Month: March, 2012


Dolly with her kids, 2009.

Audio Transcription

Dolly: He’s Alex. I’m Dolly and the dog’s Little Lady.

Jeffrey Stockbridge: You were struggling as an addict when you were raising your kids at the same time. And you were out here on the Ave?

Dolly: Yea. It was before I had her, but then after I had her too. See, she was born on Methadone. So she was a Methadone maintenance baby. But yea, I mean I, I think it’s easier when your, you know I mean not easier you know getting high altogether but when you’re an addict it’s a little bit easier when you don’t have children. My son was taken away from me. So, I mean he was there but then there was a certain period when he wasn’t there neither. I originally I gave him to my half-sister and she or my sister, excuse me and she gave him to my half-sister and in that time I was arrested and I was away for almost 6 months thinking that I would get my act together and I did for about 2 months and it’s really hard especially when you, when your in a relationship with somebody. Especially being married when yous are both addicted to the same thing, it it’s complicated.

My um, well I eventually got my son I, I wound up getting pregnant with my daughter and apparently I thought that was enough… Apparently that wasn’t enough because I went back out. Um, I wound up getting custody of him. I relapsed again, um that’s why I only have 16 months clean but the main thing that got me together is my mother is um, an addict and I didn’t want to turn out like my mom. And I see myself going down that road and I didn’t wanna. I was gonna, I was throwing away everything. I was throwing away my marriage, my husband had taken my daughter from me, you know my little boy goes to counseling today because of it all and I don’t, you know, I don’t want that anymore. I’m only 25 I’m too young for… you know what I mean, like I’m too young for all the drama and the chaos and I don’t want to die. That’s just, it’s not for me anymore. You know what I mean, I was living a very dangerous life. I goes, lots of times I coulda been killed. I was already hurt out there when some dealer got me high. I go to therapy for that. You know I mean I, I was doing one of the worse drugs you can do in, in the worst way, I was um, an IV user.

It all matters you know, it all depends if you really want it. You know I hit rock bottom, but I don’t want to die, that’s my main, that’s…

That’s my main thing. I don’t want to die. I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna leave my children…

You know and I hurt him too much you know and, and I hurt my family too much and its just, its too much, it’s so hard to keep yourself going when your using. You know what I mean I’m not saying it’s not complicated now because I go to my clinic, I’m on Methadone maintenance. I go there every single day Monday thru Sunday faithfully everyday. And it’s a pain. Cause there’s sometimes… There’s sometimes you know I don’t have a way to get there or I don’t feel like going or just something but I get up and go cause I know I have to go. I know if I don’t go that’s where I’m gonna wind up and I don’t want that anymore.

When I first got on this clinic I traveled 6 hours a day cause I wasn’t even in Philly. 6 hours a day just to get to this clinic. I was in Norristown. And this was at Germantown and School House Lane. But I mean I, I would have traveled you know to 5th and (inaudible) just get dope, why not travel to get myself better or not better, to get myself you know normal. But that’s what I’m doin and so far its working.

You know I have days where I think about using. Or, or I have days you know that I see the girls out on the Ave, but that’s my main thing, I see these girls out on the Ave and they’re so skinny and you know they’re getting in the car with whoever and these men don’t care. They don’t care about these girls at all. You know I had many a times where I was beat up, but then I had some guys that were actually nice… I always lucked out on the Ave. That’s what I said what I’m dealing with, I’m dealing with that now.

And you know this man almost killed me. And you know, it’s so much to deal with and I think it’s hard, it is, it’s harder on women than it is on men. You know but its also, its easier to make money but the addiction and the withdraw and the pain is more severe. You know cause guys here, you know they can cover it up or whatnot, we can’t…

You know its is just a little bit more, its more complicated on women.

And what also made me want to do it, is I had all my family telling me I was not gonna do it.  That I wasn’t gonna get clean and I was just gonna be this and be that and I, I pretty much I proved everybody wrong. You know cause I’m not gonna be that, that that life was not meant for me. I was mainly the person, I went out and drank, smoked pot once in a while. Doin heroin, it is not who I’m supposed to be. You know I wind up escorting and dancing and all that crap. And I got not only addicted to the drugs but addicted to the money, addicted to sex, addicted to the lifestyle period, and it’s just too much to juggle. You know, I’ve actually broke down and like literally fell to my knees praying to God because I didn’t want to do it no more.  At one point I felt myself start to go crazy because day in and day out that’s where I was. Christmas morning that’s where I was, like it was pathetic and its like a shame because you can’t really, you’re not really gonna know what it’s like for a heroin addict unless you physically, mentally and emotionally feel it. And I thought that like, like when I met my husband he was, he was in recovery but I wasn’t, I had never touched it. And I used to know him and pursing around and go your dirty cause you do this… I used to you know, the girls were nasty and all and like I never understood it until I became it.

