Phase 2 Essay

Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe

Authored by Peyton Damron

I had a difficult time thinking of where to begin, so I figured I would steal the format from Alcoholics Anonymous and implement it into this letter. What it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now.

I joined the docket about a year and 2 months ago. From as far back as I can remember before that, I had become my own anathema. Social anxiety would later cripple me and I wouldn’t be able to talk to anyone without saying something completely awkward and then going somewhere private so I could slap myself in the face. Normal people don’t act like this. My obsessive-compulsive disorder drove me to behave in different ways and has been a constant in my life since I was born. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Footsteps need to be counted and end in multiples of 3 or 7. But you can’t count out loud or people will think you’re weird for talking to yourself. You can’t space out when counting in your head or people will think you’re autistic and try to get you counseling for the wrong diagnosis. You have to learn to count in your head and speak at the same time. You know, being coherent while counting ad infinitum is harder than you’d think. Don’t step on the sidewalk cracks either, if you do that the entire world will cease to exist around you. If you step on that sidewalk crack every person you’ve ever loved will disappear. If you step on that sidewalk crack there will be a natural disaster in every corner of the Earth’s atmosphere and it will be all your fault. Could you live with that? As I calculate the consequences of stepping on this sidewalk crack, I made an awful mistake. The back left corner of the heel of my right foot hit the crack. I could’ve sworn I pushed my foot far enough to not land there. Quick! You have 13 seconds to get back to the beginning of the block and try again. You get another shot at this, but you’ve got to be on time. Time to go to sleep, better lock the door, the deadbolt goes left, right, left, right, left, right. The regular knob lock just needs to go right, left, right, left.

Sorry, guess I went on a tangent there for a minute. But I figure I basically summed up my daily life for how it was, well that’s just how it was walking to school. On the way home I did the whole thing in reverse. And everywhere else I went the chaos was ceaseless. I felt as if my brain was melting from running on overdrive for so long. I discovered opioids. I had used other substances before but none of them took me out of myself as much as this did. I flooded my head with a cornucopia of opiates and I started to realize, I can step on this sidewalk crack and the world isn’t going to end, I can quit counting now and my family will still love me, I can talk to people now as if I’m one of them. My solution was simple; consume them all of the time.

Then something happened I hadn’t anticipated. I ran out. I became deathly ill and was as close to suicide as one can get without actually following through. “Heroin is cheaper and you get the same high for a fraction of the cost,” someone said to me. So I began consuming that regularly, and when that got expensive I learned that you can get the same feeling with less of it if you inject it, so I started consuming it that way. 1 year later I was living in a Walmart parking lot in a crummy Pontiac Aztec with some guy I barely knew who hadn’t showered in almost a month when I met him. That’s alright though, I only smelled him when I was dope sick.

The reason I’m on the docket is theft. This is how I supported my habit. I had nothing left that I owned that I could sell, so it was the only solution that I could see at the time. By the end of it I had become a shell of a man. The one who used to be the “fat kid” at school was now 6 foot 1 and weighed under 100 pounds. Luckily I was stopped in my tracks by several police officers along the way, and I decided to get signed up at “Recovery and Prevention Resources” aka “RPR” because I thought it would help my case. That’s how I got introduced to the docket. Through the docket and “RPR” I’ve gained a new sense of self. I learned how to deal with some of the things that run through my brain without invitation. I learned how to get over my fear of what others are going to think of me. And most importantly, I learned how to love myself. Thank you.

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