another one down...

By Ilsa · Mar 2, 2009 · ·
  1. Ilsa
    swi just got the call, another former friend has od'ed and is no longer with us. i'll quit sugar-coating it: he's dead and he was a junkie, so who should give a fuck? well i do give a fuck. yeah, he was a junkie. yeah, he was an addict. yeah, he's ripped ppl off in desperate times. but he was my friend, and in rare moments of clarity, he helped me. he encouraged my moving and getting clean.

    sorry if this makes no sense, but it's my blog so i guess it doesn't necessarily have to.

    when will these types of calls stop? when will 6 months go by that swim doesn't hear about friends bein incarcerated or dying? and usually it's the latter.

    i am angry and sad. i tried to talk to another frined about this, and he basically said, 'well he was just a junkie, what did you honestly expect?"

    i learned not to expect much of anyone but myself, so i don't know what i expected. but this person was much more than 'just another junkie.' he was a sweet caring person, and he was my friend. and to those who would write him off as 'just another junkie,' i have this to say: who the fuck are YOU to judge and say his life was worthless? he helped me get clean, and now he's reinforcing my decision to have done so. who the fuck are you to write him off as 'just a junkie'??? i was too at one point, does that make me any less human?

    ^^apologies to the reader for all that. i am deeply saddened by hte loss of a friend, and the fact that someone else close to me took such a nonchalant stance stung quite a bit. i've noticed this tendency before though, the tendency to treat individuals who break social taboos (not just about drug use, but in general) as sub-human is ubiquitous. i think that got to me more than anything (other than the passing of a friend, obviously). i'm leaving the post as is for now. don't quite know what to do at the moment....

    to mods:
    i know this won't show up, as i'm a silver member and i know the rules changed on that. i really just needed a spot to vent about this and didn't want to start a thread on it, as it's still really raw and i am having trouble with it.

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  1. cannabis-sam
    Losing a friend is harsh, SWIM's lost a friend recently and he was branded "a drug addict and a criminal" by the papers, which sickened SWIM, (christ he's known the guy since he was six), I agree people do tend dehumanize people, especially people who use hard drugs, they're treated like it was their fault and that's what you get for being a smackhead.

    But if someone was dying of cancer and you acted in the same way it would be a different matter, people have the tendency to treat drug addicts like they're the scum of the earth nothing but leaches off society and one less junkie is a good thing.

    People forget that addiction, IMO is as much of a disease as cancer or aids whatever you wanna compare it to, and however much a person has fucked up in life it doesn't make them any less human or any less the person they were with that junk.
  2. Ilsa
    thanks for the support, sam, i really appreciate it. i have lost 3 friends in the last 10 months and don't know the status of many others since having left that scene.

    while we may not agree on the nature of addiction (disease vs alternative models, although i think chronic addiction can induce a disease state by long-term dysregulation of key systems) we do agree that addicts are still human; moreover, most of us are even MORE human for having experienced and overcome an addiction. and yet we are stigmatized. imo, if one has gone down that road and come back from it, they are stronger and have aMUCH deeper understanding of themselves than womeone who hasnt. i;m not saying we are superior for having done so, just different, and definitely not any less than anyone else.
  3. Heretic.Ape.
    [FONT=verdana,arial][FONT=verdana,arial]For the Soul’s Safekeeping[/FONT]

    When, through intense propensities, we are wandering in the Sangsara,
    Along the bright light-path of the simultaneously-born Wisdom,
    May the heroic Knowledge-Holders lead us,
    May the bands of the Mothers, the Dakinis, be our rear guard.
    May we be saved from the fearful narrow passageway of the Bardo,
    May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood.
    [/FONT][FONT=verdana,arial]May the ethereal elements not rise up as enemies;
    May it come that we shall see the realm of the Blue Buddha.
    May the earthy elements not rise up as enemies;
    May it come that we shall see the realm of the Yellow Buddha.
    May the fiery elements not rise up as enemies;
    May it come that we shall see the Realm of the Red Buddha.
    May the airy elements not rise up as enemies;
    May it come that we shall see the Realm of the Green Buddha.
    May the elements of the rainbow colors not rise up as enemies;
    May it come that all the Realms of the Buddhas will be seen.
    May it come that all Sounds will be known as one's own sounds;
    May it come that all the Radiances will be known as one's own radiances;
    May it come that the Trikaya will be realized in the Bardo.

    [FONT=verdana,arial]Om Shanti, ilsa[/FONT]
  4. MiMoMo
    Alot of emotional vehemence coming from our resident logician. Curious as to how the departed one helped SWIY get clean and how his OD reinforces SWIY's decision to have done so. Ascribing such credit to him is dangerous by its domination of SWIilsa motives. Using reverse contango, this connection may engender feelings of doubt and helplessness as to how could such a friend meet this demise while having saved SWIilsa. Does SWIilsa consider herself ineffective in 'returning the favor', and steering him clean?