There’s people out there that I know that many a times I sat there and said I can’t do it, I can’t do it, but somebody sees that someone else is doin it, maybe it will encourage them to do it. You know what I mean, I go to meetings and I speak about it and I talk to people about it and I’m hoping one of these days, you know somebody, somebody saved me. You know and I’m just hoping that somebody hears something either from me or sees me and remembers me from before and you know well hey she did it so I can do it you know, cause every life is worth trying to save.


Mary, 2009.

Audio Transcription

Mary: I’ve been out here for uh twenty, approximately twenty-two years with an eight-year period of sobriety.

When I was like first coming out here I was like thirteen, fourteen years old.

When I was younger I didn’t get a whole lot of attention. And uh, walking to school every day this, this man used to talk to me, used to make me feel good, he used to pay attention to me like he noticed me and he was older, he was like twenty years older than I was and um you know like I said I wasn’t with my Mom, I was really shy uh I was very insecure about my teeth. He just made me feel good and I remember like today it was like his birthday or something like why don’t you not go to school today and you know we’ll go get something to eat, you know and I was like oh cool you know and uh and here he let me in and uh like shot me up with heroin and uh and it turned into the meth scene and the cocaine scene and, and I just, I just had it, that gene in my body I guess sometimes they say it’s genetic and you know I call it that gene, I have that gene that I have. It’s like an allergy. Once I put any kind of drug into my body I have an extremely hard time stopping.

I went to jail and I went to a rehab and like I had been to jail before, I was just so tired, I was so tired of this lifestyle. Well from the age of twelve, I really didn’t know anything else, you know. I just know I missed my family, you know and, and I remember telling the judge I said no matter how much time you give me please don’t send me back to the streets, send me to a program, whatever. And he did and from there I just rebuilt my life. I, I stayed clean for 8 years. I bought a home. I was a receptionist for a franchise corporation at Liberty Place. I had a son and he was four when I relapsed. And I didn’t step foot in the Kensington area for eight years and once I did I been here now for eight years. In which now I have a goal and you know I try to stay focused on it and I mean I go about it the right way, I’ve been saving some money and I plan on like, hopefully getting out of the neighborhood without a habit. I’m kinda weaning myself off. I’ll be forty-two years next, forty-two year old, next month, so it’s just like yeah.

I haven’t seen my son in about a year and prior to that I didn’t see him, I was a single parent for about four and a half years, and when I, I had three surgeries, that’s why I had a relapse. I wasn’t honest with the doctor and he prescribed me narcotics. So, but he didn’t know, I didn’t tell him you know and uh and once the prescription stopped then uh, there was that phenomenal craving.

And you know its, my family don’t understand because, because I do drugs doesn’t change my love for them. Or it doesn’t, we don’t have any protection around here. This is a horrible existence it really, really is a horrible existence you know and, and then the guilt, the guilt like, once I do get clean then the guilt, I have to face my family the guilt kinda takes me back like I don’t want to face this I’m such a bad person I cheated myself, how could I have done this you know. So I plan on just, just moving on by myself and moving out of state and having some money in my pocket and just rebuild, rebuild my life.

Like a lot of, like I just don’t do this for drugs I do this because I wanna eat because I like to buy clothes because I like small things you know. I did have a normal life at once you know but. The part that gets me is, the most is, how my family just don’t understand like this isn’t what I want to do this isn’t, I don’t choose this, I really don’t, but I think the whole thing you know I think it’s a shame my family doesn’t, like, like I really believe, like if my, if my family say like Mary come, come home stay with us like, if I can I would. You know like, like if it was my son, I think I would be there and I think a lot of it is because I can’t be with him. And it’s weird because I can’t be with him because I’m on drugs, but I’m on drugs because I can’t be with him.

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