Ask Me Anything Monday

This is a little fun exercise I used to do last year that fell into obscurity between working and being pregnant. Soooo, I’m giving it a shot again. If you’re interested, ask away 🙂 

Submit any questions, queries, or random wonderings you may have! 🙂 As always, it can be a personal question about me or my life or it can be completely random. And I promise to answer it as completely and honestly as I can! There are no rules or limitations. Let’s go! 
Much love,

Ashley King

© All Rights Reserved 2017

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Addicts ARE People Too!

They deserve to die. It’ll teach them a lesson. They have to be held accountable for their actions. They’re all scum bags. They shouldn’t get medications for the withdrawal; let them suffer. Fuck them. Ew. They’re not real people.”

As many of you know, drugs (specifically heroin), are killing more people today than probably ever before. Statistics say that there isn’t one person who isn’t somehow connected to a drug addict, whether by blood or some other relation. The days of thinking drug addicts are dirty junkies living under the bridge with a needle in their arm are over. We (addicts) are your children, your waitress, your accountant, your school bus driver, your lawyer, your tattoo artist, your doctor. We come from amazing homes full of love where we want for nothing. We came from crack houses and lives riddled with abuse and poverty. We went to Ivy League schools. We dropped out in 9th grade. We’re hardened criminals. We’ve never been to jail or gotten so much as a parking ticket. 


We are everyone, everywhere. 

Addiction DOES NOT discriminate. 

Those sentences I wrote at the top are things I’ve heard or read in reference to addicts in the last week. There is still so much stigma attached to addiction that many people think we’re less-than-human and deserve to die. They think Suboxone and Methadone programs are an easy way out. They think that stopping an addict from dying by shooting them full of Narcan is preventing them from “dealing with the consequences of their actions”. I’ve never heard of anyone learning a lesson after they’ve died but hey, certain members of society think it’s possible. 

While this current trend of anger and resentment against the disease of addiction is understandable, it’s also alarming. It’s very easy to forget that that “piece of shit drug addict” is also a human being, someone’s baby, someone’s partner, someone’s parent. They’re another real person who feels pain, happiness, agony, sympathy, fear, and hopelessness. 

It seems to me that the common thread among those who hate addicts is that they also believe addiction is something you choose. I’ve argued this before and I’m sure I will for many posts to come. Does a person make the choice to take that first drug? Yes. Haven’t you? Have you ever smoked a joint in the locker room in middle or high school? Have you ever had a beer with friends? Maybe tried a little coke at a party? See that’s how “that first high” happens 90% of the time. It’s some young person just trying something for the first time. For those of us who have a predisposition to addiction that first high creates a phenomenon in our minds. It’s like we’ve finally found the answer to that hole in our souls. Many addicts report always feeling an emptiness inside them that they just couldn’t find an answer for. Drugs numb that aching hole. Some of us were looking for a reprieve from mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, or bipolar. Some of us were raised by addicts and saw this as the “normal thing to do”. Some of us were looking for a mental escape from abusive homes, bullying, loneliness, stress. Like I stated before, addiction does not discriminate. It happens to every shape, kind, class, and color of person. 

When we act as if addicts are just a cancer to society we dehumanize them. We turn them into the sick or rabid dog that needs to be dragged out back and shot. We turn them into objects, afflictions, things, “less-than-human”. And when we do this, when we strip away a hurting soul’s humanity, we also give away a piece of ours. 

I saw a police officer openly admit on Facebook that when they report to overdoses they would rather hang out and “tie their boots” than administer the Narcan that could save the addict’s life. Their reasoning was that so long as we use Narcan on addicts they are not truly “paying the consequences of their actions”. But I have to wonder, what has happened to us as people, if we’re okay with sitting back and watching someone die? Do some of us only become police officers to help the ones that we like or deem worthy? Do addicts somehow rate as being “less than” or subhuman? I have to wonder what kind of person would sit back and watch another human being die while that addict’s saving grace is literally in their hands. They may be addicts. They may have overdosed many times before and not learned their lesson BUT, that is not our call to make. 

