Tag: Audio Recording

Paul and Anthony

Paul_and_Anthony 001Paul (left) and Anthony (right), in the courtyard at The Last Stop Recovery House, 2013.

Edited Audio Transcript

I was thinking I coulda got a good picture of this when it first happened.

That’s your trophy.

It’s God’s way of sayin’ look at your arm, you ever think you can do that again look down at your arm?

Jeffrey Stockbridge:
Say that again for me.

It’s God’s way of telling me if I, if I think I can do these drugs again, shoot Herion in my arm, its like, he gives me a little sign, like look down at your arm you idiot.

That’s like me with these tattoos. When I got sober, I put them on my arms so if I ever decide to get it in again, my children, I’d have to look them in the eye before I actually brought it up to my face. I got them right after I stopped drinking in 05.

That’s awesome.

Can I photograph your arms?

Yeah, na. Hello? Mike, you’re gonna loose the call but I’ll call you back when I get out to the car all right? All right man, bye.

You wanna shoot, you wanna take a shot? I don’t mind.

Yeah, yeah, I think that’s really powerful what you just said.

That’s the truth.

Can you tell me a little about what it’s been like for you to be a sponsor?

I’ll tell you this much, um, 2 weeks before New Years, uh I had eight guys, I had two women in the process and um, in a very short time, all of them fell to the wayside. I’ve got one sponsee left here in Philly, and I got one sponsee left in New Jersey, both male, uh, don’t know what happened to the females, I don’t know what happened to the other men. They took their will back. It’s a pretty powerful disease. It can come at you any time through many things, a hundred forms of fear. If I remain in the moment I can help anybody, but if I don’t I can’t even help myself. Um, if I remain conscience of my higher power throughout the day and when I become uh, self-conscience of my own will returning, it removes these things from me. Uh, when I do that I become responsible. I become aware of the sickness, the demonic things that are uh, at work, the unseen war that has been revealed to me through this process, for I was unaware of these things prior and uh, its madness out here, it’s a lawless game. I have a mental defense provided to me from Christ. Without that I am nothing. I help no matter who is put in my path. For that I am grateful. I stay focussed. My mind and my soul, they’ve become centered. Uh, that’s all I really got. I’m Paul and I’m an addict.

Beautiful day out.

Yes, it’s so nice isn’t it.

It’s fucking great man. Days like today make me happy.

I was glad I came down here this morning. I had no purpose this morning when I woke up. No, no nothing really to do. Something said go to The Stop, somebody always needs help over there. And uh…

You gave me some hope today man.

Came through, met some people, not even by like choice, just came through and it starts with a cup of coffee. You know, 50 cent. Best show in the world. The last stop man. That’s no shit. Hahahaha.

This place is like… This place is better than Club Med man, for real for real. Hahahaha. You know there’s certain demons I’m still dealing with like cigarettes and coffee but the greatest thing I ever achieved from this goal, cause like I’ve had sober time before and was, I was still lost and pray on helpless women and this is the longest I’ve been without hurting anybody and uh that’s great, that’s great man, not even hurting myself or hurting anybody else, that’s the best feeling in the world. You know, not worrying about money, not worrying about my next meal, everything’s been provide like they promised, you know, all I had to do was be willing cause I can tell you for the first 6 months, 8 months of my recovery I hated my sponsor cause he always told me the fucking truth and every time the phone rang and I seen it was his number man and I’d get all pissed off cause I don’t wanna here what he’s got to say cause it’s gonna make me look at my shit, and then, I started changing something, it just started happening and I ran with it, like uh, like I tried to tell you earlier, just ran with it and um my mind started to change and then my body started to change like they said it would. Cause I couldn’t do nothing on my own man. My best thinking got me a hot cup of coffee and a seat in an AA meeting. You know what I mean.

Paul 001Paul, The Last Stop Recovery House, 2013.

This my babies. Carly’s the oldest, Buckey’s the youngest, I got him first.

And look up at me. (Click) Got it.



Thanks man.

