersection with no other cars on the road; the kid thought he could make it and smash, totalled. The next day he wanted to meet up to give me $3,000 for a Nissan Altima and I had been selling weed and I asked him if he “wanted to buy some pot.” What happened next changed everything. He asked me for 100 worth which I thought was rare. I had never been one to rob someone but I will charge someone what they think it is worth. He proceeded to pay me 300 dollars an 8th, which is about 40 dollars today, every other day for the next 2.5 years. I did the math on that one customer and it came to well over 6 figures during that time. Needless to say he never felt like I was screwing him over and he never felt like I was ripping him off. He actually brought liquor and beer to a few of my parties and we ended up being friends over that time. He just was a foreign exchange student from Taiwan and he didn’t know anyone else that had weed. I figured he would find someone right away, but when he kept coming to me and not beating my ass. I just went with it.

The problem with that was having that much money. Going into the summer of 2007 I had been starting to get pretty wild with the partying. I was already doing cocaine all day everyday, but added to that was binges of ecstasy, LSD, mushrooms, whippets, ketamine, which really had me in a wild state. No matter what I did or spent though the money was coming in. By 2008 I had a really nice place with my buddy and a girlfriend I really loved and a puppy we just got. I didn’t realize how out of control I was even with all the drugs because of the nice house we were living in and the fact that we had just gone to California on vacation and would cook out and kick it everyday. I was vulnerable and paranoid and really looking for a new high. 

I hung out with different groups of people from all over the place and a lot of people were doing oxys at that time. I had never done one but I saw people doing them and never really thought it looked fun. Honestly. But I tried half of an 80 my first time, that’s way too much. I was puking my ass off and telling everyone how good I felt every time they would ask.

A week later the same buddy had a little line of heroin and I wanted to try it, he even said, no, but let me cause I begged him to try it, after everything I had done, I just wanted to try it, just to say I tried it. Well my girlfriend found out and she was mad I did it without her. I had no idea how to get more and just kind of forgot about it, until a week later, the company that was making Oxys was going to make the OCs uncrushable. This was going to make it so hard to get pills now. That same weekend my buddy’s friend came over to trade a bunch of heroin for a bunch of cocaine that was always left in my freezer. Heroin literally walked through my front door and I had thousands of dollars to spend on “something new.” 

At first we would buy about 500 dollars worth at a time and sell it to all the people that I knew that couldn’t find pills anymore. Nothing I sold anyone killed anyone ever, but pretty much everyone I knew from around that area is either dead or clean. There were very few of us left that made it through this heroin pandemic. It is really sad because I had two good friends die early on in college, one did overdosed on a cocktail of drugs but mostly Suboxone killed him and the other buddy fell in the river when he was drunk over the fourth of July. I thought it was too young to lose friends to anything, little did I know, that was only the beginning. 

Having the money flow and new habits was a perfect storm to get very addicted very quickly. I would do such large amounts and my tolerance was very high. At first I didn’t know much about getting sick, didn’t know about how addicted I was becoming and I never really ran out for the first year so I never knew what I was really getting myself into. I had never wanted to become an addict and I was so damn smart. The fact that it was even an option makes me wonder, and the fact that I chose that, makes me sad. Eventually the life that I thought was so great was no longer and I struggled so much over the next 10 years.

I have so many stories about going through my additiction. I just hope to inspire someone to keep trying to get clean. Just never give up on yourself. Ever. So many people wrote me off as dead. I never gave up trying to get clean.

Top left: Eastside of Milwaukee, 19 years old Top right and Bottom: Brookfield 18 years old Middle left: South Beach, Miami, 19 years old Middle right: 17 years old, right before college

“What about AA and NA?”

I have been getting a lot of questions about AA and NA. Yes, I have been to both. There is really nothing I haven’t tried to get off of drugs. Well besides going to South America to have a Shaman lead me through a cleanse. I did go to Florida for rehab in 2012/2013 but there was no cleanse. I did try AA and NA though, and I actually did 90 meetings in 90 days, and then did it again. Yep, you read that right, 180 meetings in 180 days and sometimes I would go to two meetings in a day if my buddy from the halfway house would go to one after I already went. Florida was the recovery capital of the world so some of the meetings we would go to would be over 100 people. I did get some good things out of the meetings and I really did enjoy a good speaker meeting. Go figure.

 That initial time period where I really tried to do the NA program, I had 5 different sponsors and I had only about four months clean so I thought two years was long enough for my sponsor to be clean, well I had 4 relapse and the fifth went back to prison for relapsing. Needless to say it kind of tarnished my initial view of the meetings, and I eventually did relapse also because I wasn’t working any type of program. Can you believe even after all those meetings and all those sponsors, I kept trying, I was called a failure recently because of all the times I went to rehab, I call it resilient. I came back to Wisconsin at the end of 2013 and I had to turn myself into jail again. So I tried AA again in jail and I never minded the actual group part, but even in a jail AA meeting I would meet someone that I would eventually use drugs with. 

Besides meeting people in the meetings that I would use with, I would go to meetings high, I didn’t like the 12 steps, and the way they told me it would be the only way I would ever get clean. I just felt that the meetings could be worthwhile if I was able to get some healthy tools from it and just leave what I didn’t think I could use in my own recovery. Meeting people at the meetings that I would use with, that was my fault. I really should never have been at meetings if i’m high and we are all so vulnerable that it just was a perfect storm to relapse. I started out 74 days in the rehab clean and then I remember getting 120 days and celebrating with my sober house roommate. Most of the 180 meetings I went to I was high, but I was still going and still trying and still wanted a better life. I was just so sick. I knew going into the meetings that people got clean from drugs and alcohol in ways other than the meetings so when they said it was the only way, I just didn’t believe it. I think the steps are great, and the sponsor is great, and going to as many meetings as you can is great; if it works for you. Do what works for you. I just had to try so many things, so many times, and pretty much use some of what I learned every step of the way to finally get it. 

Most of the issues people have with the AA/NA meetings is the use of the word god, or higher power. Some people are not religious at all and it makes it very hard for them to use that to help them in their recovery. I didn’t grow up religious and I have since become more Buddhist then anything even though I don’t practice and I don’t believe everything, but I never was able to ask god to get me clean. I knew god had nothing to do with me using, and he wouldn’t have anything to do with me getting clean. I think it is great when people have a strong faith and they can use god as strength and ask him for advice. It’s like always having someone there, I think that would be awesome. I had no one there, and I never had god either so I was super along. Imagine that. I think it is so great if the using your higher power to pull you out of your addiction works and you are able to stay clean for yourself, and your family. I don’t want to have people turned away because we have different religious beliefs. Everyone has different beliefs, and this is just how I was raised. 

In the meetings I would notice people who really would be over the top, or at least I  thought, it seemed like they were addicted to their recovery, it was all they did and all they talked about. That is really good at first, but a person needs more interests than just their recovery. It is important to have a balance of other things you enjoy doing and people outside of recovery that you are able to connect with, as long as they don’t jeopardize your sobriety. I do know there are a lot of people that if they work a full program they end up getting it, and staying sober. The camaraderie that is at the meetings is really powerful and people are able to stay clean.

People hear that first part of the story and think we’ll you didn’t try the program fully, I actually did have 2 sponsors after Florida, the first sponsor got me through all the steps but I had started using right away anyway and then my sponsor started to use with me. The second guy I got to step four and he relapsed and ended up in prison. Luckily, after all of that, I still didn’t give up. There are really so many ways a person can get clean, from cold turkey, to locking themselves in a room for a year. I recommend some kind of therapy, and reconnecting with yourself, people you love, and the things that you love that are healthy. 

But really, please just do what works for you. Keep trying and if you keep having trouble, try something new, or try it again. I honestly went to rehab or some version of, about 40 times. I never stopped trying, and I never gave up on my own life. Everyone is different and what works for me might not work for you, or it might, or you may have a variation of a bunch of different programs in yours. No matter what you do, just keep pushing forward, never give up, and stay alive.

“What is the difference this time?”

I started using heroin in 2008 and since 2008 I have tried to get clean. Everytime I spoke to anyone regarding addiction they would ask what makes this time different? For years, I never had an answer. I never felt different many of those times, and always seemed to keep reservations when it came to my using. I had wanted to be done for years, I just never felt done, and I could feel that. My addiction had such a hold of me, wanting it, wasn’t enough.

I always wanted to have an answer, but most of the time, I didn’t feel different. It took years of self awareness, being able to recognize where I failed in the past, and continuing to try what did work. Going to rehab over 30 times was me trying until it worked. I don’t think there is anything failure about that. Each one of those times I tried, I would learn something about myself and what might work for me to finally break free from the chains of addiction. I had to recognize what I was truly doing to myself, and why I was doing it. People say I use my past to justify my decision making which led to being on heroin for 13 years.It really is the age old battle between nature vs nurture. Was I genetically dispositioned to be an addict or was it because of how I felt about myself after the sadness I felt as a child. People tell me I chose my life. I don’t think anyone wants to be addicted to drugs. And drugs should never even have been an option, I was educated too, it didn’t matter. John Locke was the first to explain that humans get their behavioral traits from “nurture” rather than nature, and that was 1690.

