Drugs

Get SICK and SICKER – Free book and new release

SICK and SICKER

Celebrating the Release of SICKER

I’m giving away SICK for the next two days. Here are the latest reviews:

“Disturbing yet gripping at the same time!”

“SICK is a story that you can’t shrug off easily.”

“Dark and clever.”

Get free copy of SICK

SICK A novella by Christa Wojo on Kindle

FREE 4/13-14/2016

Everyone has a breaking point.

Part I. Is this marriage based on unconditional love or a unhealthy obsession?

Susan Branch’s life revolves around the care of her charming and inscrutable husband John, a man born into wealth and prestige who lost his family’s fortune when his mysterious chronic illnesses left him bedridden. Together they live a decrepit existence beholden to the current owners of his family’s former estate.

After years of devoting herself to John’s care, Susan is worn out and frustrated. Yet she is determined to scrape together whatever resources she can to keep John comfortable and happy. This includes stealing Demerol from the doctor’s office where she works to feed John’s ever-increasing need for pain medication.

As John’s condition continues to puzzle doctors, Susan begins to notice strange objects appearing around her house. Ever wary of creepy Old Pete, the groundskeeper, Susan decides to confront the elderly man and put an end to his snooping for good.

John suffers a critical emergency, but he is saved and is soon released from the hospital. His health begins to improve, and Susan dreams of a normal life, but her hope for a miracle transforms into a nightmare one fateful afternoon when she discovers
the true cause of John’s sickness.

Get free book.


Get SICKER

SICKER EBOOK COVER Horizontal 3 sm

Release 4/13/2016

How did John Branch get so sick?

Part II. The gruesome psychological suspense series continues.

John Branch’s sickness has dominated the lives of all those around him, consuming all it can from well-intentioned doctors, compassionate strangers, and trusting loved ones. His chronic illness also bonds him intimately to his wife Susan, trapping them in relationship of unhealthy psychological attachment.

But John’s disease isn’t the only blight in the Branch family.

Injured and loaded with Demerol, John Branch tells his life story from his filthy sickbed. He confesses the horrific secrets of the past. Most disturbing of all, he reveals the philosophy he’s constructed around his condition and tries to indoctrinate Susan. Will she stay with him now that she finally nows the truth, or will she put and end to the madness?

Buy the book.

 

 

Book III coming soon…

 

90s Monday: Scott Weiland with Stone Temple Pilots Unplugged

Stone Temple Pilots was not one of my favorite bands of the 90s, but their music was always playing on my friends’ CD players, on the radio, and on MTV. I can’t help but get nostalgic when I hear them.

We lost many remarkable artists from the 90s. It’s tragic how after making it to the age of 48, Scott Weiland still couldn’t let go of drugs.

Rest in Peace Scott Weiland.

What’s your favorite Stone Temple Pilots song?

Which artist’s death has affected you the most?

Why does it seem talented and creative people are more susceptible to addiction?

Book Reviews: Junkie Love and Wasting Talent

Druggy Books

Hello dear readers,

I’ve been enjoying some great books lately and I thought maybe you’d like to hear about them. You might ask, why, Christa? Why so many druggy books?

Well, for one, I am in the process of revising my three part series of druggy books. And, number two, I’m now working within the addiction/recovery sector where I’ve been discovering amazing writers that you might miss out on if I don’t tell you about them.

(more…)

The Real Edition Wants Your Addiction Story

The Real Edition wants your story

The Real Edition has already attracted an avalanche of writers and readers after its launch last week. The best news is that you’re invited to be a part of it. 

What is the real edition?

TheRealEdition.com (TRE) is a publishing platform for all things addiction and recovery. Nearly everyone has been affected by addiction in one form or another, be it themselves or through a friend/family member. The Real Edition provides a stage solely for addiction and recovery with the intention of giving meaning and purpose to all stories–those of brokenness as well as those of hope.

Why Submit to The Real Edition?

1. Share

Although 24.6 million Americans have experienced addiction, it’s not something that usually comes up in conversation. A taboo surrounds addiction, making it difficult for addicts and those who love addicts to open up to people who have not shared the same experience.

Maybe it was decades ago, maybe it was recently, maybe it’s still going on right now. No matter when the struggle or victory over addiction occurred, a story may be sitting inside you just waiting for any reason to come out. Now is your chance to write it, share it, and feel your load lightened.