That was a really good story. I appreciate you taking the time.

Well, I always said the worst story I ever heard was my own cause I lived that shit. Truth.

How long have you been clean?

Long enough. All I really got is the moment. That’s what we all got. I can’t change five minuets ago and I don’t know what the hell is gonna happen, so I ripped the rearview out of my car, just steady moving forward man cause you can either move forward or you’re stopped. And when you stop in life, you’re just existing man, no purpose, that’s the loneliest feeling I ever felt. Just praying on others like my sponsor told me man it was like, I was a caterpillar, and he said, what does a caterpillar do and I said you know, it basically just eats all day, he said yeah it takes life, takes plants that make oxygen, just a taker of life and then he said, then you go into a cocoon which is like the 12 steps and um what happens in the cocoon? He said you become liquefied and Christ builds you back up into this beautiful butterfly and then you’re a giver of life just going around pollinating and making more trees and shit and I was like man I could, I could, that has depth and weight, I can believe that at first you know what I mean. So I just ran with that. Simple things like you know. You say in every one of us there’s a white wolf and a black wolf and uh whatever one I feed that day is gonna get stronger and what happens when you’re feeding one and not the other, the other will diminish, so it can no longer go against the one, it can’t even fight it has no energy, no strength. So if I’m constantly feeding the white wolf, and sometimes you feed the black one you know, but if you’re feeding it more white than the black, white’s gonna get stronger and stronger and stronger and the black never fully goes away but he has no attack. Cannot harm you anymore. I was like, that’s awesome! And that’s an old Cherokee teaching you know, and like he (Paul’s Sponsor) would paint pictures like that for me and like um, one of my favorites was like, I’m in a hole when I first came around in 05, uh, I’m in a hole and I can’t get out and I can’t see, I can see the top lip but I can’t reach it and you get all these people throwing you rope. So what you do, you grab the rope and you start pulling yourself up. But your human strength can’t, isn’t suffice, and they let go of the rope and you’re back in the hole again. And he said well, I’m here to tell you I’m getting down in the hole wit ya, I’m a get you out first, and then I’ll worry about myself. I was like, that’s awesome. Yup, I’ve been with him since man, he led me to the promised land.

I gotta charge my phone bro. Nice meeting you.

Nice to meet you too.

Good luck with everything. I’ll be talking to you.


Tom, 2012.


Audio Transcript:

Alright, Hi, my name’s Tom. I uh, I uh, spent a lot of time down Kensington using drugs off and on and um… Since last time I saw this guy- he interviewed me and my buddy when we were really into doing drugs but uh lately I’ve been um, I’ve been trying to keep myself together, I’ve been messing up, I’m on probation and all and I uh, I’ve been, I’ve been doing alright getting some clean time with Suboxones but I uh, I have been re-lapsing here and there, using uh, all different drugs but um, uh, I don’t know, things, things get good for a month and then you know you have some time on your hand, you get a couple bucks and you come down here and you get high, its like you just can’t seem to get ahold of it. Um, then when you get high you instantly regret it. You feel stupid for doing it, you wish you didn’t do it, but then soon as you as you get clean again you forget how bad it is getting high so you go and get high and its just the same vicious cycle. But um, yeah I don’t know it’s, it’s, it sucks really and it’s no fun in it, the fun was gone a long time ago but for some reason I keep falling into it. Uh, I just had a job that only lasted a couple months till I lost it because I would go to work sick, soon as I would get a couple bucks I would leave right away to go get high and my boss wasn’t happy about that so he had to let me go, now I’m trying to find another job and it ain’t working, I don’t know, um, yeah I just, I just can’t seem to get a grip on staying clean. Every time I try, I just mess up but yeah, hopefully, hopefully soon, I can end up getting ahold of it and then when I’m clean remembering that when I get high, instantly I regret it, so I’ll be able to keep myself clean.

See also: Kevin and Tom, 2010


Jeffrey_Stockbridge_Star-01Star, Kensington and B Street, 2013.