The history is important because it shows that I am not making this all up just so I can use drugs. I didn’t want to be on them in the first place. Everything I say, about anything that has to do with me; I get told that everyone has problems and that I can’t use my past as a reason for why my life was out of control. Even though there really is plenty of legitimacy to what I have to say. I agree I can’t use my past forever, but I really just wanted to be understood. After self-destructing and being so misunderstood for so long. I take complete and full responsibility for dealing with my issues in the worst way possible. When I started using drugs, it wasn’t a conscious decision that I was doing the drugs to mask the pain I felt inside. I was never really angry or depressed, I was just sad, sad that the four year old boy that I remember being, got left behind and no one really showed they cared. Saying and doing are much different. I know that plenty with my own son now, people don’t understand that part of the getting clean forever process is selfishly focusing on oneself in order to accomplish a much larger goal. Taking time to get my life in order after struggling for 18 years, 16 of those being before my son was born, but the time it took to get away from my old life and finally put all the pieces together.

The difference this time is all the life experience I have, the self-discovery I have done over the last few years, and really changing my focus to what I want in my life. Since quitting cigarettes and heroin on the same day I have been full of life. I have so much friction with a lot of people; especially the one’s closest to me, and I thought me getting clean would fix it. It actually got worse because I’m not as passive as I use to be. All of my life I have been learning and trying to figure out how life works. I never was encouraged to do anything as a child so I really did lose all of my hobbies. People say, I should be able to create my own encouragement, which is what I did do. When you’re a kid it is kind of important for you to have the support of your parents in order to actually do things, I never saw support like that. By the time I became 17 I had already lost everything I was, and that’s when I found the wrong way for real. Self-discovery was really the most important part, I had such low self-esteem and never saw the same thing other people see. I really had to dig deep inside myself and figure out my strengths and weaknesses in order to address them accordingly. Work on the things I don’t do well, and that will start to build confidence which is really what has been lacking.

Changing my focus was the biggest thing and I have been fighting for my life forever and I finally found a medical doctor who is up to date and current on addiction. He explained to me that the opposite of addiction is connection. It is not that simple, but for someone as complex as me, sometimes I need things just simplified. Black and white heads or tails. Make a choice, and I can’t have both. Since then I have really connected with myself, first and foremost, and that has allowed me to really connect with my son. I will never let anything stop me from being able to see him when I finally allowed. Finding myself has also brought me closer to my brother and my cousins, which is absolutely great, the main four in my life have been a challenge, but I can’t dwell on what other people don’t do anymore. That shits dead. I’m moving forward and people will be left behind. I have also been able to reconnect with friends I had since before I was 18 which was 15 years ago. It really is like starting right where we left off, so that has been great. Lastly developing hobbies I love again, like I said I always was interested in everything, and now, without chasing drugs, I have time to do all the things that I love to do, like most recently, biking(spinner), downhill skiing, and I have been trying to teach myself new things like a foreign language and how to play guitar. I also started making candles, if anyone wants one. LOL. But that is the whole point. Finding out who and what I am and what I want to be. My whole life is different now.

I’ve been able to get and stay clean so that really is the first and most important part. Realising what is important and how I want to live my life. A very common misconception was is that I was living the life I wanted to, and that I chose to live. In second grade no one has ever picked addicted to drugs for what they wanted to be when they grew up. Such a ridiculous statement from people to try and create this idea that I was doing what I wanted to. It was more of a need, it was never a want. I have no more reservations, I created a new life for myself and I have goals for the future. Everything about this time, is different.

“99 Relapses”

