Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The LOVE Drug

LOVE is a drug. We’ve heard that before. But you know its a card carrying addiction when there’s a 12 step group that starts to support it. LSAA stands for Love and Sex Addicts Anonymous. I remember in the darkest week fresh from my break up of 3 years ago...it was hard to be awake. I would wake up in the middle of the night and reach for my bong. I couldn’t even exist without copious amounts of marijuana. I was really close to going to an LSAA meeting, but instead I decided to go to another kind of bio-energetic jedi meeting to help get my spirits up. This ended up being a great decision as I met a really good friend there who is actually still my comrade to this day. I just wanted to be held by something and weed was always that something when there was nothing. I made the decision to end my relationship, and I had done so many times before. “You need to be less co-dependent.” he would tell me, urging each break up to happen. I broke up with him three times and 3 times he pulled me back. I was just looking at the Love Addicts website which has a list including: Choosing partners who are emotionally unavailable and/or verbally or physically abusive Choosing partners who demand a great deal of attention and caretaking but who do not meet, or even try to meet, your emotional or physical needs Participating in activities that don’t interest you or go against your personal values in order to keep or please a partner The ex and I struggled with polyamory. Before him, I always thought that because I was a sex worker, poly would be the natural way to go for me. Boy was I ever wrong. It was like being skinned alive and pushed down a lemonjuice waterslide on a weekly basis for me! The thing with point #3 is that I knew it wasn’t for me after long. I’m not a good drug addict because I don’t like pain. I like short stints of pain perhaps but as soon as something is too uncomfortable I try my damn hardest to exorcise that demon out of me. Sometimes this is premature and so the cycle must run its course, which is what it did three times. He knew what he was doing and loving it. Perhaps he wasn’t conscious so much of his abuse, most abusers aren’t. The last time we got back together he even brought cocaine for me so that he would be sure that I wouldn’t say no to him that night. The thing about the break up and make up cycle is that it does follow the love addiction cycle because getting back together has that bliss that follows the darkness as if it is a drug, as if you are going to last this time. But, in the end, it’s just like a rail of coke. Short lived. One of my mentors calls herself a Love and Sex addict. She was a card carrying group member. Seems like sex work can attract LSAAs too. There is a spike and a high for some who can mistake high dollar clients giving them money as a symbol of the approval that they need in life. And then when the phone doesn’t ring, or the stripclub is empty, no one is making it rain so it pours inside their hearts. I think it is way way worse as a stripper because you actually have to walk around and ask for approval and men are actually rejecting you which can be really draining on yourself esteem if you aren’t even making enough money to pay your stage fee.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Were the Say NO to Drugs poster contests successful?

