Great piece by Sharon Cretsinger: Recovery?

Great piece by Sharon Cretsinger: Recovery?


Not all suicide survivors are grateful. Not all of us have “recovery”. No, we have not found any kind of religion in middle age; and, we have not lost the extra weight from the Zyprexa and become a yoga instructors, although we have tried. Our last suicide attempts are not in the memorial place of our roaring twenties. Our attempts were, perhaps, last week. We are not in recovery from drugs, prescription or street. We are firmly in relapse. The last time we woke up, surprised to have our feet still firmly planted on Earth, was in a leaky, cheap motel room somewhere in the Northwest, or the South, or South America, or India. It was early this year, or late last Fall, or on a perfectly beautiful day, July 16, 2010, a Friday, when it seemed the whole world might be grateful for the release of a temperate weekend.


Some of us were, understandably, looking for attention, just as you have accused us of doing in so many cliches, and now memes. Why not? Many of our families have abandoned us. We have lacked the boundaries to keep our lovers and rapists from using our bodies in such indiscriminate ways that it is necessary, finally, to affirm that our bodies are ours to dispose of as we see fit. We pretend a great deal that our suicide attempts, our overdoses, our fits of cutting rage do not happen. We pretend that New York City is the same thirteen years post nine eleven; but, we know she is begging for a relapse. The Lincoln tunnel into the seediest part of Jersey is a mistake, of course. We never intended to use the syringe secretly stolen from a diabetic friend, and planned to stay at the Holiday Inn on the last of our bad credit. The Maplewood Motel, with its pink walls and electric blue carpet and $30 rate for three hours during the day is another foible, naturally, brought on by the fatigue of a drive through Manhattan at rush hour, along with the general lack of life, recovery and planning skills for which we have been berated over the years. That bag of Heroin, boldly purchased from a stranger at a nearby Shell station? It does not exist. We are out of practice, hit a nerve, and bleed profusely on the dirty sheets.


We do not meditate, we do not WRAP, our emotions do not respond to CPR and our peers mostly sell us out for the $10 an hour jobs offered by the system in exchange for their truths. In more cliches and more memes, they tell us we do not try hard enough. Just one more wellness plan, one more meeting, one more shot at a community college that promises to somehow materialize for us jobs just above the subsistence level. It would be a lucky thing for us to get these jobs, we of the tribe of spoiled identities. For these institutions, we are a sure thing. Our student loans are manifest destiny, with or without the nebulous kind-of-sort-of-pretty-decent job we are supposed to get. Hell’s bells, it is easier and cheaper to become a Certified Peer Specialist and live at the same socioeconomic status, or a little better without the never-ending loan payments. There is a little more money for the Chronic.


Chronic does not happen overnight. We may begin our Chronic Journey with hope for relief from the voices we know we are not supposed to hear, and definitely are not supposed to use. If only we remember to take the lavender pill in the morning and the green and white one at night, the voices will stop clanging in our metal skulls with the traffic noise and the screams of the children we aborted for fear of the sins of the mothers‘ lavender pills, and green and white pills, being visited on the children.



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