Everyone who has ever tried getting clean off of drugs has gone through detox. Detox sucks. It’s going to suck, there really is not a way for it to not suck. Drug and alcohol withdrawal is worse than any flu, you basically get all the way to the point of sick to death, without the dying part. Then you get better, so all you can hope for is trying to make it bearable. I have detoxed at home, in jail, in rehab and had places that specialize in detoxing people off of drugs. During detox the emotional, physical and psycological part will fuck with ever fiber of your being until you ultimately succeed or you surrender back to your addiction and use. I have been on both sides of the coin when it comes to detox. I “relapsed 99 times but I got clean 100.” The last time I detoxed was brutal, violent and I can not believe I actually made it through it all. Here is how I tried, tried, and tried again to finally get clean. I started using heroin in April of 2008 and by August 2008 I wanted to quit. In February of 2009 I was raided by Milwaukee Police and charged with four felonies. I was growing, selling weed and was one of many students on the Eastside of Mulwaukee to get raided between 2008 and early 2009. I was able to get a deferred sentence because it was my first time getting in trouble. Part of the deferment was going to my first AODA class. However, the AODA facilitators only used the mouth swab drug test and I was able to beat that for the duration of the class. I quit heroin for three days while I was in jail after getting arrested. The first time I really tried to quit was July of 2011, we had only been snorting heroin for three years at that point. I finally did get clean however as we were headed into 2021 after an improbable 2020. Never giving up on myself, regardless of how many times I failed, is the biggest asset I had.I literally tried getting clean more times than I could count the first three years of my using. I really thought I could do it on my own since I was able to quit most of the other drugs I was doing. But really, all I was doing was using all my resources and money to get more heroin. Detoxing at home those first couple of years was brutal. I still had been doing pretty well selling drugs and I had actually found someone that I was making a lot of money off of a few times a week. THat is a whole different story. But with the constant flow of money, the biggest issue my girlfriend and I had was getting it when we needed it. Since we were so new to the game of heroin we did not have the resources that one accumulates over the years. We really were at the mercy of our one drug dealer and he definitely did not keep the same hours that we did since we were both still in college at the time. We always had money to get more so stopping was only thought about when we struggled to get our fix. I’ve spent 12 hours in the shower, laying down in the bathtub, going through violently gross detox on numerous occasions. I actually used this method over the course of my full 13 years of heroin addiction. I found that the shower helps regulate temperature and at least as I was throwing up with diarrhea, I was in the bathtub so I just went with it. Noone said detox was cute. But hell has never been considered cute. Those early days of detox before I started getting privy to the fact that there were detox medications that would at least sort of make some of the detox symptoms bearable. However all I had to help with detox for withdrawals was marijuana and the shower. Towards right before I went to detox for the first time, we started being able to find like methadone pills and for the last year or so we had access to the old school stop sign Suboxone. In July of 2011, I began using needles and my girlfriend at the time wanted to get clean so bad. Once she saw me use a needle, she left. It was the initial wake up call I needed and that was the first time I openly told both my parents what I had been up too. It took three years for me to tell them and they both knew something was up but they had no idea. Once she left I called my mom, who was in Alaska at the time, and literally within 24 hours, she was at my apartment in Milwaukee. I went to detox and was prescribed Suboxone for the first time, and from the end of July of 2011 until November. I had moved to Wausau where my mom had lived and after my initial prescription ran out I started going to the methadone/suboxone clinic every morning before work and waited in line. I joked for years after that every time I had to wait in a line anywhere, that it was like the methadone clinic line. Towards the end of 2011 though I started wanting to use again, I had been doing well and thought I could use successfully this time. I will write about the different detox drugs and methods I have used to get clean in future posts as well as stories about individual times at different treatments. I have been in a strictly detox center about ten times, I was open to treatment the entire time I used and ended up in countless AODA groups, Intensive Outpatient Programs(IOP), Partial Hospitalization Programs(PHP). Per the advice of my parents I went to a 90 day residential treatment center in Florida. I completed 74 days of it and they actually said I completed the program. I ended up in and out of a halfway house for a few months after that. I ended up doing 90 in 90. That is 90 meetings, NA/AA, in 90 days. By the end of the 90 days however, I had already mentally relapsed and was going to my meetings high. I spent 11 months total in Florida and actually ended up in the residential treatment facility three more times after that, not completing the program any of those times. My main issue with groups and meetings is that I always seemed to make friends with someone as sick as I was and we would hang out and use together. It happened in my first AODA class in 2009 all the way up to 2018 in the IOP class that my probation officer made me take. I have smoked pot since I was 17 and a lot of the times I was in treatment, the facilitators would explain to me that I would not be able to smoke weed in my life either because that will always lead me to my drug of choice. I think my drug of choice always was weed, I just got side tracked one time, for 13 years on heroin. I finally realized, I do need some kind of counseling and someone I can vent to, it just would not be in a group setting. I figured out that one on one therapy with the correct professional is best for me. It also took a long time to find a therapist that was qualified in dealing with someone with my extensive drug history and childhood trauma. I think it is important for the individual to figure out if group therapy or one on one therapy is best. Everyone, regardless of if they struggle with addiction could probably benefit from some form of therapy. Finding what works for each individual is the most important thing. Sometimes it is both forms of therapy and meetings; there is no right way to get and stay clean. For every time I went to any form of treatment, I have one friend that has died. That is about 40 people, so far. I say about, because I have some friends that I can neither confirm nor deny that they are still alive. Not being able to find them though might be telling me everything that I need to know. I never gave up on myself, I knew there was a better life out there, and I knew I deserved it. I just had no idea how I was going to get there yet. Those 40 times in treatment, each one was either a detox itself or started with me detoxing. Use, withdrawal, try to detox, Use, withdrawal, try to detox, and repeat, for 13 years I would do that at home by myself. Sometimes I would make it to a friends or family members house and would hope to have support through it. But most of my attempts to detox were at home, by myself. I tried 48 times to detox by myself. To beat heroin addiction on my own. I am not everyone, I am sure some people decided they wanted to quit and just quit. I was not that kind of drug addict. I hate the word junkie too. I really want people to see the human being behind the drugs and see that there is a person who just wants to live a normal life. For so long, everyone thought I was selfish and narcissistic because my drug use came first. Which in that sentence alone, proves I am not a narcissist. A narcissist would not start a recovery vlog/blog to try to help humanity. But also my addiction came first, I didn’t come first. I was not living the life I wanted or expected or having any fun at all. Everyone thought since I did what I wanted when I wanted to, that I was doing what I wanted to do. I was a slave to heroin, heroin was in control, I have not lived how I know I should my whole life. I did have a glimpse of what life could be like if I were clean when I was so between the beginning of 2017 and the end of 2018. My son was conceived and born during that time which is my greatest accomplishment of my life. I know a lot of people may have their own crazy detox stories, I have been through trying every single way. If you don’t have the luxury of detoxing in jail. Yes. Luxury. My 11 detoxes in jail were awful. I am not going to say that it went well. I ended up in suicide watch once. But the mental aspect of knowing that there is no way in hell that you are going to escape and find drugs is pretty damn powerful. I would start ‘feeling’ dope sick after about 16 hours when I was on the streets. In jail, I lasted 54 hours before I started withdrawals and that was all because my mind knew there was no way to get any drugs. I told my mom after a few of the jail detoxes that as much as it sucked, it was nice to be off of all drugs for a while. Literally I have gone through every kind of detox possible. Now how do I deal with detox? Detoxing from drugs and going through withdrawal to finally get clean is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. There were sometimes, some years, I just surrendered to my addiction and knew I was going to use it because there just was not any other way to live for me at that moment. A person truly has to be ready to get clean, but that is not the only thing, because remember I wanted to get clean in 08’, that was not the issue, the issue was me and my solution was heroin. While a person goes through withdrawal from drugs and alcohol their bodies are detoxing and the emotional, phyiscal and psycological torture you go through is more intense than anything more people have experienced in their lives. The emotions I would go through as I would detox were vast and could really change in a split second. I always preferred having someone supportive around just in case there was an emergency, and nobody wants to go through detox alone. Just make sure to warn the person about how irritable you might become and the dramatic mood swings that will occur. My biggest emotions while getting clean were always sadness, mostly just so sad for myself that I let this happen, and that I just felt all alone and that I really did not matter to anyone. Also, the guilt and shame I felt for all the things I had done during my last relapse all came crashing down on me at once which is really hard to take when someone is so fragile. Then there are feelings of joy and happiness, because finally, I was taking the steps I needed to get my life together. The best thing to do I say, is feel it, really feel it, every single emotion. Use all that feeling that is pouring out of you. Finally feeling after all the time numbing myself and I really tried to reflect on what kind of life I wanted and what I needed to do to get there. I had feelings like this everytime I detoxed, the key for me was, everytime I relapsed or detoxed, I would learn something new that I could use the next time to maybe, just maybe get to a point where I can live without shooting heroin into my arm all day. For so long, I was young and really did not understand the psychological part of why I was using. I really thought, hey, if I can get through the physical detox part I will be good, it’s the only part making me use; I thought. The physical detox is awful, it’s painful, violent and lasts about four to seven straight days. Most withdrawal does not occur for about 24 hours after use depending on a multitude of factors. I can hear people screaming out how much longer or shorter they lasted when it came to withdrawal. But I was just picking an about number. A day after use, the user can expect to be at least starting withdrawals if they haven’t already. The physical detox part, means that your body is physically dependent on the drug, making it so without the drug, you really cannot function normally, and long enough without it your body begins to withdraw. The physical withdrawal starts with sweats, and what I like to call the eebeegeebees, lol, in which you just feel uncomfortable in your own skin. Literally withdrawal is like dying from the flu, without the dying part. As the withdrawal comes over me my stomach would tighten up, I would feel pukey but not puke quite yet. As the full blown sickness takes over, the throwing up and diarrhea begins along with the sweats, and shakes and restless legs. When I said I spent 12 hours in the shower puking, I was not exaggerating, puking bile for 12 hours, I felt like I just got out of the ring with Mayweather and I went through that many times. Over the years I would drink milk so when I puked it was at least curdled milk instead of stomach bile for hours. Nothing cute about detox. Then after the first 100 hours, you slowly start to start feeling a little better. Some of the hardest part for me was just being so tired and not being able to sleep at all. I went 60 days without sleeping at night. After no sleep at all for the first three weeks, the nights I could doze off, I would sleep maybe a half an hour and then would wake up just drenched in sweat. 60 days, but that was in 2015, I will get to that year in a different post. Then comes the psychological toll that weighs on a person throughout the detox process. The anxiety and depression as well as the constant voice of the drug saying that all you need is a little and you won’t feel like death anymore. That little voice has gotten to me so many times, I would even get through 2,3,4,5 days of extreme detox, and then just get it in my head that I was going to use, and then there was absolutely no stopping me. The constant anxiousness to use the drug as well as the anxiety from the life I created, sometimes would be too much to bear. The depression for not living up to my potential and for what I put my family and friends and girlfriends through would also be too much to handle sometimes. Trying to get clean, and then having all of these feelings all of a sudden. It gets to just be too much and that is why I would relapse. As you start to get clean and analyze your life, the guilt and shame for things also comes smashing you in the face like a train. I like to say that if a person can not forgive you for what drugs did to your life, and recognize that person is not who you really are. What happens as drugs take over our bodies and minds we start to do things that we normally never would.Only way to start healing is to forgive yourself for things that have happened. I wrote the story about my dog being murdered and it took me a long, long time to forgive myself for that. I forgave the girl that was responsible for what happened, before I forgave myself for not knowing it was happening and stopping it. I am one of the largest advocates for the benefits of medical marijuana and CBD, just can not argue with the facts. Using weed for detox has been part of my routine since the beginning. I think pot helps calm the nerves, calm the mind, calm the stomach and slightly allows the pain to subside. Weed is not going to stop the withdrawal and without more help it is going to be the worst few days of your life. But if you do plan on trying to detox at home there are a few things I picked up over the years that would help. Again, nothing was full relief, the last time I detoxed I ended up in the ER and they flooded me with suboxone but I was still sick for four days straight until the suboxone caught up. I had a few things I thought helped a little bit, nausea meds(zofran) and blood pressure meds(clonidine) consult your doctor before taking any medications please. I just want to share what I did, both of those medications are safe and not addictive but before you mix it with other meds you may take, please talk to your primary care physician. The physical detox and emotional part of the detox experience does both calm down as the clean days count up. The best advice I have for a comfortable and tolerable detox is deciding whether or not to use something like suboxone, methadone, vivitrol or sublocade which is the suboxone shot. I’m going to write a future post on my experience with each, because yes, I have tried them all at one point during my recovery attempts; suboxone I was actually prescribed three different times, and I was on vivitrol two seperate times. I told you I never gave up on myself. Whether you use one of those four to stay off of heroin or not, I AM PROUD OF YOU. Anytime you take nasty, cut, dirty street drugs out of your life, it’s better than the alternative. I hate when people say a person isn’t clean because they still take something. They do that so they can live, they chose life, so whatever they have to do to keep hard street drugs out of their body, I support. The drugs prescribed by a doctor will be monitored and based on the other aspects of one’s treatment program can be slowly weaned away. Some people might have to be on something for the rest of their lives. That is perfectly fine, it’s better than the alternative. The biggest problem I always had was other people telling me that they knew what was best for my recovery, what they wanted was for me not to be dependent on anything, and for a long time I thought that is what I had to do. I relapsed everytime I tried it someone else’s way. I always took direction, I was open minded and willing and I am not talking about NA or AA because I never was able to use those meetings to my advantage like others are able to. Some of the treatment plans that help one person, may not help another person. It is important that everyone has their own individual treatment plans, based on need, support, strength, knowledge and what the individual has already gone through. The last thing I had to get rid of so that I knew I was done. Like I know in my soul that I am done with heroin forever. But the last thing i had to do to get through all of this mentally, was no more reservations about still wanting to use. Meaning, for so long I kept a drug dealers phone number. For so long I couldn’t say “I am done using heroin.” Today, I can say that I am forever done with heroin and now my goal is to encourage people to continue trying to get clean and give hope to those who don’t think it is possible. I hated listening to the righteous motherfucker that got clean and thinks that he has the answer for everyone. That is not me, I just experienced so many different things during my active addiction, I thought maybe my story might be able to help someone. Each relapse I learned something about myself or about my addiction and I just kept building the pieces together that I had learned from my experiences, until they all fit. I used to think that the physical withdrawal part of the detox was the hardest part. Turns out it was dealing with myself everyday that was the hardest part. I finally was able to get past all the roadblocks, finally face my demons and realize that what I was doing is being self destructive because I didn’t value myself. I said before they flooded me with suboxone until I stabilized which took five mizerable days. I stayed on suboxone until I could get the sublocade shot, which is the suboxone shot once a month. I see my Suboxone doctor every 28 days to get my shot and he has really been the best doctor I could ask for when it comes to my recovery. Both my doctor and therapist are weed advocates and since I would never be prescribed anything strong for my anxiety, they both recommended that I use marijuana for medicinal use. I am in therapy twice a month with someone that is educated in childhood trauma, which I will get into in a different post, addiction. Those two people along with my own mindset and motivation have helped me create a new life for myself. I still struggle with life, the people in it and myself. But after my experiences and everything I learned I am able to use those tools everyday in order to stay on course for what I want for the rest of my life. I exercise everyday, I eat well, I try to help others with anything I can, and I am back to being good to myself. I forgot who I was for too long, and I was destroying myself because of how others made me feel. I have so much to offer by sharing my experiences, hope and encouragement with the world. I wouldn’t wish one relapse on my worst enemy. Let alone “99 relapses.”