I remember winning an award for a Say NO to Drugs poster contest when I was an elementary school student in the 80s. I made a slot machine with 3 skulls as the jackpots with the headline “Drugs! A LOSING COMBINATION!” When you’re a kid and you have artistic ability it gives you a level up over other kids. I did grow up through school to not use any drugs or even smoke weed until I graduated high school at 17. But then….muah ha ha ha. It’s really hard to even believe that we are hearing Jeff Sessions quote Nancy Reagan’s Say NO to Drugs propaganda with fervor as if it was something that worked. The only difference is that I’m not a 10 year old poster winner anymore, I’m a 41 year old recreational drug user who spent of those 20 years smoking weed. It’s been revealed what hijinx the Reagan administration were actually up to when creating that campaign to distract people from noticing that the government was actually creating crack cocaine to imprison Black people and filling prisons to fundraise for the wars that were happening in Central America. This has been revealed to not be conspiracy but fact. It’s almost like Dejavu. Session’s is even calling marijuana a gateway for opiates! Beyond shaking our heads, we should actually not be surprised. This administration is going to spend money building a wall across the U.S Mexico border when dealers are digging and traversing through tunnels and using U.S passport holders to traffick drugs across the legal border checks. The volunteer militia that patrols the war on illegals with their legal arms is absolutely no match for the desperation that poverty brings and being outnumbered. Trump is hell bent on building his wall and stopping illegal immigrants from bringing in drugs. I agree that this is happening at an alarming rate and the violence that has resulted in cartels running product has resulted in great amounts of death and mayhem in the U.S. In Japan, an island country almost all drugs that one can think of aside from Advil level painkillers are illegal. If you are a Japanese citizen, you will be shamed publicly in media, your parents will have to apologize on TV and you will probably spend months in jail for 1 gram of marijuana. If you are a foreign citizen, you will be banned from returning to Japan for up to 3 years. Women who give birth are not given epidurals (this might be a good thing) and if you have chronic sports injuries or anything else pretty much the only thing that you can get is of the Advil level. But there are synthetics drugs that can be made by streetwise chemists. It’s been confirmed that many of the elements of Fentanyl are made from things that were imported to the U.S from China and Japan. Japan is a limited land mass that has a population that can simply not afford to let immigration slide. The drugs do come in, but in much smaller amounts than the U.S. Drug Violence and Gang wars do not have an impact, guns are not legal here and the social stigma and family burden keeps the people here totally living in fear, working overtime with no pay and no relief, people with legitimate pain that are unable to medicate in any way but alcohol. Trump’s war on drugs is a war on facts totally ignoring the track record of what has been done before because he is set on doing the complete opposite of what has been done before him, except repeating the exact same unsuccessful strategy in preventing drug use and addiction in the 80s. Perhaps marijuana can be a gateway, but in this case the gateway that I see it symbolizing is a gateway to legalization of drugs. I’m honestly not sure what total legalization of all drugs like opiates would end up looking like, as currently it’s not hard to get, doctors were easily prescribing to patients who got addicted and started cutting pills on the street, and it appears that more people are dying than getting arrested. I remember going with one of my boyfriends on his pain pill runs to sell off. He was my driver in between and we’d cut up a pill and snort it before some good sex but neither of us ever got addicted, luckily. Being tough on crime doesn’t help eliminate addiction, but creating strict penalties to the source of the prescription might keep doctors accountable. Being extremely strict on immigration has really helped Japan. This is not only an immigration border issue, but it restricts the ability for an illegal immigrant to survive in Japan. You can’t get an apartment, hotel room or even rent a public computer without showing a passport with a tourist visa or a resident card that is valid. There are no throwaway temporary phones and hardly any under the table cash jobs because the person who breaks the law of illegal hiring or selling a burner phone pays a huge fine. This is how Japan is tough on crime and tough on SHAME! But, their tough on crime doesn't result in filling and building prisons because, again Japan hasn't got the land to do such a thing. I was lucky that I came with my sex work skills but I still didn’t make enough to survive on that alone for very long. Even though I have 2 undocumented adult chosen daughters that I adore and who live relatively straight edge Dreamer type lives in LA, I do think that the U.S can slowly be more effective in siphon off illegal immigration with more success by following the steps that Japan has taken more effectively than building a stupid wall. But because it is possible to millions every day to not only cross the border repeatedly and also eek out a living if you are undocumented in America, it is a systemic and purposely tolerated epidemic with barking dogs like Trump and Sessions to create a distraction of what really will offer no change but break up more families, spend more of the national budget and "alien"ate the relationship between South and North America. Shoot, I brought a marijuana pipe into Canada and I’m practically banned to even drive through or stop over on a passing flight without prior permission from the Canadian consulate so I don’t get detained. I barely want to ever go back to Canada. If someone gets caught illegally crossing the U.S border, they are photographed and dropped back into Mexico. I used to think that a free for all was a good idea, but I think the violence in America in easy comparison to the violence in Japan has changed my mind. Deporting families, border patrols, building walls, filling prisons is not the answer, let's try something new. We already have walls. Our priorities are not in the right order and there could be non violent administrative solutions which can be enforced that would “create more jobs” which is Trump’s favorite idiom but in about 5 ways that would be much easier than building a gigantic border wall. I am curious to see what the legalization of marijuana does to the cartel industry of at least marijuana trafficking, this is one of the main reasons that now even majority Republican support legalization in 2018. Is it possible to change the policies of immigration without affecting the treatment of the millions of undocumented people that live in the U.S today? I used to believe that the borders should be open, but this just isn't an effective national policy because we all live under some government and we don't operate in a cowboy society. I do think that we should change our immigration policy but I don't see anything changing for the better under this administration who is literally taking us back to the 80s, and not in a fun Footloose big hair shoulder pads kind of way.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