2. Connect

The Real Edition allows you to create profiles, cultivate a following, and follow other writers. The website allows users to leave comments at any point throughout to discuss, debate, and commiserate on specific sentences within the article. Find like-minded people, people who can help you, or people whom you can help.

3. Grow

Maybe you had an addiction story, but were afraid it wouldn’t appeal to your current blog subscribers. The Real Edition is a community of addicts, recovered addicts, or those in the recovery industry. By publishing on The Real Edition, you open your writing to a wide, global audience that is already primed for your topic. Someone is waiting to read your story. You just might change someone’s life, and in doing so, change yours.

4. Earn a Reputation

The Real Edition wants to focus on quality content. You don’t have to be a professional writer, but you do have to offer something of depth and value.

Whether it’s a personal experience, and informational article, or an opinion piece; The Real Edition is looking for bold, heartfelt stories that bring addiction out of the darkness so it can be understood, analyzed, and addressed.

5. Gain Exposure

Not only will your audience grow, The Real Edition has several opportunities to make your post go viral.

  1. TRE employs an algorithm that tabulates page views, number of reads, read times, and recommendations to determine the most popular posts. These posts are automatically featured on the home page in the Top Reads section. This means that unknown writers with small followings have just as much of a chance of getting to the front page as those writers who are more experienced and established.
  2. TRE will share your posts through all its social media channels, putting you in front of thousands of eyes.
  3. Content from The Real Edition also receives attention from large websites like The Huffington Post and Thought Catalog, increasing your chances of being picked up by a mainstream publication.
  4. In addition to being published on a site that gets thousands of visitors each day, TRE may select your title for one of their ad campaigns.

6. Free Advertising and Cash Rewards

The mission of The Real Edition is to inspire hope, to be resource for loved ones affected by addiction, and to eliminate the stigma attached to addiction.

To give something back to TRE contributors, the editors will select stories for paid and organic marketing rewards. This means TRE will spend up to $100 promoting your article on selected social media sites.

Cash prizes may be awarded in the amount of $50 or $100 on any given week, and up to $250 for a story of the month.

By publishing on TRE, not only do you benefit from the camaraderie, the connections, the reach, the exposure, the advertising, AND the prestige; but you also get the chance to earn money as a writer.

The Real Edition wants your story


TRE

 Join the movement!

Follow The Real Edition on Twitter.

Like The Real Edition on Facebook.

Add The Real Edition on Google+.

Create your profile

Sign-up and create your profile for TheRealEdition.com.

Start publishing

Read an overview on how to get started publishing on TRE.

 

Do you have any questions about The Real Edition?

Leave your comments below or shoot me an email at christa@therealedition.com.

The Bitter Taste of Dying

Addiction Memoir Quotes

Just a few years ago, Jason Smith was lying in his bathtub, the blood slowly draining from his slit wrists. Now he is here to tell us how he reached the point of suicide after his long, dark descent into prescription opiate abuse. The Bitter Taste Dying is a story of resurrection told by an author who has literally come back from the black grip of death.

Today’s junkies are not just on the street corner anymore. Big Pharma are the suppliers, and doctors are the pushers, cultivating (perhaps inadvertently, but that’s debatable) a massive population of addicts from all demographics.

After a severe car accident, Smith has back surgery and is given a perpetual menu of painkillers and muscle relaxers by his physicians. It doesn’t take long for the high schooler to realize that by taking more than the recommended dosage, he could obtain the warm, euphoric mental and physical comfort only opiates can bring. But all too soon he also discovers the pangs of withdrawal whenever his medication runs out.

If anyone has difficulty understanding what an addict feels like, Smith describes it with painful accuracy.

“You know that feeling of having your head held under water, the last of your oxygen depleted, where very fiber of your being screams at you to get to the surface for more air? That’s the feeling of needing more drugs…”

As Smith grows into a man, his addiction grows to mammoth proportions and he must go through heroic efforts to keep himself in pills and Fentanyl patches. Smith tells the story in an approachable, conversational tone that may have you laughing out loud at some parts. As horrendous as it is watching how far he would go and how morally low he would sink to get more drugs, it’s difficult not to marvel at his ingenuity and boldness.

The Bitter Taste of Dying Cover Art

Released July 6th 2015

At the same time, Smith writes with tender honesty and cutting unabashedness that is rare in any writer, much less any human being. The reader immediately feels very close to him, making his shocking confessions feel like blows.

