Sunday, September 26, 2010

I am getting a little nervous

The reason is that as time goes by who I really am is becoming less of a mystery to those who read this blog. The sanctity of what I first found here with my anonymity is slowly eroding. More people are finding out who I am in real life.

That frightens me for a lot of reasons.

Like walking down the street someday and having someone holler out, "Hey! Crackhead, what's up." When I would drive through the crack neighborhoods looking to score, somebody would yell out my real name. That bothered me, but now it's seems I've become a little more sensitive about blowing my cover.

The thing is that almost everyone who knows who I am also knows what I am.

But another part of it all is letting anyone get too close to me. The fear in that is that I have this feeling that letting anyone too close to me is putting those folks in some jeopardy. So I keep to myself or just do things that will keep people at a safe distance. Weirdness or rudeness can be an effective tool at times.

It's just that so many people have been hurt and I really don't want that on my conscience. Sadly, there are those who truly believe I have no conscience at all.

I think I do, but I'm a poor judge of my own character.

Also, this has not been a great weekend for me. I did smoke up what was left of my on hand cash Friday night. I was down on Saturday and asked my friend who keeps my money to pick up my scripts for me. I was that nervous about blowing more money, so I actually asked for help.

Trust me on this much, that's a biggie for me.

I would like to think of myself as an independent person. In many cases that is far from the truth. I depend on a few people for help with various odds and ends required to live a comfortable life. Not in a financial sense, but in getting to places for supplies to get me through the month. Or in having some services put in their name instead of mine.

Well, I'm a crackhead with a credit score in negative numbers but I am paying my own way.

So, I knew it would be a matter of time before people starting putting things together. Many of those who know the real me found out about this blog from me and others have been pretty good at adding 2+2. Despite that this is an effort to let people know that a crackhead's life isn't all that rosey. Even with my seriously reduced consumption of crack, it's still a dismal existence, thankfully there are a few bright spots. I'll take all of those that come my way.

But if you see me on the street someday, a simple "HI!" would work just fine. Maybe then both of our days might be brightened for a little while.

Because...Better is Better.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A year ago today.

Yep. It's been a year to the day that I returned to Erie, PA.

In a sense that return was a bit with my tale between my legs. The other part was that I probably was homesick for my hometown. Yeah, that is a big part of that decision to return here.

The fact that I ran up a big bill with a few of crack dealers just greased the rails.

A lot.

After blowing what money I did have over the course of a few days, I got a bed at the City Mission. A roof over my head for at least 45 days if no rules were broken. Breakfast in the morning and the day to myself to do what I want to do.

Going to the library became a nearly daily activity.

After being here for about 3 weeks, this blog was started. Without going over all the details, I'll just say it's been an interesting year. Certainly there have been some improvements in my life since arriving back in Erie a year ago. No major set backs have occurred, although I am still hitting the pipe.

Which I did yesterday and the day before.

None today, but maybe tomorrow.

And maybe not.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

No computer

At the moment my computer is indeed in the shop.

So knowing the resources available to me, I'm back at the library. No surprise really, as this is exactly where I was located when the idea of blogging came to me. Not an original idea to be sure, but it's seems to have worked for me to some measure.

Damned - Always with the qualifiers.

The computer, with a hopeful upgrade in RAM, as well as having the hard drive scrubbed, sanitized and all that good stuff is probably going to cost $100.00. That will be $100.00 that the Dude doesn't get, and that is a measure to some of my success.

Not too very long ago, I may well have said "FUCK IT" as this would have deprived me of some crack. A small victory of sorts, but a victory nonetheless.

That laptop, in many respects has kept me sane. I has also kept me from using to a degree. Not complete abstinence, but it has helped to slow the pace. So that is indeed part of the "Better is Better" scheme of things.

As I am now at the library, there is a small benefit from the fact that the computer isn't in my house. I'm outside dammit! That may be the biggest drawback for having it all to available. But from my point a view, my apparent isolation is indeed a problem of prosperity. When I was on the edge of homeless, living in the shelter, I was a regular here.

When I come in here now, a lot of the faces have changed. I really don't have to retrain the staff, but there was a moment when I wanted to point out the rules to a library patron about the use of cell phones in the computer lab. When I gave them the "look" they looked at me like I was the crazy one here.

Shit, don't they know who I think I am?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I really want to get toasted.


I did smoke crack on Friday and on Saturday as well. And the stuff is now out of my system so far as the actual drug and related metabolites that have been swimming around in my blood stream. The let down from using has passed and I am not all that depressed at the moment.

Well, certainly not as depressed as I felt Sunday and Monday.

The way I felt those two days was the "I really don't even want to get out of bed" type of depressed feeling. I also did drink some of my neighbors vodka on those two occasions that crack was being ingested as well. That only seems to compound the problem, so no more of that shit.

We'll see if that sticks.