#Drinkingtoo, #Drugstoo, #Huggingtoo and #Chickentoo

“What did you put in this anyway?” Bruce said with a smile. “Acid.” I winked and nonchalantly picked up my guitar. He picked up his trumpet and started to play our song but about ten minutes later he asked me again, “You didn’t put acid in my drink did you?” I laughed. “Dude, I would never do that.” A few weeks later he brought me some noodles from a Chinese restaurant and I was really excited but then after I started eating it, I realized there was chicken meat in it. “Dang,” I said,”We go out together all the time and you know I’m not a carnivore.” he laughed. “Just take out the meat!” he chided. I frowned. I know that inadvertently spiking a non meat eater's food with chicken isn’t the same as giving someone drugs without their consent but the theme here is trust and safety. If I was a Muslim or Hindu and eating chicken was against my religious beliefs then I probably would feel more violated or maybe not. We are in an era where non consensual hugging is considered sexual harassment for some, and surely most of us can remember a non consensual hug from someone in our life or could at least imagine how violating it might feel I hope. Consent has been the hot topic since the #metoo and Aziz Ansari scandal of late, so i started to think about all the friends I knew who had been forced to drink or drug when they clearly didn’t want to. The phenomenon of non consensual drugging of drinks at bars which would lead to sexual or other petty theft crimes is a thing but what if it didn’t lead to these things? Is drugging itself assault? Apparently, it is. One of my sister’s friends was drugged to the point that he was vomiting and throwing up on himself for hours but for what gain did that give the perpetrator? We really couldn’t figure it out as my friends asshole and wallet were not touched by anyone while he was ill. Ansari was doing the classic,”Let me just pour you another drink…(to get the panties off)” move during his sexual coercion date (and I'm going to call it that because at the very least it was coercion if not violence). This had a selfish intention towards fucking Grace even when she said she did not want to have sex or feel forced. Boundaries are boundaries and if you have strong vices you hopefully learn that strong boundaries save lives. Things like clean needles, things like respecting sobriety or hard limits, having a caretaker or a shooting buddy to get high with you or someone more experienced who can guide you through your trip when it goes bad. Most of the drug users I know still using have hard lines because they’ve crossed them close to death and have learned from their mistakes or their friend’s deaths. This is why the idea of putting acid in my friend’s drink was probably not even a funny joke, but perhaps it was a funny joke to me because I knew it was something I wouldn’t do, and this particular friend was pretty naive so i chose to fuck with him. I think that we are in a climate where we need to assume that everyone has boundaries that we do not understand until we ask, so we need to check in with them and often so that we can proceed with confidence. Hopefully, you wouldn’t be like Ansari and not respecting a certain safe zone for only a few moments until going for the claw down the throat and panties in the next few moments. But I guess it is naive to think that everyone is going to follow these rules for the sake of your safety. People lie and they don’t even think that they’re being malicious for it! Dealers often cut their drugs with other shit and don’t tell you simply because of profit or ignorance of the consequences as we have seen with the Fentanyl opioid crisis. How many people do you know have accidentally snorted meth when they wanted to do coke (and nowadays, they can accidentally snort Fentanyl and DIE)? And yeah, the consequences are on you if you are awake and pacing for hours beyond the high you wanted or if ends up being a worse gateway to a habit that you kicked years ago. But really, just like Grace and Ansari, both are responsible and hopefully will make lots of corrective behavior adjustments so that they make better choices in the future. But this was a huge media blowup and most of these kinds of bad dates are quiet and unseen and often swept out of memory because of shame, never spoken because of self blame. How many of us were bought a bunch of drinks we didn’t want to drink in hopes that we’d be so drunk we’d fuck? We drank them and had to deal with him grabbing and slobbering all night til we ran away or slammed a door. Sometimes it doesn’t even leave the bar, just shot after shot after until you are throwing up in the parking lot and someone “rescues” you with a ride home in pseudo safety. Alcohol, drugs, hugging and chicken all seem wildly different, but when served non consensually all feel like a gross violation and some lead to major trauma and worse. But what seems like minor should not be ignored because the more you are able to see boundaries as boundaries that should be respected in all aspects of your life, the safer you will be for yourself and for those that are around you. Don’t wait for someone to jump out of the closet holding their dick in their hand, it can be as simple as a coercive drink bought when you are already drunk and we all can use this media momentum to reality check in with ourselves.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Alternatives to Withdrawal and Death

I’ve been learning a lot about Fentanyl since I posted my friend’s interview. It didn’t even dawn on me that Prince was killed by a Fentanyl overdose until after I started to research the topic. The typical story is that a patient is prescribed an opioid painkiller and cannot handle the withdrawal from it, so starts to resort to any means necessary to obtain something to relieve their pain which include taking higher risks and paying higher prices. In Prince’s case, there was a prescription for Oxy in someone else’s name, and pills containing synthetic opioids including Fentanyl labeled WATSON 385. To add to this, Prince weighed in at 112lbs. I can’t even remember the last time I weighed 112lbs, maybe junior high school. His private plane made and emergency landing in Illinois and Narcan was administered to Prince at that time. The situation was clearly becoming dire in the weeks leading up to his death.

So what are some alternatives to crawling the streets when your skin starts to crawl?? One of my peers was in a terrible car accident with gory Facebook pictures and was very public about the painkillers and the withdrawal that he went through. His friends in the holistic and coaching community had some wonderful advice that I think some of you could benefit from. Take it along with the rest of the advice that you get from the internet, but I feel that a lot of these folks are speaking from experience and right intentioned advocates of healthy holistic alternatives.

Physical addiction sets in after a week or two, it feels like a cold. Kratom, a natural leaf based remedy, can also be addictive, but users say it mirrors coffee withdrawal, nothing as bad as opiate withdrawal. Kratom has 80% success rate at getting folks off Heroin. Kratom is addictive but the withdrawal is infinitely easier than dope... easily worth it esp. If you still have pain. Insomnia is the worst part (If you have a job it gets rough. Lasts Exactly one week) and runny nose and eyes and some complain of restless leg. My experiments found the important thing was to actually use really really hot water! A full 211 degrees if you can, which will also sterilize these not certified by anyone for anything (but pesticide free anyways, cause they're natural pesticides) leaves. If you brewed it at 180, it may have been that you weren't extracting everything. You also have to stir really well. And you have to brew twice to get everything. 3rd boil has almost nothing left. Maple syrup is my favorite sweetener with it. Also agmatine is the best supplement for reducing tolerance to this and nearly any other addictive substance. Agmatine with or shortly before kratom almost lets you half your dosage. And if one flat teaspoon has you actually feeling good, maybe 2/3 of a teaspoon is enough to be sort of pain free? Just gotta calibrate when you’re treating pain to look for the pain to go away and not for the warm glowy blanket feeling. At a teaspoon a day a lot of people claim there is no withdrawal but it’s just subtle. As dose gets higher withdrawal gets more real but it’s still always more mild than the comparable opiate withdrawal. Brew the leaves at a full boil, stir for at least thirty seconds, then sweeten and add the milk of your choice. The powder should settle to a bottom so you don’t have to filter. You can brew the same kratom leaves twice, the second boil of the same leafs is about 1/4 strength compared to the first steeping.