The Bitter Taste of Dying is an important book that underscores the urgency with which society has to address the prescription drug abuse epidemic. It allows us to watch with uncomfortable closeness how easy it is to develop an addiction to pain medication and how quickly and mercilessly it can devour one’s entire life.

From aspiring football star to international criminal, Smith shows us step by step how opiate addiction can happen to anyone you know, and very likely destroy them. Most importantly, The Bitter Taste of Dying reveals the light at the end of the tunnel–even the most hopeless addict can make it out alive.


Jonathan Alter, former Senior Editor Newsweek, MSNBC, et. al. says, “This memoir grabs you by the throat on the first page and doesn’t let go until you’re done, in one sitting–gasping for breath because you know, finally, what it’s like to be a drug addict without having been one yourself.”

NY Times bestselling author Jerry Stahl of Permanent Midnight and OG Dad says, “Jason is a great writer who’s clearly done the life-destroying research that I can relate to. This is the voice of a new generation of drug addicts.”

Bob Levy, Executive Producer of Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl says, “Jason Smith hits the Zeitgeist bullseye like few other writers. I’m going to devour everything with this guy’s name on it.”


author of The Bitter Taste of DyingJASON SMITH is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, whose work has been published extensively in both online and print media. Jason Smith is also the Creative Director of TheRealEdition.com, a recently launched website that allows addicts, recovering addicts, and their loved ones to publish their stories of addiction. Jason currently lives in northern California with his wife Megan and two children, Jaden and Isabella.

The Bitter Taste of Dying is released July 6th, 2015 by Thought Catalog and available in Kindle, iBooks, and hard copy on his website.

Jason Smith is available for interviews, contributions, and appearances. To schedule a media event, order books, or request review copies, please contact me at christawojo at gmail.com.


Note from your blog host:

Dear readers,

If you or anyone you know has experienced prescription drug abuse, I urge you to help us get the word out by sharing and reblogging this post.

According to the 2010 National Survey on Drugs Use and Health, an estimated 2.4 million Americans used prescription drugs non-medically for the first time in the past year. This averages about 6,600 initiates per day, of which one-third are 12 to 17 years of age.

Thank you for helping spread awareness!

Would love to hear what you have to say. Please leave your comments below.

Addiction Explained Without Words

 

What do you think it means?

How does it make you feel?

 

 

Found through FastCoCreate.com

Existential Nihilism and the Dead Dog Blues

RIP Roscoe Wojciechowski

I’ve been avoiding this article for a long time, which is a sure sign that it must be written. As individuals, we often hide from the truth, especially about ourselves. Our souls’ innocence and hope slowly deteriorate inside our soft bodies while we occupy our short time on Earth with vapid entertainment, aggression and judgment, and the pursuit of accumulating “stuff.” We swallow the fear we feel down deep inside with the help of a pill or bottle.

Some people are not so easily distracted. It has always taken me enormous effort to avoid thinking about the Great Unknowingness. I tried Christianity and chaos. I constantly sought diversions and substances to avoid the questions that I had always feared the most, the questions that left me in a quiet desperation that could never be buried or drowned.

More recently I tried to focus on life’s small milestones and achievements. I began writing as a less direct way to figure out what is going on, and it has brought me purpose and peace, but how easily the fragile veil of happiness is torn.

My dog died last November. His name was Roscoe, and he was my best friend. We had grown up a lot together. We watched each other go through growing pains as we both tried to learn how to behave like adults. Roscoe tolerated my loser boyfriends as they came and went. I endured his chewing stage and his great escapes from the yard. Finally, I met my Prince Charming, and we left the United States. After we got settled, Roscoe took a very brave flight to live with us in Panama.

Moving to a foreign country with no family or friends was very hard for me. Roscoe was the only part of my old life that I was able to take with me. I don’t have any children, so he became my son. Roscoe was my shadow every waking moment and my guardian during every hour I dreamed. I came when he called. I cooked for him. I doted on him day and night. He grew older and grayer, sweeter and wiser. I honestly liked Old Rossy better than the young one.

Then came the time that I knew he would die, and I hoped for it as much as dreaded it. We were both having a difficult time dealing with his failing body. He was suffering with a diseased heart and arthritis. He knew what was coming, and he’d look at me as if asking if he was dying correctly. Of course, he was doing a noble job.

Before Halloween, the Hubs and I had to go to Nicaragua for a week. Roscoe protested by lying across my closet floor so that it was almost impossible for me to pack my suitcase, but I had to be tough because whenever I got upset it always made it worse for him.