My son and I in Door County

“Alive”

I used to think it was all me, that I was the one that created who I became. And it’s not fair to just point the finger at one reason or purpose or person for why I became addicted to heroin. My abandonment issues created self esteem issues, and those were never dealt with properly. I was such a cool young child and I literally did love everything that life had to offer. I was really interested in a little bit of everything and of course I had interests that I was really passionate about, mostly football. I really did have so many interests, and maybe it is not fair to blame my childhood for having the life I did. But as a kid I was really the only one that I had and didn’t have someone that was supportive of the things I wanted to do. Can’t say I would have played professional football, but at least I could have tried out for the high school team. I had no support to do anything and that shattered my confidence. I have had feelings of inadequacy for a long time. I have said that statement over the years and most people don’t really understand why. I had to really do a self inventory on the things that I was and the things that I wasn’t in order to figure out what was best for my future. It all has to do with how I look at myself, the worth I give myself. Because I didn’t like who I was, it was easy to turn to drugs and girls to escape myself. Once I started smoking, that turned to selling weed, which turned to selling coke, molly, acid, X, shrooms, K, and all the pills. I really was like, “let mikey try it” because once I decided to experiment with drugs I wasn’t just doing a little. I ate like a half ounce of shrooms at once, I took 100 hits of LSD in three days, the first time I did ecstasy, I ate nine rollers and ate six hits of acid. That’s just so you know how fucked up and sick I was. I hate war stories and people trying to say their addiction is worse than the next persons. I would do everything to the extreme which should have been a telltale sign of my addictive personality. But. Within one week of me trying Oxycontin for the first time, I tried heroin, and a week later a heroin dealer walked through my front door to trade an half ounce of heroin, for an ounce of cocaine with my buddy. My cocaine dealer left his supply in my freezer. Never had more than a few ounces at a time, but at 19 years old that was crazy. Once the kid with the heroin, cause he was my age at the time, came into my life it was all but over. Once I began using, it really was like heroin was always part of my life. After that point I just started to do it everyday and as soon as my girlfriend saw me do it, she wanted to try it. We had already sold and did all the other drugs together, there was no way we thought heroin was going to be that much worse. My whole life I was told drugs were bad, and as I grew up and started experimenting with them I realized I could still function on most all of them. I just thought I could control heroin the same way. I didn’t give a shit what people thought anymore, it was great, and at first, I had money and I was still in school. I had my own place, a beautiful girlfriend, our puppy, and rarely got sick because we had money. At first we were using it and we became semi sustainable. The biggest issue was our dealer being available when we needed him to be and that was really why within a few months of starting her and I both really wanted to quit. We first tried to quit in August because in September my brother was taking me to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday. The sickness was unbearable and I was so new to detox, I had no idea what I was doing.Then September came and I was not going to miss Vegas. So, I taped heroin to my nut sack so I could bring it with. I money so bringing enough was not the issue. The biggest issue, besides the tape on the nuts, was that I flew on my birthday, which is 9/11. Quite the day to fly and smuggle things onto an airplane, but that was already how desperate I was, and that was only the beginning. Literally on the plane ride there I did half of it, because I am me, and that’s what I do. I did have a blast on the trip and it really was the best 21st birthday ever. Everyone wants to go to Vegas for their 21st birthday. I got to live it, but was I really living being a slave to heroin. After that first trip, I realized vacations were gonna be really hard to take if I did not plan accordingly. Over the course of my addiction I missed out on so many weekends and trips because I could not handle being away from the drug for that long. Christmas that year we went to Gulf Shores, Alabama with a friend and some other people. My girlfriend and I brought our dog MJ and heroin and Suboxone and we all drove there. Spent the week on the beach and we thought if we run out we will do Suboxone and we won’t have any other options. Well, we lasted the week, and when it was time to go, I got us back in 14 hours, yes, I drove straight through, we were both sick. Needless to say, that was my last trip until I got shipped to Florida for rehab in October 2012.The climax of 2011 and 2012 I have explained in some of my other writing but during all that time I really was lost and just looking for any guidance. I had no idea what to do. In June of 2011, the girlfriend of four years left, I moved and got clean on Suboxone for a few months. Then I relapsed, got a new girlfriend, and 2012, she murdered my dog MaryJane. I didn’t find it out until four months later that she did it. Did not help that during all of 2012 I started stealing on a massive level and was charged with seven cases in six counties throughout Wisconsin in the October. We lived in Wausau, but the drugs were five times cheaper in Milwaukee, so what did I do? I drove to Milwaukee everyday for about six months straight, 186 miles one way. And I drove that twice in one day twice. It was always a round trip situation but two roundtrips in one day. Talk about sick….Being sent to Florida was an experience, a new city, new people, new me, right on the beach. It was perfect, at first, it seemed. But wouldn’t you know it, there’s drugs in Florida too. After the year I had in 2012, my 2013 in Florida was not much better. I was using new drugs with new people, and it all really seemed like a new feeling, but the same me. I really did have a fun time at some points, but me getting shipped across the country during such a difficult time was definitely the wrong answer. I have learned that the opposite of addiction is connection, sending me to Florida alone was the opposite of that. The worst part is these places were all highly referred by people in the addiction community and it sounded like the right idea. Now not only are a lot of those rehabs closed but some got in trouble for insurance fraud right around where I was, the one I went to shut down last year.Florida had new people, and new drugs that weren’t common in Milwaukee. Florida took my addiction to another level because there was black tar, and dilaudid that I had never done before. So not only was I just getting clean for the first time ever, I was also able to start anew in West Palm Beach. I thought well, this time I am going to use it successfully. Unlike Milwaukee, Florida didn’t have needle exchanges at the time. We had to buy needles from a pharmacy chain. Well, there were a lot of times when my girlfriend at the time would find my ‘kit’ and throw it all away. The issue was that the dope man was down the street and the pharmacy was about five miles past him. Twice I went through to pick up the poison I needed and because I did not have a needle to use I would look around on the ground for an old one. It did not even cross my mind for a second to even rinse it out, I got my drugs and used the needle, without hesitation. That stupidity actually followed me into 2014 when I was back in Milwaukee and I did it there too but it was because I did not plan out my use properly. Sounds foolish to say it that way, but I didn’t have a needle again and I found one. This time I rinsed it out though, like that mattered…I used throughout 2014 after I got out of jail in April, after doing 219 days. Another bad year, with another girlfriend, but after the girl murdered MaryJane I only dated a woman who did not use heroin. That was a good and bad thing, good for my addiction, bad for the girl who had to put up with me. During that year I ended up in jail again. That relationship ended and actually I tried to get back into college that January and finally finish. I was doing well at first and thought I should get a student loan. I spent the 6,000 dollars in 20 days and had to medically withdraw from classes. Dropping out again, after being a senior since 2008 and after being in college until 2011. I was doing very well too, my addiction had won again. As I dropped out of school that Spring, I left the city and I did try to get clean, but I just was not ready and I actually still had my place that had been paid for already. I went back to the city and with no money and no drugs, I had to figure out the next plan. It was just the end of March in Wisconsin and if anyone knows its fucking cold still, but I had ran into a guy who was my age and was panhandling and making really good money to support his drug habit. The same one as me, so we joined panhandling forces and literally we would share about 500 dollars a day on heroin and crack. We smoked crack and shot heroin in the alley on 13th and Galena in Milwaukee. That was my everyday from March until July when I went back to jail, this time, it was for stealing textbooks. I have so many stories, so maybe I will get into that part of the addiction in a different post. But I stayed in jail until November of that year and when I got out I really thought I was ready to quit for good. I moved to Port Washington, WI trying to get away from the city life and I actually started out pretty good.Two days after Christmas that year, the only Grandparent that I ever knew had a stroke and passed away a few days into 2016. Within a week I had relapsed and for whatever reason everyone thought I was ‘fine’ cause I said so. Very odd. But that first part of 2016 was rough for me and everyone around me, a different girlfriend at this time, she actually became the mother to my son in September of 2018 but so much had gone on before that. May of 2016, was a month to remember. The beginning of the month was normal, me using heroin and lying and denying it. On May 17th I had my car stolen on 22nd and Highland in the ‘hood’ and literally a week later in the same area, in the same car, I started the high speed chase that caused me to become a felon. They thought my car was still stolen and I did not know. A nine mile high speed chase on the highway during rush hour north on I-43. I literally was on the shoulder and I got away. I was wanted for five days until the girlfriend called the cops because I was using drugs in the house again. I ended up in jail and was revocated for the fourth and last time. I might do a post on how that two weeks shook down, but it is a whole different story, but it is pretty crazy how everything happened. After 2016, the lifestyle I was living had changed drastically, I still used drugs after that and was still very addicted, but in my mind it was better because. I was in jail until July of 2017 and when I got out I was completely clean from all drugs. I actually maintained my clean date from April of 2017 until November of 2018. That relapse November was the one of the worst, it carried into 2019, and it is true, the relapses got shorter with more time in between them but you really do start off right where you left off. Most important part to know is if you relapse, your tolerance is not the same as it was when you were using, so just be mindful of that. My son was very young and I had a different girlfriend at the time and with all of the drama surrounding me, I overdosed for the first time on February 20th 2019. I was put in jail on a PO hold and when I got out, the overdose actually scared the shit out of me, I went and watched the body cam video of the police officer saving my life. Nine minutes of panic, and all that narcan and I finally came back to life. But I was yet to be alive. Like I said that overdose scared me from heroin for nine months, but I was smoking crack that whole summer by myself and I actually cleaned up in September and I was doing good until Thanksgiving night after dinner. An old girlfriend asked if I wanted to get together and we did. She was doing percocets and I thought after that long I could just do it and be fine. Well within a month I was back on heroin, a few weeks later I lost my job and then the Coronavirus took over the world. If that’s the reason enough for me to keep using and all summer, with no car, I would bike 25 miles one way to the city to pick up drugs, I even did it twice in one day a few times. Thats over 100 miles on a bicycle as a heroin addict….Talk about being tan. I did that all the way up until December 4th of 2020 and the next day I started my last detox I would ever have to do.The lengths and depths I went to protect my addiction and to feed my addiction sicken me to this day. I never felt like I had a lot of support from the people close to me, and when they would try it really was not much help. I lost all my good friends because I was on drugs, and then all my drug friends died, so I felt very alone for a long time. I truly had to forgive myself and try to make amends where I could. I never was much for the 12 steps, but the basic principles behind each are what I did follow. I will do a post on what methods I all tried, and what the difference is this time because I was asked for years. “What is the difference this time?” And For so long, I never had an answer for that, but I do now.

