Soul Doubt: 09/2007 - 10/2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

NOT a "Meth Mom"- No Way, No How

I just read the print edition of the Spokesman, and while I want to thank DHO for getting the word out there about my blog (like he said, a voice like mine is one that really just isn't heard from that often), I also need to clarify something. I am not, and never ever have been, a "meth mom". This may seem like splitting hairs to some, but to me it is a very important point. My one and only child is only five months old, and I have been clean from ALL mind altering substances for almost three years. I would like to think that in my previous life as a practicing addict, had I become pregnant I would have immediately cleaned up my act. I've always felt very strongly about drug use around children, let alone the horror of crack babies and the like. However, it's a moot point, since I was never seen fit to be blessed with a child until well into recovery. Just wanted to get that clear.
Other than the unfortunate headline, I'm actually quite honored that my humble little newborn blogbaby has been given such an introduction. In fact, I think I may even be a bit more inclined now to keep my posts a little higher quality, just in case someone may be reading this and can leave a tad more enriched. Or with a smile on their face, or even a thoughtful frown...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Extending a Hand to Who I Used to Be

There was a trailer court down the hill from my grandparents' house that I remember frolicking around at twenty years ago or so, when I wore my hair in pigtails and had scabs on my knees more often than not. It was owned by a couple who were elderly even back then, so it was no surprise when I heard a few years back that they had quietly passed away, as old folks so often do, within several months of each other.
What has been a shame was the rapid disintegration of the already shabby little neighborhood after they died, and the only bright spot of the whole mess was that they weren't around to see it. The place began to teem with meth cooks and junker cars, the ruts in the unpaved roads overflowing with garbage as the children who played in them seemed to get even dirtier and more skinny. It was no wonder that whoever owned the site finally decided to wash their hands with it, and one by one the trailers began to disappear, the somewhat intact ones transported elsewhere, the more decrepit of them just demolished.
A few residents refused to go. I remember reading an article or two about it, and idly speculating about the cause- too doped up and couldn't afford it? or truly deprived of their right to due process and making a stand? Whichever it was, they brought the whole 'Operation: TrailerSweep' to a standstill, and the last I heard, had no running water or electricity but were still holding out, even though police had been brought into the mix and it was a just a matter of time before the whole thing came to a close.
Fast forward to yesterday afternoon. A lady from my church called, asking if I had a few moments to listen to a unique situation she needed some assistance with. I said of course, and she began to explain how a young lady and child had been standing on the side of the road, covered in soot, as another member of our church was driving by, and she felt compelled to stop. Upon turning into (guess where?) the trailer park- or what was left of it- she had realized one of the structures on the lot (one of the last remaining) was engulfed in flames, and the woman and child had obviously just fled from it. After calling 911, she pleaded with the woman, who was apparently in shock, to take her phone number and call her if she needed anything at all, please.
Now, I'm not sure how much time had elapsed, but I suppose the woman realized a few days lodging in a motel courtesy of the Red Cross was not going to get her and her daughter very far, found my church friend's number in her pocket and gave it a shot. They met up, talked, and my church friend left the woman's hotel shaken by her story and quite afraid for her and the child.
I guess this woman had led a hard life for someone still quite young. Walking a road awash with tough men drinking in rough bars, black eyes and a bleak outlook, she turned to drugs and disreputable digs like her last stop. Now, after losing everything, she felt like giving up- after all, how was she going to be able to pick up the pieces when they had no pieces left?
Hearing this story, I felt my throat tighten in empathy. I too had felt that low, and recalled the stinging pang of having nothing but the clothes on my back, though it had been quite awhile ago. Didn't ease the ache, nor the rush of shame which accompanied it. How ironic that I had been chosen to possibly assist with what could have been me; in another time, in another town.
Upon hanging up, I attacked my closet with a vengeance. By another stroke of fate, the newly homeless woman and I were apparently the same size, and no sooner were the words out of my friend's mouth informing me of this, I was eagerly volunteering to donate clothes, as well as anything else I could think of as being helpful to someone with absolutely nothing. This lady had nothing. The only baggage she had was not the kind one could unpack and pick an outfit from, if you know what I mean. And with a kid, to boot.
So, a half hour later, I had assembled a mishmash of shirts, skirts, jeans and jackets. Socks, bras, and baby blankets. A huge teddy sat atop a bag of makeup and assorted toiletries, and a few of my purses and backpacks were finally going to stop cluttering up my poor closet. I enlisted my husband's help, and between the two of us we threw in a few more odds and ends- some toys, books and bubble bath for the little one- and got it all loaded up.
On the drive over to the woman's house who was organizing this, I realized something. I felt GREAT!!! This was better than Christmas, better than birthdays. This was giving to someone who not only was a complete stranger but was truly in need, and to know that I could help was the best I'd felt in a long time. Yeah, the lady was a wreck, and who knew if she was going to even appreciate all the help. Maybe she'd just trade it all to the dopeman for another fix. But that wasn't the point.
Giving for the sake of giving was a brand-new experience for me, one that I was savoring for all it was worth. I had a sponsor one time who told me that we hit our bottoms when we finally stop digging. And cynic though I am, I still am holding out hope that this young woman will put down her shovel and reach up and out with that newly freed hand; that I, or someone else with no other motivation than which to help, will extend the hand of human kindness to her and she will begin the long yet wonderful journey up and out of that hell on earth we addicts inevitably reach before our deaths or recoveries.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What If There Were No Hypothetical Questions?