There was even a kratom party on Facebook to try to support the legal access of the leaf and two websites recommended for cheaper acquisition: kratomforcheap.com and ensobotanicals.com

Chai hu mu li long gu!! (a chinese herb) was quoted as having “No symptoms at all. Best formula for narc especially.” Aleve and a natural sleep aid made it relatively easy to middle through the insomnia. Aleve supposedly helps w the restless legs. Also Black Seed Oil takes the edge off. Study up on Black Seed Oil in general. Worthy herb...

If you want to try the pharmaceutical that's indicated for opiate withdrawal, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clonidine is unscheduled and cheap and your doctor should be happy to prescribe it for minor opiate withdrawal. It's also magical in its own right, but we're just starting to explore some of the strangeness of the pharmacology of the imidazoline receptor.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Tino Fundraising for Strips

Tino,is a harm reduction outreach friend that I met once in person outside of the Sex Worker Cabaret in NYC that I performed at. Since then, we have been Facebook friends following each other for possibly 7 years since that event. Though we never saw each other again in person, I was inspired to chat with him online about his latest project fighting the fentanyl opioid crisis through one on one outreach as far as his feet can travel. He purchases ph testing kits that use the residue of street drugs mixed with water to test for the synthetic opioid fentanyl. The first fentanyl lab, according to Tino was discovered in the mid 90s in Kansas City but he thinks that now much of it comes from Mexico and possibly from China. Indeed, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, illegal drug labs are concocting fentanyl from scratch,and authorities have raided several labs in Mexico that were receiving chemicals from China and Japan to create the drug, according to the DEA. The quantity needed to create a drug that is 50-100x stronger than morphine is much less cargo to smuggle, and someone with basic knowledge of chemistry, pharmaceuticals and the dark net can start a booming business. "Drug dealers are in the business of making money and I've heard it's very easy to make, so that means they can save money [by doing it themselves]," he says. "I wouldn't be surprised if there were real Walter Whites out there. Chemists and pharmacologists can turn to the dark side, just like in Breaking Bad. Tino has traveled to places well known for opioid crisis like Ohio, Philly, and DC, with his strips and naloxone kits. Everything in Ohio tested positive for Fentanyl. Dealers are trying to phase out heroin and bring in Fentanyl. Tino has tested samples of crystal meth, cocaine, and even pressed Xanax pills and found Fentanyl in them. This means that casual recreational drug users that most of us know could also now be affected by overdoses when they thought that they were doing the "safer" drugs. This means most sex workers who party with clients are also at risk! The biggest difference between heroin and fentanyl is that a person can stop breathing within 1 minute and die. That is why the epidemic is what it is exploding to on the news, as well as he said that its affecting a lot of white folks in ways that it hasn't in years before.
Fentanyl was an opioid originally developed for the terminally ill person. It is a quickly administered pain killer, that comes in the form of lollipops, patches and other forms like sprays and lozenges. The formula was discovered as cheaper and easier to make than heroin and it soon became one of the most dangerous and profitable street drugs responsible for more overdosing deaths in 4 states than the U.S had seen in years before. To make matters worse, the war on drugs is being multiplied with Sessions and Trump, who as a team are hell bent on reversing California's newest win of statewide legal marijuana the same as every class of drug. So the hope for new money to help fund harm reduction supplies or safe injection sites is not likely in this administration's mindset, considering that in October Trump declared addiction a "public health emergency" not a "State of emergency" intentionally. Trump's declaration, which will be effective for 90 days and can be renewed, will allow the government to redirect resources in various ways and to expand access to medical services in rural areas. But it won't bring new dollars to fight a scourge that kills nearly 100 people a day. "It's a lot cheaper to have a safe injection house than it is to fund Emergency Room services for an overdose. A safe injection site would supply testing strips, clean needles and help the user access treatment if that's what they wanted. They would be monitored so that they wouldn't overdose and die. Canada has a few and pop up ones.
"Nobody should die because they use drugs. Where at one time it wasn't a white suburban mom's problem, suddenly a loved one dies and now it becomes their problem. Harm reduction like testing strips is not a solution, its just giving someone another day of life."
Tino has reverse overdosed over 100 people, none of whom he knew personally outside of a few that were clients of agencies he had jobs with. "Its about educating people about how to do drugs better...test a small amount for the strength first, get off in pairs; watch each one person for five minutes, have naloxone on hand after getting trained on how to administer the life saving anti-overdose medicine which now comes in a nasal spray that requires no needles at all to use. All it takes 6 to 10 grains, (like a grain of salt)of Fentanyl to kill you. Part of the work that Tino does is educating users about better and safe drugs use. It isn't about prevention or prohibition, to him, it is about saving lives. You can support Tino's work by contributing here.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Ayahuasca and Cuddle Sessions

