Self Preservation as an Act of Self Care

[CN: substance use & sobriety]

Thank you sun for kissing me today.

For I have thoughts that I will never again see the light of day.

This rush the sun provides is all I need to be me, a walking ball of love and energy.

Self-portrait by Eve Moreno

Every moment I feel blessed that I exist, even as this dramatic mess.

A mess whose demons never rest, a life of addiction I wish to lay to bed.

A bed made of broken dreams and false love given to me.

How could I not have known that love was not found in hand me down thrills? An escape from sobriety.

Self-portrait by Eve Moreno

My lips still taste of the harm I've done to myself.

The countless snorts and clangs of empty bottles echo in my eyes.

I still dance with you, addiction. But I am more than this.

I'm learning to step away, and in these moments my true colors bleed into the present me.

Self-portrait by Eve Moreno

Why deny the world of my magic?

My reflection does not lie.

Beauty and vulnerability are sketched right before my very eyes.

A little about my journey to substance abuse and then sobriety:

I grew up with an alcoholic father. His alcoholism has put us in situations of mental/emotional abuse, near death and near homelessness. I began drinking alcohol at 14, and started substance abusing at 15 ½. I was addicted to ecstasy most of my high school life. I started using meth at 17 ½ during my first year of college.

When I was 20 years old I was diagnosed with a heart condition called pericarditis, where the lining around one's heart becomes inflamed. The doctor told me, "You have the same conditions as a 30-year-old white man on heroin. If you don't want to die, then I suggest stop doing drugs."

It was really hard news for me and I spiraled into depression. I stopped using meth and e immediately, but continued to drink. I didn't stop drinking until two years after diagnosed with my heart condition.

Currently I am 3 ½ years sober from hard drugs, and 2 years and 2 months sober from alcohol. Becoming sober has allowed me to discover who I really am and has allowed me to fall in love with myself. I still battle with thoughts of drinking because I live at home with my dad, but I know that putting my life in jeopardy and hurting my loved ones is not a risk I'm willing to take.

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Image description: Three portraits show the author and artist, Eve Moreno, a gender non-conforming person with light brown skin. Their chin-length hair is dark brown, dyed blonde at the front. They are wearing magenta eyeliner, sparkly blue eye shadow, and pink lipstick with a mustache, beard, and a silver septum piercing.

The first portrait shows them in front of a pink background, both hands clasped behind their neck. A red bracelet is tied on the right wrist, and several tattoos are shown including on the forearm and a phrase with "faith" circling below the neck. The second portrait is close up to show the beautiful makeup and their golden brown eyes. In the final portrait, they are looking up and to the left. Their hair reveals an undercut. Two more tattoos show, including one on their upper left arm and a green one-eyed character from Monsters Inc. on their right wrist.

About Eve Moreno:

Eve Moreno is a trans and queer multimedia artist of color living in South Central Los Angeles. Eve’s Latinx identity comes from being raised by parents that migrated from Mexico City and Santa Ana, El Salvador. Eve’s media work focuses on documenting trans and queer communities of color. Although their work ranges from writing, video and photography, their passion is taking portraits of trans and queer POC. Eve’s love for photography began at a photography club in middle school in South East Los Angeles, and the rest was queerstory. Eve knew that their focus in photography would be portraiture when they found affirmation in their self-portraiture work. You can follow Eve's work on TumblrInstagram, and their facebook page.