I'm 44 years old. I was born in Modesto California. Up until I was 13 years old I lived all over the United States, because my mom was married multiple times to people in the military. I've live in Montana, Massachusetts, Idaho, California. I've lived on military bases. When I hit Portland, I lived all over Southeast Portland and downtown Portland.
I don't remember the names of anybody I went to school with. I would sometimes go to two or three schools in a school year. This really kind of sucked, because I missed parts of school, like times tables and stuff like that. Like really important, significant things you need to learn to be successful in school. I never learned those things.
I never really made friends. Since I was an only child I didn't really have anybody with me. My mom was a really horrible raging alcoholic. So I spent most of my childhood alone in whatever apartment, trailer, or place we lived in.
There was a lot of neglect. I think I probably spent the majority of my life sitting outside of a bar in a car waiting for my mom to finish that last drink. All of my mom's husbands were severe alcoholics. She’s an alcoholic to this day. My mom went to jail a few times for DUI and assault. She was a very violent alcoholic. She didn't put up with much. She was a bartender. In some states you’re allowed to drink while your bartending. She'd come home drunk after being at work all day. When people messed with her while she was working she would sometimes get them after work. That's what my Grandma had told me when the police came to pick up my mom.
Yesterday I had to pick her up from the bar at 3:30, after I picked up Jake from day care. She called me drunk off her ass, and asked me to pick up her car, and give her a ride home. I had Hunter who's 17, Jake who's 7, and Ben in the car with me. I went to go get her to bring her out, and she wanted me to wait ‘till she finished her drink. I'm kind of irritated, because I know she did that to me and my older kids when she had my older kids. I don't leave my kids sitting outside of a bar, no matter what, while I'm inside drinking.
I was getting really irritated so I went out to smoke a cigarette, and be by the kids while they were in the car playing on the phone. I had that same feeling when I was little. And I'm like, "I'm not doing this to my kids." So I went inside and I went, "Look, if you want you and your car to have a ride home together, you need to get in my car because my kids don't sit outside of a bar waiting for you."Then she was really mean to me the whole way home.
She asked me to drink with her. She said, "Why don't you have a drink with me (to me and Ben), and then Ben will drive my van."So she wanted me to drink with her. Ben doesn't drink. She wanted me to drive my car, and Ben drives the van with her in it. Like I'm going to drink and drive with my kids. I was like, "No thank you."
I didn't drink because I didn't want to be like my mom. Which is really funny because at some point my mom had gotten another DUI when I was an adult? It was when I was an in-patient treatment after having Jakey. She had to go to meetings and I asked her if she wanted to meet me at this meeting. And she's like "No, I'm not a drug addict. I just drink. I only go to AA."I was like "Mom, alcohol is a drug, period.”She freaked out thinking I was telling her she was a drug addict. She wouldn't go to the meeting with me. But she had to go. It was mandatory for her to go to meetings.
The only stability I had was when I would go stay with my grandma and grandpa. My mom would drop me off saying she's going to get a pack of cigarettes or whatever. Or, "I'm going to be gone for the weekend."She didn't come back for significant periods of time. Like month's at a time sometimes.
AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership. AA’s primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. There are many different kinds of AA meetings. Some include a talk by a sober member, recounting his or her personal experiences about what life was like while drinking, what happened to get them to AA, and what life is like in sobriety. My grandparents were awesome. I wanted to stay with them. I never wanted to go back to my mom. But she would show up for whatever reason and take me back. I don't see them so much now. Their older and I messed up in my life, and my daughter went to live with them.
I have boxes of stuff that came from my grandma. It had custody paper work that my mother gave me. She wanted me to give the paper work to my grandparents, in case anything happened to her. She didn’t want neither one of my stepfathers to have custody of me, because neither one of them was my dad. She gave up custody of me to my grandparents, in case of an emergency. There was an envelope that ended up getting out of a box and lying on the floor. It had a picture of my daughter's ultrasound, when I was pregnant with her. There's a picture of my stepdad Sam in the box. He's the one we were with a lot when I was a little kid. He abused me and he abused my mom really bad physically and sexually. I'm sure of it. I remember weird little things when we lived in Massachusetts that lead me to believe that happened. I tried talking to my mom but she did not want anything to do with it. She actually invited him to my wedding. He sent a card and I hadn't heard anything from him in like 10 years. So like a wedding card from him at my wedding sunk my heart because my daughter was there. She was little, like the same age that I would have been when we were around him. Kind of freaked me out real bad. I met who I think is my real dad when I was 30. He ended up being a really big drug dealer and meth cook. I went to Tri-cities to meet his wife, and his girlfriend because they live together. It was very odd. I met him a couple times and then we disappeared.
My ex was a manipulator. He was always looking for a reason to have a problem and he found it. He used our daughter as an excuse to be mean to me. Between her and me, she felt somehow like it was her fault. It wasn't her fault. It wasn't till she was about 14 years old that she finally told me that she didn't agree with the things he did.
He was the only person I was ever with from age 14 ‘till I left him. I left him when I was 30 years old. He was five years older than me. My mom let him live with us. I'm sure I begged and pleaded, but it never should have been allowed to happen. Me and my kids disappeared from my ex-husband, because he use to beat me real bad. My kids were actually taken away from me because they witnessing the abuse. As soon as we got the legal documentation saying that I got paperwork back on the kids, I took my kids, and ran away from home. It took a year to get the paper work. My ex had to complete his 52 weeks of domestic violence intervention. He didn't hit me for a year while he was in those classes, and then as soon as it was over, it was over. He's in prison right now for the fourth time, for trying to kill the most recent girl he was with. His first possible parole is 2026.
First Drug Use
It started off with LSD when I was a runaway downtown. I was about 13 years old, almost 14. On my 14th birthday I traded my acoustic guitar for meth for my boyfriend. He's my current boyfriend’s brother. My very first kid boyfriend, never sex or anything like that. We might have kissed a couple times. It was mostly just getting high and running around SE Portland, chasing ducks at the duck park.
