Chapter 1: Kate's Story
"My name is Kate Holmes. I am the ex-wife of detective Percy Holmes and mother of his children. I am also an alcoholic."
And that was how my day, every day that I was in prison ended, with an AA meeting. I was serving 10 years for drug possession and prostitution.
Well I guess I'd better start at the beginning so you understand my story.
I was married to a cop back east in Philadelphia and bore him two children, a girl Tara and a boy Todd. One night I got the phone call that all cop's wives dread. The Percy's Lt. said,"Your husband has been shot and we are sending a car around to pick you up and transport you to the hospital."
With call that my happy little world collapsed.
After seeing Percy in the hospital lying in bed with all kinds of machines, bottles, and tubes surrounding him, I lost it. I couldn't get near enough to him, because of the equipment, to hug him or even just hold his hand.
I cried for hours before a nurse gave me something to calm me down. Then she gave me an envelope with some pills in it and instructions to take one every 12 hours. I hurriedly went into the Ladies Room and took them all.
The pills made me feel very good. I was no longer in pain over my husband.
The next day the doctor told me that Percy was doing better but would be in the hospital for about two weeks. When I saw my husband later he was awake. After telling me he was going to be ok, Percy said "I can't wait to be well enough to go back out on patrol."
That night I made up my mind. I could no longer stand the constant worrying if Percy was going to be killed on duty. I picked a cheap divorce lawyer out of the phonebook and called to make an appointment.
The next day I explained to the lawyer "I want out of my marriage and will keep our children. I also want to make sure that Percy never contacts us again and that child support be collected by the County and transferred to me.
I signed all the necessary papers.
The next day, I took out all the money we had in our accounts and bought three unlimited bus passes. The kids and I started towards our new lives without Percy. Eventually we ended up in Oregon where we began our new lives.
Life was hard on us with Percy income before I left, and even harder on me with two small kids without his pay. The money from our bank accounts didn't last long and I was soon forced to take a job that I didn't really want.
Basically I had no skills so I took a position as a waitress in a downtrodden diner. I had the overnight shift so I had to find a babysitter that would keep the kids overnight. The cost of my apartment and the babysitter took most of her earnings.
I was sinking into depression. I started stopping after work to have a drink with some of my male customers in after hour clubs. I was lonely. Soon I was going to bed with some of those customers. Not for the sex because none of them really got the job done, but to alleviate the loneliness I felt.
I started drinking more and more each time I went out, and because of the drinking, I brought home some of the guys. My life spiraled downward from that point on. I soon remembered how nice those first pills that the nurse gave me all those many years ago. I started asking my "friends" to help me get some more of those pills.
My kids grew up without me even knowing, I was that stoned. The years went by in a haze of alcohol and drugs. One day I awoke on the floor. The guy I had brought home the night before had been into rough sex.
As I was heading toward the bathroom, I realized that my daughter's door was broken down. My daughter was gone and the guy from last night was lying on the floor bleeding from a cut on his head.
I called 911.
The police arrested the guy and attempted to find my daughter. They never found her.
Over the course of the next year, my son Todd started acting up. He barely talked to me, He stayed out all night. He committed petty crimes. He was out of control.
I was still supplementing my income by bring guys home with me and accepting money from them for sex. I was a fine parent for my son.
But those wonderful pills helped the pain go away for a little while.
One day I had a call from Child Protective Services. My son had stolen a car and was in jail.
The next weeks were hell for me. They were trying my little boy in juvenile court and he could go to jail until he was 21 if convicted.
I was working my normal overnight shift at the diner when a very attractive woman seated herself in my section. She introduced herself as Judge Maria Sanchez.
She was hearing my son's case.
"Your son wants to live with his father," she said "He doesn't want to be near you anymore."
I was crushed. I loved my little boy I told her.
She looked at me with contempt and said, "He told me about all your different men and your drug and alcohol problems. He said that he would rather go to jail than live with you. I'd like to see if his father would take him. What does your ex do for a living and where can I find him?"
I explained that Percy was a cop in Philadelphia and why I left him.
She left with this parting comment, "Clean yourself up if you ever want to see your son again."
My boss was pissed that I had been sitting and talking with a customer on my shift. So he fired me at the end of my shift.
Later that night I met a pimp at the afterhour's club. He helped me with my problems. Before I knew it I was working a street corner, turning all my earnings over to him to avoid being beaten.
The hard drugs came later, but they came all the same. I headed down into the gutter.
My luck ran out and I was arrested by the police for drug possession, drug selling and prostution. My pimp never showed up in court or supplied an attorney for me. I never saw him again.
The judge was a hard case. He threw the book at me. I was sentenced to a Detox Center, attached to a women's prison, first to get clean and then on to the prison to start my 10 year sentence. The Detox Center part of the prison was no Betty Ford Clinic. It was for hard core female criminals. There were none of the nice drugs to ease the withdrawal. We were just strapped in our beds and allowed to suffer the pain of withdrawal.
There were no nurses to see that we got bed pans when needed. If we needed to go, we just hoped that they would take the time to take us. If not, we laid in our bed in our own filth until someone took pity on us and changed the bedding.
The bedding was changed by some of the prison inmates. They didn't like the job so they took out their displeasure on us. We were cleaned with stiff bristle brushes. The more we complained, the harder the brush was applied. I soon realized that if I kept my mouth closed, I wouldn't end up scrubbed raw.
It was about four years into my sentence that at one of my routine screenings, a doctor noticed a lump in my breast. I was diagnosed with cancer.
I would like to say they rushed me into treatment and saved my breast, but this was prison. By the time my treatments for the cancer were approved, it was too late to just remove the lump. I needed a complete mastectomy.
Then they started on the radiation and chemo treatments later. The treatments were hell. I lost all my hair as well as 30 pounds of body weight. That might not seem like a big weight loss, but I was only 110 pounds when I was diagnosed.
After almost a year of suffering from the treatments, the doctor informed me that he had discovered a lump in my other breast.
So you see my fellow addicts that is my story.