I knew he was afraid he was going to die while I was gone. He told me in very clear, sad-doggie-eye language that he couldn’t hold on much longer, but I said, “Just stay here till I get back,” and like a good dog, he did.

The night we returned home, Roscoe looked great. I thought the break from me helped him. We had a great night together with his two little brother dogs, Le-Le and Teri. I was relieved. Everything was going to be okay.

Roscoe and Christa Wojo's dogs.

…with his brothers, Teri (the spotted mutt) and Le-Le (the Rottie) during Christmas time.

The next day Roscoe wouldn’t eat. I was concerned, but thought it would pass until that night he laid his head in my hand. I knew this meant something because Roscoe was not a cuddly dog. For some reason he wanted to be held, and I cradled his head so long my arm went numb. We were watching a movie, Pacific Rim, which it seemed so stupid and absurd because I knew my doggie was slipping away. What are we doing watching a movie? We’re dying. We’re all dying.

When we woke up the following morning, Ros was in an unnatural position on the floor. His tongue hung out, and his eyes were wide and unseeing. I came to his side and straightened out his body. His consciousness returned for a moment, and he and I were able to look at each other one last time, but within the hour I felt the last trembling of his heart, and he was gone.

(Time to get the tissues! I knew I wouldn’t get through this without crying).

DSC02509

Roscoe–always a deep thinker.

I had no idea how bad the grief would be. He was a dog, right? This was nature. And he had the best golden years any animal could have. He went from a tiny apartment in Florida to spending the last half of his life in the wild mountains of Chiriquí. Lucky dog! Now it was his time to go, and it couldn’t have gone any better as far as dying goes. He waited till we got home from our trip. He passed peacefully in my arms. We were so fortunate to be with him when he took his last breath.

These thoughts should’ve consoled me, but they didn’t. I was a mess and cried erratically for months. I thought I would just need some time to adjust, but I haven’t really. I wasn’t sure how to live without my companion, and his death reopened the sucking black void of the Great Unknowingness. I couldn’t figure out why we humans evolved to love so much that we are crippled when someone we love dies. It’s mentally and physically debilitating. It’s miserable for your clan and every creature around you. It makes you weak and vulnerable. How did that improve our ancestors’ chances of survival?

Loss is like a morbid disease.

Although I never felt it so keenly before, this anguish was not surprising to me. Since I was a girl, I’ve cried myself to sleep at night knowing one day my parents would be dead. I’ve spent my entire life with this fear of loss and thought maybe there was something wrong with me. Later, I found out that this condition is often referred to as existential depression, and though I’m not an unhappy person by any means, there is an undercurrent of anguish that never leaves me.

Nothing has brought me relief so far. From experimenting with psychedelics and drinking myself into a stupor to huffing through kundalini kriyas and training my brain with binaural beats—no matter what I do, nothing truly and permanently exterminates that nagging black thought that fingers my mind.

Why are we here?

Where do we go?

What does it all mean?

At least with this manner of thinking there are questions to ask. This assumes there is a reason for us being here, that we do go somewhere after our bodies rot, and that our lives do mean something. One simply must endure the mystery, but then there’s the more terrifying possibility to contemplate. What if we just die and that’s it? There is no why, where, or what. What if we are as important to the Universe as a flea’s fart is to us?

What if it all means nothing?

Everything we see and feel is a perception or illusion and is limited by what our human body can sense. What we see is not the truth of existence. And I want to know The Truth. The only problem is billions of people have died without ever knowing the truth, and my greatest fear is that I will suffer the same fate.

I do have an inner soul; some might say it’s my higher self. I try to summon her as much as I can with yoga and meditation. When she shows up, she speaks to me as if I’m a simpering toddler. With endless patience she tells me, and I’m quoting her on this, that she “knows everything” and it “will all be revealed” and “it’s all good.”

This placates me for a few hours if I’m in a receptive mood, but my anal, logical brain can’t accept the mystery and wants a concrete explanation for everything. Anal, logical brain knows there is reason and symmetry in nature, and it won’t let me sleep until we make sense of it all, damn it.

In another dark corner of gray matter shivers my ever-terrified subconscious, which clutches to attachments and goes into fits if ever anything threatens to change.

We fight all the time, and it’s exhausting.