Very shortly after selling my guitar I ended up selling meth in downtown Portland for the bikers. You make a lot of friends when you're a street kid. I found out they did meth, because I was just selling LSD. I was selling LSD and a little meth before I even tried meth. I always thought it was kind of weird ‘cause I was selling drugs to grownups and I was a kid. I kind of got a little power trip on that.
My friend and I got a motel room. We were all doing lines and this guy was like, "Do you have a bottle cap?" I didn't know why he wanted the bottle cap. He wanted to put meth in the bottle cap and add water to it, so he could shoot up. I was like "No!" And he's talking about me being a little kid. I took a deep breath and blew the line off the table. I thought he was going to kill me. I was sharing my dope, and if you're going to do my dope for free, you're not doing it like that. I was a little kid power tripping on a grownup and I almost got my ass beat.
It was Crank back then. Crank's been around for a really long time. All those kinds of stimulants came from clear back in Germany when Hitler was having chemical experiments. They use to give it to their soldiers. The Germans routinely encouraged their soldiers to take crystal meth before battle. It's all speed. It's just a different process, so it comes out different. Like what we call "White boy dope" is more like crank than it is Crystal, ‘cause Crystal is a different process. It’s all pretty much the same thing. Crank was really strong and smelled really bad. It got you really high compared to what they do now. It doesn't really have a smell at all, unless you’re smoking it. If you smoke it, you don't think you can smell it at all. Kind of like cigarettes.
I was either high or I was asleep. Meth was my drug of choice and it worked really well. And then I met Ben C. What a mess that was. I think every guy I ever have been with is bat shit crazy. I haven't had very many but they all had severe mental issues. It was during this time that I got with my ex-husband. He was a professional musician. They did studio work. He did fill-ins for other bands like guitar for their studio tracts. He was pretty good. Their whole band was hooked on smoking Crack. So they would go through hundreds, of thousands, of dollars in a weekend. I'd spend twenty bucks all weekend. I asked why they were wasting all this money and time fighting and stuff. I cross addicted them from Crack to Meth, which seemed like a really good plan at the time. You don't really stay up on Cocaine like you do on Meth. They would drink alcohol and they would sleep. When they started tweaking, they didn't sleep. That’s where the drug induced psychosis and crazy stuff started happening.
My ex-husband didn't really do anything but Crack and weed. So when he started doing Meth he'd stay up way too long and he'd get crazy, really crazy and very violent. He would also be drinking on top of doing the drugs. When you drink really strong malt liquor while you’re tweaking, at some point your body can't stay up any more. You're body gets so worn out. Then his alcohol level would come up and because of his mental health, the lights were on but nobodies home. When there's no more Meth he'd get really scary, crazy, and violent. And he'd stay that way. For a little while there, he wasn't conscience of what he was doing. That's when things got really bad.
The first few days would be ok. ‘Cause he was a lot nicer when he was high than when he was drunk. He was kind of a narcissist. Everything had to work his way. I wasn't allowed to talk to other people. I wasn't allowed to do anything, or go anywhere, or dress up like the other females in our group. I wasn't allowed to go to concerts wearing skirts, or anything like that. If I even looked like I was trying to be cute, I would get in trouble, and it wouldn't matter how long he was up.
I think the longest I ever stayed up with just a couple of falling asleep standing up, was almost 20 days. 20 days with no real sleep. I didn't start smoking it until I was about 32. I always snorted it, ate it, or put it in my drinks. I never used needles ‘cause I was terrified of needles. I think if I had ever used needles, I never would have gotten away from it.
I only drank a little bit a few times in my life until the last year and a half of my marriage. I started drinking a lot because alcohol gets out of your system pretty fast and Meth stays in your system for like three days. The kids had been taken away for domestic violence. The CPS people caught us drinking in a bar. We went into this bar off Hawthorne. This person who transported our kids back and forth to our visits saw us there drinking. Meth stays in your system for like three days. Alcohol only stays in your system for a short period of time. They put us on Antabuse, and we would drink on Antabuse. It makes you really super sick, like super hot, you turn red, you get hives, but we drank anyway. We had to go to the pharmacy to take Antabuse every day. My ex-husband, he would just go outside as soon as we took it. He would stick his finger down his throat, make himself puke, and we would go drink.
I started cooking dope when I was about 17 years old. I guess in a way I thought I was better off. I didn’t have to compromise my morals. I didn't have to have sex with people for drugs. What I did have to realize once I got clean, was I had to comprehend the fact that I was worse than that. I was worse because people that I loved, all my friends, and my family were paying me to poison them. This was destroying their lives and they had their children taken away. I had to take accountability for that. Had I not been producing that, if people did not produce that, those types of things wouldn't be happening. Like people that I care about getting shot and stabbed. People getting robbed and home invasions. Kids getting taken away, being neglected and abused. Kids getting sexually assaulted because when some people get high they get real weird sexually and they would hurt their kid.
I didn't know that at the time. I knew people abuse, but I didn't know it was because of drugs. I didn't know it was because they were high, that they wouldn't have done that if they weren't high. In my own opinion I feel like because of the drugs I produced it went clear down to kids being sexually assaulted by adults. That was really hard to live through. That was going through my head during my clean phase about seven years ago. Things happen. If a reaction blows up and somebody ends up dying you go to jail for murder. If you and I were cooking a batch of dope and it blew up and something happened to you, I go to jail for your murder. I thought that was kind of weird. That happened a couple times. I wasn't there but I know of bodies being taken up to the mountain because of accidents.
I had no desire to ever getting clean. I liked being high on meth. I had no problem with it. I had a job and worked to support my kids. Everything was fine other than I was getting the shit kicked out of me constantly by my ex-husband, and my kids were seeing it. I mean I had no problem being high. I thought it was perfectly fine. I've always been high. Everyone I knew was high. I didn't know anybody as far as friends that didn't use meth.