A little weed on Saturday, essentially roaches and a few small buds I found after doing a bit of cleaning up around here helped a little. But over those two days little gave me joy of any sort.

Even the Steelers overtime win didn't do much for my disposition.

That's scary.

Some online conversations with online friends did lighten my mood to a certain degree, but my tolerance for online conversations tends to be short at times. Especially when I'm not in a proper frame to enjoy the jokes and witticisms that fly back and forth.

To those who endured my bad puns, silly jokes and at times outright obnoxiousness,

But at this moment, and actually for the past two days I have wanted to get high. Not smoking weed, but taking some big hits on a crack pipe. And as I have mentioned in the past, these cravings don't pass in a half hour as some experts would like you to believe.

They wax and wane, the cravings that is, but never really go away. Always a bit of tugging and twisting in my gut, at the back of my mind, always talking to me, tapping me on the shoulder, whispering in my ear. Nudging, cajoling, helping me figure out that if I did this and then that happened I might have enough cash on hand for a twenty or so.

But right now, I ain't using. Right now my resolve not to make a call to get a couple of bucks from my "banker" is stronger than the fucking crack whispering to me. Next week it'll be a whole new story with the cravings there as well, but next week things will be too easy to keep me from making the call.

So, now the usual process of preparing is starting. You know, lists and other things that will ensure at least my roof, my food and other basic requirements are met. I have to get my house in order so that I can't tear it down, as has happened in the past. In reality I am more nervous of possible outcomes than I am after the shit has hit the fan.

But today I'm really glad in a way that I haven't sufficient cash on hand to get a rock. The reason I'm glad is quite simple. I really want to get toasted.

Makes perfect sense to me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A typical crackless day.

As a matter of fact most days are without crack. Not that the thought of doing a hit is ever far away, but that's part of the deal.


After a night of frequently interrupted sleep, which has much to do with my physical condition and age, I reluctantly roll my butt out of bed. Caffeine, another of my drugs of choice, is a necessity along with enough nicotine to get the motor started. The coffee is usually strong enough to allow a spoon to stand up in it.

Today they say that caffeine is good, but that could change tomorrow. I have yet to see any positive reports for nicotine though. Of the 64 ounces that the pot will hold, I will probably drink at least half of that amount. My neighbor Don will sometimes come by and have a cup. He has never gone beyond that one cup, as he says that my brew is strong stuff and any more than a cup gives him the jitters.

I really don't buy that crap that the coffee is making him shaky, but that's on him. It would be nice if his sense of self control could be transferred to the amount of vodka he drank, but that ain't gonna' happen. When he comes over and isn't jittery is because he's already had an eye opener.

He does make good company when he's not totally shit faced.

I turn on this computer and see if there are any interesting emails, posts or news of importance that has taken place. I check out the social networks and check for information on my concerns, which of late have centered around MM. I check this blog for comments and reply if the feedback warrants a response.

Quiet often the comments do provide me with insights others have of my situation and suggestions to consider. There are times that more effort is put into responding to the comments as is put into writing a new post. Some posts are in response to a comment.

I have this strange quirk about censorship and I don't think I have deleted a comment yet. Even a spammer's comment, posting a link to some vacation site stayed. I did gently explain that the Erie Crackhead had no funds to travel to those places, so maybe that internet hustler got the message.

If something is bugging me or I just need to vent, I post an entry here as well.

As much as I try, spending less than 4 or 5 hours on the computer doesn't happen too often. Besides, other than returning books to the library or the occasional trip to the food banks, there isn't a whole lot to pull me away from doing what I do on the internet. It's also a damned sight more productive than staring at the TV like a zombie.

Besides, who wants to watch the likes of Mike Wilcos destroy what's left of the little self respect his guests have on national TV?

So after I've sated my computer jones, I try to get out for a bit, which seems to be less and less lately. Reading a book, which I am falling behind on my reading, might occupy some time as well. The other thing is that I might take a nap. Sleepless nights make that activity a necessity at times. Troubling are the days that naps are taken to just make the time pass by.

Troubling even more are the days I'll go to bed very early at night just to end a day quicker.

Later in the day, I figure out what sounds good to eat and end up having what's easiest to prepare. Cooking is something I have to be in a mood for, and sometimes cooking for one is a pain in the ass. There are those times when I do invite my neighbors over for a meal. Partly because I've made enough food to feed an army and partly for a bit of company to help me pass the time.

My neighbors are not your typical mainstream folks. They, by and large, live on the fringes of our society. That does not mean they are outlaws or misfits, but they do have interesting viewpoints and opinions on what goes on around us. Conversations with my neighbors are enlightening at times, when those conversations are not fueled by too much booze or smoke.

I don't know if they have learned anything from me, but I have certainly learned much from them.

I am also grateful that none of my neighbors are crack smokers. One crackhead in this building is more than enough, thank you.

