DOB 2/21/66; Tangier, Morocco.
Click Here for Addict Out of the Dark and into the Light – 06_Rachel.mp3
Lives now in Los Angeles, CA. My first drug was hash and I didn’t get high, but I pretended to get high because I wanted to be accepted.
I was born in Morocco. Both my parents are drug addicts. When I was there, they went there because drugs were legal, and while I was there I was kidnapped by Arabs and because my parents owed money for drugs.
My Father was really strange. He was put in an insane asylum there and it got really out of hand. So, finally they decided to send us back to the United States, because my parents are from New York.
We went to New York and then my parents got divorced. I was about five and my Mom went to Connecticut. My Mom went to a treatment center, a behavior modification center, a place called “Daytop.” While she was there I lived with my grandparents in New York.
They were really wealthy and I got whatever I wanted, but I was really scared of every-body and I would hide in my room, and my Father was still getting high and being really crazy, and he was near where I was living, and I don’t remember too much about him, but he kidnapped me from my grandparents and took me to Woodstock, and shot me up with heroin when I was a child. And when I was brought back I had to be hospitalized. I was very afraid of him.
When I was about six, my Mom had graduated from this treatment center and had sent for me and I went to live with her in Connecticut and we moved around a lot. She was this counselor in this treatment center and they would transfer her around and we would move every six months and I lived all over New England and I lived in the treatment center.
I am an only child and I remember feeling like I had a bunch of brothers and sisters, but it was really bizarre. My Mother remarried to somebody she met in the treatment center and he was an addict and he was in the Mafia. And I don’t know — recovery back then was different and you could have drinking privileges. You really weren’t clean totally.
So, one night my Father got really drunk — my Step-father — and got into a really bad motorcycle accident where he lost half of his leg and things were very bizarre. Anyway, after the motorcycle accident things were really frantic in my house and my parents fought lot, but they stayed together for a while.
We continued moving around and I still was very afraid of everyone. I had a hard time making friends. I found art to be a good escape for me and I would just sit in my room and draw and hope not to talk to anyone. I was very good in school. I got straight A’s. And basically I did whatever I did, tried not to communicate too much with people.
When I was about 10 my Mom got divorced from my second Father and we moved to Florida, where we moved in with my grandparents, and I kind of consider my grandparents to be like my parents, and my Mom to be more like my sister. She was not very responsible. We moved in with my grandparents and my Mom and I slept in the same bed. And she started going to school and she got into college and she worked her way up and got a master’s degree and all this.
Anyway, I started working when I was like twelve and it was almost like I was taking care of her. My grandmother treated me really bizarrely. She like tried to make me her friend and she gave me like house dresses to wear, sat me in front of the television, gave me food and gave me coffee.
So I started drinking coffee. I continued in school, doing really, really well and felt very inferior to the people I went to school with. It was a very rich neighbor-hood in Miami Beach, Florida. I had lived like so many places I didn’t know where I fit in. I dressed very differently. Everyone was really rich and they didn’t make me feel a part of that.
I guess when I was in my seventh grade we moved to Colorado and, well, we had taken a trip across the country and we ended up in Colorado. And that’s where I first started getting high. That’s when my life totally took a drastic change. My first drug was hash and I didn’t get high, but I pretended to get high because I wanted to be accepted. I was still getting straight A’s in school, but the schools in Colorado were really easy.
I only stayed there for three months because in August it was snowing and I hated it. So I moved back to Florida and I lived with my grandmother again. My Mom stayed in Colorado and basically things were pretty normal. I guess I continued working. And I went to school. I was a pretty normal kid but I hated myself.
Anyway, I guess my Mom eventually moved back and we lived together and my drug use really started taking off in high school. I met some people who became my best friends that got high a lot and it just became very irresponsible, as far as school went, but I still kept working.
But most of the money, I just used for drugs. My Mom got into coke very heavy at this point. She had been clean for like ten years and then she started getting high and now she was dealing coke again and it was very bad because she had hepatitis before ‘cause she was a junkie and now her hepatitis came back and I was living in Miami Beach and there was a lot of cocaine that was very cheap and there was a lot of dealers like half my high school was either drug dealers, kids, or Jewish American princesses, and the Jewish American princesses went out with the drug dealers.
Anyway, I fit in there somewhere. I kind of was like all of them put together. It was a very, very dangerous environ-ment. The people that would come to my house were very dangerous. But at this point I was using cocaine a lot, very heavy, but the one thing I didn’t, do was stick a needle in my arm. And I never did that because I thought that was the slime of the earth.
That was because of my parents. My father — my real father — all these years was like obsessed with me and he kept files on me and he would follow me around and like every state I would move to he would move there. He’s really deranged. Now he’s living in Miami Beach. When I was in Miami Beach he would like spy on me while I was in school and stuff. I was really afraid. He would like send me pictures of himself masturbating and stuff. It was very sick.