The good news is that I’m not afraid of my death. I’ve been unconscious a number of times for varied reasons, and I didn’t feel a thing. I didn’t remember a thing. Of course this notion when dwelled on too long will make one volunteer for a lobotomy. Not feeling a thing. Not remembering a thing.

Black,

silent

vacuum.

Ah, the meaning of life. Enough to drive any reasonable person batshit crazy. This is really the point of My Sweet Delirium. We can’t figure it all out, but we can have fun trying.

At least The Universe was kind enough to provide a suitable environment for the evolution of puppies and the advent of wine. These kindnesses do allow me to keep the faith. . . a little.

Miss you, Roscoe. . .

Christa Wojo's dog

RIP 11/4/2013

Do you have trouble coping with the Great Unknowingness?

How does it inform your day to day living?

Who’s helped you most with understanding the meaning of life? Death? 

Please leave your comments.

Edited by Candace Johnson at Change It Up Editing

High on Creativity

Photo credit: David Nitsche

Photo credit: David Nitsche

Creating is a drug that hooks you, and just like with any other substance we abuse, the comedown is brutal and the withdrawals are a bitch. We need our fix.

How do you feel when you’ve created something?

Maybe you’ve thought of a revolutionary way to solve a problem at work, or have authored the best chili recipe ever. You may have developed an extraordinary invention, or have written a book you think just might change the world a little.

My main creative outlet is writing. When I am creating a story, the normal world turns into a fog and I become a storm–synapses firing and fingertips thundering away at the keyboard. It’s a state of zen and a wild, wild ride.

There are ups and downs during the creative process. Sometimes your art veers off into unexpected territory and you don’t know how to find your way back to your original goal. Sometimes you simply get stuck. But you struggle through the lulls and setbacks for those moments of pure creative bliss, when your mind is a gushing fount of ideas and images. I like to call this state Phantasmagoria. The words, colors and sounds are flying at you from everywhere. You enter another dimension where time doesn’t exist and all the rules are your own.

Unfortunately, time hasn’t stopped in the real world. Once you’ve awoken from your trance you realize that the sun is setting. You’ve skipped lunch and you’ve been holding your pee in for five hours.

Eventually, you make that last finishing stroke and stand back to admire what you alone created with nothing but your hands and your brain. An explosive rush shoots through your chakras. You’ve made something that never existed in quite this way before.

That high from creativity is almost impossible to describe. It’s insane, giddy elation. It’s a cross between the madness of a rogue scientist and divine rapture.

Then I read Jack Kerouac’s BELIEF & TECHNIQUE FOR MODERN PROSE, a set of poetic and spiritual rules I keep pinned on the cork-board in front of my desk. One simple line summed up my experience of the creative high so accurately that it startled me.

 

Visionary ticks shivering in the chest.

 

We feel emotions viscerally–in our organs, in our guts.

I feel anxiety in my stomach and stress in my shoulders. I feel sadness in my throat and joy in my heart. But when I’ve had that spark of genius (at least at that delirious moment, I think I’m a genius) of all bodily organs, it’s my lungs that quake. Why lungs? I have no idea.

My ribcage shakes with this seismic trembling–like the ideas are going to explode from my chest.  A thunder rumbles inside my skull that I can hear in my inner ears.

I thought I was the only one. I was afraid I was a lunatic, until I read that line from good ol’ Jack.

Creativity is associated with mental illness, so it is likely that Kerouac was crazy and so are many of us creative types. (I am working on a post about mental disorders and famous writers, painters and musicians. Stay tuned. It will be juicy.)

That’s why creative types get snarky and morose when they haven’t had their ‘alone’ time to create. Creating is a drug that hooks you, and just like with any other substance we abuse, the comedown is brutal and the withdrawals are a bitch.

We need our fix.

I think it’s logical to assume that our brain has evolved to release these loads of hormones when we are creating to reward new ideas that move humanity forward. So for those who have a creative urge, don’t ignore it. Don’t fight it. You may materialize the next thought or idea that changes our lives forever. Plus, it will make you happy 🙂

 

Do you get high off of creating?
 
How and where do you feel your creativity high?
 
How do recover afterwards?

 

 

Related Posts Coming Soon

  • Slideshow: Jack Kerouac’s BELIEF & TECHNIQUE FOR MODERN PROSE
  • Mental Illness and Creativity
  • Substance Abuse and Genius

 

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Thanks to Dave Nitsche for posting his awesome work in Flickr Creative Commons.