I saw my heroin dealer this weekend

On Saturday my wife and I went to the city to attend a reptile expo. The expo was at the state park which is also the same area of the city I used to roam around while I was homeless. My old heroin dealer would ride his pedal bike, meeting up with us desperate and wayward users who had no access to a vehicle. I didn’t think much about the correlation between the location of the expo and my past drug excursions, but I did think about it briefly, prior to going. I didn’t put a lot of concern on this because my employer is in the same city as where I was homeless and I have built new and sober memories at these areas now. Also, I didn’t want to ruin our day by navelgazing.

The area of the expo is an area I haven’t been to since I was using and when we were driving through the area, I began talking with my wife about how I was feeling uneasy and had a sick feeling in my gut. It was raining quite hard and transients were walking up and down the rough and graffiti littered streets. Right after we started talking about my emotional state, I seen a man on a bike pedaling towards our vehicle. We was not stopped- we were heading north on the narrow neighborhood street and the cycler was riding south on the sidewalk. As soon as I seen the man on the bicycle, I knew it was my heroin dealer.

I told my wife who it was. I didn’t feel like it was something I wanted to keep to myself. To someone who has never been addicted to heroin, maybe this situation seems kind of inconsequential but for me, it was a pretty scary situation. I am very glad my wife was with me. I am glad she is willing to listen to my issues and fears without much warning.

I know that if that would have happened earlier in my sobriety, I would have slammed on the brakes, bought heroin, and got high. The sickening feeling I had did pass, but it did shake me up for a few hours. Addiction continually baffles me in its unrelenting patience and power. It’s not something to play around with. I go months without so much as a thought about heroin then BOOM! there it is. This is a rushed post because I am at work. I wanted to get this down in writing before the raw feelings of the situation disappeared. Thanks for reading.

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Emotional Growth

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I often hear in the recovery community that some emotions are bad while others are good. I understand that point of view but I believe it is incorrect. It may not seem like a problem, but I think it is very important to be precise when talking about this topic so that we are not led astray. Emotions can be extremely powerful and if we perceive them incorrectly for a long period of time, it can be catastrophic for our recovery. It has always been an emotion that I acted on that caused a relapse.

Some people believe anger is an emotion that should be suppressed, ignored or outright avoided at all costs. Anger is healthy. Anger is the opposite of depression and is a valuable emotion that we should speak to, and evaluate in much more depth. If you begin to feel anger, that emotion is there for a very good reason. Suppressing it or ignoring it is only erasing your true self. Of course, it is possible to allow anger to get out of control. That means you are not listening to what it is saying to you. You are simply allowing it to operate you like a giant meat puppet. Figure out what it is telling you. Don’t confuse anger with rage. Rage can be destructive. If you are swinging a baseball bat through the flat-screen, it is safe to say that you are no longer angry. If you act as though your emotions are “against” you instead of there to help you, you are not going through optimal recovery and very little growth, if any, will occur. Your emotions are your friends. Your emotions are your true self. Don’t treat them with contempt or hatred. Each one of your emotions is a part of your personality eco-system. They are your Board of Directors. They are your Congress (a Congress that actually does something useful.)

When I was in early sobriety, I remember how powerful and overwhelming my emotions were. So I understand the early random flooding bombardment of uncontrolled guilt-cry-happy-joyous-disgust fits that hit without warning. I also know that I made it through that time and I am still alive. Emotions always fade away. That is why it is so important to understand what they are trying to tell us and why.

Relapsing because of a non-harmful emotion seems kind of silly in hindsight. When my father passed away, I felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest. The pain felt so powerful, so intense. I knew the pain wasn’t going to kill me and even though it felt similar to physical pain, I knew it was just a deep sadness and grieving in knowing I could never see him again. I allowed myself to wail over his death. I remember sobbing loudly and uncontrollably on my mother’s couch with my wife at my side. Right in the middle of my emotional deluge, a thought popped into my head. I realized at that moment that my father’s death was not a good enough reason for me to relapse. I knew I would be okay.

For so much of my life, I have misunderstood my emotions. I have let my emotions overrun my life by my misguided reactions and irrationality. I’ve mainly focused on anger and sadness in this post but all of our emotions are legitimate mind/body awareness that tell us everything we need to know. The hard part is figuring out what they are trying to say. As long as we don’t push them away and suppress them as unnecessary glitches in the system, we can grow and learn everything we need to know about who we are. Just remember there is always a thought before an emotion. You have that “magic quarter of a second” to beat your emotion to the punch. But don’t punch your emotion, violence is bad.