Henry must have been on a low key binge because he put down $1800 on me plus dinner that day and in the weeks that I would know him, I only got one more $200 session out of him and we eventually parted into the land of no contact. He had given me some odd things from his last move: a bodyboard, a few speakers, a stereo receiver. I remember his bedroom being full of my asthmatic dust trigger to the point that I couldn’t even have a peaceful session there because I was sniffling and needing to sneeze every 5 minutes. We had transitioned into friends after our 12 hour date because mostly we cuddled a lot. I even got to play my singing bowls and do some things I don’t usually do with people. (Its 12 hours and he is on drugs and I know how to think like i'm on one so, you get to use lots of creativity...and bond intensely). I told him once he told me that he was on meth at the moment that he was absolutely NOT going to receive a frantic speedy energy session, the kind of vibe from clients that I would accept because I thought that I needed that money but I didn’t; the kind of session that had my wrist hurting because I would be playing hand job robot provider to a tweaked out client who kept thinking he was just about to cum. Never again, I said after a few of those sessions. Henry wasn’t like that at all. He was seeking spiritual advice from me. He was calm. He wanted intimacy and cuddling. We did that. We got along well. I enjoyed our time together. I started to plan for a future session. I had recently become friends with a friend who was a DMT facilitator. His friend was an ayahuasca facilitator and even though B, my friend had complaints about I’s personality defects he raved about his services and how their sessions doing ayahuasca helped him kick addiction to prescription pain meds. Now B still does lots of drugs, usually of the psychedelic ilk, but I suppose he wanted to mainly kick the opiates when he enlisted I. I talked to I about Henry and asked if it would be beneficial for a crystal meth user? He said that it works best with the chemical bonds that are in opiates but he has had success with patients who did have cocaine and meth addictions. I believe that the plant opens up channels that you might use the other substance to forget or numb, if you are willing to open and cleanse those cords and unmet needs then I think it would help with any addiction or pattern of behavior that you were ready to relinquish. We talked about options for future sessions, but Henry seemed to have gone big just once with me. I suggested that we go to a cuddle party, and I remember I even paid for his ticket if he would try it. I don’t remember exactly but I’m sure there was information in our session that would lead to me suggesting we go to a cuddle party. He didn’t make it. I went alone. In the end, I sent him information on doing ayahuasca sessions and he never really followed that path either. I wasn’t try to rescue him, but I wanted to just use my expertise and explore some avenues he may have thought did not even exist in the world. I think this is my job now with drug users. I would love to set up some Tibetan Healing bowls in a rehab facility for as much money as some of these people are paying to “get clean.” I’d love to be the luxurious healing goddess serenade for your come down.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Breaking Good or Bad?

He came to me through my print ad.  I had a deal in the weekly newspaper of LA that never to failed to double its investment every time I ran it despite this business being supposedly all internet based, there still are people who don’t have smart phones or know how to use a computer.  These numbers are dwindling but I seemed to have found a worth while niche for myself regardless.  Because I had already been through hell and back with too many drug addict late night clients, I had for the last four years working started to screen all of my clients and charging more per hour.  My screening before was really based upon whether they sounded fucked up on the phone and if they asked me “Do I party?” was an automatic disconnection.  Even if I did love to do coke with my clients, any person who asked me if I partied was guaranteed trouble for me based on experience.  I started to see only professional working men.  Men who weren’t afraid to tell me the truth about who they were and what they really wanted from their hearts, who weren’t afraid to confess that their hearts were broken and needed healing.   I now had a screening process which required an internet name  and phone number search and verification of government ID.   I have one memory of an addict from my pre-screening times who blew his rehab money on me and more heroin but came to me in a way that was anything but dangerous, so I do have some good words to share about those times.  When I laid close to his heart,  I could feel the drugs pulse through his body so strongly that I got a contact high without any needle penetrating me.  I can’t do IV drugs, it takes a skilled phlebotomist and a butterfly needle to get a blood test from me and I have more than once been the recipient of having an unskilled nurse miss a bunch of time and create purple blotch bruises all over my arm and hand where they finally used a vein.  On the night that I held the rehab ditcher, his heart was injecting into me, and it felt like love.  