There is no way of knowing if “this time” will be the “last time they use”. Maybe that last overdose will be the thing to push them to get clean. Maybe it will scare them just a little bit more last one. Maybe getting shot full of Narcan by that police officer who hates them will be the one thing that saves their life. Maybe they’ll catch a charge and be put in a jail or institution that gets them clean. Maybe someone saving them will actually save them. Who are we to take that away? Who are we to decide who gets to live and die?

We are not gods. If we were, addicts wouldn’t exist. 

It’s always been easy to judge those who don’t live the same way that we do; it’s the human condition. We can only ever see things from our own perspective. So for a healthy person or police officer it must be impossible to understand why a heroin addict uses. But, we have to consider the fact that all of us have things about us that other people don’t and maybe can’t understand. And we all have an addiction of some kind whether it’s heroin, sex, work, or cleaning. The difference is, no one is going to let you die because of the bad choices that you’ve made. So why should addicts die for theirs? If they die as a natural result of their addiction then that’s on them but someone sitting back and letting them die? Now that is less than human. 



Being mean and saying “let them all die” is not tough love. It’s not the hard choice. It’s the easy way out. It’s swiping the problem under the rug and pretending it will go away. Many of these people who condemn addiction do absolutely nothing to educate themselves or even better, the public at large. They don’t donate money or time to rehabs. They don’t try to reach out and help the next person. They’re just full of hate. 

I understand what it’s like firsthand to be the victim of someone else’s addiction. I know the darkness that that can breed inside of your heart. I know what it’s like to put your faith in someone who disappoints you time and time again. I however chose to blame the drug. The person is sick. I’ve seen people who truly did not want to use drugs ever again use them because they didn’t know any other way and their brains have been rewired to tell them that it’s the only choice. I’ve seen people who knew that they were going to go to jail or lose their children if they got high again and they used anyway, even in the face of those consequences. This is not some logical thing that you can categorize as good or evil, light or dark. It’s a disease. A disease that effects the best and the worst of us. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy and if you’ve read my other work you’ll understand how big of a statement that is for me.


All I’m trying to say here is that we need to stop letting the stigma attached to addiction push us towards being uncompassionate and hateful people. The drunk guy begging for change outside the gas station is no different than your 17 year old popping Percocet to get through the state volleyball championship. The junkie shooting dope under the bridge is no different than the highest powered CEO on Wall Street sneaking away from meetings to hit his crack pipe. We are no different than you. You are surrounded by us, served by us, married to us, parenting us. All we are is a collection of beautifully unique souls put in this place to accomplish something and the addict is just as much a part of that as the priest is. Stop letting the ignorance and fear and pain control you. Don’t let it turn you into a nasty person. Cause I’ll tell you something, I’d let a junkie into my home long before someone who watched another person die when they could’ve stopped it. THAT is in humane. THAT is cruel. And it is outright insane to think that we should have a say in who lives and dies. 

If that addict, any addict, was your child, your sibling, your best friend, or your parent, how differently would you treat them? Would you hope someone said those nasty things about them? Would you be okay with a cop letting them die? Would you view them in the same way you view other addicts? 

WE ARE ALL PEOPLE, so long as we don’t lose sight of that. When we start viewing our fellow human beings as nothing more than wastes of space and sacks of meat we have become savages. 


by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

Morning Mindfulness- Smoking & Gratitude

I think I can dare to say that I do believe this FM flare up is coming to an end. I’m still on edge and in pain but I’ve recently stopped fantasizing about peeling my skin off with a potato peeler. That’s improvement, right? As such, I think I’m getting better. This last week has led to a lot of things. The consideration of removing refined sugars from my diet because they’re horrible for all of us; and in my case, make the fibromyalgia much worse. Check out this (pretty awesome) video if you want to know more. It showed me so much and is important to our health. 

