I photographed Krista back in 2009. See here. Two weeks ago she emailed me to tell me she had gotten clean. She stopped by my studio and shared her story below.
Krista: Uh, my name is Krista, I’ve been clean since May 13, 2011. I’m kinda fascinated by looking pictures of myself when, you know, I was using, um… and I’d like to keep them as a reminder because I know myself that I’d get high one time and I’d be right back, um, standing out there.
I always think it’s cool to let somebody know, like “Hey, I’m okay now.” You know? Uh, I just, you know, I just think people like you that do things like this would actually be interested in knowing that, you know, somebody got through and they’re alright, they’re not dead, they’re not still out there, they’re doing better. So I, you know, contacted you and here I am.
I couldn’t say that it was like a traumatic event that made me wanna get clean or, you know, I didn’t find God or anything like that, I just, you know, I feel like I just grew up, you know? I was thirty-three when I got clean; I’m thirty-six now, and I feel like I’ve wasted my life. You know… I don’t regret… I don’t regret it because I learned a lot of things, and I’m… I think that I’m a pretty good person and I don’t think I would be the same or be as compassionate or, you know, understanding. I think I’m at the point now that everything that I have and that’s… not material things at all, but like, the people and friends and everything that I have in my life, like, is not worth me losing, you know, just to feel good for, you know, a couple hours, it’s just not worth it to me anymore.
JS: So what are you doing now?
K: Well right now I’m going to school for veterinary tech, um, I’m a crazy cat lady, um… I always, I always loved animals, when I was growing up I used to ride horses and I always wanted to be a veterinarian, and uh, obviously I can’t become an actual veterinarian at this point, I’m kinda old, so I started, um, school for vet tech, I volunteered at the SPCA for two years, the first two years of… of being clean… um, I got this kitten, and he was like, the world to me, because that animal, as long as I fed him, you know, he loved me no matter what. And uh, it was like my kid.
Like I told you, when I look at these pictures it’s like… I don’t even know that person; it’s so weird. I didn’t feel sorry for myself, I didn’t want other people to feel sorry for me. I knew what I was doing was wrong and that I was killing myself, I just didn’t care, you know? I… a lot of people like to say that… well, and it’s true, that drug addicts and alcoholics are selfish, self-centered people. And we are, because we wanna do what we wanna do, and, you know, not care what anybody… how anyone else feels, but at the same time, I didn’t care about myself enough, you know, to… to do something about it. And, because I’d been living this way for so long, you know that’s what… that’s one thing that kept me doing what I was doing, and I just think certain things happened at the right time and… you know, in the weeks that preceded me getting arrested the last time, um, I would be standing on the corner, and just think to myself, “This really sucks, like I… this sucks, it just… I don’t wanna do this.” Um, but I also didn’t have the strength to go about doing something about it myself. So I think when I was kinda forced into the situation to do it, that gave me, like, the strength to just be like “alright, I’m gonna do this now, because I don’t wanna live like this anymore, I just don’t.” And I wasn’t enjoying it, you know, I wasn’t having fun walking the streets, but I kept thinking to myself, “What else am I gonna do? You know, this is all I know how to do.” You know, and I actually with my criminal record, I can’t even get a job at Wawa. And that’s what had, discourages a lot of people that I still know that have been clean for a little while, they’re trying to get their shit together, but nobody will give them a chance to, to do the right thing, because of their past, so… I understand that I just can’t use that as an excuse anymore.