Now that I'm older, and all the bad stuff that happened to me, all that I went through, and dealt with, I had a choice in all of that. I finally did run away from my ex-husband. He stalked me and I knew he would. Every time I tried to leave him he would chase me down and beat me up. He got me fired from jobs. He’d hurt people and do stuff like that until I would come back. I got a restraining order against him, and that really pissed him off. He came and beat the hell out of me. Every time he found me, he would beat the hell out of me.
Now that I work for the shelter, I have a lot more experience with the DV Program. I could have left him a long time ago, a lot sooner than I did. I just didn't know how, I could have done something different. I think I felt like he was the first person who really loved me. My mom abandoned me a lot, so they say I have attachment disorders. Maybe I thought that if I was good enough and behaved well enough, someday he would be able to not hurt me like that. I thought I could stay with him, because he was the first person who acted like he wanted me around, whether it was good or bad. He always wanted to know where I was. He always wanted to be around me. I guess I thought that was love. I stayed with him even though, the things he was doing wasn't right. I didn't want to be by myself.
After I got the paperwork back on the kids, and we both had custody of the kids, he beat me up again. Since my kids were taken away from me for witnessing the abuse, I wanted to leave before they got taken away again. But I knew he was going to track me down. He always did. Everywhere I went he was going to beat people up, and make them not want to help us, or let us be around. We were living in Beaverton at the time, so I got a hold of the welfare office, and told them that I was ready to leave. I told them what was going on. They said they were going to put us up in a motel somewhere. They did. They ended up putting us up in this motel, like it's one of the biggest tweaker motels in Portland. It was like a really super bad place, and it's me and my two little kids. Cody was in first grade and Mia was in 5th grade I think. They knew they weren't supposed to tell anybody that we were there. Back then, that's when they first got directory reverse, where you could look up a phone number, and it would tell you where it was. It was when caller ID was first new. So it would come up on the caller ID, and I didn't know how any of this stuff worked. But my ex-husband was really smart. Super smart and he was really dangerous. I'd let me daughter call him every once in a while.
He'd show up where ever we were at. He'd beat the crap out of me and try and take the kids. We had been out in the community, and I knew he was in Beaverton. He got a hold of the fact that we were in a motel. He started looking at the motels and stuff. I had a car at the time and I would hide my car, but he saw my car. You have to show ID to get in to that motel. There was a side door you had to go in, and push a button. They would check your ID and make sure you’re supposed to be there. He'd tell them he was there to drop stuff off for me and the kids. They told him what room I was in and let him up. I almost jumped out of a second story window trying to get away from him. But luckily we kind of made friends with some of the other people in the rooms around us. They came and got him out of there and we left.
We started staying at friends houses and they were afraid of him. He came and kicked in the front door of the house we were staying at, in the middle night when everybody was asleep. He dragged me out and beat me up. So I couldn't stay there anymore. I went to my mom's house, ‘cause I had to work the next day. He came and kicked in the door at my mom's house. He beat me up in front of my mom, took my car keys, and stole my car. He tried to take my kid. The police wouldn't do anything about it because we were married, even though there was a restraining order. That really sucked.
I got to another motel. This was a few weeks later ‘cause I couldn't stay with my mom or anywhere. He went to the kid's school, and followed me as far as he could on his bike after I picked them up. I guess he waited at that point and then followed us as far as he could go. The next day he got as far as the motel we were at. He got into the room. He was in the room when we got there. My guitar was broken all over the floor. I got in the room and he beat the crap out of me.
We left that place. Just a couple days later I went back to the same place ‘cause I thought he would think I wouldn't go there. My kids were with my mom. He beat the crap out of me and tried to gag my mouth. I was crying so hard. I was so hysterical, and I knew if he had gotten that gag in my mouth, I would have suffocated. He couldn't get the gag in my mouth. He tied me up and left me in the closet. I passed out. When I woke up I was banging on the wall, and the people in the room next to us heard me. They called the manager. He came and opened up the door, and let me out of the closet.
SEI’s Domestic Violence (DV Program) offers a 24 week Trauma Recovery & Empowerment Model group (TREM) to women and families suffering from domestic violence in Multnomah County.
Domestic Violence Program (DV Program)
Community & Family Programs
4803 NE 7th Ave.
Portland, OR 97211
SEI’s Energy Hotline: 503.240.0828
For all other matters please call: 503.285.0493
The Bike Trail
At that point I knew I wasn't safe going to motels. I ended up going to the bike trail. I knew I could just hop around on the bike trail. If I thought he would find me, I would just go someplace else on the bike trail. I was about thirty years old then.
I had Cody with my mom which was a really bad plan, and Mia living with my grandparents. I couldn't drag her around the bike trail because she's a girl. I didn't want something bad to happen to her. She was fine with my grandparents. So I dragged Cody through all of that crap, but not Mia. That's how I ended up on the bike trail. It worked out so well that I just stayed there, I felt safe there with the people that lived on the bike trail. They protected me. They knew what he looked like. When he would come down there they would chase him off. They would tell me, and I would go stay at somebody else's camp. The fact that I had a lot of drugs helped.
When I was a kid I was a part timer. I'd be down there for a few days. I spent most the summer down there. When I'd run away from my mom, ‘cause she would get drunk or whatever, I'd go down there. I didn't have to worry about the cops finding me. My mom was a taxi cab driver, for all of the cabs in Portland. All of the Radio cabs would be looking for me. They'd find me, tell my mom where I was, she'd come and take me home. She'd say she wasn't going to do that anymore, and then it would happen again. Sometimes I'd be out a couple months, like during the summer.
Life On The Street
I didn't know what day of the week it was. I would know it's time to go to dinner at the Clackamas Service Center. That's how I would know what time it was. I knew because it would start getting colder. I didn't realize how much time had passed, getting chased by the cops all the time. Having to go to different places. I was staying on the trail but I didn't spend every single night on the bike trail. When I had a place that I could be with Cody, I would have Cody living with me, at this house or that house. It would be for a few weeks at a time. Something would happen there. I would feel it wasn't safe for Cody to be there, so I would send him back to my mom's and I'd go back to the bike trail. I never let Cody spend the night in a camp.