Also, I’m considering quitting smoking. Anyone who has followed me for long knows that smoking in and of itself, is one of my coping mechanisms for dealing with the pain. You know I enjoy it as well as I do; nonetheless, something changed this week. I was smoking so much (2 1/2+ packs a day) because of the pain, that my chest felt like it was on fire. So I go to my local vape shop, buy some juice for my dripper, and stater vaping again. Just to be clear, I don’t use those E-pens that still contain 400 cancer causing ingredients and are developed by the cigarette companies. I use an RDA (rebuidable drip atomizer), where I make my own coils, thread cotton through them and then drip juice on the cotton. The juice contains nothing but vegetable or coconut glycerin, natural flavoring, and nicotine. Yesterday I only smoked 9-10 cigarettes (because I was vaping more) and I’m about to smoke my first one for the day today. I’ll make another post about vaping at a later date, as there are many misconceptions. Back on topic…

If I’m being honest here, this want to smoke less or not at all is probably motivated by more than just my burning chest. As I mentioned in my post a few days ago, Flare Ups & Fuck Ups, my love’s daughter is about to start spending every other weekend with us. I just can’t help but feel a certain way when I think about coming back in the house, reeking like cigarettes, and leaning down to pick her up. This is not at all to say anything about the parents who do smoke! My family always did. But no one in either of her families does. So you can hopefully see my hesitance. The wheels are turning to say the least. My only solidified goal is to smoke much less (as of right now) though. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll keep y’all updated on my progress :). 

In closing, I just want to thank all my readers! It has been absolutely lovely to get so many comments full of positive feedback and opinions from others! I thank the readers in each comment for taking the time to read my post. I know this may seem like some typical thing that anyone who wants readers would do but it’s not, for me. I am truly grateful for the people who have read this blog (some from the very beginning) and who take the time to comment and encourage me. This has been an incredible journey and I plan to continue with it as it has now become a necessary part of my happiness. You guys have made this such a beautiful process for me and for that, I am truly grateful! Much love!

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

Ask Me Anything Monday

It’s that time of the week again! Submit any questions, queries, or random wonderings you may have! 🙂 As always, it can be a personal question about me or my life or it can be completely random. And I will answer it as completely and honestly as I can! Let’s go! 

Much love,

Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016 

 

Flare Ups & Fuck Ups

Hello fellow bloggers. So this is going to be a seemingly pointless rant session so feel free to run for the hills now…

Moving on, I am going through one bad ass mother fucker of a flare up. My clothes feel like sandpaper, the shower (which usually brings me comfort) feels like a million little needle pricks, and I’m so exhausted I forgot my own name for a second yesterday. I have Fibro Fog to thank for that. Not to mention the ever present, distracting as an old man in a leotard pain. Fuck me, right?

My love’s daughter is spending her first weekend with us in two weeks and we made plans to set her room up and paint it tomorrow. We made these plans earlier this week. But due to my Fibro Fog, lack of sleep, and pain I just completely forgot. It just slipped my mind in between trying to be a productive member of society and remember to not leave the house without pants… Or keys… Or shoes. So what did I do? Accidentally double booked myself. There’s a woman I’ve owed a tattoo for the better part of 3 1/2 years and we had made plans to do it yesterday. However, by the time I got off of work I was so utterly exhausted that I quickly text her and asked her if we could just reschedule for Sunday. I was then reminded about his daughter’s room. Her spending weekends here is a big deal for both of us. We’re both incredibly excited and have been waiting 7 months for this to happen. His ex wife is a control freak who has a resentment against me (for no other reason then I happen to exist) and created this restriction that he could only have his daughter at his parents house, purely because I live at ours. In an attempt to be the bigger person and give her time to heal, he agreed. And now, it’s finally over. No more packing up and splitting our lives twice a month. No more planning every other weekend around having to drive to another town. Now it’ll be he way it should’ve been from the beginning. And again, were ecstatic. 

