I've been thinking a lot about dating and being in recovery. So far, post-divorce, it hasn't really been an issue; 1 person I dated was a ridiculous alcoholic I had no intentions of being serious with, another...well, the other was someone I had a ridiculous shared history with & I know wouldn't judge me no matter what.
But in talking with a friend recently, I've come to realize that this whole thing has the potential to be a huge problem in the future.
Opiate/Heroin addicts have the highest rate of relapse of all addicts (so I'm told, and it appears that way to me from what I've seen!). I'm...still on methadone. I'm coming off of the methadone, slowly but surely, but...I'm still on it for now. Things are stable. I'm not craving, though I can be an irritable bitch if I drink too much coffee before I dose. I want to desperately believe that those feelings are just because it's, like, acute withdrawal. That when I go for it & step off, I'll have some minor withdrawal crap, but because I've done it slowly it'll be manageable.
But what about after? Can I date non-users? I mean, I don't want to date junkies, but I don't think I'd want to date EX-junkies either! Which leaves me with...non-users. However, I'm really really concerned about that high rate of relapse. Like I almost don't think it's fair to saddle a potential mate with such a thing. I guess I'm scared I can't trust myself.
The stigma of being a former junkie is something I keep running across. I'm going to visit a friend in another state. My anxious self does better the less time I have to contemplate things (I'll either talk myself out of doing it, or I'll work myself into a tizzy of indecision); I would have LIKED to have said "Oh, I'll be there tomorrow!" but I couldn't because of the stupid clinic. Thankfully, because I'm a good girl & do what I'm supposed to, they really like me & pulled some strings so I got EXTRA takehomes for my trip, and an extra on TOP of what I should've gotten AND all this happened in less than a week, when it normally takes more than two to get shit like this approved.
Then there's shit like, if one of my friends really needs me for some reason, I can't just jump up & go. And I usually have to mention it's because I'm on the clinic.
So there's the whole clinic dealie. But then there's the whole junkie stigma as well. I have the smallest, least noticeable tracks than any IV user I've ever known. But people I'm honest with about this (& I'm ALWAYS honest - I'm too fucking lazy to lie) I'm sure worry about, well, communicable diseases, I guess. I don't have HCV or HIV, and I'm 1 of 2 people I know in my area who was/is an IDU without HCV. Any time a health official is aware of my former IDU status, they always seem to be about to just check off "yes" when they're going through the list of ailments you have & are taken aback when I say I don't have it. Damn, I mean, if I were to date someone I knew used to inject drugs, especially if they had a serious down & out period (like I did), *I'D* worry about HIV, and likely be suspicious they might not be telling the truth or worried that maybe they are but it hasn't shown up yet, blah blah blah. I mean, I never shared a goddamn thing, so I *KNOW* I don't have anything, but still.
I guess maybe I'm just feeling down about my past. Maybe shame about having been a Heroin/cocaine addict - esp an IV one? I dunno. I have no intentions of EVER stepping back into that life, *EVER*. But those statistics scare the fucking shit out of me. And I've spent MANY years on opioids - all those years on the pain clinic, the few years of insanity, now MMT.
Back to visiting my friend, which sorta triggered all this; my friend is my friend, and I don't censor myself when we converse. And...maybe I'm feeling bad, because he lives with people that I *DEFINITELY* feel I need to remind myself to watch what I say & not blurt out anything that comes to mind, like I would if it were just me & a close friend talking. Maybe that's what it is. Maybe it *IS* shame? Like, I know I don't have to worry about anyone noticing anything - my scars are very insignificant & you wouldn't notice them if you weren't looking directly for them. But it's nearly summer - I can't wear long sleeves. There's a chance someone could see. And then it's very likely their opinion of me would change, despite the fact that I left that life behind a long time ago. I've had this happen to me regarding other "loaded" phrases - and not just with one person, either.
"Junkie", "Heroin addict", "IV drug user" are all terms that give people an immediate image in their mind that's hard to shake, regardless of the word "former" being in front of it. I don't know how to get past this deep sense of shame. Like, I'm all weepy as I write this - it's something I try not to think about too often.
I remember a few years ago, when I first saw my friend Marc in many many years (like, over 15). He knew in advance about my "troubles" & had had some "troubles" of his own as a coke/crack head, apparently. But there are no tangible scars from that - he can go about his life, never get high again, and people might never know.
But I was leaning over him for something, and I saw him look at the crook of my arm. Like I said, you have to look for them to see them. I don't think I look anything like a junkie these days. But that glance, that recognition, made me feel 2 inches tall. I looked at him, he looked back at me, shrugged & said "it is what it is."
Ugh, crying now writing this, so I'm gonna finish up with this:
I don't know how I'm ever gonna get past this. I feel like no matter what I do in life in the future, I could find a cure for cancer or whatever, but I will be forever judged by that period of my life.
Most of all, I wish I could stop judging myself.
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I'll never be able to lose the stigma