Pink Dougherty


      A legal substance dramatically and drastically changed my life.
      I grew up with my mother and her parents who lived with us because I had an absentee father. I physically resemble his side of the family with Irish fair skin that easily burns, green eyes, and naturally curly hair. Unfortunately, I inherited another trait from him, something that there is no cure for.  I have a genetic predisposition from him to addiction. I learned later on in life I also have some eerily similar criminal traits. I am a drug addict.
      It all began when I played Field Hockey throughout middle and high school; at least that is where I thought it did. Once, when my reputation was on the line, I attempted to make a save as the defender of our goal net against a fierce opponent, and making a daring move, I stopped the ball. I used a Stick Stop, a method of trapping and stopping the ball used in penalty corners. The reason why you use this is because you must stop the ball dead. To do this, you need to shift your stick to the other side of your body (back hand). Essentially you are flipping the stick around, and when trapping the ball you use the middle of the shaft. Also, to stop the ballís spinning, you need to slightly angle your stick downward.  The pressure of my body weight increased on my knee, as my training taught me to stay low to the ground and bend, bend, bend at the knee, I fell hard.
     We won. But, for some strange reason, for a while, I lost.
     As a result of that move, my hip shattered completely, and I needed a hip replacement, a titanium ball, socket, and joint. I was hospitalized for one month, followed by six weeks of confinement to bed, and then three months on crutches. The pain I experienced was literally, to the bone. My knee, pelvis, and thigh were throbbing so profoundly, the highest recommended dose of Morphine was barely helping.  I healed slowly and learned to walk with the prosthesis. After the pain alleviated, the doctors began to wean me off the medication to avoid withdrawal symptoms. At that point I was almost pain free without the medication. That was when I experienced the blissful euphoria of narcotics; I loved the way they made me feel. For the rest of my teenage years, I had some other medical issues which resulted in painful surgeries, and more prescriptions were written to get me more pills.
     By the time I was twenty-five years old, I could not function without this bitter tasting, round, chalky textured tablet, the narcotic pill. The warmth in my chest once I swallowed these pills was a guarantee I was going to have a good day, regardless of what I was faced with. As the medical professionals caught on, I was cut-off.
      I knew someone who was a pharmacist into shady deals. He would forge prescriptions, and while he was on duty at the pharmacy, I would pick the prescriptions up. It was a never-ending supply; I never had to worry about where my next fix was coming from. But, it did end. He was being investigated by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and made a deal to wear a recording device to catch me. I managed to elude federal charges, but compiled many state-level felonies. He is now released from Federal Prison, and I am still incarcerated.
     From the beginning of this debacle in 2002, I became tangled in a web I could not unweave.  I established a criminal record which started out with one charge then, by 2005, aggregated to twenty-seven Class B Felonies. A Class B Felony is punishable by serving a minimum of three and a half years to a maximum of seven in prison.  I faced possibly doing ninety-four and a half years in prison, if the prosecutors sent me to trial for each crime separately. I was given a break in 2005 with a county jail sentence of one year, followed by intense probation. I never received any rehabilitation.
     Then a series of events occurred; I was the victim of arson and sustained life-threatening injuries, my marriage fell apart, and another surgery set me back into a relapse. I was charged with the same crime in 2007 after having surgery, and I became dependant on the narcotics again. It is true history repeats itself if you do not learn from your mistakes. I was sentenced to the State Prison for Women for two and a half years, minimum. I could, if denied parole, stay for the maximum of six years.
     Unbeknown to me, my father was in and out of prison my whole life. He robbed pharmacies to support his addiction. I found out when I built up enough courage to ask my mother what the real deal with him was. I was twenty-eight years old. Hesitantly, she divulged everything. I was horrified. I inherited his brains, looks, and his pretense to defraud pharmacies, just in a non-violent way. I was a mirror image of him; mind, body, and soul. I feel that he took a lot of answers to my questions to the grave with him. In 1998, he lost his battle with addiction.
     Currently, I reside in a Transitional Housing Unit, an old farm building transformed into a house with rooms that sleep a maximum of eight, and then arrangements become better by progressing through their system, and privileges increase to individual rooms. Forty-four women stay there. The farm is a program designed for the women to get reacquainted with society, obtain employment, and use the resources the state offers to ensure a smooth transition into the population as a parolee. I am a mentor and when the need arises, I escort the women into the community to assist them with complying with the house rules, offer support and encouragement, and just assure them that Iíve been there, at the beginning, scared out of my mind, and they can achieve anything they set their minds to.
     Although I got to where I am by unconventional methods, I am proud to say I am now a full-time student, three months from reaffirming my identity as a civilian, and for three years I have been drug free.

Copyright © 2009 Pink Dougherty