by Jeffrey Stockbridge

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.