Audio Transcript

JS: I was just asking if you lived around here.

Star: Yeah, I live on Hazzard Street in an abandoned house. Um. Sometimes… hold on a second, cause that’s loud [train passes]. Sometimes I go and sleep on the street, um, on Boston Street, and I just put, you know. I got a little mattress back there, put that. Cause the cops don’t bother you, there’s a couple of us back there and uh, just sleep on that next to the building. It’s pretty nice out now, y’know, so…

JS: And how long have you been out?

Star: Like two weeks.

JS: And have you been out here before?

Star: Yeah I was out here, um, a couple years ago, but then I went to jail, got out, went back to jail. Y’know. So, I only been out a jail for like three weeks. So I was out for a week, came right down here

Star: When you get arrested for prostitution, y’know you go bail, you gotta go see the judge, and usually they set a bail for you. Prostitution you just get ROR. And they just let you go.

JS: What’s ROR?

Star: Uh, release on your own recognizance.

JS: Right-

Star: Like you don’t gotta pay no- no money. Y’know? So…

Star: Um… well I had my son 2005. They- I got Percocets in the hospital. Took them for a little while. Um. Starting buying Oxycontins after that and then by 2006 I was shootin’ dope and… ended up here. And now I shoot dope, coke, y’know, anything that goes in a needle, basically… so… I just- I love the high… I love the high.

Star: I’m high right now [laughs]. I’m not gonna lie, y’know? So…

JS: So you’re okay- so it’s like uh, I mean, are you content with your life right now? You’re content with the way things are?

Star: I mean, I don’t… I don’t like it, but at the same time I love getting high, y’know? So it’s kinda like you can’t have your cake and eat it too and that’s what I want. But I love getting high more- more than anything so, I mean I’m willing… to… I guess suffer the consequences of living outside, starvin, y’know. Not taking a shower, not brushing my teeth, fucking people for money… y’know? I mean that’s because of the game, y’know?

JS: Can you describe to me why- why you love getting high so much? What it is about it?

Star: The feeling. I don’t gotta deal with nothing. Nothing bothers me. I’m the nicest person in the world. I don’t think about anything. Y’know?

Star: It’s um… I don’t know, I guess uh, sense of security- I don’t- I don’t feel alone. I feel… I don’t, um, I don’t know. It’s just it’s, it’s a feeling that I’ve never had before with anything else, especially with shootin heroin. I just feel like, like I don’t cry about shit, I’m not so sensitive. I’m- I still think about shit, yeah. But at the same time, I don’t- I don’t know. It’s so hard to describe.

JS: Well what- could you try to describe what it’s like when you’re not high?

Star: Um… yeah, it’s- I guess it’s just uh… the whole thing is responsibilities and shit. I gotta big problem with that so… um. I mean, I been doing this since 2006 and honestly sometimes I feel like this is the only thing I really know, y’know? Like I’m comfortable. For the most part. For the most part. Y’know? Um… I mean when I’m not high y’know you gotta pay for rent, worry bout a job, worry bout this and that, y’know? And uh… I just don’t feel like dealing with it all. I mean I know this is the pussy way of doing things- running, but… y’know, it’s the easy way out.

JS: Wow, I would say the opposite. I would say it’s the harder way out.

Star: You think?

Star: I guess it’s like a f- and out here, it’s like a fast life. Everything is so unpredictable. You never know what’s gonna happen the next minute y’know? And uh, honestly I’m attracted to that. I really am. Y’know?

Star: Uh, even when I was in jail, after months and months of being clean, I- I would sit there and think like damn. I just wanna come back down here just to see what’s going on, you know what I mean? Because there’s always something going on down here. So, I mean, not even with intentions of getting high. I just wanted to see what was going on. Then I would come down, see people I knew, like see who was all out here. New people and shit. And y’know, I would- I would get high. And then it’s like, this is… honestly, I call… I call Kensington the Bermuda Triangle. Because it’s like once you come here, you get stuck, y’know? And- and you can’t go back. Like I came down here… um, a couple weeks ago… I came down here a couple weeks ago with the intentions… a couple wee- a couple uh… a couple weeks ago… I came here a couple weeks ago with fifty dollars with intentions of- of buying the drugs and going back home. I bought the drugs. Got stuck. The next day I just started trickin to get money. So I was gonna go home, but then I wanted a bag. So I got- I, it’s, y’know. And then I just gave up on the fact of fucking even trying to go home. Y’know? So…

JS: Damn.

