She came to Nashville after getting married a number of years back. The marriage ended and she was soon on the streets. Her speech was badly slurred and I asked, “What is your drug of choice?” She told me crack cocaine.
As we continued to talk a car drove by and she asked me to put away my recorder and camera. I asked why and she said, “That was my daughter, she’ll turn around and come back by to see what’s going on.”
I met Nicole by knocking on random doors of motels that most of us would never venture into the parking lot of, much less a room. The 40-year old woman is a prostitute and said that she makes about $1,000 per week. Of course, most of that is spent feeding her addiction which is out of control today.
I asked, “Is it a hard life that you live?” She looked down and responded, “Sometimes. You feel guilty for a while, then after a while you don’t. I’ve been out here a long, long time.” Struggling to find out why she prostitutes and uses crack I inquired, “Do you feel like your emotions are gone?” She looked up, “Yea, yea…” I came back with, “Is that ever a struggle in itself that you feel emotionless?” She said, “Ummm, sometimes, yea.”
She told me that she left her family because of drug use and they no longer talk to her.
Addiction is a symptom of a bigger life problem or struggle. She never told me why she originally turned to crack and later prostitution to feed her addiction.
The great poet Edgar Allan Poe had the best statement I have ever read on addiction. He stated, “I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.” To me, that explains the unthinkable reason as to why so many spiral out of control.