Up – the hard way

I live alone in an attic. I have no heating, no double glazing, no microwave or television, no toaster, no washing machine, etc. I don’t even have a working light fitting. I have no qualifications and no job references. I spend almost all of my time alone. I have enough money to keep the electric topped up and afford cigarettes.

I am an alcoholic. I have been an alcoholic since I was fourteen. I had my first drink when I was three years old. My father was an alcoholic. My brothers were alcoholic. My friends were alcoholic, and so am I.

I am a heroin addict. I have been a heroin addict since I was eighteen. The only partner I have ever loved, lived with, been honest with, is a heroin addict. I cannot see him anymore. I cannot be with him. I cannot live with him. He’s still out there, using heroin.

I am bipolar. I hear a lot of people say they would not choose to stop being bipolar, if they had the option. I am not one of them; I just want to be normal. Every time I smile I feel it is because I am mentally ill, medicated, drunk or on drugs. I’d like to smile because I am simply content.

When I was a little girl and the kids in my school dreampt of being models and firemen, I dreampt of dying…so the adults eventually locked me up. My mother never ate. My brothers were unhappy, drug users, drinkers. My father hurt us and abandoned me. My mother eventually threw me out. I love them all and I hope somehow, wherever they are, that they find the help to better their lives. I hope they think of me sometimes and hope the same thing.

I am clean. No drugs. No alcohol. No self harm. For the first time since childhood, I am sober. I have been clean for 113 days. I wish I had someone to share being a part of the world with.

I have lived so fast and so hard. I have slept in mansions and slept in doorways. I have degraded myself in ways which haunt me. I have known some amazing people. I have seen the inside of a police cell. I have worked a thousand jobs. I have read so many brilliant books. I have sold art work and worn nice clothes. I have had many relationships. I have been beaten. I have been raped. I have been locked away. I have lived in the north and the south, the east and the west. I have known heroin addiction and cold turkey. I have known alcoholism and withdrawal. I have known every drug I’ve ever heard the name of. I have watched seven of my friends die in less than five years. I have seen death. I have over three hundred scars, each with its own story. I have known psychosis. I have known liver failure, kidney failure, ODs, septicemia. I have had over twenty broken bones. I have partied with celebrities and slept rough with the homeless. I have had poetry published. I have had a gun held to my head. I have held a newborn child. I have lived. At the end of it all I am seated alone in an attic telling my story to a computer.

Do I regret it, any of it? No. I don’t regret my life. I do not regret one minute of the twenty years, ten months and two weeks that I have lived, but now I would like to sleep. I am very tired, very sober, very grateful and now I would like to sleep.