pearls around the neck • 165
We go for small jobs… both of us… lower jobs, shorter terms, feeding our addiction: crack and cocaine.
Motels, ugly places, street corners, begging for help from family members, stealing from them! Begging
for a sandwich, for a bus ticket… always together.
It was the love for each other that feeds our addiction.
All hell breaks lose. We steal from the dealers, I am into prostitution: I’m a “Ho-stro” 5. At night, I stay
in women shelters, Brandy stays at the Salvation Army, and during the day we stay at the library or on
We try to be clean. Cause of love, we try. But there is no real recovery program that works for people
like us. And then, one day, we are so broke, so “done”; we are bundled up together in front of the door
of a church…and we decide to change this. I’m here now.”
Note: It is important to notice that prevention programs in the USA are rather poor. Recovery
programs often include time in prison… A woman like Sarea would readily go into recovery voluntarily
when her body, her health, her mind and her soul are absolutely exhausted. I have seen young women
entering the YWCA H. House and relapse. Women above 40 years of age do however have an 80%
probability of staying clean forever.
1 This is the classic personal introduction every recovering alcoholic or drug addict makes at all DAA or AAA meetings anywhere in the world.
2 “Molested” in the USA can refer to a variety of realities. In Sarea’s case, the expression refers to sexual abuse.
3 Strayer University is a for profit institution where short-term studies can be done. A 6 months course can earn you a diploma in a certain field.
4 Barber parlors rent “chairs” to barbers with licenses.
5 From the expression: whore that strolls on the road.
Author: Sarea, Alabama, USA, 2012
Interview at the H. House: a rehabilitation home run by the
YWCA for recovering addicts and ex-convicts.
Illustration: Tim Gallo