Sonia: Hunts Point, Bronx

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. If I had all the money in the world I would own all the crack in the world."

 

More on Addiction: Faces of Addiction

 

  • The Frotographer 3y

    This is beautiful in a way that I have only seen you capture.
  • Joni Sweetman 3y

    oh sonia. you know you can do it.
  • Andrew Mohrer 3y

    this one really gets to me Chris.
  • .. emeL .. 3y

    what a suffering. God help you Sonia. Never ever give up.......
  • Chris Arnade 3y

    Thanks
    Yes, Sonia got to me as well. She is so well spoken, so aware of her problems, and very willing and happy to talk about them.

    Its rare to meet someone who knows themselves.
  • Phil Urwin 3y

    "I am good person with a very bad disease." Is a lucid and intelligent and very self aware description. The tragedy is that society can't seem to see it quite the same way.
  • william.gold 3y

    heartbreaking...
  • Max De Giorgi 3y

    congratulations for your works,
    excellent photojournalism!!
    saluti dall'Italia
    nuff respect
  • luvstars 3y

    this picture defies all stereotypes
  • dpuntier 3y

    this is a sad story, however when chirss ask her how she wants to be describe and she says "If I had all the money in the world I would own all the crack in the world." wtf..lmao..crazy
  • Patashoqua 3y

    dpuntier - It's not crazy at all. She's trying to explain what it's like to be addicted, to need it and to hate it at the same time. She's saying "I know what it's done to my life, and look how much power it has over me." There's no contradiction or inconsistency there.

    This whole set is amazing, Chris.
  • Michael Howard 3y

    Very interesting last line and shows the true power of addiction. If she had all the money in the world, she wouldn't spend it on counseling or rehab or finding help. If she could afford the best doctors and the best facilities in the world, she'd instead use it for all the drugs she could get. This whole series is very powerful.
  • VARoses 3y

    Chris-you've captured what reminds me of "there but for the Grace of God go I" ....so much hope remains with many of these people...may they will hold on to it and believe in what is possible for themselves.
  • Sandra Saquero 3y

    Harsh story!
  • shosho_alexandra 3y

    Sonia if you did it once..You can come out of it again...
  • Teresa Chinnock 2y

    I love your portrayal of drug addicts as it opens people's eyes to just how diverse addiction is!! ALL kinds of ppl are drug addicts!!!
  • Karly 2y

    She is so self-aware.
  • TheMetamorphosisOfGipsy 2y

    Addiction, looked at from a spiritual point of view is possession ... I understand the last sentence in her statement ...
  • Leah Vaughn 2y

    it has to be treated as a disease but by the same coin, some are more prone than others based on environment and genes
  • montsemarsal 2y

    her own description is so clever
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Taken on January 22, 2012
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