Vicky Johnson – UPDATED

Posted by Write In My Journal on July 18th, 2008 filed in Unemployed, Woman

UPDATE: Vicky wrote me a follow-up e-mail. I was having some technical trouble when I published it as a separate post, so I stuck it at the end of this one. Take a look at the bottom.

It was the socks.

I saw Vicky at my train stop, took one look at those socks and knew she’d be a good candidate for my journal. She was waiting for a ride so she agreed to write in it and based on my snap-judgment of her appearance I was guessing I was going to read a somewhat light-hearted, perhaps funny entry. It turned out to be quite the opposite.

After I got the picture of Vicky she asked if she could use my phone to call her ride. I handed her my phone and, noticing that she forgot to put the bookmark back in place, opened the journal to mark her entry. Now, normally I don’t read people’s entries until I’m home, but the first word of her entry caught my eye: alcohol.

When she was done with the phone I asked how long her ride was going to be and if she’d be OK. She said she’d be fine so I walked to my car. My curiosity/concern got the better of me and I read her entry while sitting in the parking lot.

It broke my heart.

I drove my car around the parking lot a bit so I could keep an eye on her. I just wanted to make sure her ride really showed up. Not that I know what I would have done if it hadn’t, but I wanted to try to do something for this girl who was obviously struggling. I lost sight of her occasionally and finally after about 10 minutes I made a loop around the parking lot and didn’t see her. I suppose her ride showed up after all.

(In case you were wondering, the black mark you see on her chest was a big “x” drawn with what looked like a marker.)

“Alcohol.

I’ve been down this road many a time. And I’ve always loved it and known my way around it before. But now on this road again. And I am lost. Confused. And finally…hopeless.

My name is Vicky and I’m an alcoholic. For the past year and a half of my life I’ve been in and out of institutions. Lost many friends. And ended up on the streets – HOMELESS. No place to go. All due to this disease. What next? I don’t know.

Do I continue down this road, or choose a different path?

Alcoholism is deadly.

Vicky Johnson”

The day after I had Vicky write in my journal I got the following e-mail from her. I wrote her back but haven’t heard a response yet.

hello there. this is vicky from trax the other day [thursday]. you asked me if i would mind writing in your journal for your website. i was just wondering, if it is okay that is, if i might be able to post something else. i have a lot to say. and i wanted to share my life experience, well for the past year and a half that is. so here is my entry, and if you wouldn’t mind, i’d like it if you’d put it up on your website.

——————————
—————————-
July 6, 2008

“My name is Vicky, and I am an alcoholic/addict”
“Welcome Vicky” (hands clap)

January 11, 2007 I got an unexpected visit from my father and step mother while at school. I went down to the principals office to find them sitting there with concerned looks on their faces. I sat in that office for probably a good five minutes before anything was said. Finally the principal looked at me and said, “Vicky, your parents here are concerned about you and your habits, they only want what’s best for you.” I don’t remember much of what she said after that. But the next thing I knew I was sitting in the car heading up to the University Neuropsyciatric Institute [UNI]. I was there from January 11, 2007 until February 22, 2007, when they decided I needed more help than they could give me, and sent me to “rehab” also known as Wasatch Canyons.

I was admitted into Wasatch Canyons on February 22, 2007 for drug and alcohol abuse, suicidal thoughts, cutting, and early signs of an eating disorder. I did well. Stayed sober the whole time. And only broke a few rules. I got out on July 11, 2007. The next day was my birthday. And the day after that, I relapsed. On alcohol.

About a week after I turned sixteen, I was kicked out of my fathers house. I couched surfed for about a week before moving to Tooele with my sister and my boyfriend Peter. In Tooele, things got worse. I started drinking alot more and smoking marijuana basically everyday.

In September, we got an eviction notice, saying we had to be out in a week. So my boyfriend Peter and I moved in with his family in Sandy at the end of September. There we drank everyday. I had become really suicidal, but I swore to myself that I would never attempt suicide, because I never wanted to hurt Peter in such a way.

On October 4, 2007, I suppose my thoughts got the best of me. I overdosed on celexia and seraquil. Peter called the ambulance, and I ran. It wasn’t long before they caught me and took me to the hospital.

On October 5, 2007 at 3:26 am, I was admitted into Wasatch Canyons impatient. After spending a week there I was put back into residential at Wasatch Canyons once more. I did pretty well for the first month. Stayed sober and stayed out of trouble.

