Women on Ice: Methamphetamine Use among Suburban Women

By Miriam Boeri | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
Gendered Lives
COMBINING WORK AND FAMILY WITH
DRUG-USING ROLES

MIA

Mia was a fifty-year-old woman who remained in a relapsing addict/junkie (RAJ) phase throughout the three interviews we conducted. Although she was decidedly one of the most despondent of the suburban poor when I met her, she had been raised in a middle-class neighborhood until her parents divorced. Her father wanted to keep her, but her mother fought for custody and won. Mia sighed when she told me this, adding that she wished she could have been raised with her paternal grandparents, who had fought for custody and lost. Mia moved to a poor suburban neighborhood with her mother, a depressed alcoholic who was sexually promiscuous. She recounted an incident that occurred when she was nine years old:

My mother was just full blown alcoholic. Um, men in the house all the
time … I remember one time—my mother was always drunk but she
got drunk this one particular time—took off all of her clothes. Put on a
short fur coat that just covered herself. Got in her ’65 Mustang and drove
off naked and drunk. And she would tell me stories even back then that
she would sleep with the policemen to get out of tickets and DUIs. You
know, back then weren’t like they are now. You know, I really was dis-
gusted with her.

When Mia was older and her father remarried, she lived with his new family during the summer. He led a considerably higher-status life and she noticed the difference, secretly wishing to live with him instead. She did not tell her mother:

I felt real guilty because my mother would always be so dramatic. Very
jealous of my relationship with that whole family—my father, my

-66-

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