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I Was Homeless and Addicted to Heroin in New York City
by Eva Yin
(SF Bay Area)
In the summer of 2007, I was admitted into an ER in the San Francisco Bay Area for a serious blood infection caused by an abscess on my left arm — the souvenir of a missed shot of heroin.
I was eighteen years old and I wanted to live life on my own terms. I left the hospital against medical advice to go to New York City only to end up homeless and to face prostitution and violence. After a terrifying month on the mean streets of Manhattan, I went home. New York City had chewed me up and spit me out. I was lucky to be alive.
The horror of what I had experienced slowly sunk in and put me on the road to recovery. In time I got clean and wrote a memoir about my experiences. This process was a big part of my recovery. Read an excerpt of my story below:
Life went on — on the streets, it had to. There was never a spare moment, never a time that wasn’t occupied with finding a place where we weren’t hassled by the cops, finding a place to sleep, finding money to feed our hunger. We were always hungry — hungry for something to fill our stomachs, hungry for our next fix.
Life on the streets happened in fast-motion. If something took you off guard, you barely have time to get your bearings before your situation changes again. You learn to function while disoriented, learn to walk while the world is topsy-turvy — while everything around you moves faster than the time it takes for you to steady yourself.
Still we had our moments of solace: sitting with a needle in my arm in a silent bathroom, as the rush of euphoria overwhelmed everything else with an immeasurable peace; laying underneath the Manhattan sky, streaked by airplanes like shooting stars as Solo and I held each other. Serena, Romeo, and Shane would be close by, lying in their sleeping bags, and during these few moments, we could forget the frenzied pace of our uncertain lives.
Read the rest of my story here:
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