November 11, 2007 my boyfriend Peter took his life. He hung himself from a tree in his back yard. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through.

Shortly after that, I lost it. I stopped caring. I went on day treatment in February, living at my friend Austins house until a bed opened up at the VOA transition home. Immediately I started braking the rules, smoking cigarettes, and relapsing on a weekly basis.

In March, I had basically decided there was no more Wasatch Canyons could do for me. I left. The Monday after, I relasped again. That same day, I moved into the VOA. I was there for five days before leaving. Friday I came home drunk, so drunk I couldn’t walk right. They told me I wasn’t allowed to leave for the weekend and if I did, I was not allowed back. But that interferred with my drinking habits. Saturday morning came, and I left. I left the VOA for alcohol.

A week later, I dropped out of highschool, for alcohol. I didn’t plan on getting a job, because it’d make it so I couldn’t drink as often, if at all.

I’ve been 100% homeless since March. Living on the streets. Sleeping in parks, and under bridges, and behind old abandoned buildings. Going days at a time with no food, and when I did eat, it was usually out of the dumpster behind Pizza Hut. I spent alot of my time spanging [*asking people for spare change*] for food so I could get something to eat, but all that money ever went to was alcohol.

Alcohol used to be my best friend, I used to love the stuff, I used to have fun with the stuff. But I think that’s the keyword here, is “used to”. Because basically, I don’t. I don’t love the stuff anymore. And I don’t have fun with it anymore. It seems I only drink now just to feel the slightest bit “normal”. Because now, all I seem to do is drink, and drink, and drink. And I drink to the point that I can’t stand up right. I drink to the point that if I’m not leaning on someone, I fall right down to the ground. And it’s gotten the where when I am already at that point that I cannot even hold myself up right, I still want more, and I keep wanting more. And it never stops.

Why? Because I am an alcoholic. Because I am powerless to alcohol. Isn’t that sad, when you think about it? That me, a 16 year old girl cannot control her alcohol, that her alcohol controls her. Because it’s true. I don’t tell myself when to stop drinking, the alcohol tells me. And the alcohol only tells me that I’ve had enough when all the liquor is gone and I’m passed out on the floor.

I’m tired of this. I really, really am. And it’s about time that I get sober.”My name is Vicky, and I am an alcoholic/addict”

“Welcome Vicky” (hands clap)

This is my story.

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21 Responses to “Vicky Johnson – UPDATED”

  1. Michael Says:

    I love the website Dave, this is a great idea! I am impressed.

  2. Sean Elder Says:

    Dave:
    It’s been a while since we worked together and I still enjoy going to several of our former co-workers websites to learn from their creativity and just get updates on their lives.

    I wanted to just stop in and say how much I enjoy this website and reading the varied responses and ideas that people write in your journal. It reinforces my belief that ALL people have an interesting story and that our lives would be more rich, if we simply made an attempt to understand each other and connect on each other’s level without judgement. This website reminds me so much of NPR’s weekly StoryCorps. Keep up the great work!

  3. Miss H Says:

    Have you heard from Vicky? My heart goes out to her. I wish there was something I could do. If only she knew of the hope that there is for her. Keep me updated if you can.

  4. Summer Says:

    I have chills…I love the update on Vicky. I don’t even know how to comment, it’s like when you are trying to comfort a friend who just received incredibly bad news. Your heart goes out to them, but what can you say? This is completely different, but that is how I feel.

  5. Dave Says:

    Thanks everyone for the comments!

    Summer – That’s a very good description of how I feel too. I actually saw Vicky the other day downtown at a distance. From what I could tell she looked OK – just hanging out with friends.

  6. Brenda Says:

    I’m really impressed with what you’re doing with this site. (I stopped before but was in a hurry at the time so I don’t think I left a comment.) Yes, everyone does have a story … but there’s more to it than that. We also have a compulsion to hear each other’s stories, don’t we? I find that to be very intriguing! I guess it’s part of what makes us human.

  7. Lance Says:

    What you are doing here, Dave, is powerful. Sharing stories that we walk by every day. This one is particularly sad. But in that sadness, we see a person. A person behind the disease. And that’s not something I always see when I see a homeless person, or an alcoholic. So, thank you for creating this and sharing the stories of people you meet. It makes me have a more compassionate heart.

  8. Dave Says:

    Brenda – I appreciate your comment and I think you’re right – we do want to hear other’s stories.

    Lance – Thank you, and thanks for the comment.