“Pink Diary”

During college I lived on the East Side of Milwaukee and was going to school at UW-Milwaukee. I had been selling pot and pretty much anything I could make me money. In spring of 2008 I had been dealing for about three years, and was finishing my Junior year of college and thought I had everything under control. What does everyone do when they have it all under control? They get a dog. So, I ended up getting a dog. Meanwhile, I had a girlfriend at the time, so the dog was for her and for me. There are going to be many more stories to come, some that includes the three years we had MaryJane together up until 2011. In 2011, my addiction grew to the point where I ended up using needles for the first time. Because I started using needles, and my girlfriend wanted to get clean, she ended up leaving. We had been snorting heroin for 3 years, through all the crazy shit that happened. She was finally done and since I was getting worse, not better, she left. That was the first time I went to detox. She is still clean from heroin. After our breakup I moved; to Wausau, Wisconsin, great city….. I ended up moving up there and staying with my mom at first until I was able to get a job and a place of my own. I had moved around July and by August I was already working and was doing pretty good on the Suboxone program. I finally did get a place and my dad helped me get set up. Again, I thought things were going really well. At first I biked 15 miles to work and left MaryJane at home, which was nice for my Mom until I moved. MJ really was a sweetheart and just made everyone happy. I got MaryJane through a friend I use to buy large amounts of weed off of. MaryJane was half German Shepard, and quarter Rottweiler and a quarter Lab and I would always say the best parts of each. She saved my life once for sure, and who knows how many other times, when she was the only one there to wake me up. MJ had been stepped on or something before we got her and the second toe on her left front paw was missing. So it was the cutest thing, when it rained, that paw would have three toe prints, instead of four.Eventually, I was doing so well, that my Dad got me a car and I drove to work after that. At work I did really well from about August until November and through a buddy that I still talk to, I met a girl and at first she seemed really cool. During this time I was just smoking and trying to sell a little bud to support how much I smoked. I was working and making enough money to support myself and my doggie. Then the girl I met at work would hang out and smoke and eventually we hooked up and then started just always hanging out. Except well……… Well I would go to Milwaukee to see my ex because she wanted to see MaryJane, and well I was picking up heroin. I had been making good money and after I was given the car, I figured I could try to use it successfully because I had the money and thought I could figure it out this time. How to use and work and not let my family find out. I thought I could do all of that successfully. I would get paid every two weeks and would head down to Milwaukee which is 186 miles one way. I still remember that and it was nine years ago now. While I would leave, the girl that I was kickin it with would stay at my house until I got back. I could no longer afford the house I was renting so I had to move to a one bedroom upper on the other side of Wausau. For a while it seemed like everything was normal when I would leave. I had no clue but while I was gone the girl at my house started doing things to MaryJane, hoping something happened to her. MJ must have been the toughest dog in the world. Not one day did I think she was sick. I was on heroin, but I really just had no idea. My mom had distanced herself from how bad my addiction was, but I wish I would have just let her have MJ, knowing I couldn’t take care of her. MJ would never bite anyone unless they threatened me.Every time I was gone I had no idea what was happening to MJ. The first time something happened I was still living in the first house. I had arrived back from a day trip to Milwaukee, it took about six hours total if I drove the speed limitish, and MaryJane was not in the house or outside in the yard. The girl was inside though, I’m just gonna call her that from now on, so I asked her where MaryJane was. She said “she got out”, I asked what happened and why she did not call me. She said “she just broke free and ran”, I said why was the gate open, and why did you not put her leash on her before you let her go. MJ weighed maybe 50lbs. She said something like I didn’t see if she got out of the gate or if she jumped the fence. Which she could probably do pretty easy, but remember when I said she lost a toe. She would protect me, but she was always timid when it came to things like that. It is much easier, now, to look back and be like what the fuck was I thinking. But with a clouded drug mind, and wanting to trust that a person could never be that evil. It wasn’t even a trust or not trust thing because I really had no idea. I just thought, well maybe the gate was open and she slipped free. I thought well maybe the whole thing is possible. Then not shortly after the veterinarian called, and said someone had brought MaryJane in and she had been hit by a car. The veterinarian fixed her up and my step mom and dad paid for her to get fixed up. The second I got there MJ was wagging her tail and licking my face, with her busted chin. Hit by a car, and she only got 4 stitches in her chin. Everything seemed like a big accident and now I had her back. And remember, I had literally just got back home from the city. I only knew she wasn’t home for about 10 minutes because I had just got back. I keep trying to justify why I was not there to protect MJ, and I hate that. I feel guilty everyday that I wasn’t there to protect her and stop that monster from doing what she was doing to her. I really just did not know. I hated myself for a long time for not knowing what actually shook down this first incident. It’s easy for people to judge, because of how I tell the story and the fact that everyone knows what ultimately happened. Why she did not call me when MJ got free and why I didn’t think about that at the time. Still messes with me. But like I said, I was so fucked up on drugs and literally not even ten minutes after I knew, and the Vet and my Mom were calling because our phone numbers were on MaryJanes tagThen the second time, It had been about a month or so, just after MJ was healed from getting hit by a car and I came home and the whole bedroom was wrecked. Which I thought was odd, however, this time MJ was home and the girl wasn’t. The television was knocked off stand and the stand was knocked over and MJ had a huge bump on her head. I immediately took her back to the vet. Same vet as before, and the vet said she thought it was an ear infection that may have moved. To the middle of her head. The Vet ended up draining the bump of the fluid, packing it with gauze and putting a cone around MJ’s neck so she couldnt mess with her head. MJ was such a good sport for those two weeks. She was really an amazing dog. It was just a very odd situation and of course the girl said nothing. Then the vet drained it and put a cone on MJ’s head. I was not buying the ear infection but I went the wrong way with my thought process. Because, again, I never thought anyone I knew could ever be so evil. I had peanut butter on the TV stand and thought it was possible that MJ went for the peanut butter and it knocked the TV on her head or the peanut butter itself hit her. I did not really know what to think but the Vet did not think it seemed odd and again said nothing about any kind of potential abuse. Just two incidents that just happened like the rest of life occurs. It was not impossible and without anyone telling me that they thought it could have been foul play. I just moved on and continued using and thinking everything was ok. All of what happened before really was not the girl trying too hard to get rid of MaryJane. And what happened next should have woke me up. But again, heroin was the main focus and nothing was going to stop me from using. Then, one day not too long before June 4th, I came around the corner from the bedroom to the bathroom in our little one bedroom upper. There she was pinning MJ to the ground with her knee on top of her. I am so not a violent person whatsoever, I am very against any form of domestic violence or any situation in which someone physically assaults a person for a reason that doesn’t condone it. Instantly I grabbed the girl up and pinned her to the wall and was like what the fuck. The girl said MJ pissed on her. Well MaryJane never pissed inside or shit or anything ever. I was like if you have an issue with her, you come get me and I will deal with MJ. I also said if you make me choose, i’m choosing MaryJane, so don’t make me pick. Just get along with her, she is a dog and doesn’t do anything wrong. I never should have said that in hindsight, and why I ever let MJ stay with her after that, I will never know. It took me a long time to forgive myself for that as well. I just never saw the girl do anything else ever, and I knew the girl didn’t like MaryJane, but MJ never really showed it towards her. MJ didn’t ever seem overly afraid of the girl and never showed any signs of being sick at all or getting thin or anything like that. She never lost hair and never was sick at all. One time in Milwaukee she picked a used condom up and I had to pull it out of her mouth, so I knew she ate weird shit sometimes. MJ maybe puked three times that whole year. I just didn’t know or just never wanted to believe it. Heroin. Sucks.Then one day my dad came up from Milwaukee and we went to a mexican food place and I got a haircut because I wasn’t spending my money on cutting my hair and I had therapy, my first and only session that year. Sean called when we were getting food which actually was the last thing we did before we went home. I had given the girl my cell phone so she texts my dad phone and says “she just shit”. Mind you, MJ never did that in the house, ever, so then I was worried and my dad and I headed home. I told the girl to just leave her alone and I will be right there. I got home and as my dad and I pulled up the driveway I was looking to the left as we went up the driveway and past the building to the back area where the wooden staircase leading to our door was. As the porch came into my line of sight, I noticed MaryJanes legs hanging off of the porch. She did not move at all as we pulled up which, if anyone has a dog knows, if someone is there, then the dog is going to move. I jumped out as fast as I could and ran up the stairs. I found my beautiful MJ on my upstairs porch dead.The girl was inside texting. Instantly my dad thought she did it. I defended the girl, because again I thought there was no way that someone could be that evil. Wow, I