I held my rehab ditcher for hours in his doze off until the sun rose and I left.  But this wasn’t my current client.  I had screened him on the phone based on the story that he told as he was one of the founders of one of the hugest LA festivals that everyone and their mother knew the name of.  He had brought in Jane’s Addiction and the Chili Peppers and probably started his journey somewhere around there with the rest of them.  His name was confirmed listed in the Wikipedia history of the festival and matched the name on his ID and the depth of knowledge that he had about music festival history which I also ask casually when I screen people for truth or lies.  He had just move home to live in the home that he grew up in, where his mother lived in the back. In my current need to be safe and sane in my work I eliminated anyone who told me they used crystal meth.  I had put this in practice for at least 4 years since my last interaction with a user was chasing one such down the street with a stun gun because he was trying to stalk and harass me.  The client in front of me, we’ll call him Henry seemed calm and sweet.  He was in his fifties and face showed the aged wrinkles of years of rock and roll living.    He soon confessed to me that he was a lifelong addict and always had trace amounts of meth in his body, even as he stood before me.  I appreciated and felt his truth.  I went with him to the local bank to withdraw my fee which would cover my time for the next twelve hours as well as paid for me to eat well in a nice restaurant because, a 12 hr session requires a meal and rest break.  It was a large chunk to say the least, but none of these sessions that I did for these guys do I retain any sense of guilt for.  I never manipulated what I was offering, they came to me willing and wanting something else beside the equally as unsober hostess for their addictions which they probably had grown tired of spending money on by this time in their lives.   I hoped I was a catalyst to some kind of change.  I can never be sure what I effect I have had on the lives on any of my clients.  I can not even base it on their words of affirmation or adoration even as those could also be lies.  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Crazy Sexy Mental Illness Accountability

It is truly amazing the human capacity to withstand pain and repeat cycles of violence before breaking.  Some fucked up relationships can go on for decades.  But the lab rats when left alone with heroin laced water will always overdose and die.  At some point the mind inside the user’s body decides NO MORE.  Either by death or detox, something finally gives.  It is a slow suicide.  Even calling it that is a catch phrase that rings true to me when i describe being suicidal to people.  I would do whatever drugs clients did or put in front of me.  I once traded sex for pills from a pimp.  I was trying to get Oxycodone but he gave me something weaker.  Vicodin.  I can’t commit suicide with Vicodin!  Or maybe it is possible but i just ended up throwing up for half a day.

Is suicide a choice?  Do you support your friends in making this choice?  Is it like when a friend gets an abortion?

I posted this on my Facebook.  People convinced me it was not a choice because it was a mental illness.  No sane person would make this choice they said.  I thought back to fucking that pimp (not my pimp) for those pills.  What was I thinking?  That it would take just 3 to OD on oxy for me and I could die alone and unnoticed because the world as I knew it was pointless.  My narrow tunnel of darkness was a form of mental illness I reasoned.  My logic was indeed skewed.  I felt at the time that I was “trying to become a drug addict” because at least a downward spiral would count as having “direction” since most of my depression at the time was the result of having lost an identity around being a sex worker founder of an organization, getting arrested and jailed and feeling like my life had no direction.  The feeling that being denied the right to work a teaching job was a good reason to give up entirely on any future.  Mental illness.  No sane person chooses addiction.  Or do they?

Lily Fury wrote to me and many others on Facebook personally apologizing for the Bambi Ortiz fiasco in which she created a digital character or three that represented all of the social justice rainbow spinning a fundraiser for a victim raped by a NYC cop story that pulled the heartstrings of many people workers and non workers in the sex worker rights community, who has been in the last five years working hard to implement social justice into the organizing structure with conscious visibility and its own form of affirmative actions which would show up in events, conferences, marches and media campaigns like Bambis.  Bambis photos were sexy.  So was Harmony, her Latina persona.  So was the Asian one she created too.  She would pull my bisexual sweatshirt strings towards her full lips and whisper about the good times we could have if we were alone in New York City on my next visit.  Haha it was all from Lily pretending to be women (plural) of color).  I fucking donated to her and I didn’t even have the money for my own rent.  I was promptly refunded after this whole shit was uncovered but the whole community was outraged as they should have been.  The campaign had gone viral and she had effectively embezzelled a few thousand dollars.  I don’t know what happened to the money, but she would be posting happy white sand beach photos with her tribe and girlfriend “sorry not sorry” as the caption in bold during the uncovering of the fiasco.  Mental Illness. Narcissism.  

“I’m sorry.  I’m bipolar and have schizoaffective disorder.  I had just been incarcerated and was in heroin withdrawal in a terrible state of mind.  I’m continuing on my journey of self growth for my daughter.  I know what I did was fucked up and will always regret it but unfortunately I can’t go back in time.  I can only move forward and learn from my mistakes to be a better person.”

The rest of her blog, like the rest of her writings are well written literate pieces, explaining the situation in a transparent recap, step by step from her brain to our community.  Lily asked to add me into a sex worker group on FAcebook.  Bambi Ortiz never personally reached out to me, but Harmony and her Asian persona had.  I even tried to forward a media interview to one of her personas!  

