I don’t talk about my past much. I don’t like remembering the bad stuff. Yet, I know that talking about it, writing about it, and facing it head-on all help me heal.
Marlie is currently facing her past and is on her way to healing, too.
Marlie is the author of the poem included in this post. Before we get to it, let me tell you a bit about her. (You already know about my life journey!)
PROSTITUTION AND ADDICTION – How I Met Marlie
I first met Marlie when I was working on the streets.
We were prostitutes for different reasons but shared many commonalities. We were both sexually abused. We were both single moms. We both like writing poetry. Also, we both had addictions—me, to gambling (and for ten months of my life, to crack). Marlie, although she smoked crack and used cocaine in other forms, was mainly addicted to heroin.
Prostitution and drug addiction often go hand in hand, although there are exceptions.
I have never used heroin. In fact, I have never used needles to use ANY street drug. Marlie and a few other hookers I knew used needles. After seeing one particular woman use needles in front of me, I vowed that I would NEVER do that. I saw how she lived. I saw the dirty places she used drugs in (including stairwells of dirty, old, smelly apartment buildings). I saw the drugs change her after she used them. I was disgusted by it all.
Marlie wasn’t as lucky as I was. Her disgust didn’t come until later, after she was put through hell and back more times than she can count.
Marlie’s experiences with drugs was (and still is) a battle. Heroin ruined many years of her life. She was a drug runner, a drug user, and has lost several people to drug overdoses. She even overdosed herself. She was lucky she didn’t die.
She lived to tell her story.
MARLIE’S POEM ABOUT ADDICTION AND PROSTITUTION
Here is the poem Marlie wrote:
I have the needle ready with morphine that I cooked.
The first time that I used it, I knew that I was hooked.
Itchy skin and tingles, warmness deep inside,
Labeled as a junkie, my tears, I try to hide.
Track marks on my body,
I am an addict, I’ll admit.
I have to do it for myself;
I have to want to quit.
I have made my family angry.
They don’t know what to say,
Knowing my addiction,
Scared death is on its way.
I need to take life seriously;
I know it’s not a game.
And if I don’t keep trying,
On a stone, you’ll see my name.
Standing on a corner,
He pulls up in a truck.
He says, “I’m looking for a date.
You want to make a buck?”
Doing anything for money,
I begin to sell my soul.
Running to the dealers
Has become my only goal.
I begin to hate my body,
And don’t like how I feel.
Touching me all over,
My self-esteem he steals.
Thinking about where I’ve been,
Alone I sat and cried,
Wondering how different life would be,
If only I had tried.
I cannot point my finger;
There’s no one else to blame.
Walking with my head down,
I chose to live in shame.
THE REST OF MARLIE’S STORY
Marlie’s story is ongoing.
She has been on (and off) methadone for almost two years. She has relapsed a few times (after she went off the methadone, which was clearly helping her). She continues to struggle with her addiction and is leaving for six months or so, soon, to enter a treatment facility.
Marlie recently had a breakthrough. She realized that she needs to find ways of coping and dealing with everything she has endured if she is to overcome her demons.
Marlie has been on path to healing and recovery for a while. Not all addicts are able to get there on their own. They need help, love, and support.
I have written posts about addiction and mental health before. These are topics that deserve attention. (See the links below the section called 5 Resources for You. Find them at the end of the post.)
Anyone who is addicted deserves our attention. After all, they are human. And no one should have to feel LESS THAN HUMAN, like Marlie and I did. We are people, too.
Fortunately, I have been able to rise above my past. Marlie is still struggling to. She’ll make it. She is a fighter. She’s also an intelligent woman who deserves to be happy.
And she’s on her way to that.
Her transformation has already begun. Look at her pictures! You can see for yourself how healthy she looks now, compared to how she looked when she was using.
There are three sets of pictures, showing Marlie BEFORE (when she was using) and AFTER (when she stopped using and got clean).
WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR AN ADDICT OR A PROSTITUTE?
If you know someone who needs a helping hand, help them.
Let them know you are there for them. Let them know you love them.
Sometimes, a little love goes a long way… and allows you to live your life to the fullest.
5 Resources for You
What did you think of Marlie’s poem? Her story? Her struggles?
Do they sound familiar?
Share your thoughts in the comments!