Strange Miracles in the Desert

Julie Morse at The Believer:

For a heroin addict, Ciudad Juárez is Mecca. It’s cheap, drug possession charges result in just a couple of nights in jail, and the ability to earn U.S. currency by begging or doing odd jobs in El Paso significantly increases a person’s buying power in Mexico. These are things Comar learned after he abandoned his trucker job and moved from New York to Juárez in 1998. It’s also what several U.S. citizens who suffer from long-term addiction have told me makes Juárez the perfect place to live. And there’s no reason why they’d ever want to go back.

“I thought the border was really a great chance to redefine myself and rearticulate my identity,” Comar tells me. “I wanted to cash in my old life because I wasn’t happy with it anymore, and I wanted to get a new life. Becoming something new is the essence of recovery.”

more here.