was naive, immature, irresponsible and fucked up on drugs. That made me unaware of what was going on right in my own home and immediately we took MaryJane to the vet to see what they said the cause of death was. I guess I just needed the proof, I could not just jump to that because I just did not believe it.The vet said MJ did not seem poisoned and there were no signs of abuse. It was odd because MJ had three cuts on her that were not there that morning when I was playing fetch with her. However they were not bleeding and the Vet did not think that those puncture wounds had anything to do with MJ’s death. The Vet also determined that MJ’s glands were not dried up at all so she was not given rat poison or anything like that, so the Vet all but ruled out poisoning, after the 150 dollar autopsy my dad paid for they said they could do a 1,500 dollar autopsy to find out the exact cause of death but with all signs kind of ruling out foul play. We decided to just have MJ cremated and just say goodbye. My dad did call the cops on the girl and the cops came out and questioned everyone and they also came to the conclusion that it was just an incidental death. That was June 4th 2012, I was devastated and what gave me comfort was the fact that maybe MaryJane could tell how sick I was and let herself go to save me because I could hardly even take care of myself. If I only knew what that girl was doing the whole time. The girl even consoled me after, because I was very upset, I was still on drugs but after four years with MJ, being together everyday, because I didn’t work, it was so hard to not have her around anymore, I left her dog bowl and food out until I abandoned that place and moved to Milwaukee. My dad knew the girl did it but we had no way to prove it and I still did not believe it. I wish we had been able too, because my life just got worse after I lost the girlfriend I dated for four years and the dog I had for four years within 11 months.2012 was a wild year for my addiction, I took it to new depths that I had never been a part of before. I began stealing and my lucrative Walmart heist cheme was foiled. On October 12th 2012 we were both arrested for retail theft. The girl was my accomplice for all of the thefts that I was charged with. After that first arrest I was hit with six retail theft cases in five counties in the same month. We were using heroin the whole time, from the first time she stole some out of my stash in the original house I lived in, all the way to when we got arrested. Was all of 2012 and a little bit into 2011 when we started using together. We were arrested and my parents went to the foreclosed house we had been staying at on 69th and Burleigh in Milwaukee. The house had been owned by a friend of my dads who allowed us to stay there until she officially sold the house. The ladies house we were staying at was actually the person who got to it first. The lady had called my dad and said she had our belongings and he could come pick up some of the things. As they arrived to pick up our things, she presented them the Pink Diary. The same pink diary that the girl had the whole time we were together, the same pink diary she wrote in every day. The same pink diary that I never read ever not once because that is who I am. To me a woman’s purse and her diary are off limits. Just a privacy, personal thing. Everyday I wish I was more like some people, yes, I wish I would have read it but it was and is not who I am. That is my integrity, even on drugs, just never would do that. I did not read the diary. Wish I had. Maybe not though. I probably would not have been ready for what was in it. As my dad and step mom read what the girl had written, they were sickened, appalled and outraged. Immediately they were contacting Wausau Police. I am going to have “quotes” around all of her direct quotes that are still concreted in my head. All of the other situations that occurred during the time the girl was in MaryJane and my life, were explained in the Pink Diary. In the diary the girl explains how she let MJ out of the back yard and kicked her and MaryJane ran. As MJ sprinted out of the back yard and over the sidewalk into the road. Smash! MaryJane got hit by a car, “I wish she would have been killed when she got hit by the car.” Sickening. There was so much in the diary that I never saw and so much that I am sure I did not want to see. When I took MJ to the Vet for the bump on her head. The diary said that the girl had chased MJ around and beat her in the head with a glass bottle because MJ was getting on her nerves. The bottle did not knock MaryJane out and the girl left because she could not deal with MJ anymore. The Pink Diary then explained what the girl had been up to while I was gone getting heroin in Milwaukee. She had poisoned MJ for two months with pain pills and whatever she could find under the sink that might cause MaryJane to die. MJ had puked up pills one time the whole time I was with the girl and since I had to pull that condom, used, out of her mouth a random pill was not as alarming as it should have been. Underneath our wooden porch there was the garbage and I always just attributed anything weird she ate to her going through the trash. Which she never did, but could have once I guess. The point is for her to eat something and puke up a random pill once, just did not seem unusual. ” the pleasure I get from watching her whimper as a pour drano and bleach down her throat is like no other.” Sick fuck! That line made me want to catch a more serious felony. I wanted to kill her. I luckily forgave her by the time she got out of prison or I would have killed her, I needed to forgive her so I could begin to heal. That was about 2015 when I was finally able to make peace with everything related to her role in killing MaryJane. Forgiving myself for not being aware of it or stopping it. I think that is what this is all about. The cops charged her with serious crimes instantly. She was charged with Felony Animal Cruelty and Felony Poisoning an animal. As the cops were doing their job, the media was doing their job and as the story broke. I had made my plans to finally go to Florida for rehab, which is another chapter of my life, that I will get to. MaryJanes beauty, and innocence incorporated with her horrific demise captivated the city, then the state, then it was on Good Morning America and in USA today. I was of course part of the story, and I was known as the boyfriend, and MJ as the boyfriend’s dog. The media had dropped the Jane part in MaryJanes name and would just start calling her Mary which I also thought helped resonate with people. The name Mary was such an uncommon dog name, even though it was not really her real name. It really became a huge deal across the world. I started receiving emails from everyone and everywhere, I had emails from all over the world. It was hard because nine out of ten people were very supportive, and then you had the few that really thought that I had something to do with it, or I knew and I did nothing to stop it. Which could not have been further from the truth. I had no idea and no one in my family claimed to know or think anything until after the fact. A lot of good that did for MaryJane. However, something good did come out of MaryJanes murder, because that is what it was. During the initial trial over 100,000 people signed an online petition for her to get the max sentence which at the time was only 5 years which was definitely not fair, also there were about 15,000 emails and 1,000 handwritten letters sent to the judge recommending the girl get the max sentence. This was some of the most reoccurring news in the Wausau area from 2012 until 2014 and the girl has actually been in the news since so the case is brought up periodically. You know how I said something good came out of MJs murder. Well, in Wisconsin they created a new law which requires the Veterinarian to report any suspicious injuries they see to the authorities. We had gone to the Vet twice in not a very long time, but after each incident we had to do follow up, so we were at the Vet quite a bit. Nothing was said ever about any sort of of abuse. She was on heroin. That was her excuse to the judge. inwhich the judge said he had done over 250 heroin related cases, and never once have they seen animal cruelty like this. MJ seemed to be fine everyday to me which made all of this just seem so impossible. The news got word of the puncture wounds and the poisoning so the news article was “Woman poisons dog, then slits dog’s throat,” because of the puncture marks on MJ’s chest. “she just wouldn’t die”. The quotes I remember, haunt me in my conscious and my subconscious. MaryJane was my baby girl, before I had my son, my baby boy. It was devastating I let this happen, it was devastating that I let someone get close to me that could do something like this.Just did not make any sense to me.I understand everything that was said about me. I may not have like it, but I was the owner of MaryJane, she was my responsibility to keep safe and I was not able to do that. I know the story is horrific and I was truly hated by a bunch of people that I did not know. Everyone close to me saw me with MJ<3 and knew there was no way I had any clue about anything that was going on. They knew I would not allow that even 1% , if I knew about it. I was high and that will never be a legitimate excuse for what I allowed to happen under my watch. I did not protect MJ like she protected me. MaryJane had saved my life once in 2009 while I was selling weed. I will get to that real world true story as well. There were probably a hundred times in which MJ saved my life by waking me up. There are a lot of fucked up pieces to this story. It made my cry to write some of this as I was coming to some of the points in the story. But just to add to the fuckedupness, one of the times MJ woke me up during a nod out session with the girl, the girl had overdosed and was about to die. Well with MaryJane waking me up I was able to use Narcan and save her life. Everyone should be carrying Narcan. Everyone. You never know when you will come across someone who is overdosing. Could just save a life.I felt guilty everyday for a long time for not saving MaryJane. She was my everything, and I had got her before I had started doing heroin, during a time that was much better. She was the last part of all the good I had before heroin, and the girl took her from me because of her own insecurities about a dog. Not being able to save MaryJane is one of the factors that have gone into why I wanted to share. After not saving MJ contributed to extra years of self destructive behavior. Finally being able to forgive myself for what happened to MJ and realise I was very sick and really just did not know was huge in me finally being able to no longer use that as a reason to use. Always had many other reasons to use but eliminating some definitely does not hurt.

