Culture on the Cheap
From The New York Shitty Photo Pool: Sonia
Sonia, forty-six years old and the mother of five, is a crack addict who “sells her body for drugs.” Smart, polite, and well-spoken she told me and my friend Nina of her life-long battle with her addiction. She started when she was twenty-two, an overwhelmed single mother of three children working two jobs. She got into prostitution, becoming “a five dollar whore,” trading sex for drugs with neighborhood dealers.
When we asked her how much money she needs a day for the drugs she said “as much as I can. I can’t stop. I get some money, go and buy it, smoke crack, relax for thirty minutes. I have to get some more. It’s non-stop. Until I keep walking back and forth and nothing nothing nothing gives, that’s when I will say, ‘God says go home.'” She has a “significant other,” a wonderful man who’s been with her for seventeen years. He does not drink, smoke, or do any drugs.
She has been clean before, something she says can only come from her. She started crying telling us of the eight-year period when she was clean. “I went to a program, mothers and children, everything was great, I came out, got a job, felt good, had money.” She fell back four years ago.
When I asked her how she wanted to be described she responded, “I am good person with a very bad disease.”
Many of you have undoubtedly seen the work of Chris Arnade. He has been a major contributor to my photo pool for some time. He is also a really nice guy. His latest series is called Faces of Addiction and Sonia is part of it. If/when you have the time, gentle readers, do take a moment to read the stories he has assembled thus far. It is really compelling stuff.