I had a lot of people that cared about me that had their own places. But, I didn't want to be there if I felt like things were starting to be where I wasn't wanted. My whole life I always felt unwanted, ever since a little kid. My kids now that they’re wanted. My kids know that I love them and I'll always want them. My mom didn't make me feel like I was loved and wanted. I was a problem. I was not wanted. And my ex-husband, he always wanted to know where I was. But it was a control thing. He didn't really want me. He made sure I knew that he didn't really want me, but he made me be around him.
I never want my kids to feel like they’re someplace and that somebody doesn't want them there. I won't stay anywhere if I feel like somebody doesn't want me there. I'll leave. I’ll leave at work. It doesn't matter where I'm at. When I have that feeling it turns into this overwhelming sense of impending doom. I can't handle that. Whenever I felt like my kids felt unwanted, or I felt unwanted, I'd go back to the bike trail. I think that's probably part of why I sold drugs, and always made sure I had drugs. At that point everybody wants you around. Nobody wants you to go away. I never had any intention of getting clean. When you’re chronically homeless living in the bushes, and you learn how to survive there, time goes by and you don't even notice, except that it gets cold and hot.
I only ran a few batches. After about 5 years of being on the bike trail, I pretty much quit cooking. I would just get white boy dope and sell it, because you can sell it point for point. I wasn't emotionally stable enough to be around a process going on. You have to be stable enough to be able to come and go when you’re cooking dope. You got to make sure you’re not acting up, because it's really dangerous. I never sold anything to anybody I didn't know. But I know so many people. I gave away, way too much dope though.
I look back now and I'm realizing I could have been living pretty damn good had I not given all that dope away. Nobody wants to go to prison because tweaker Ellie can't maintain herself. When you get to crazy, you kind of get kicked out of that little circle. I got it for free all the time from them, but I wasn't stable enough. I knew it. When you have a group of people that you do things with, you know if you've been around too many people that could snitch or you've gotten pills to many times whatever it happens to be because you're not thinking. You know your endangering things and if you're the right kind of person you just make sure you don't endanger other people. It's keeping them from getting caught and keeping me out of trouble.
It's like those same people after I had Jake, and he got taken away from me. We talk on the phone and they'll leave presents for him or me at different places. We'd go pick them up. We don't spend time together, because it's not safe for me. I could relapse and then I would lose Jake. But they love me. They say, "Drug addicts don't care about each other; they only worry about their drugs." That's not true. When people get clean we're proud of them. We help support them. When they come back and their not clean anymore, we still let them come back. We don't chase them off. It’s not that you don't care about the people.
Relationship With My Kids
My relationship with my daughter and I had never been very good. She was more the parent when we got older and I was more of a kid. But with Cody, Cody's my little dude. He's my little ride or die, at least when he was little. He was my little partner. I had him around a lot of dangerous people. It's just how life was though. Some of the scariest most "dangerous people" in Portland are people that he's considered "Uncle Johnnie". Like family. Like Phsycie Mikey's his uncle. Genocide's his auntie. They helped raise him. I mean some really knarly, what some people consider bad people, are family to me. I'm not the one that goes out and commits violent crimes with them. I'm the one that walks around in the middle of the night picking flowers. Talking about their mom passing away or whatever. It's not the same as the kind of relationship that most of them have with each other. What they consider friendship a lot of those people I consider family.
As of a few years ago I found out that I had sisters and brothers that I had never met. I thought when I met them it would be like this instant thing, like we had known each other all our lives. It's not really like that. I love my sisters and brothers. I met all but one of them now. I consider Genesis, Trevor, Lucy, and Beverly, the list goes on and on, my real family. We raised each other, and each other's kids. Trauma bond is something serious. That's like Cody and I have a major trauma bond. Now Cody is Lydia which is different. We always use to beat people up for being gay when I was a teenager. I was raised very prejudice against skin color let alone sex stuff. My little boy is now a girl. What the hell? Dude, you’re gay, and I've gotten beat up defending my kid. But Johnnie and Ben, and Mikey and Genocide... they tell Cody you get to pass because you’re ours. But if you weren't ours, then I'm like “You don't get to talk to my kid like that".
I've gotten into knock down drag out fights over my Lydia, who now legally went from Dakota Ray as a male, to Sarin Lydia, as a female, with a penis, which is kind of different. I had to figure out some things on that, like where does Lydia, go if Lydia goes to jail. Thank God Lydia goes to women's jail. Not men's jail. I love my kids no matter what.
My big kids say that they forgive me. I'll never forgive myself for what I put them through. They put out missing person's reports on me through the police. I would just disappear and they would not be able to find me. My daughter use to buy 25cent cheese burgers and go down to the bike trail. She would give cheese burgers away trying to get information as to where she could find me. They'd say, "She's that way." People would come and tell me, "Your daughter's passing out cheeseburgers again. You better move your camp if you don't want her to see you." It wasn't that I didn't want them to see me ‘cause I would say I was coming to see them, like at my mom's to visit with them. But, I was so disappointed and disgusted with myself, or I didn't want to be high when I went to see them, so I'd go to sleep, and sleep through it. Or I'd be on my way there and not make it.
When I was little my mom was like "One more beer and I'll be home." And she'd never come home. Sometimes
not at all that night. And now here I am, "I'll be there. I'm coming. I'll see you tomorrow." Tomorrow would come
and I didn't make it. If I didn't make it, I didn't want to face them ‘cause I knew they were going to be sad and mad.
They say hey forgive me as long as the little ones never see me like that, Jakey and the grandbabies.
My son hasn't told me he loves me but one time in the last four years. That was after he was robbed. That was a
few years ago. He called me and said, "Mom, I love you." That was the only time in the last four years he said he loves me. He tells Mia, the grandbabies, and Jakey that he loves them. But he won't tell me he loves me.