    And as far as subhuman classification, is it not the very essence of being human, to be free willed and spontaneous, unpredictable and enchanting? During SWIM's own rampageous slog through cocaine cataclysm, what drove SWIM to shed reptilian skin was the abject horror of acting bizzarely insect-like in his robotic predictability. Though red blood pumped warm and consideration still glowed in his soul, SWIM was far from human, his efforts at concealment, notwithstanding. His trajectory could be extrapolated with certainty.

    My response is purposely meant to get your attention and not merely to assuage your pain. By your cerebrotonic bent, SWIM is concerned more with the stability of SWIilsa's moorings than of any other forum participant. It appears this unpleasant event has broken open SWIilsa's heart and enabled expression unhindered by the tacky tether of tact. Congratulations on blurting out how you feel. Now, more of it!

    Being much older, SWIM has witnessed nearly every single active player of hardball get creamed. SWIM has scars and quirks now worn with distinction. Life is non-linear and turbulent, unpredictable. It is so very reassuring to know that there is a magical ~ilsa~ that exists, radiantly riding the turbulent waves. Rainbow.
  5. guldenat
    This comment is late, but I only recently read this blog post; sorry to hear about your loss. I also whole heartedly agree that people with addictions are frequently dehumanized, it's a real shame.
  6. Ilsa
    thank you each bring meaning to this in your own ways and they are all important perspectives.

    this person, MiMoMo, was someone who i met when i was a few rare moments of clarity (he was temporarily clean and i was going crazy where i was living--definitely a case of too much, all the time), he genuinely backed my developing plan to get out by offering me a place to come and sit and talk without anyone tweaking out on massive coke shots or nodding or just generally being fucked up. one of the last times i saw him before i left, he had moved away from the neighborhood and gotten clean (for the moment). i had already been planning to leave, as the place i was living, while not posing a direct threat, was a case of too much, all the time, and i was wasting away, fast. one of my roommates got cocaine psychosis pretty bad, for whatever reson, and would rant was all just too much. and i knew if i stayed i would most likely od at some point, in the not too distant future.

    most junkies don't encourage one another to get clean, let alone bail and haul ass two states away, but there are exceptions. there are a rare few who genuinely, in their moments of sobriety, do want to know that their friends are ok.

    this is all part of a game many of us have played, and is to be expected. it is a loss that we knowingly undertake in advance, whether we are aware of it or not. many of us have experienced aspects of our behavior that we would have thought highly unlikely previous to addiction, but those acts do not change us fundamentally. they are (often painful, ultimately) reminders of the extent to which we might have lost ourselves at one point or another, but they are not us.

    i have been sitting with and watching my emotions evolve and change over the last couple of weeks, and they are becoming less intense, as is to be expected. again, i very much appreciate the thoughts and words everyone has expressed here. the circumstances are sad, ut as long as a few poeple out there know that this was a person, and one who knew and cared about his friends, and not just another _______, then i'm content.

    i plan on dedicating an afternoon of yoga and meditation to his memory this week. i was too emotionally raw until now and did not feel the balance between sorrow and acceptance ( and therefore negative and positive) aspects of my grief, and again everyone's perspectives are valuable and will be incorporated into the dedication practice.

    thank you ;)

  7. cra$h
    I can feel your pain when someone says "just another dead junkie...." as if they all deserve to die miserable lives. There still human beings, most of them being real nice people in a cruel world, and something like heroin is like a crutch, and makes everything OK for a little bit. I'd flip shit if I lost someone to a drug, and someone saying "what else do you expect?". I'd probably come close to killing them. ah, i'm getting myself all worked up over it now!
  8. yaba
    Sorry to hear what has happened.. Some of my friends are death due to drugs or aids and some are in prison.

    All you can do is be strong and things will get better.. And don't listen to people who say, its just a junky. It can happen to everyone, it happened to swim a few times.. And if swim didn't move away he would be dead by now he thinks.

    Anyway be strong !!
  9. bananaskin
    No apology needed to this reader... pain hurts and heals, and so does anger, injustice, sadness, fury, desperation, frustration, hatred and all else that is encompassed in pain.
    SWIM has felt them all and to some point been healed by them all, not in this specific context but for a long long time and release is never a bad thing.

    At peace

  10. pinksox
    Sorry about your friend Ilsa. There's no way around it, losing people close to us sucks. And I don't think I'll ever understand the "just a junkie" attitude.