Star: Like me, me and my- my friend right over there, we were just shootin up in the alley and somebody just started shootin. Shootin. We just dropped on the ground. Just shot up a speed ball. Dropped on the ground and just crawled and got out, because, you can’t really run as soon as you shoot coke and dope, y’know? So, I mean, as soon as we could get out of there we did, but it’s always something going on. It’s, I don’t- I don’t know.

JS: You mean to tell me you- you were shootin in an alleyway and you heard gunshots go off?

Star: Yeah! Somebody was back there shootin, I don’t know were they shootin, at us, or who they shootin at. But we just dropped and got out real quick.

JS: But that and the fact that there were those gunshots, like, it didn’t scare you at all? Are you like, are you kinda, you kinda just associate that with the lifestyle you’re attracted to?

Star: Yeah, I mean. Yeah it did scare me a little bit, but at the end of the day that’s the shit that goes on down here, y’know? So… I guess, I- I don’t know it’s part of the game and it’s a little bit of a rush, y’know, that that happened. It’s a little bit of sick thinking, but [laughs], y’know. It’s how I think.

JS: Do you have family that you see at all?

Star: Nah. Um every once in a while I’ll call my Grandmom or my uncle. Um. he lives in Bucks County. My Grandmom lives in North Carolina. But other than that, like I have a son. He lives with his dad. I- I’m not allowed around him. So that’s part of the reason I try to cover shit up too. Y’know, so I don’t think about him. Honestly half the time I even forget I have a son. Y’know, it makes it easier.

Jeffrey_Stockbridge_Star-02Star, Kensington and B Street, 2013.





Jeffrey_Stockbridge_CarolCarol, 2010

Part 1 of 2

Audio Transcript

JS: So, where are we right now?

Carol: Kensington and Cambria. It’s…a rainy night. Actually it’s pouring out and um, everybody’s awful wet. Came out of nowhere. Not many people are on the road, lot of people are walking and running for cover.

JS: What brings you to the corner today?

Carol: Working, trying to get money to support my habit.

JS: How long have you been using?

Carol: On and off for twenty-one years.

JS: When did you first come to Kensington avenue?

Carol: At the age of twenty. And now I’m forty one.

JS: And what brought you here?

Carol: Um, well I had gotten an inheritance and I spent it all, after I bought a house. And um, I self-medicate. That’s how I started using, I wanted anything, I did anything to take me outside of myself, you know. And Heroin was one of the things that I…  that made me not feel anymore. So, and it became…it became, you know, the love of my life. You know, I…before I knew you got physically ill from it, you know, when I didn’t have it, you know when you don’t have it you get physically ill. So when I, you know, when I didn’t have it, I had to do anything within my means and powers to get it, so I didn’t feel that sickness. So all I did was make my problems worse. You know, um, it just got…viciously terrible; I mean, cold, sick, tired, hungry, know what I mean? Um…really nothing I would suggest to my worst enemy. I thought the problems were gone but after I wasn’t high anymore the problems were worse. You know, I became…Terrible. I became homeless, you know, over it. And everything else. It’s like, I lost anything I ever loved or cared about in life. You know, so that wasn’t really good for me because, you know, I figured I don’t have nothing to get clean for. What am I…you know? Knowing I can accumulate things back in my life if I do become clean. Yesterday I went… [Car horn]. Yesterday I went to a program down at twenty-first and Washington in South Philly and did intake to try and get on the program so I don’t have to stick needles in my arms or my neck anymore. You know, um, cos this ain’t no lifestyle for anybody, let alone a forty-one year old woman.