Road Trip to the West Coast

DISNEYLAND

DISNEYLAND

To receive my wife’s passport, we have to drive to the Finnish Embassy in Los Angeles next month. We have decided that since we have to make the trip to the west coast, we will turn it into a fun and exciting vacation. I plan to do a blog post on our trip when we return home. It will include pictures and maybe one or two short video clips. If any of my readers who have never (or have) been to Vegas or California would like a picture or short video of anything specific, let me know and I will see if I can make it happen. Also, if you know of any awesome or amazing places that are a “must see”, I am open to suggestions! Please give your feedback and comments!

Here is our current route for our trip.

We will drive to Las Vegas from our home in Utah. Spending the first evening absorbing the views and dining under the lights of The Vegas Strip. We will be staying our first night at Caesars Palace (No, the REAL Caesar never lived there). see clip—-> http://youtu.be/526QUiYPgt0

"Is this the REAL Caesar's Palace?"

“Is this the REAL Caesar’s Palace?”

The next day we plan to continue on through the Nevada desert into Southern California. We are staying 5 nights in Anaheim. We had a difficult time choosing our hotel because there are about 300,000 hotels surrounding the fence line of Disneyland. But at the same time, we don’t want to drive more than we have to. I will let you know how the hotel is when we get back. I think it will work out well.

We are going to do both amusement parks that Disneyland has. Disneyland Park and Adventureland. Because the resort is so large, we are going to do Disneyland Park one day and Adventureland the next day. My wife, being from Finland, has never been to Disneyland and she has always wanted to go. She is an avid collector of Disney movies. I am anticipating an overflowing waterfall of joy and happiness pouring from my wife’s entire body upon arriving to the park. I must admit, I am feeling a bit whimsical myself. We both deserve a carefree week of fun and enjoyment and I am looking forward to our trip.

The 3rd day we are going to Universal Studios to test out their “front of the line” passes. Nothing better than a passive-aggressive “haha! sucker!” to all the sun-baked people who have been patiently waiting in line for 2 1/2 hours. As long as we avoid any smirking or eye contact everything should be okay.

What is your favorite thing to do and see here?

What is your favorite thing to do and see here?

The 4th day will be mostly open for sight-seeing, great food and exploring. Walk of Fame, Museum of Death, sandy beaches, city roaming, things like that.

Day 5  we wanted to drive to the Sequoia National Forest and get up close to those monstrous sequoia trees. I am a little concerned that too much of the forest will still be closed from winter snowfall. If that is the case, we will have some more free time to roam around Southern California.

Later that evening we will drive back into Las Vegas and spend the night at Treasure Island.

The next morning we will drive back to Utah. A part of my back story while using heroin and other drugs took place in Las Vegas. Being homeless and walking the streets of Vegas is a much different place than it is when you are sober and have purpose. Another distant reminder of what my life was, to what it is today. Making fresh, bright and sober memories from a past that is all but forgotten. I am truly grateful for the chance to rebuild my life from the solid ground up.

!!! Please comment if you have any requests for specific pics or footage; or if you have any suggestions on specific sites, places, rides, diner’s or areas that are in proximity to our destinations !!!

THANK YOU!

And kiitos to my rakas <3

And kiitos to my rakas

I started blogging about my addiction to heroin in May. Over the past 9 months I have met some wonderful online friends who have helped me in so many ways. Giving advise, hope, support, and love.

I plan on continuing this open journey with you all and I appreciate all of your support.

Thanks to all of you who have allowed your stories to be told in such a vulnerable and naked atmosphere. Being honest and open is what relationships are truly about.

I have enjoyed reading many of your wonderful posts. Whether funny, happy, helpful, angry, sad, depressing, joyful, engaging, silly, or thought provoking, I have enjoyed the growing journey with you all.

Here’s to 2015!

A Better Me

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There are some changes I will be making, as well as some personal goals I am setting for myself starting January 1, 2015. These are not empty resolutions that get thrown out after the second week of January. These are life changes that need to take place and continue on throughout the course of my time on earth.