When Getting Beat Up
When somebody say's that, "Somebody beat me up"…. I don't think that any hitting is Ok. But there's a difference between getting slapped around a little bit, and having the shit kicked out of you.
I'm talking about fractures in my skull, my cheekbones being broken, my jaw being broken, my nose being broken, my ribs being broken, and my hair being pulled out of my head. I had big pieces of furniture thrown on me. Pushed down stairs. I have been hit with a car.
My mom kicked the shit out of me and my ex husband kicked the shit out of me. My ex husband kicked the shit out of me a lot. I mean bad. I thought that he was refraining from as much as he could do, because he hit me with his right hand, and he was left handed. I don't know what I thought. He wasn't trying to beat me as bad as he could of ‘cause if he was, he would have used his left hand. He would always say he was sorry a few days after the fact. After he was done being mad at me for making him beat me up.
They did my Psych eval. It did not come back pretty at all. I have ADHD, and PTSD, Anti Social Personality Disorder, Defiance Disorder, and Attachment Disorder. There's a bunch of different stuff. They never thought that I would ever be able to pull myself together. They tried to put me on medication for my ADHD. It was a non-stimulant ADHD medication. But it made me really super sick. They ended up putting me on Thyroid medication, Blood Pressure medication, Wellbutrin, and I take nightmare medicine. I have really bad nightmares. However I don't have to take blood pressure or thyroid medicine anymore. I still take my Wellbutrin, and I still take my nightmare medicine. Which is weird because they say your thyroid doesn't get better; it just gets worse, whatever is wrong with it. I think they took my levels when I hadn't been clean, for like a year.
After 24 years of being high, it took longer than that, for my body to bounce back. So when I was off my medications recently, and they did my blood work they were able to find out I didn't need it. Some of my medical problems are genetic, and we think some of it might be, because of medication they put my mom on so she wouldn't miscarry, when she was pregnant with me. She miscarried all her other kids. She’d get so super sick when she was pregnant. They put her on some medicine.
My brain between domestic violence and all the drugs I did, my memory is toast. Things trigger me, and I freak out. I don't handle stress over long periods of time well. Sleep deprivation hits me really fast. If I don't get enough sleep, for a short period of time, for a few days you can really tell, and I need to recover from that. So it really messed with my head.
I've got two felonies because I'm not a snitch. I took my first felony conviction for my ex boyfriend Donavan because he would have went to prison. He had priors. Donavan was after Jim. I sold drugs with him when I was 14 till I was 30 without incidence. I never got stopped. I never got popped. No serious consequences from the law. I was with this guy Donavan for six years, and took my first felony conviction so he wouldn't go to prison. He cheated on me. I was either high or I was asleep. Meth was my drug of choice and it worked really well. What a mess that was. I think every guy I ever have been with is bat shit crazy. And then I met Ben C. I haven't had very many but they all had severe mental issues.
My biggest problem in life is that I just want to be loved. I've always been like that. I don't like to be by myself. Not like sex love. But love. Even friends like my Lynne and Everett. Love. Because I didn't get that growing up. I didn't form friendships with people because we didn't live in places long enough. So to me, my friendships and my “you guys” family are so super important to me.
Because of the violence that I lived through, I’m always trying to read people, trying to make sure that everybody's ok. I do that with everybody. If somebody walks up and I don't even know them but they're going to be part of something that I have to do that day. I have to really quick figure out what their body language is, what they talk like. Like I have to always try and make sure everybody is ok, all at the same time, which is really super hard on me.
It's what I do at the shelter. The first half hour or 45 minutes I’m walking around figuring out how each person, not just my co-workers, are doing and what kind of mood they're in and who I'm going to have to influence this way or that way. It's what I have to do, to make everything ok, for all of those people. It doesn't really work on a large scale so it's emotionally exhausting. It's not a good thing. It's nice to try to keep everybody happy all the time but when that's your main focus of your life is to try to make sure there's no problems, it's crazy ridicules.
When I had Jakey I had woke up 37 years old living under a bridge. I had been living outside for 10 years. I used the medical van at the Service Center because I kept getting really sick and I didn't know why. They took my blood and they asked if I could be pregnant. I said, "No I couldn't be pregnant because I'm on Depo-Provera. You guys give me my shots." They walked back and said, "Ellie you’re pregnant. ” I said "I can't be pregnant, I'm drunk." Because at that point I was out of dope so I was drinking. That was the first call to CPS.
So I walked from the medical van into the Clackamas Service Center where Veronica (from Human Solutions) was working. She would be down there to try and help people find different services they didn't know about. I said, "Ok, I'm going to kill myself." Like, I had a mental breakdown because I couldn't be pregnant. Then she tricked me into hanging out with her and doing paperwork with her. So many people had told me that they were going to help us before, and they never did. They'd tell us about programs and different things. I'd go and try to see about them, and it never worked out. So I thought she was full of crap. She literally had to try and trick me into giving me keys to my apartment when I signed the lease. I still didn't believe it was real. I was six months pregnant. It took two months for her to get me into the apartment.
For the first two months I was housed I still planned on putting him up for adoption. I was going to stay clean ‘till after I had the baby so I could give him away. I knew that I couldn't take care of him. I didn't want him to be dirty for drugs, and have him taken away from me. I wanted to give him away to somebody that would have a good household for him. Hopefully a doctor or lawyer that couldn't have babies, and I would give them my baby. After Cody and I got our apartment I was stable and clean long enough to be able to figure out that I was going to be able to stay that way. Then at the end I decided, like at the last couple weeks of my pregnancy, I decided to keep him. He was orange. Like literally, all the fur on him, his hair everything. He was orange. Who's gonna want an orange kid. He was so cute. I wanted him. I kept him. Might as well.