But he was like a teacher, an English professor in college, when he got like this money that came to him all the time and he put it in a fund for me and like right at the height of my addiction he gave me like thousands and thousands of dollars and immediately I just spent it on drugs.
Finally things just got really, really bad for me and I had always hated living and stuff. I was really, really fucked up and I hated living. I was very suicidal and I would talk about suicide to my friends but it didn’t even faze anybody. One day I just decided to try to commit suicide and I took three bottles of Valium.
When I took them my Mom — I was still living with my Mom — she was trying to clean up at my aunt’s house and so for three days I was like unconscious in my house. She came home and she found me. She sent me to the hospital and I remember when I woke up I was very angry to still be alive and I ended up getting introduced to recovery.
My cousin Ivan is clean and he was sent for by my grandmother. He was in Ohio. He was sent for, to come and see me in hospital. He gave me this quiz And it asked me if I was an addict — all these questions — asked me if I was an addict and I answered yes to all the questions.
It was pretty obvious that I had a problem. So he arranged for me to go into a detox unit. I went to this detox unit. And then he was facilitating this treatment center in Ohio so he had me go to this treatment center there. I really didn’t want to be clean, yet I was eighteen and I thought I was too young to stay clean. I didn’t feel like I would have any fun.
I felt like I would still be real uncool if I stopped getting high and I didn’t know how to live being clean. And I didn’t want to but I stayed clean out of guilt for my grandmother, ‘cause she was putting up all this money for me to go into this treatment center.
I stayed in there for three months and then I was sent to a halfway house in New York, where I stayed for three months, But in between the treatment center and the halfway house I went to New York, where I had this long distance relationship with this guy and I visited him and about a month into me being in the halfway house they found out I was pregnant and I ended up having surgery for the pregnancy and it was a very, very painful time.
It just made me want to use drugs that much more. And I really didn’t want to be clean enough to know that no matter what happens in my life I don’t have to use and so I ended up using, but the difference was that when I got high this time I hated it.
I felt really strange ‘cause I hadn’t been high in about six months. So, I took three hits off a joint and I felt like an idiot and I was paranoid and everyone was laughing at me because I was working at Pizza Hut and I was wearing this Pizza Hut uniform and it was just not a good experience, but anyway . . .
So, I stayed in the halfway house for about a month more and I hated every minute of it. So, I left — you’re supposed to stay in there for like about 6 to 9 months. When I left there I went to Ohio again and I stayed with my cousin Ivan in hope that he could help me stay clean.
What I really wanted to do was go back to Florida and start right back up in the same situation again. I stayed clean while I was there for about three months but I learned ways to stay clean through going to meetings every day: a program for recovering addicts.
But I really didn’t want to stay clean yet. I was just like there still kinda out of guilt. Meanwhile, I was applying for art school and I was to start art school in April of 1985. And I went back to Florida. I went to Ft. Lauderdale and I started school.
Meanwhile my mother, about a month after I got clean, she got clean through the help of my cousin and she had stayed clean. So, I went to live with her in Ft. Lauderdale, but I only ended up living with her for about a month. Because we didn’t get along very well.
So I went to live in this hotel on the strip in Ft. Lauderdale by myself and still had a bad attitude. I was very jealous of the people I went to college with. It was a very partying atmosphere on the Ft. Lauderdale strip — that’s where my school was the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale.
And I became very good friends with this guy that I was in this class with — this gay guy — and he got high a lot. I told him I was recovering and I took him to some meetings but I ended up getting high with him. He didn’t get clean. I had a lot of reservations about using cocaine.
I still wanted to use cocaine and a lot of the reasons why I wanted to use cocaine was because I had a weight problem and it kept me really, really thin and during the nine months’ time that I had been clean I had gained about 40 pounds.
So a lot of my incentive for using the coke was just like losing weight again. So I took these two hits of cocaine and the same effect happened as the first time. I relapsed. I just wanted to come down immediately. I got very paranoid, but yet we kept looking for more. There was no more. If I had known that’s all there was, I probably wouldn’t have done it, but it was very much to my surprise.
We searched for this cocaine and I had no connections because all my connections were in Miami Beach and we were in Ft. Lauderdale. For some reason the next day I saw my Mom and I hadn’t planned on staying clean.
I planned on just keep using, but I guess something happened and I told my mother what happened and she, like I said, she’s recovering now and she forced me to go to a meeting for recovery with her and I picked up a white chip and that was in May of 1985 and I’ve been clean ever since.
Something happened at this point. I changed. I wanted to stay clean for myself now. I guess I had to experience getting high a couple times after my major bottom to know that’s not what I wanted for myself anymore, to see the other side a little bit. I got into recovery and I found I really liked it. I met some people, especially one person in particular, who had three years clean at the time and she became my best friend. And she is still my best friend.