Now that my life has settled into place and the unexpected tremors of early sobriety have long dissipated, I want to focus a bit more on my success and purpose as a human being. This does not mean I will stop doing what I need to do to stay sober. It just means that, on top of staying sober, I want to achieve other goals. There are also things about my life; as well as myself, that I am not okay with.

1- My weight. When my father died in October 2013, it affected my eating habits. I linked the death of my father to the foods he ate over the course of his life. Already having eating/food issues from a very young age (me), as well as very similar eating habits as my father, I started to despise eating food. As far as I knew, food killed my father and I hated it. Now, whether or not food is to blame for the death of my father; it doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is that I gain back my weight. I am not bulimic or anorexic. I just get pissed off at food and a lot of food textures gross me out. Some of my issue goes back to when I was a young child. I am still trying to figure it out and I plan to see a nutritional counselor. I guess it is also possible that I have Sensory Processing Disorder. I hate soggy, gritty, slimy, chunky textures and putting any of those in my mouth sounds about as fun as sliding naked down a huge razor-blade into a pool of rubbing alcohol. Any of my readers deal with this hyper-sensitive full-body-gagging experience? Same with folding a piece of 80-grit sandpaper in on itself but I’ll save the goose-bump hypersensitive touch stories for another time. Ugh!

GOAL- I will gain the weight back to my average size. This means I need to gain 15 pounds. That may seem like a small task but…I am a small man and will have to eat a massive amount of calories.

NUTRITION

2a- Drinks. I have been drinking waaaaay too much Mt. Dew, Pepsi, Red bull, Coffee, and other sugar loaded drinks. January 1st I am done. Well, one cup of coffee a day. No other soft drinks or sugary soda crap. Gotta have the coffee jump-start! Creamer, no sugar. 🙂

2b- Candy. I eat too much damn candy. I eat candy every day. milk duds, reeces pieces, M&Ms, Red licorice… I devour that shit. Willy Wonka would be jealous of my candy cupboard. Where is all the slimy soggy candy?! I guess that would be too easy. January 1st, DONE.

3- Work-out. I have started a work-out routine but they always stop. I always do it for the wrong reasons. This time, I am starting a workout because- well, I am getting older and I don’t want to die any time soon. I have been extremely rough with this body the last 20 years and I need to show it some love. I want to be healthy, strong, agile, headache-less and alert. January 1st, it’s on.

BUSINESS

4- My wife and I both work but we have opposite schedules. She works days and I work nights. We have worked this terrible schedule long enough so we are going to fix it. We have been talking about our plan to start our own business doing something we both enjoy. We know what direction we are going to go and have worked out the base decisions. Our business plan will start taking shape objectively on January 1, 2015.

5- Aside from our personal business goal, I am also setting a completion/publish goal for my book. I haven’t had any luck with agencies and I can’t just sit on it forever. My book will be getting published in 2015. If that means self-pub, so be it.

I’m sure there are many ways I can become a better person but I know the topics I listed above are the most important to me currently. Maybe when I wipe all these out I can work on some others. I am glad I have a precise starting point. Its time to walk the walk.

Thanks for your continued support my friends! For more great reading, stop by a fellow bloggers site at http://afterthepop.me/2014/12/26/hope-for-2015/

-Dustin

WARNING: Graphic Drug Use

The silver hollow sliver. Small but deadly.

The silver hollow sliver. Small but deadly.

The small excerpt below is taken from the story of my addiction. I must warn readers to its graphic and very detailed nature. It is a small piece of my true story; my relentless addiction to heroin and other drugs. If you are new in recovery and sensitive to any drug triggers, strong thoughts of using, or if you are still glorifying drug use- you may want to skip this post until you have both your feet firmly planted in recovery. The sequence of events below took place in the midst of my addiction when the capsizing wake of my addiction had already sunk my ship. I was homeless and had nothing but heroin, a spoon, some cotton and a needle. Any vestige of my true-self had been almost completely defeated…

(excerpt from my book)