I went home from the hospital. I got high with people that came to see the baby. I smoked a bowl of meth. I wasn't breast feeding and that's what tweakers do. Tweaker moms stay clean for the baby. Since they don't breast feed they can get high again. I had told myself I wasn't going to do that. I wasn't going to start using again because I wanted to keep this baby. Cody and I wanted to keep the apartment, but when they came by I did it anyway. The next day I started swelling up real huge. I had to go the hospital. My kidneys and liver and all that stuff shut down from Postpartum Preeclampsia Toxemia. I had Postpartum Preeclampsia Toxemia complications from after having a baby. Usually it happens before you have the baby, but sometimes it happens afterwards. It wasn't because of the drugs. I don't really remember much after that until I woke up and CPS was there. They asked if I knew why they were there. I said "Yes, because I got high on meth after I had my baby." They checked Jake for everything because of my long drug history.
They said that I could have my daughter stay with me, Jake, and Cody until the court date, to see if they were going to take Jake away from me. At the court date I didn't think that they were going to take him ‘cause I went and got hooked up with treatment. I thought, "Ok it was just one bowl and they're not going to take my kid". But they did. They took my kids and Jakey's attorney said, "We have absolutely zero faith that Miss Hayes will ever be able to obtain any clean time or keep stable housing for this child. She hasn't been able to do it for her other children. She has been chronically homeless and on drugs and we want to go straight to adoption for the baby and give Cody to Jim, my ex-husband." My ex-husband was trying to get me to give Jake away. He was sending literature and stuff with Cody to give to me. He was giving me money here and there. Like for my birthday he gave me a hundred dollars. He didn't want me having anybody else's baby; I guess is what it was. Still trying to control me after all that time in prison.
The worse thing in the entire world was walking into the courtroom and him sitting there. I didn't think he would be there. I don't know why I didn't think that. He was sitting there next to me with his attorney. He had gotten out of prison and been clean for a year or something. He was saying that he would take my baby. That was a trip. They gave Cody back to the abuser. Jim was really mean to Cody. He use to call him a little faggot, or a piece of shit, and be really mean and disrespectful to him. I got beat up a lot for that because I wouldn't let him hit my kid. I wouldn’t let him spank Cody. He was too violent and I was afraid he would hurt him. But he did emotionally and mentally hurt him so bad. I think that's part of why this stuff that has happened with Cody has happened.
The baby's attorney said I was done. But the judge said we can't do that. I needed to have my opportunity to get my kid back just like anybody else. The attorneys and CPS workers screwed me around. They tried to get me to mess up and all that by telling me I'd have my baby in treatment with me after 30 days. They said all sorts of crazy stuff. They tried to push me to a point where I'd fail, leave, and not get my kid. It didn't work.
Nobody thought I was really gonna do it. CPS even dragged stuff out even though I jumped into treatment before they even asked me to. I was already set up to go. They said, "Miss Hayes needs to complete different services." We asked what services I needed to complete. VOA already knew they were going to do that, so once I got out of treatment they started handing me certificates, getting me to do these classes. So when they said, "She needs to take parenting class." Here's her certificate. "She needs to do this...," Here's her certificate. "She needs to finish this mental health program.” Here's her certificate. They didn't even know I was working on getting this done and that I was in treatment.
After I graduated treatment and I still didn't have my kid with me. Usually if you don't get the kid while you're in treatment through a program like that, you're not going to get your kid. So I got out of treatment. Cody came back with me from his dad's. It took about a month to get into treatment. I went to Project Network. It's a treatment center. It was the quickest place to get in. That's where gang bangers girlfriends and mafia girlfriends go. I think I was one of three white girls in there out of about forty or fifty people.
2631 North Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97227
Services provided for Substance abuse
Because I wanted my baby I had talked with God. God had made a point of telling me just to go and get my kid. Cody had said, "Mom go get Jake then come and get me." I couldn't take Cody into treatment. He was too old. They'll let you take little ones in. You could take little boys in and older girls up to a certain age. But you could not take older boys. So Cody went to live with his dad. Cody told me to go get Jake and then come get me. That's what I did.
When I got out of treatment, I got Cody back and didn't have Jake back yet. They closed the case on Cody. I figured I wasn't going to get the baby, so I was headed down to the closest dope dealer, down the street from my house. I walked past the VOA recovery family support center. I remembered thinking, "Oh wow! That's the name of the treatment center." So I walked up, knocked on the door, and Rhonda opened the door. Like you’re just supposed to walk in. She opened the door and asked if she could help me. I said, "I don't know. It says that you're a recovery center. Do people recover here?" She said, "Why don't you come in and find out?" And I never ended up getting high, and they helped get my kid back. If it wasn't for them and being there all the time and the things I did with them, I know I wouldn't have made it.
VOA is the abbreviation for Volunteers of America.
EMERGENCY HOTLINE: (503) 771-5503
See more at: https://www.voaor.org
Volunteers of America have been around since 1896, helping those most vulnerable.
My whole trip is miracle after miracle. My footsteps were lit up. When there were different paths to take, the right ones would light up. I would go that way. That's where God was sending me ‘cause I didn't know how to be a grown up. I had no skills in those areas. I never had my own apartment without an abuser in it. I didn't know how to pay bills. I never had any of that, ‘cause I had never done it. I had been homeless so long. So I ended up getting my baby back and doing outpatient treatment. Everett and Lynne took over taking care of us. Lynne raised me, to raise my son. And I know it's not always easy.
Renewed Life Fellowship was my very first church. It was the very first time I had any encounter with God. They use to come and get me. I would get to go to church on the weekends. Ben took me. They had men's bible study in Ben's apartment. I would sit in the bedroom, smoke meth, and listen to the men's bible study. I'd be hiding in the bedroom smoking meth, tweaking building bikes or, whatever and listening to the guys. That's how it started. My mom didn't do any of that. I never had any at all. My church fell apart when I was in Inpatient treatment. That didn't go very well for me.
I was put in BestCare, which is a mental health facility in Redmond, Oregon. My judge decided to send me down there ‘cause I was too crazy to be running around. They said I needed to find spirituality. They didn't care if it was a door knob or what. I was like "Ok, I pick that, the basketball court. That basketball hoop, that's my God now." I didn't believe in God. When I was leaving I was, "So do I get to take my higher power with me or what?" Because I was still really crazy at that point. I think Cody was in Elementary school still. This was when I was going through all my court stuff. Not with Jake, but with my drug felonies. I was supposed to be on probation 18 months and it took me five years to get off probation.