~If a deaf child swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap?
~Is there another word for synonym?
~If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?
~Whose cruel idea was it to put an 's' in 'lisp', anyway?
~Would a fly without wings be called a walk?
~Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?
~What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?
~Why do they put Braille on the drive-through ATM's?
~How do they get deer to only cross at those yellow signs?
~If a guy with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, would that be considered a hostage situation?
~If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Entertaining the Gendarmes

What an unsettling feeling it was to have two Idaho Department of Correction officers tromping through my house this afternoon, their gold badges flashing (batches? we don' need no steenking batches!) and jackboots leaving smears of mud, an all too vivid reminder of my sullied past. Although I knew this home visit was mandatory, part of my necessary contact with them, and although I had nothing to illegal to hide, it still quickened my pulse and caused my thoughts to race. I caught myself holding my infant son unnecessarily tight as I surreptitiously tried to decipher everything they did and said during the short stay. They were here perhaps three or four minutes, yet it felt like eternity.
Freedom. Such a precious thing, yet so intangible, ethereal really. How does one even describe the lack of freedom to someone who'd always had it? I won't try, not in these pages anyhow. What I can say is that no cost is too great for me to pay to maintain it. This includes suffering the indignity of Big Brother (or Sister, in my case) infringing upon what little privacy I have in my modest home ("Well-kept. Even... homey", my probation officer said, with a faintly surprised tone.) I have no problem jumping through the numerous hoops and paying the neverending costs: of supervision, of urinalysis, of court fines, fees and restitution. Again. Just please don't ever send me back to jail.
All of this is worth it, if I am afforded the privelege of remaining in this society, among the company of my loved ones. Freedom, sweet freedom. For it is what keeps me sane, and has helped keep me sober for these last few years as well. The two do go hand in hand, after all; and they, in return, are directly proportionate to my quality of life continuing to rise, and rise some more. The longer I'm out (and clean), the better life gets; the better life gets, the easier it is to STAY on the straight and narrow...
But I can say none of this to the gendarmes. They are not counselors, concerned with my well-being or what makes me tick; no, all they are really are glorified babysitters. They view us all with thinly veiled suspicion, looking for the lie in every statement- and who can really blame them? Ninety percent of the time, the convict does lie, and will reoffend. Well, maybe only seventy percent, I don't know. Still, the majority, that's for sure.
All I know is I'm in the minority- one of the few who've indisputably changed their lives for the better, never to darken the inside of a cell again. Not from my own doing, anyhow. So now all I have to do is convince this new P. O. of mine of that fact, and I should be discharged from all this nonsense once again within a year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Busting the Blogcherry

I sit here, in my newly converted spare room/ office, fiddling around on this splendid new computer of mine (happy birthday, Kendra!) and realize that with the amount of time I now dedicate to tasks in which I careen around the glorious information superhighway, it would be absolutely remiss for me to not create some sort of platform on which to ruminate from.
So... history take note. Prepare to absorb the echoes of my soul, the wonderings of my id, the blatherings of my ego. Ha.