[…Cars zoom past me as if late for an important meeting. I stand alone on the faded yellow curb. A local transit bus squeals to a sudden stop to my right. The sounds of leaky hydraulics radiate from under the frame as the bus driver opens the scissor-style doors. As the passengers’ board and fight their way to an empty seat, I notice a young boy staring at me through the scratched window of the bus. He is all alone. He is wearing a blue and yellow mask that he probably made at school. The eye-holes are cut out as well as a small slice for his mouth. For some reason I can’t break my focus from this little boy. As I stare in bewilderment, he gives me what looks to be a half smile that is projecting an unspoken message. He slowly shakes his head side to side. Is he telling me no? What is he trying to say? Why is this bothering me? I feel a shiver forming through my body. I continue to stare at the boy as the bus pulls away. He raises his hand in the shape of a pistol and puts it to his temple. He pulls the trigger and drops his head down on an angle so that I can see his mask as the bus pulls away.
The exhaust is still billowing into the air as I walk across the street to a local gas station. My thoughts are still turning the odd visuals of the little boy, his mask, and the bus. As I approach the station, my attention is diverted to a man on a Harley Davidson. He is wearing a worn black leather jacket that looks like it has seen its share of highway miles. His Levis are torn on the knees but held together by a few, small white threads. His face looks as if it has never been under a shade tree. The lines and wrinkles on his weathered face tell me he’s had a rough life. As I approach his motorcycle, he asks, “Hey, man. You have a light?”
“Yeah, sure.” I hand him my lighter and as I do he says, “Can you get me some cocaine?”
“I can get it but I don’t have a way to get it. I don’t have a vehicle,” I respond.
“I’ll give you a ride. Hop on.”
The powerful acceleration of the motorcycle jerks me backward. The wind fills my ears with empty air sound. We fly down the road with one thing in mind. One purpose, one reason. Our determination pays off as we approach an area well known for its high volume of illegal activity. My ears are still ringing as he kills the motorcycle engine. For a brief moment, I recall the boy on the bus. The thoughts are washed out by the voice of my new biker friend.
“Hurry up, I don’t have all day,” he gruffly reminds me.
“I’ll be quick man, no worries.” My heart starts beating fast as I realize I am about to get heroin and cocaine.
Before I met this guy I had no money and no way to get any. Once he gets his cocaine and I get my heroin, we will probably go our separate ways. It doesn’t matter though. We do whatever it takes to get our fix.
With the dope safely secured in my tightly closed fist, we drive to a local grocery store. Their bathrooms serve as a safe haven for shooting up. When you are homeless it is hard to have privacy. Public bathrooms provide that privacy.
We pull into the grocery store and park the bike next to the building. I am nervous as I approach the entrance. The automatic doors open swiftly to the motions of shoppers and children. A gust of air hits me as I enter the store. My focus is on the back of the store where I see a blue plastic sign pointing the way. My fast-paced walk gradually turns to a jog. I can hear my friend keeping pace but I don’t acknowledge him.
Since I reach the bathroom first, I go into the stall that is against the wall. I like these stalls the best because if someone comes in while I am using, I don’t run the risk of having people on both sides of me. My new friend goes into the stall next to me. I see his hand lower under the stall wall. I hand him his cocaine, a spoon and a needle. I start to get my heroin ready, but he interrupts me saying, “Hey man, let me try some of that stuff.”
I know he hasn’t used heroin in a while and I’m a little worried to give him some. He doesn’t seem like the type of person to reason with though, so I hand him my leftovers under the metal door.
I return to my own priorities. I draw back the heroin and fill the needle. A couple shakes of my wrist and the air rises to the top of the syringe. I push the air through the needle and spin the needle around with my fingers. I look down and gently place the needle’s sharp point against the vein protruding from my left arm. One quick tap with my index finger and the needle tears a hole. I pull back on the plunger to see a deep red color mix with the liquid heroin. PUSH. The warm mixture enters my veins with vengeance. Within seconds I feel the world’s troubles subside into total bliss.
As I wipe the blood from my battered arm, I open the stall door. I look up and see my friend leaning towards the mirror with both hands on the sink. Sweat runs down his temple and off his forehead. He looks as if he is staring through his own reflection.
“Hey, are you okay?” I ask. He takes a slow deep breath and says, “Yeah.” He lets go of the sink with both hands and his body drops to the hard tile like a bag of wet sand. Images of the boy on the bus flash back and start to haunt me.…]

What do you do? What do you do when a man drops dead right in front of you? In a public bathroom, with no doors- after shooting up heroin that you gave him only moments ago? The man’s pockets are littered with balloons of cocaine and remnants of heroin; spoons, needles, and cash scattered over the bathroom tile. It is impossible to hide the bloody track marks up and down your arms… So… Do you call the police? Do you yell for help? Or, do you run?