After I got out of treatment at Project Network, I went to VOA and they walked me through everything. They went to court dates with me, everything. I would go and sit there. I started doing so well that I started going to court dates with other people and doing peer support for them while. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do. I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn't want to be living in those crazy people's apartments through Human Solutions forever. Things were starting to get to wild around there.
I didn't know what to do and they told me to go to College. I was like, "Yeah I can't go to college." They said lets go down and sign you up for college. So we went down and signed me up for college, and I started going to college. I learned how to live on schedules, keep appointments, make different kinds of grown up choices, and I learn things. I was kind of like a teenager. It took me four years to get a two year degree but I did.
Now I just do what I do. I work at the Human Solutions Family Shelter. Taking care of people, and their kids who need the same kind of help I needed. I've been doing it a year and a half. I was on welfare to work, Jobs Plus Program. It's a six month program. After the program I would have something to put on my application or my resume. I did such a good job that they put me on full time graveyard. Then they moved me to day shift, and then the lead for day shift. Now I'm the lead for day shift, plus I run a little shelter within the shelter system. I actually was their speaker this year, the client Poster Child for Human Solutions. I had to talk at a Gala event and tell my story. They had an auction and talk about Human Solutions housing program. They raised money to go towards their housing program.
Human Solution Family Shelter
The one thing I wish I did do more…..I wish I went to my church more. I am emotionally drained because I spend my entire day trying to make everything work, for all these people. So I'm constantly reading people and trying to figure out what I can do, or who I should keep away from them, or how things will work. What am I going to do if this person freaks out and gets violent. What am I going to do with Jake, or the people at the shelter? Being around people, I always wanted to be around a lot of people, my whole life, because I didn't like being alone.
The world to me is kind of like ping pong balls. I don't have that cool filter that most people do. They can be paying attention to just you, when there's other stuff going on. Like I see the clock doing this, and I see the tree's doing that, and I hear the heater, and I hear my breathing, and I hear if there is other stuff going on, while other people are talking. I hear all of that in the same importance. It's hard for me concentrate on one thing, or one conversation while all this stuff is going on around me. There's so much going on around me at work all the time, and I'm responsible to make sure that everybody's safe. Doing what their supposed to be doing, and not doing what they're not supposed to be doing. Making sure the kids are being supervised. Making sure that people in the community aren't coming on the property to hurt people, or abusers aren't coming to try and take the kids. CPS workers aren't coming in to try and steal our kids. The police aren't coming to arrest moms for, some stupid little thing that's going to get their kids taken away from them. I'm always looking for what's next. What's going to happen? I try to make sure nothing bad happens. I want to trying to work everything out with everybody the right way. I’m doing all that and then the phone. Sometimes I just don't want to be around so many people. Like no more chaos for a little while.
At our church, because it's a homeless ministry, we sometimes have a lot of chaos. I miss going to church and my church family. Sometimes I like to sleep in, and that's the only day I can sleep in, if I'm going to sleep in. I still have to take Jake too. The rest of the days I have to get up at five o'clock in the morning and I will love to sleep. I get to have my grandkids on my own. Cody's off on his own housing program. He had to leave there and come home. My kids know that out there in the world they still have "home and us”. Whether we like it or not we are all very close and we trust each other. We all have mental health issues. We have problems because of my drug addiction, things that happened when they were little with me and their dad and choices they made. But we’re cool. We got it. Not that they won't kick my ass if I start acting funny.
For program eligibility and other information on homeless services, call 211 or log on to 211info.org.
For information about the Human Solutions Family Center, you can call direct at (503) 477-9724.
My mental health. I get overwhelmed. Things that are easy for other people aren't easy for me. I have to go about finding ways to make them work, so I can get things done. Like sending out these day break emails. I get so stressed out because if I mess up on something like the on an address? What if I can't figure out how to fix it myself? I have to go through and do all these crazy things to try and fix it. I don't want my boss to know that I can't do it by myself.
There's kind of a joke. I take care of the people, and other people take care of the computers. And that works. I get triggered, like my PTSD. It's because of my memory. All kinds of things make my PTSD kick in. Sometimes I start to freak out, because of my position at work, and I can't. Sometimes I think I'm not really supposed to be doing what I do. Like I'm not qualified. Like how some little bike trail bum girl is going to be doing all this stuff. I got a work phone and keys to the building. I get to do things that other employees don't get to at work. It's like, "What qualifies me?" Like I feel I'm not really supposed to be there. Like I'm tricking somebody or something. Like if they really knew my criminality and the things that pop into my head sometimes.
They try to teach you in different kinds of therapy, like in treatment that you have to make your criminality extinct. Mine is so engrained in me from the time I was so little, that I just learned to use those skills in different ways for positive things instead of negative things. Like, I can influence the shit out of our guests in a good way. When I influence people, I feel it's for their benefit. You don't ever want to tell anybody.... "How did you help so and so get to the point where they were able to ....". I help them, and make them feel like it was their idea. I use my critical thinking skills. Give them all the benefit and glory for it. I want to show other people what a great job they did, so they got encouragement from other areas. It was all them. I encourage people all day long at work. That's how come they’re doing better. It’s helping them and they’re staying in housing.
It's like Daybreak I'm taking people in who are endangered, or their kids are kind of off, or they’re going to get picked on, by the other kids. They need to be kept away from the other people who are going to pick on them, manipulate, and use them. People should get more services in certain areas. I want to help by talking them into and out of things that are not in their best interest. I'm using Daybreak for that. Daybreak is the shelter I run. It's only meant for 15 people. We have one parent who's Autistic and the other parent is global development delayed. They have a daughter who's off too. They get picked on, and the other teenagers torment her. So I'm pulling her out of that. I'm putting her with another family whose kids are kind of off. ‘Cause they can play together, and keep each other entertained.