MaryJane and I

“Kickin’ the Habit”

Giving up was never an option. Resilient. Maybe. Tired. Yes. I really just know my life deserves more. I was not born to be addicted to drugs, however, if I had to live through what I lived through in order to help people who are still struggling. It was worth every minute. I have a son, nieces and cousins who I never want to see go through what I have. If what I have to say can give hope to someone who feels hopeless, encouragement to those who are trying to get clean, and educate a few people along the way, it will be all worth it. I started using in April of 2008 and by August of 2008 I wanted to quit. Actually the first time I got sick, I had no idea what was happening, I had never been sick like that in my life. I tried to get clean so many times, the key was just continuing to learn about myself and never giving up. Besides all of the times I tried at home, which was a lot, I always was willing to take direction. In the section titled “99 Relapses” I talked about how many times I tried and touched on the different medications I used to try to and live a normal life. The first few years of my addiction I really did not know much about the withdrawals and how to maybe get through them a little better. I always thought that if I got through the physical part of the detox I would be good, I failed to realize how much of the addiction was mental. Using drugs to fill the void of inadequacy I felt in my life. I never was much of a confident person my whole life, drug dealing gave me a false sense of confidence and then the drugs themselves made me really not give a fuck about anything, so in a weird way that was confidence. Even with all of these feelings of inadequacy and never being good enough, I always just believed in myself deep down. Although, there were whole months, maybe years, where I didn’t even try to get clean 1%. But when I did try I was taking note of what worked and what didn’t work. I knew if my addiction didn’t kill me, which it tried to do four times at least, that someday I would have no more reservations, I would not pick up again and I would not have to suffer from my addiction anymore. The work never stops. That was my biggest flaw. Much of the time, trying to get clean, I felt if I got past the throwing up sick part, that I would be fine. The problem isn’t the heroin, heroin was the solution I came up with, all by myself. The problem I had was with myself. The psychological reasons for why we use drugs are different for everyone, but they usually have a common theme, childhood trauma and/or childhood abandonment issues which are the main reasons for someone to have low self esteem and turn to drugs. It is different for everyone, and I found that working with a therapist of some kind on a routine basis is very helpful, as well as AODA groups or NA/AA. I support any way the sick and suffering can beat their addiction. But before we can focus on trying to work on our mental health, we have to get through the physical detox. Relapse, detox, relapse, detox, was the non stop, ever going cycle that I lived with for 13 years on heroin. Kicking the habit really is just that, it’s just how far can you boot that motherfucker so it doesn’t come back. I tried to get clean on my own at home so often that I really did have a routine and would do everything I could to make it more comfortable. I have always smoked weed, and I know some people will say, well you aren’t clean then. Well, I have been given approval by my Doctor and Therapist to use marijuana medicinally and that is exactly how I use it. Until Wisconsin legalizes it, that is the closest to prescribed as anyone in this state is going to get. But, I don’t do heroin, opiates, drugs of any kind, no prescription medication, and I actually quit cigarettes on the same day I quit heroin, and I don’t drink caffeine either. So before you judge that part, think about all of the prescriptions you are taking and where they are derived from, is it an amphetamine, a benzodiazepine, or an opiate derivative. It’s ironic, I am considered the drug addict, and the ones that called me a junkie are prescribed to at least one of those and they drink alcohol. I guess Wisconsin has to hurry up and legalize it so I can once and for all drop the junkie narrative. I advocate for marijuana because you cannot deny the little girl whose parents gave up everything to get her into a CBD program. CBD’s are a part of the marijuana plant and were given to a little girl who had about 200 seizures a day. After the CBD treatment and daily use, her seizures dropped to about one a week. That’s enough data for me right there, and then there is my own personal experience with weed and the medicinal value it does present. The weed helped with not only calming my mind down during extreme withdrawals, it takes me out of my head for an hour or so. It really is good for early onset withdrawal symptoms. The nauseated feeling, with the eebeegeebees, and the restless legs could all be subsided for a little bit with weed. As the full on withdrawal comes over me, there is no weed in the world that is going to fix that but it does lower all the intenseness of the detox. During my at home detox, I would try to get methadone or suboxone off the streets to help curve the withdrawal symptoms and cravings. I did not know what I was doing or how I should be doing it, most importantly, I wasn’t ready to quit just yet. I would try to get klonopins or xanax also and really try to just get through the detox myself. Not under medical care that was the dumbest thing I could have done. With how depleted and beat down my body was already, the mixture of detox meds and benzos really was a dangerous mix. Some times, I would have nothing and just go cold turkey and that works for some people, I was forced to do that in jail about seven times, and did not die so it is possible. My whole thought is, I suffered enough while using, I shouldn’t have to suffer while I’m trying to get clean. Detox under medical advice or in the care of a detox facility is the way to go if you are able. The detox medications that are prescribed or given to you by a doctor can be very helpful. I don’t know what different detox centers do for withdrawal symptoms because I have not been to all of them and I do not know what all of them use. But I will share what worked for me and what I used and preferred. There are so many symptoms to detox it really comes down to what I can handle in terms of symptoms. The violent withdrawal symptoms such as puking, and diarrhea, can be minimized with the suboxone, but that isn’t the cure all for how violent and awful the detox is. I used clonidine for the sweats and my crazy blood pressure which I had read upwards of 180/100 during some of the worst detox. Then for nausea I found the dissolvable tab of zofran works best. They dissolve under the tongue because when I was puking, I couldn’t take an actual pill. Then with smoking weed to keep me out of my head, that was really the most ideal way to try and detox at home. It was never easy, or fun or cute. Detox is none of those things ever. I did use the shower a lot though, which would help regulate temperature, and even this last time I would take hot showers throughout the day to just relax and help with the sweats. Noone has spent more time laying down in the bathtub with the shower on than me. I am not a medical doctor, so please consult your doctor before starting the detox process, if you are unable to consult a doctor for whichever reason, and you are going to try this at home, please have someone you trust around for support. Ideally a family member or friend. Just make sure you let that person know you are going to be irritable and going through hell so don’t be offended by things that are done or said. It’s business, it’s not personal. That was how I looked at my addiction for a long time. It was never my intent to hurt anyone on a personal level. I was very sick and I will spend the rest of my life with reminders of what I did to people and the guilt for what I have done in the past, just know, I forgave myself. Seems like I had been trying to get clean for about 13 years, oh yea, I was. I literally tried everything. I have always been open to direction and guidance and I really did try everything. I have my thoughts about certain parts of the recovery community but I really just encourage people to get clean any way that works for them. The way that worked for me might not work for everyone, but I tried pretty much everything. I really was open to listening to how others got clean and always took direction well, however the most important part of getting clean is knowing that there is no correct way to get clean, just send it. I started getting methadone pills back in 2009 and was also getting suboxone pills before they stopped making those. That was my first time trying to use medication to get off of heroin. Those first three years I didn’t have a clue about what I should be doing to overcome my addiction. I thought it was all physical addiction that was the problem. I did not get prescribed to Suboxone until July of 2011, and that script lasted me a few months before I started to go to the suboxone/methadone clinic. Then towards the end of 2011, I wanted to use heroin again, so I switched from suboxone to methadone and was on methadone for a while until I just quit going to the clinic all together. They both are opioids, however suboxone as an opiate blocker in it is called naloxone and it blocks the opiate receptors in the brain so the individual can’t get high on opiates if they try. After that it was not until 2016 that I tried something else, and this time it was the once a month vivitrol shot. My first experience with that was between getting bailed out of jail on August 10th and going back to jail on November 18th. For those three months while I was fighting a case I stayed clean from all drugs, I was out on bail, but I thought Vivitrol was the answer. I was able to stay off drugs and regardless of what else was going on, I did live without drugs for the first time in a long time, so it gave me hope that I could do it. When I got out of jail in July of 2017 it actually was the beginning of the longest clean time that I had since 2005. I was doing well actually, but not in treatment and not doing anything to maintain my sobriety. My son was conceived at the end of 2017, during this time I was actually in a really positive place in my life. Until my immaturity got the best of me and I left my pregnant girlfriend for a different woman. I have no regrets because what’s the point, but I do think about what life would be like now if I would have stayed with my son’s mother. The new girlfriend was lied to from the beginning anyway and that created a very toxic relationship for a long time and I actually relapsed at the end of that 2018 for a lot of bad reasons. I went on using for about three months before my first overdose, on February 20th, which really did scare me away from heroin for nine months. After I saw the body cam video of my overdose I really wanted to be clean for me and my son’s future so starting in early March of 2019 I got back on the Vivitrol shot and with my new found hope after the overdose I really thought I was on the right path. Then I moved into my own place in May after really not being on my own, and by the end of June I was smoking crack and drinking every night after work. I really felt depressed, and I don’t know exactly what the cause was but I attributed it to the Vivitrol shot. After doing some research as well, I read that the Vivitrol shot actually may cause depression and/or suicidal thoughts, so I quit the Vivitrol and by September I had quit smoking crack. Which is always good.My addiction struggles continued that Thanksgiving, I relapsed and by January I had been fired and that carried into 2020. At the end of 2020 I finally did put everything that I learned and everything that worked together, I got out of my shit hole apartment, I got a doctor who is current in the addiction community and I found a therapist that specializes in both drug addiction and trauma as an adult or child. 2020 was where I just really lost hope and I just felt defeated like I was never going to get above this addiction. I never like to say beat addiction, because it will always be a battle, but to get above it. Meaning, I have the upper hand and I put so much space between me and it, that it no longer is able to pull me down. But 2021 came and I was actually asleep at midnight and not partying for the first time since 2003 probably. This detox was brutal for six days, and I had been flooded with Suboxone at the ER which still did not help. I had been using all of 2020 and by then, all the ‘heroin’ is pure fentanyl, it doesn’t even test positive for heroin anymore. Needless to say, the withdrawal was violent, horrific and because of how close to death I felt, I actually quit smoking cigarettes at the same times. Seems kind of unbelievable to me too because I could not quit anything for so long and then I quit both at once. Then midway through January I was put on the Sublocade shot which is just the once a month Suboxone shot. It goes in my stomach and lasts 28 days.With everything that I learned over the last 13 years, my trial and error method of trying to get clean, I was finally able to get above my addiction. There will always be work to do, and that is what this is all about for me. Having a medical doctor that is progressive in recovery and treatment as well as finding the right therapist were both huge pieces of the puzzle for me. It came down to, I just do not want to be self destructive anymore and I was no longer going to punish myself for how other people made me feel about myself. I have done so many things differently this time when it comes to life after the detox. I really have reconnected with friends from before my addiction, family that I had pushed away for too long and most importantly, I reconnected with myself on a level that I didn’t know existed. Most of the people that think they are close to me but aren’t, never got it, never will get it, and that’s fine, at least I finally kicked the habit.