  9. Mikki Roo Says:

    Everybody has a story to tell, and most people just want someone to tell it to. You are doing an incredible work – who else would hear Vicky’s story? How much did that mean to her that you cared? My heart breaks for her… but I agree, you’ve given us a face behind the disease – I don’t think I’ll walk by a homeless person again without thinking of Vicki…

  10. Dan Says:

    Amazing. Just amazing. I don’t normally pay much attention to blogs but to note a good article or two. You are a rarity.

    Far from being ‘weird’, the urge to know more about people is a basic human instinct. Society puts up walls around us, and it seems like everyone just wants to be left alone.

    Vicky’s story is heartbreakingly human. I wish we could get to know her more, that we could help.

    Thanks,
    D

  11. annie Says:

    i absolutely love the premise of this site– it’s like postsecret (postsecret.com) without the anonymity.

    every person you come across every single day has their own story. and you’ll have no idea what is or who they are… unless you ask.

    thanks for asking.

  12. Boodie Says:

    wow, her story is so painful and raw.. my heart goes out to her, i wish her well on her journey, i have a 17 yo daughter and there but for the grace of god…

  13. Juzar Thingna Says:

    Dear Dave,
    I just stumbled upon this web page and this story really moved me. Its a brilliant idea that you have implemented here, I hope the ball just keeps rolling. I’m from India and I have worked with a lot of street children who become alcohol addicts at a very early age and I know exactly what one one goes through. I really hope you carry on with this initiative of your’s, there are a lot of people in this world who want to say a lot, but don’t find anyone to speak to. I guess this work will go miles. Really touched by this story. Keep up the good work Dave.

    Regards,
    Juzar.

  14. Mark Jame Says:

    Why doesn’t someone help this girl? She is only sixteen. Not even an adult. She hasn’t even been given a chance. This story makes me more pissed off then sad. What good is a society that lets its young go homeless?

  15. Kristin Claire Says:

    I couldn’t help but cry when I read this. In high school, I knew so many girls who were alcoholics (but never admitted to it), smart girls who just started out drinking a little bit at parties. Now they’re in college and live in alcohol. In the past three years, I’ve been in 3 six-degrees-of-separation situations where somebody was killed in a drunk-driving related accident (my friend’s boyfriend’s little sister was killed in April).

    Vicky seems like a good person, and it’s really big of her to write about her problems and let make it known that alcohol is extremely harmful. Perhaps later in her life when she’s sober and clean, she’d make a great motivational speaker or social worker.

  16. Write In My Journal Says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments! It’s wonderful for me to see that people are enjoying the site and see value in it.

    @Juzar – Please keep up your work! I’m sure you are doing a lot of good and blessing a lot of lives.

    Vicky sent me an update recently (in addition to the one posted here). It will be published Monday so stay tuned!

  17. Sarah Says:

    I stumbled upon this site using StumbleUpon and I added it to my “dailies.” I love the idea of this. It’s something I feel has rocked my soul. I want to do something like this. I admire you for doing it.

    I have always wondered about people’s stories too. I want to hear them all. Everyone is so incredibly strong and incredibly weak; incredibly interesting and incredibly boring – all at the same time. I want to hear it all. As a writer, I want to write it all. I think my greatest desire, though, is to let everyone know that they’re not alone. No one is really ever alone, and I think we’d all be better, happier people to remember that.

    Vicky’s story has really touched me. I’m 21 and I hear about alcohol taking over people’s lives all the time. I cried for her, and I wanted to write her a letter. I know you can’t give out her email or anything, but… I just want to give her a hug and tell her that it can be all right. There is hope.

    I hope she finds some of that peace and help that she so deserves.

  18. Write In My Journal » An update from Vicky Says:

    [...] got an e-mail from Vicky the other day. I received enough comments and e-mails of concern about her that I thought it would [...]

  19. Kim Says:

    That poor girl! My heart goes out to her. (Loving your website by the way – this is my first visit).

  20. Vicky Says:

    Thankyou everybody. David told me alot of people left comments on my entry for his journal. I almost cried when I read them, if I had it in me anymore to cry, I would have. Thankyou. It brings me hope just knowing that all these people care, even though they don’t know me.

  21. Devin M. Says:

    Hey Vicky, I just wanted to let you know that I’m the same age as you and I’m wishing you hope. I’m sure you can make it through all of this. If I knew you in person, I’d be your friend (if you wanted). :)

    To the owner:
    Thanks for running this website, it’s quite inspirational.