Daybreak Shelter Portland – Portland OR
Powell Office in Portland
12350 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97236
Tel: (503) 548-0200
Their vision is to foster a prosperous and healthy community that is free of homelessness and of the devastating effect of homelessness and poverty.
Daybreak, every week they move to a different church. That's where people stay at night. That's their night shelter. They get picked up at five o'clock in the afternoon, and they go to the church. Human Solutions family shelter sleeps up to 150 people, but we have more people than that. They use our shelter as a day shelter. When the kids are in school, the kids are only in that shelter for an hour and a half during the day time. The rest of the time they're in the church where they're getting more support and with more people. It's a smaller group. They do fun activities with the kids. I think people who won't do well at the shelter, should go there.
I want to be able to go on a vacation some day. All my PTO time goes to when I'm super sick. I got to go on one vacation. I use my PTO time once to do something. That was to go meet my sister and brother last year. Other than that, I haven't got to use any of my stuff except for being sick. Norovirus runs through there. We had Whooping Cough. We've had all sorts of stuff in that shelter.
On The Street
Everybody wear's a mask. Nobody really is who they say they are, when you meet somebody on the streets. You have to be around them for a really long time. Whatever you see them do to other people don't, think they won't do that to you. It doesn't matter if they say they’re your friend, and this is their enemy. If a person has the capability to do something to anybody, they have the capability of doing it to you to. People are dangerous. Even the nicest of people are dangerous. You can't really trust anybody completely. We don't know what we're capable of in certain situations until we're put in that situation. Really intelligent people can be nice, kind, loving, and make you think this and that. But, really intelligent people have a tendency to be some of the most devious people that will do things you can't even imagine. They prey on people.
Once you've done really fucked up shit, it's a whole lot easier to do it. It's a whole lot easier to be fucked up if you've already been fucked up. If you don't have a good moral compass from the time you’re little, or you’re not around good moral people from the time your little, it's a whole lot easier to do fucked up shit. I've been on both sides of home invasions. I've been in home invasions. Always for what I felt was for the right reasons. Never just for money or drugs. I'm talking about walk in with a gun, tape you up. Put you on the floor. Pick out what I want out of your house. Make you load it in my car. Tell you why I'm here. What you did, what you need to do, and make sure this never happens again. If you need it, you get your ass kicked after you load your shit in my car. You ain't callin' no police. There's a reason for it. I've never done anything like that unless there's a reason for it. I've been on both sides of it. That's why I don't let anybody know where I live. Nobodies welcome at my house unless I brought you. I will tell you "Don't ever bring anybody to my house."
The main thing about it is it doesn't matter how good you are. If you've done bad stuff, you're more likely to get loaded on meth, go back to doing bad stuff. You can't trust people.
I know God wouldn't let that happen to me. It doesn't mean that I don't believe, if for the right reason me, and a friend wouldn't go do that. I would hope not. If I was high and we were together, and say somebody drugged somebody, or beat the crap out of someone, or stole their phone. We'd go and take care of that. That wouldn't be something they would want to do again, because they would be afraid of the consequences. If I was high you I could do that. Now, no. I have next to no impulse control when I'm high. It's like, whatever's next. Whatever the logical thing is to do is what I'd do. I do believe that some of my friends, all of us, if we were to relapse we would be just as likely to revert to old ways. Some of the worst people might be able to hold things together if you stay clean, until you relapse. That's why I don't get to have the choice about relapsing. God won't let that happen. I wouldn't want him to be disappointed in me.
None of that was my plan. I didn't plan to do any of that. I didn't sit there and say "Ok, I'm ready to become addicted to Meth". But the very first time I did it, it was on. Don't do Meth. It's bad. Don't do drugs. They’re bad. People are like, "Oh I would never. My bottom isn't that low." You never know what your bottom is going to be. So just don't fuck with the shit to begin with. Don't mess with something you don't know what it is.
Be really nice to your kids. There are people who say how kids bounce back, they’re resilient. They might not even remember this when they get older. Whether they remember or not, it's still what programs them to be the person they become, if they’re little. That’s what every drug addict, and violent offender I've ever known said. When they go into therapy they talk about what happened to them when they were little kids. How they felt, and how that caused them to be.
Be nice to your little kids. Be good to your little kids. Someday your little kids are going to grow up into big kids. And if they don't feel loved and wanted and learn respect then there are consequences, and they will have to admit what they did. Not just take the consequence. You have to admit what you did and take the consequence. If that doesn't happen, then you’re raising some crazy drug addict, and your house is going to get invaded. You gotta be good to your kids. If you don't want them, give them away. Does that make sense? If you don't want your kids and somebody else does, give them to them. I mean, I hate foster care. I would say that's not the way to go, but if you're in your addiction and you’re dragging your kids through all that shit, you need to figure out something else. If you’re not ready to get clean, you need to get away from you kids. Not the way I did.
If I had known that life could be like this, I would have quit a long time ago. I'm sure of it. I just had no idea ‘cause I never lived a real life. It has always been like my husband had parented me, like I was one of the kids. I didn't know life could be like this. Could you imagine where I could have been, how much better I could have done if I had known sooner? If I would have started sooner who knows? I'm 45 years old. I've only had a job for a year and a half. What kind of Social Security am I going to get. Sometimes I go, "Well shit. I should take my paycheck and go grab a bag, flip it a couple times, and put that money in...." No. Things like that, its criminal thinking. It's not good. I won't do it. Like, what am I going to do when I get old?
I have so many people I care about. There are so many people that care about me that are like real grownups. I never had anybody like that other than my grandma and grandpa. I didn't have guidance. I didn't know what it looked like, however it was suppose to be. So how was I supposed to do it? If you don't know what's it’s supposed to be like, how are you suppose to know what to do?
If You Are Having a Medical Emergency, Please Call 911
Portland Women's Crisis Line (503) 235-5333 or (888) 235-5333
Clackamas Women's Services Crisis Line (503) 654-2288 or (888) 654-2288