Kickin’ it

“My Childhood”

Being the pawn in a game for two as a child under four did not benefit me at all. Both my parents had no clue how to be parents. My mom already had two been married twice and had a son from her second marriage. My dad was 24 with no job, no direction and could not have cared less about me when I was born. I had been the cutest little boy, I really was full of life and energy, wanting to learn everything and do everything. As soon as I could as “why?” I would, I just wanted to learn. Originally my father was not in the picture and it  was just my mom and I and my half brother occasionally. He’s my brother, that’s that, no halfs about it. Obviously I don’t recall the first two and a half or so years of my life, that’s pretty normal. After that, it’s all vivid as hell, so the first two years of my life were told to me by two different parents. I was abandoned by both parents at separate times in my life and it has affected every relationship I have ever had in my life. After how I was treated it is amazing I ever wanted to stop using drugs at all. My soul deserved more though, so I fought for it. 

 I was born on 9/11/1987 at 6:02 p.m. in a house on Murray St on the Eastside of Milwaukee.The first two years of my life are told to me through the eyes of both parents. The issue with that is my parents remember the past much different. There are plenty of things my mom says about my dad and my dad says about my mom. Both should never have said anything to me about the other, but I hear things. Sometimes the stories match up, like how they met, sometimes; it is like why are you telling me this. I was going to put examples but I’m not picking sides. They both should of been better. No excuse for using drugs, but I was so lost without guidance, the drug life was fine, at first.

When Amber Hagerman was abducted in 1996, she was America’s first broadcasted emergency response for a missing child. Her case has not yet been solved so if you have any information please contact Arlington(TX) Police. I was kidnapped by my mom towards the end of 1991, and there was no emergency response at the time. 

        My mom and I were on the run from around September of 1991, until the beginning of 1992. We had gone across state lines and no one knew where we were, and the age before cell phones, was much harder to locate people, I remember having my fourth birthday at McDonald’s in Austin Minnesota because that’s where we went to live. we ended up getting an apartment and we were starting over. Mom.always liked having birds and then we got my first dog. A Beagle, named Muffin. Lol. Muffin ran away…. 

         This is where my memory starts to get very clear, right around this age. My mom worked so I was at her friend’s house who babysat me a lot of the time. Moms friend had three daughters, one was a few years older, one was my age, and was one younger. We must have had little adult supervision because the older girl would make us get naked and go under the bed and hump. Obviously I was four, so not much going on, but simulating sex at such a young age as well as having those interactions with all three of the girls and this happenened more then on time. I guess at the time the adults thought there wasn’t anything wrong with that kind of behavior and it just was nothing.

Obviously at such a young age I was not able to really know the difference between what was supposed to be happening and what was happening. I was so young and my mom left me with these people so it really was not my fault at all. I remember we were all in the bathroom naked the only time I remember getting caught. Most of the time, it was under the bunk bed if I remember correctly and that was just how it went for a little while.

Then into 1992 I had not had any contact with my father in months, not sure if he was looking for me or ever really had a thought about where I was.  I know he did take a motorcycle trip across the country to California for a woman and was gone for at least a month. I guess he didn’t know where I was but it still seems odd.

It was about two o’clock in the morning and the cops were knocking at my mother’s friend’s front door. My mom had been arrested and told the police my dad was dead. The cops were able to locate me however because some guy my mom was with had snitched on her about being on the run with her young son. Once the cops were able to locate where I was the showed up at the residence. I remember this part like it just happened, and it was 29 years ago now. I was four, and I didn’t really know what was happening, but as I pretended to be asleep like a four year old does, I was lifted up by an Austin Police officer and his partner and carried off to the backseat of the cop car. That was my first time in the back of a cop car, but definitely not the last. As I fake slept in the back seat of the car I remember hearing the cop radio going off and that the drive was not that far. I ended up in foster care because mom was in jail and my dad was dead.

My foster care experience is not a bad one. I slept in a crib which was not ideal for a big boy at four years old. I had grown out of the crib, “it was for babies”. lol. The older couple who were the foster parents had two sons that were about twenty and one had a Trans Am so he threw me in the backseat and would fly around doing donuts somewhere that it was semi safe to do that. I just remember getting tossed around the back seat and I thought it was so fun. Then eventually, the Austin Police were able to verify that my father was not dead like they thought and he was contacted to come pick me up.

Picked up at four years old, if my father had been part of my life before that, I would have remembered him. My son is two and a half, and if I was in a coma until he was four, he would still remember me. I had no clue who he was or what to make of what was happening. It had just been mom and I for so long with my brother when it was her turn.  Now it was just this guy, I was supposed to call dad.

My childhood after that was almost normal. I have a lot of people who never had to walk in my shoes, tell me how I should be when it comes to everything I have to say about my past. My dad did pay the bills, and I had food, and clothes and a place to live. Much more than a lot of people and I am thankful my dad was a chef before he got me because I had real meals to eat. The problem was I wouldn’t eat until 9pm or later pretty much every day.  Granted our days were long, at daycare by 6am and home after 6pm, but not eating until 9pm is not the best for a young boy. Especially when I had friends over, how embarrassing to not eat dinner until 9pm, but that was my normal.  My dad wanted to be in the garage working on motorcycles and he thought as long as I was fed at some point, that was good enough. As a kid, I loved everything, I was interested in everything, and I asked why about everything and I really loved life. My passion at a very young age was football, I knew everything about football, still do and it was my dream to be around football, even if I sucked at playing. I did get hurt young, but everyone gets hurt in football and I had no support to continue. I really had no support to do anything I liked, if it wasn’t my dad hobbies, they came second. Slowly all my interests got plucked from me one by one. At ten years old he wasn’t too keen about my friends, we were ten. Regardless of what became of some of them, I actually ended up worse off than all of them.

My Grandma, my older brother, and me