“No thank you.”  I said.” I do not think you should be organizing sex workers.”

“I’m not,” she said,”It’s just a support group.”  

She was gathering up who were still willing to be her allies.  I was speaking to her on FAcebook.  I hadn’t blocked and unfriended her.  I told her I forgave her and wished her the best, but she and her crazy are the reasons I continue to stay away.  Like an abusive ex.  Don’t.  Call.  Me.  I’ll.  Call You. NOT.

Friday, August 4, 2017

What's the opposite of ADDICTION?

I had seen the TED talk and video by Johann Hari espousing that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety it is connection. My sex worker friend and I discussed the over simplicity of this video and its valiant attempt at a reframing of an old paradigm. Half of it works for me. But, my friend J whom I have known to be in a long term relationship with a partner who died of a heroin overdose and who still has occasional use and a brand new relationship seems to defy the new norm this video maker wants us to believe. Hari is a staunch opponent of the war on drugs and this video is one that hopes to support its final obliteration in the Western minds with talks and viral animations on social media. My friend J currently does outreach to risky user communities who would be the addicts in the first isolated rat park model. "I appreciate where the video maker is coming from but such a complex issue can never be over simplified. Also it is important to recognize the rat park is a outdated study that does not include the system of of oppressions that humans face." For those of us that work or have worked closely, intimately with users and addicts we know that there is a lot more that solves or transitions chaotic or destructive use for someone.

This video doesn't speak to my experience, but maybe you? I kicked my marijuana addiction, but I still don't have my connection/inclusion needs managed...maybe I do. It's getting better here in Japan, AND once I get to Cali, I pick it right back up along with the connections that I miss, but with a NEWFOUND and successful bond with the substance knowing I can stop for any number of weeks, months etc...Weed for me came/comes with connections...its not simple, its deep deep in the crevices of the no love zone, dare you travel down there?

Hari's animated video touches briefly on trauma and its pull towards addiction, but Gabor Mate focuses more on it in his talks and theories. I appreciate his approach as well, as he has also done medical work on the most at risk area of Vancouver for most of his career. Mate quotes Eckhart Tolle saying,"all addictions begin in pain, and END in pain." and I again have to say, that wasn't true for me. My dependence began as a love bonding, continued as a love replacement and then ended with triumph and surprise. I started using marijuana daily with a partner as many people start using harder substances in relationship. Its all a fun party til you can't turn the music down when you want to right? While my daily use with that boyfriend began as a fun time, I realized how wonderful of a painkiller it was when we I used it to sooth me during our breakup. I can still describe it as "a mother's nipple when I am crawling in the darkness crying like an infant." And once I had started using weed as a coping mechanism, I seemed to never be able to stop for nearly 20 years. From the age of 22 until 39 I probably smoked every day minus great efforts to abstain for 2.5 months 1 or 2 years in a row. The typical quitting streak was 2-3 weeks. I fully felt addicted because I could NOT STOP despite my greatest efforts. I had great connection with weed. I started my career in sex worker activism when Robyn Few got me higher than a kite in a roomful of prostitution activist stoners. With the enthusiasm of MaryJane AND Robyn Few together in a smoky room we planned the beginnings of Sex Workers Outreach Project on a national level and organized Desiree Alliance in its origin years. So then, why was I not able to quit? I had a boyfriend most recently 2 years ago who tried his hardest to shame and compel me into quitting. That was the worst. So here, I am threatened with losing this new relationship over cheating on our agreement that I wouldn't smoke unless I was nauseous and felt like I needed it medically when I had a stomach infection. But the teen rebel in me HATES any exterior control so she will always cheat despite the consequences. Interventions for someone else's good do not work unless the person is on board with seeing her usage as a problem. I remember 3 of my housemates were trying to get me to cut down smoking on my bong everyday. I managed to do it for them for about 3 weeks as well. And when I confessed that I had given up one of them said,"oh it wasn't for us that you were doing it, it was for YOU." HA HA. I did end up getting kicked out of that house for other reasons but it was quite the unideal disconnected human tragedy that would drive someone deeper into addictive behaviors not away from them. Some humans can be so stupid about their caring techniques. The connection of AA works as a community replacer for many people to finally "get clean," engage in mentoring relationships and have an endless global community that will support them dropping in without an appointment at ANY TIME OF THE DAY. That IS the opposite of addiction for them for sure. And to them addiction is a medical disease. The AA model would probably not work for me either. I can be a lone wolf probably due to my trauma history. "why do people use?" Gabor Mate says,"because they have deep emotional problems that they don't have the means to resolve on their own." And he also acknowledges that with right support, addicts need to learn to BE WITH THEIR PAIN not try to escape it. Perhaps, it wasn't until I defied the boundaries of possible and moved to Japan that I was also able to simultaneously defy my other impossibility which was abstain from using cannabis for months. I consider my addiction issues resolved even though I still use the substance. J does as well, even after going through a detox program saying that was "kicking was the worst experience. one of the worst of my life. i couldn't do it again..."