    Professionally, I have to admit I still take it a little personally every time we get a code we can't save...of course some because of age or circumstance hit a bit harder than others...but I know when I stop caring about any of them is the time I need to get into another field.

    Personally, I've lost two brothers in recent years...both to suicide. There's a stigma surrounding that too. I guess I've just come to accept in my own head, regardless of what others think, that their lives, and even deaths, had purpose. I struggled with that concept for a long, long time though.

    It's nice you found a way to reflect upon him, his life, and your friendship in a meaningful way. My kids and I planted two trees in the front yard as a way of honoring ours.
  11. DopinDan
    Sorry to hear about your loss.

    SWIM just heard yesterday that one of his highschool friends he used to party with 20 years ago or so, ODed a few days ago, on some combination Cocaine, Oxy and rum.

    SWIM has lost at least 5 friends, and acquaintances, over the years.

    Alcohol+drugs was the culprit in more than one of the deaths.
  12. sknkmnky
    I'm sorry for your loss. I lost a friend to an overdose as well. Words can't describe the way that makes a person feel when something like that happens.
  13. Pringles
    I am sorry to hear about your friend & the nonchalant response of another. I learned of the death of a long lost friend recently & it made me sad. I find it hard to understand why others don't understand. I try to be good to others as they did to me, keeping it going,

  14. Ilsa
    thanks again everyone. even talking about this brings tears's really brought the issue of stigmatization to light for me as well. his doctors all knew he was an addict, and he had a couple of cool ones, but by and large he was treated as a sub-human every time he's ever had a hospital stay. at least he doesn't have to deal with that anymore.

    have another friend that i'm watching go down that road (after 4 years clean!) at the moment. i can't help but wonder if the derision with which doctors here treat junkies doesn't just add to the whole vicious cycle. having a doctor treat you like shit, even if you don't know or respect them, really reinforces negative self-image. it may be a minimal contribution to the cycle, but you'd think anyoen who'd taken the Hippocratic oath would act with more compassion.
  15. DopinDan
    Well the DEA has a war going on against prescription pain drugs, and doctors. Many doctors are afraid to prescribe, and many people go in pain with inadequate treatment due to doctor's fear of a DEA lynching.

    SWIMs father is a physician and had the DEA breathing down his neck. Lost his DEA license for a while. DEA made up a story that he was prescribing a lot more vicodin than he was. He fought them and won, but it cost a lot of money. A lot of doctors are assholes, that's true, but the DEA are the much larger assholes, along with the prohibitionist propagandists.
  16. MaryWarner
    having read about your loss makes me cry.
    cry loudly and intense.
    maybe my post is a bit on the late side ...
    maybe i write things ohers have wrote before...
    but every time one of my friends leaves this way I am reminded of my very best friend who I lost when I was onrehab in 2001 and got a big letter from his mother, telling my her son, my friend, has died after being OD.
    one month before Iwent to rehab we split up, because I could not stand his decay. I never had the chance to tell him I lovedhim nevertheless.

  17. cyndi
    Swim's son was in and out of jail for petty crimes, usually possession. Enough to get under his skin. The cops around here saw him as a problem because of the drugs. He would sell as well as use. I guess he thought he couldn't take like anymore and took my .38 and shot himself in the head with 1 bullet.

    The calls may go on for a while. Friends mean well but what you really want to say is bring back my friend nothing else matters. I know that is my case. He was my son and I loved him and that is all that matters not his past crap. I get really sick of the stigma that addicts are bad people or well they are just sick. No they are human first with issues that they usually need help with. My prayers are with you. pm if you need to talk. Death is a nightmare.
  18. ~lostgurl~
    Sorry for your loss Ilsa, I don't usually read blogs so totally missed this. I can totally relate - we are far too young to know so many people who have died - all before their time. xx
  19. Ilsa
    i can't express the gratitude i feel for everone's thoughts (and i don't know why i ever write these replies at work, because they always leave me in tears,lol).

    his death aided in triggering some poor choices on my part, and i really struggled there for awhile, but am getting back on track with th e help of the forum and of a friend with whom i've formed a 'buddy system' for times like these that are conducive to relapse. i will post more about that elsewhere, however, as this space is dedicated to chris and his memory.

    lost, you're right, we are too young for this. and no parent should ever have to feel what you've been through, cyndi. to mary: i have learned to tell EVERYONE in my life (friends and family) that i love them on parting or getting off the phone...there are so many i left behind and don't know where or how they are....only to hear of them in this way.
  20. TheBadMan
    "Just another junkie" is just an easy answer that, I suppose, is supposed to encourage you to feel better by discarding your concern for the addict's life. You object on grounds of humanity, which I think is pretty reasonable. Addicts are people too. People are addicts. It doesn't make anyone worth less or worthless.
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