Part 2 of 2

Audio Transcript

Carol: …You know, vice has gotten me, which is they call the hooker patrol [laughs]

JS: Oh yeah?

Carol: Yeah, I’ve been locked up by them, you know uh, just locked up because of drugs period, you know what I mean? Selling em…you know. But uh, I became my best customer, without money [laughs]. Having the dealer…But um, yeah, that didn’t work– I had a direct sales to an undercover cop, got a five-to-ten on a plea bargain, first offense, you know…most of my life, you know…most of my adulthood I’ve been in and out of prison.

JS: Five to ten, you got?

Carol: Yeah, first offense. It was a plea bargain.

JS: Wow. And how long did you, uh…

Carol: I did five.

JS: You did five.

Carol: Yeah, walked off five. You know, it’s just wild, you know, and I turn back to it knowing that the pain and suffering that I…that I endured from it, you know? You know, I’ve aged so…when people say, “no, dope preserved you”…Dope didn’t preserve me; they would, like, never believe I was forty-one. Yeah, I do, and I feel older than that, believe me when I tell you like, it’s not a game, you know. You’re playing Russian Roulette, but the gun is loaded; there’s not only one bullet in there. Put myself in some unsafe conditions and predicaments. Even after what happened to me at the age of twenty…I mean, at the age of twelve, I’m sorry– When I was raped, at gunpoint, and beaten with the gun, and both my arms were broke. You know, um, I watched my mom being beat, you know, all my childhood when she was with my real father, well, I call him the sperm donor cause he was never a real father or a dad, you know, or a husband to my mother, um…You know, I come from a great family; they’re retired police officers now, and my cousins and all are cops right now, and uh…

JS: Do they offer any support?

Carol: My mom and my stepfather are very huge supporters in my life. Like, I just saw my stepfather. Today he brought me twenty dollars, you know, my mom will send him down with money knowing it was for me to…you know, so I’m not sick. Cos she knows I’m sickly anyway, you know, and the pain is just twice as bad. Cos, knowing that I’m sick I won’t get to the doctor, you know, and I haven’t been back to the cancer doctor or the liver specialist; I’m not receiving any kind of treatment for it, cos that’s what I do: I run scared; I self medicate, like I told you, you know? And um, they say why have one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow; you’re gonna wind up pissing on today and that’s what I do: I piss on today. Cos I dwell on what happened yesterday or the day before that, and I worry about what’s gonna happen tomorrow. And it’s not…and it’s not here, you know? And I look at it like, if it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck. It could be raining, pardon my French, dicks and I’d get hit in the head with a pussy. [Laughs]. It’s the truth! That’s how bad I have of luck. Like, you know, I’ve been left for dead by my boyfriends, you know, or like, the people I’ve spent seven, eight hundred dollars with, took em off the street, bought a hotel, rest up, fed them, clothed them from head to toe, you know, including a hat and earrings, you know, sneakers and everything…and like, these people just…don’t care. They’re…they’re vicious. And I go back for more. And it’s like I have a sign: “Idiots enquire within”. Cos I’ll help you. And people, a couple people were saying that people were going around asking for me because they know I make money, and I always got, I’m not…I try never to be sick. You know, I can hold onto my stuff, so they’re always asking, “Where’s Carol at?” And they’ll be like, “Why? What’s the matter?” “Oh no, I just wanna get high.” Not, not, “I’m worried about her, haven’t seen her in a few days”, nothing. You know, they just care…they look at me, it’s a dollar sign, free get-high, and, you know, like I said, I’ve OD’d a few times, and they’ve pushed me in a sticky bush and left me there for dead. You know, that’s how much they cared. But they tell me, “Oh, I love you.” You don’t love me. You love what I can do for you. That’s it, for real. And I know that, and I still go back for more. Cos I’m that kind, caring, mothering, nurturing person.

Krista Got Clean

Jeffrey_Stockbridge_Krysta_2014Krista, 2014.

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.

Audio Transcript

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.


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