I remember studying Lisa Najavits "Seeking Safety" group therapy model as a possible model to adapt for a sex worker support group I wanted to start to support myself. This group therapy model was meant to support the "co-occuring disorder" of PTSD mental illness and drug use as a coping mechanism during trauma recovery. The problem was the Najavits group model didn't seem to understand sex work outside of a risky behavior or crime and we sex worker activists begged to differ. But, in our defiance we often covered up our wounds with more substance and more sex work, AND many of us transformed our sex work addictions into sex work ACTIVIST ADDICTIONS. The glory of the fight, the media attention, the sexy community that came out of the woodwork to join you...it all seemed like the best thing to do with your time and money. Until we discovered that we couldn't escape our trauma that way. It only multiplied in a roomful of hurt people, who often went through their current coping mechanisms of hurting the community that they were supposed to be so happy to have found. I knew that I was coping with marijuana for several reasons and soothing myself from post traumatic stress disorder triggers was definitely one of the main reasons I never saw myself ever becoming sober, especially during the escort years where sexual violence and more trauma was an all too often occurring tragic continuum that I lacked the ability to deal with.

Mate states that "all addictions originate in childhood trauma." and since I earlier gave the visual of sucking on a bong feeling like the equivalent to sucking on a mother's nipple when screaming in the darkness, I'm sure I can agree that there is a strong childhood, if not infantile wound that I am attending to. A wound that I can't even put into talk therapy rooms because it likely occurred before my brain could even form words. Gabor Mate also talks about ancestral trauma. He had grandparents who were survivors of the Holocaust in Hungary, during this time all Jewish babies were meant to have incessant crying "problems." I have been hearing we hold ancestral wounds in our bodies for 5 or more generations. Finding connections when the substance connection is no longer enough. It is the courage to dig into the wound with the bravery of self growth instead of the usual escape. The CONNECTION that I lacked was the strength to connect to my pain, explore it, excavate it, overcome it, heal...When did the pain of rejection that I so needed to medicate begin? I am still discovering the truth of these imprints, with and without the aid of natural and synthentic substances.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

I am a Professional Drug User.

“I’m a professional drug user.” I said on the microphone proudly in front of a small crowd of Harm Reduction conference attendees. “No, seriously. I GET PAID to do drugs.” The crowd didn't balk, it was the kind of conference where half of the attendees were high or on a contact high from the energy of the others in the room. Safe injection rooms were par of the course and most of us were high functioning attendees doing our community work on our substance of choice. The drugs I was referring to however was not marijuana or cannabis, my daily dependence for 20 years. It was primarily cocaine. The other drug that i was paid to hold space for was crystal meth which I didn't like to do myself but many of my late night clients at the time were always on. I got paid to keep the company of drug users and addicts who were caught up in a cycle of spending money on impulses which signal comfort if not actually helping or genuine, it still is aimed to soothe the consumer of sex workers and drugs. And both sides are helping each other survive so they love each other for that even if there are obvious negative repercussions, consequences, lies they tell themselves to continue a behavior or job tolerance. To date the MOST money I have collected in one day of work is still the $10,000 i got for doing massive amounts of cocaine with an escort client. $1000 for every line I could put down. I never knew i was so capable but like most things in my life, i am always surprising myself with how resilient and strong i can be without even predicting it. This man could have been the gateway to a life of hell and addiction but despite the fact that there would be years of all nighters paid to do less drugs with less pay i still never got sucked into anything i couldn't walk away from or that was too irreversibly damaging. The difference between being a professional drug user and an addict is that the professional makes a profit. The addict not only doesn't make a profit but often does more and riskier work. But both are usually doing pretty risky work. My known job title is sex worker or escort however, the majority of my clients are either not capable or not interested in having much intercourse with me. These clients pay me to keep them company or watch them do strange things without judgment. Of course there ARE SOME sex acts involved but much of the time spent is in companionship and camaraderie around drug use. Many of these guys call me often so they have my trust and i can take a Xanax and fall asleep while they stay awake until the afternoon when i am ready to leave the motel and drive back to my house. However, there is of course sometimes a definite exciting party atmosphere as part of some nights and I am indulging in some quintessential studio 54 type rock star experience. This IS of course extremely fun and hot. I learned how to share a cock just like a porn star with a real porn star and a famous DJ who ended up trying to not pay me! And despite the amounts of drugs induced, I remember the blow job just like it was YESTERDAY! And of course, there are nights and days like these for me to enjoy. In the last 5 years of me deciding to take on this sect of the sex work clientele I’ve gotten my share of excitement, adventure, repulsive and traumatic stories to share or to try to forget forever. This is what minimal screening gets you in the late night market. IF they could get through a few sentences of intuition screening on the phone and didn't sound like they were smoking a crack pipe while talking to me on the call I would feel safe to jump in my car and head over alone. The only thing i had to protect me was my stun gun and martial arts but what i convinced myself for YEARS at this time of my life, was that anything I saw or did ONCE, was never so bad.