Most days are without much company and then I will turn on the television. Watching the news. Local news, then the network news. After that the News Hour on PBS. If something else is interesting to me, I may watch. More often or not though, the TV is just making background noise while I either read or sit in front of the computer once more.

There are those evenings when friends made on FaceBook or another networking site I visit will exchange banter back and forth. A chance to be funny, witty or maybe just talk about the weather in many ways brightens what is usually a dull and boring day. There are also folks who are in many ways, just like me. We talk about what going on good in our lives. We talk about what is not going good in our lives. We also exchange our own little brand of gallows humor.

My wish is that they have enjoyed talking with me as much as I have enjoyed talking with them. It's also my hope that their lives are more fulfilling than mine seems to me at times.

Then it's time to close the doors, turn off this machine and the TV. I turn out the lights and settle in for a hopefully good night sleep.

Makes ya' wanna' run right out and look for a crack dealer, doesn't it?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Some people get it...

Yes, there are people who do get it, and get what I am trying to do with this blog.

When you click on the title, you'll see why in many respects I am surprised at some comments and reactions I have gotten because of this blog. It's that stigma thing that junkies, crack heads and your down and dirty drunks have to carry around with themselves. It's theirs as well as my cross to bear.

Let me start out by saying that whatever it is that I may be or have or whatever the correct or fashionable thing to say is, I am not contagious. You will not be doomed to a life of hustling, conniving, deceiving or stealing to keep the flow of crack coming your way. Exchanging emails, IMs, phone calls or even hanging out with me will not put you in any sort of jeopardy to smoke crack or do anything that one really wouldn't want to do.

It is also understood that I won't even consider turning someone onto that poison. It wouldn't matter how much money you brought with you or how much you insist that it would not effect you negatively. It would in some measure fuck up your life, trust me on that one.

Most crack smokers look at that the same as I.

This blog though has helped to some degree in weakening that stigma associated with crackheads. At least it seems that way to this crackhead. This is not a one man crusade to redeem all crackheads everywhere. This is not even a crusade for redemption of this crackhead.

It is though a means of letting people know what life is like for someone with apparently deep seeded dependency issues when it comes to this drug. Erie Crackhead is also trying to do this as honestly as he knows. No glamorization, no details on how to score, no war stories that at times make me want to go out and get a rock. Actually, war stories are one of the reasons I no longer attend 12 step meetings.

If there has been any dishonesty in this blog, it's been more of the lies through omission sort of thing. Part of that is for the readers protection and to be perfectly honest, part is for my protection. Also putting too much out there may be harmful to some who have never, and may never read this blog.

But the nicest things experienced from this undertaking and the modest way that this blog has been "promoted" has been from the people who have taken the time to see who it is that is really peeking out from behind the curtain. The kindness, the caring, the encouragement and the humor folks have brought to me have been more helpful than many of the hours spent with most therapists.

I am grateful for those who have been able to look beyond the label and to see the person.

Now about this honesty stuff. I haven't taken a hit since last Thursday. Before you start patting me on the back, it should also be mentioned that I did get ripped off yesterday trying to get a small package. So, it is more by accident than by design that I did not get high yesterday.

That's sometimes how it goes when you're a crackhead.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It could have been better.

But it can always get worse.

Yesterday and the day before caught me with a crack pipe in my mouth. This is just another proof that excess money in my hands will disappear before it even has time to find it's way into my pocket. Or for that matter money that could be used for something besides crack.

Which brings me to a question asked by a commenter on Friday, August 27th blog entry. The anonymous commenter asked:

"Just wondering, what is the most amount of sober days have you been able to string together?"

To be completely honest, I'm not entirely certain of the correct answer. I guess as a generalization it might be correct to say about six or seven days in a row is probably my best. There may have been a time or two when a couple of weeks or more may have passed. Mostly those longer stretches were because no immediate money was at hand and no other resources to trade were available to buy any crack.

I know there have been times, while in rehab or otherwise restricted that close to 90 days had elapsed before using. It should also be noted that there were also long stretches where I used some almost every day. The thing is though, over the past 6 months or so, I have used many less days than I have used. Many less days have found me doing a hit and that is something that makes me happy.

And thankful.

Because in many respects I would like to take sole credit for those straight days, but I had help. Did I fall down on my knees and ask God to remove this obsession? Naw, besides God did not put a crack pipe in my hand the first time I took a hit, so why ask Him to take it away? It's not His fault or problem.

Besides, I went down that road before, and faith healing don't work.

The successes I have gained have been from the help of real breathing live people, who for whatever reason have decided to lend a hand. It has also been due to the help of people who have corresponded with me through email lists and social networks that the Erie Crackhead has gotten involved with.

Harm Reduction techniques have also minimized complications that could drag me deeper down the rabbit hole. With that in mind, yes things could be much worse.

Yes, Better is Better...