Bonnie Guimond

This story is part of a collection of stories under the series Voices of Acadia. Each story highlights the residents in one of Acadia’s units and how they came to call it home. To read more stories in this series, click here.

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“When my kids were growing up I only used enough so that I wouldn’t get sick because I also had two jobs and was a VISTA. I always called myself an active addict because I worked, raised kids, and still did drugs. I wasn’t much of a mother – I was there physically but I wasn’t there mentally. I can say I made life hard because of the choices I made, but I felt I had no choices to make. I felt like drugs was the only choice I had if I wanted any kind of life – if I wanted any kids or something because I couldn’t let a man come near me or touch me unless I was high.” 

“I started doing drugs when I was 12 years old and didn’t stop until 15 years ago. I started off on pot in a hand carved pipe on the tracks behind quality bakery in east Boston and after a while it wasn’t enough for me. My favorite high was angel dust because you weren’t going any farther away from reality when you smoked that – you were as far as you were gonna get. It got you out of reality, away from reality, and that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to escape reality and to be somebody else than who I really was because I didn’t like who I was. I felt that I was damaged goods. I’ve come a long way though.” 

“My mother was my biggest enabler. Without her I either would be dead or I would have been clean. I wouldn’t have been on drugs as long but that would have meant I’d have to deal with the issues. My father had already passed away. If I ever needed a place to go or needed money, my mother always helped me. When I lost her I lost all of my backups. Once she died it was either I get clean or die. I think it was my mother’s death that made me get clean. When I went to sell her house, I said the last time I lock this door will be the last time I use drugs. Who knew that after one showing it was gonna sell. That was the last time I got high and it’ll be 15 years this month. My mother never saw me straight but she sees me now and when I die I’ll be straight and she’ll see me then.” 

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“I got to a point where I decided I’m tired of living on the street. I’m tired of living with other people. I’m tired of not having my own keys. I’m tired of not having my name on a mailbox.”  

“Then One Beach was being built and I decided to apply there because I just needed to get rid of the stairs where I was living on Webster Ave. I had 18 stairs to get to the front door and another 12 to get to my bedroom – that's 30 steps, I don’t know how many times a day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve landed on my head trying to go up and down those stairs - I have more scars and stitches and concussions than I know.” 

“It was either I get my own place or I’m gonna end up in the Shattuck because I could not live where I was with the stairs for another winter. How many times can I hit my head before it’s gonna be too late or something really bad is gonna happen?”  

“When they started building Acadia, my application was in, but I made sure I’d go to the office and check in with the progress because I needed this apartment.” 

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“You know what it’s like to have your own set of keys to your house? If you’ve never had a set of keys you’d know what it feels like to have your name on a mailbox with your own set of keys to a house you can call your own. Even bills look good! They have your name on them – that means it’s your apartment. I didn’t have that for a long time. I haven’t had that since my kids were young. It’s a good feeling. And it’s a good feeling to live alone because I can do things on my time. I don’t have to walk on egg shells and I can still be the super clean person I am and there’s no one to tell me to stop cleaning all the time or ‘where’d you put this or where did you put that?’ I can tell you where everything in my cupboards are. Now I can live the way I want to.”

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“I thank God every morning. First for my feet hitting the floor. Then for where I am now and where I use to be. I will not do drugs ever again and I will not be associated with anyone who has drugs. Because this place is pretty nice and I don’t want to lose it.”