She showed me that I could have friends that are fun and cool and interesting that are clean and that I wasn’t missing anything by being clean at a young age. Because she had gotten clean when she was fifteen.
It was very hard for me at first because I was very introverted and I didn’t like to talk to people very much. So my recovery could be easier than it has been, I suppose, but I’ve changed a lot in the time that I have been clean and it doesn’t really matter how long it takes as long I stay clean.
I guess I came into recovery being a devoted atheist and the program that I’m in is a spiritual program so at first I really didn’t think that I was going to make it. I would hear the word God and I would cringe and I would not have anything to share. I felt because I didn’t believe in God and I didn’t understand what they meant by “spiritual not religious” and I would mainly just judge people and try to make myself different.
But I was told it doesn’t really matter how long it takes for you to acquire spiritual beliefs as long as you stay clean — that’s the most important thing. And that’s what I did every day. I would stay clean even if I wanted to use so bad that I couldn’t stand it. I would do it minute by minute hour by hour, and stayed in school. I worked two jobs and I just lived as a normal human being in society.
One thing that was real important that I was told over and over again was not to leave before the miracle happens. And that I had been so emotionally screwed up for so long and had used drugs for so long that even though I wasn’t happy being clean that eventually I would find happiness inside.
And just to wait it out because so many times I would say you know I’m fucking miserable, I hate being clean, I just want to go back to using, and I didn’t have a lot of hope. And that’s one thing I gained from people telling me this, was that they went through the same thing, and it takes a long time. And I can say today that I am about I thousand times happier now than I have ever been in my life.
Sometimes I still want to get high. I’ve been clean for three and a half years and I think that I should be over it, but I know that I am an addict and I have a disease and it’s natural for me to want to want to get high and not to beat myself up because I’m totally spiritual and happy all the time. That’s not normal and to remember I’m a human being, that’s going to go through ups and downs in life, and it’s not going to be happiness all the time.
My concept of spirituality is a lot different than it was before and I’ve done a lot of different things to try to pursue that with meditation and relaxation and visualiza-tion. And it helps me a lot because I’m a kind of person who is very anxious all the time and nervous and tense and worried.
And I am very concerned about what’s going to happen tomorrow and what happened yesterday and what people think of me and just being sometimes is really, really diffi-cult. Having spiritual belief, knowing that there is something there that is helping me, is going to carry me through, is probably the way that I stay happy more than anything else.
I’ve been moving a lot ever since I got clean and just moved to California from Florida about three months ago. And I have gone through lots of pain in the last few months because I ended a relationship that I was in for about a year and a half on and off and that person was, also in recovery.
And I kind of lost my focus for a really long time about getting better with inside myself and gaining self—esteem and just pursuing my own life and got caught up in pursuing his life and making sure he stayed in my life.
I tried breaking up many times. I couldn’t stay gone for more than two months at a time. It was very hard. So now part of the reason that I have moved across the country is that I can really let go. Finally letting go of somebody is to me a lot harder than giving up drugs was.
Because I am a human being and I am still going to have to go on having relationships with people, whereas drugs were not a necessity in my life and it’s been very hard out in California because the people are somewhat different. Although they are the same, they feel the same things that I do, there is a different kind of attitude, and it’s not easy to get close to people.
I have just been trying to focus on the similarities rather than the differences. On the other hand, it’s been very, very good because I really don’t have a focus as far as a career because when I went to art school, I finished a year but it was a two year course.
And after that I didn’t know what to do because I thought that was my life long dream, was to be an artist, and I decided that wasn’t for me anymore. I was kind of left with a large hole inside, not knowing what path to go on as for a career, so I feel that being in California is a really good place for that, and there is a lot of creativity, and there is a lot of opportunity.
What is hard for me is managing to stay here and remember that I can do that and motivate myself and not just exist and to take risks. But for the lost part I am changing, I am growing, and I am happy. I’m pretty happy. I never thought I would have that; my relationships with my family are good, except for I don’t talk to my Father anymore.
At one point in recovery I tried to help him recover but I feel that some people are a little too far gone or they are just not willing or they are indifferent toward spiritual principles and I think he is all of the above and also he is very sick and I just don’t want to be any part of him anymore.
My Stepfather I don’t know whatever happened to him. I think he is dead or in jail. I haven’t talked to him for 10 years. My Mom is still clean and she is living in Florida and we get along great. My cousin Ivan is still clean, our relationship kind of went through some changes in the last year.
I am going to be seeing him tomorrow. It will give me an opportunity to maybe do some communicating about the changes that have gone down and maybe something could, happen but I still love him and am grateful to him for him helping me into recovery.
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