And somehow, I forgot. 

Naturally, he got a little upset and feared this wasn’t as big of a deal for me as it is for him. But it is. This is just one example of how this thing wrong with my body can creep in and effect my relationship and even, my partner. Obviously it was an easy problem to fix and I did by rescheduling the tattoo. But it was still a frustrating thing. It amazes me how I can remember all the talks we had about setting the room up (painting it was my idea for fucks sake) and planning when we would do it; yet when I double booked, it just was not present in my mind. It just floated away into thin air regardless of the fact that it is massively important to me. 

Fuck You Fibromyalgia. 

I’ve started taking Magnesium Malleate because it’s supposed to help the pain and I’m trying to eat better. There’s of course still a steady flow of NSAID’s as well. But facts are, there’s probably more I could do but I need to get new doctors down here. I need to make the appointments on Monday. I spoke with my one doctor about it and expressed how I had lost all faith in doctors and he encouraged me to just try one more time. I agreed. I am not just choosing to suffer. But I also happen to know I’ve tried everything that’s ever been presented to me and have walked away with horrible side effects and a decreased quality of life instead of the intended increase. Needless to say, it’s maddening. And now I can’t feel my fingers anymore and I have to get ready for my day today; so this rant is over. Thanks for reading (whoever was actually enough of a masochist to make it this far :))

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016 

Nerves Of Steel

I always took pride in having nerves of steel. Combine that with my iron will, and you have a woman dressed to kill. 

I’ve never had time to panic or fear. When the pressure’s on, you have to buck; take the problem and fucking deal. 

There are no breaks, no second chances. Life only gives us so many options. So we buckle our boots, do our dances, and find a way to make our own answers. 

I’ve seen some who crack under the pressure. They just weren’t built to take the heat. Luckily, I’m blessed to say, this isn’t how God chose to make me. 

I’ve been put in impossible situations, backed into corners with no way out. I’ve heard the doubt of any survival,  sometimes escaping my own mouth. 

But I’ve always found a way, I always find a way. It’s just ingrained into my DNA. Even on the days I wanted to give up, I learned each time, I’m not built that way. 

At times I’ll admit, I’ve grown angry. Tired of my own drive to survive. Annoyed with my persistence in the hardship, I just wanted a normal life. Cause being “the strong one” gets old sometimes, and while these are “good problems” to have, “taking the high road” gets harder each time. 

These things I’ve endured? They build up and seem impossible. Being “strong” does NOT automatically mean indestructible. What good is surviving if it renders you untouchable? 

I’m hard to get close to and damaged at best. I wear my heart, behind this bulletproof vest. My body’s a battlefield, my mind is a mess. I’ve got one foot on your throat, and one in the past. How do you heal, from so many memories like this?

My nerves of steel only go so deep. I’ve learned to package the pain, tightly and neat. I look fine on the surface, but don’t look underneath. I’m a little more damaged than even I can see. And the damage creeps out on my razor like tongue, and suddenly my words are used as a weapon. Something will happen, I’ll flash back to the past, and all of a sudden I’m reacting to that. I’m trying to make sure this doesn’t happen again. 

I’ve grown so much, and healed even more, but there’s still some demons waging their wars. So I chip away a little each time, all in the intention to get better at life. I don’t want to be a walking flash back, making people pay for pain they didn’t cause. I refuse to be that person; even if, long ago I was. 

These strengths I possess have helped me survive; however, I’ve learned they come at a price. The more you endure, the more you “survive”? The more scars you wear for the rest of your life. So can nerves of steel help in that fight? Cause the hardest of battles are fought on the inside. 

I’ve always wondered, who I would be, if none of these things, ever happened to me….

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

Feature image courtesy of http://www.artmajeur.com/en/artist/helenka/collection/original-art/1411402/artwork/soulful/6847255