Friday, March 5, 2010

Jail 2: Click Story

So many times I should have had that a-ha moment where all things came into perspective for me, where all things just came into clarity for me. But, when one’s life is ruled by horrendous substance abuse, there is no clarity at all. Moments that should produce clarity only make things cloudy and more muddled…
I muddled through it all for so many years, just living my life for that next fix. Just hoping to get through the day without ending up in excruciating withdrawal. I was creeping along these dark alleys of the world, hiding in their shadows, running from the light. Caught up, entangled in this web of addiction and disease.
I had all but abandoned most of my passions. I was working in a strip club, acting as shady as I could and still get away with it. I got off work around 4am, and stayed out often until 6am, trying to score my morning fix. Drinking the hardships of being an addict away…I slept half the day away. I always woke up feeling like crap. First thing I always did was take a big, fat shot of dope to start the day…ahhhhhh, it made this life so much more palatable. With veins full of dope, who needs clarity?

One morning, I wake up on the coldest floor I have ever slept on. My head is pounding so bad from a hangover that I am afraid to open my eyes. I do not recognize any sounds around me. I realize I am sleeping all scrunched up on a metal bench. No, I think, please, no. I strain to open my eyes.
The first thing I notice is how freaking bright it is in here. My head is pounding, and my breath reeks of last nights’ Jameson. At first, I think it must just seem this bright because my head is splitting so terribly. And I hear all kinds of muffled noise, voices yelling, shouting, complaining…there seems to be so much discord here.
As I sit up, I realize that I am behind a thick glass window with a huge metal door…closed to keep me in. In a panic, I quickly survey my surroundings. A metal toilet, a cold sink, a tiny reflective thing above the sink that slightly resembles a mirror, a concrete wall separating the toilet from this tiny metal bench I am lying on. And it is freezing. My shoelaces are gone, and my pants are falling down because my belt is also gone. All the rubber bands from my hair are also gone, and I realize I am a disheveled mess.
Outside this tiny box I am being held in, I notice the clock. It is the old round kind that we used to have in school, and it sits behind a desk full of uniformed officers. A lot of orange jumpsuits are eyeing the clock anxiously. I take notice of the time, and realize I should have been at work hours ago. And I slowly remember it is Mothers Day, only one of the biggest lunches of the year in the restaurant business! I am definitely fired now, as my erratic behavior has had my job on the line for weeks now. I ask if I can call my job, and these uniformed officers just look at me with pity. There is no way they are letting me out of this cell. Apparently I am behind this protective glass for a reason. And for the life of me, I cannot remember what that reason is.
Hours pass, and I am not allowed out. They slip the most horrible food through the slot on the door…a hard biscuit with cold eggs and super salty bacon…mushy pasta with peas and canned tuna mixed in…and something that resembles applesauce but tastes more like air. I try to rack my brain for details of the previous night. The last thing I remember was slamming back several shots of Jameson at a local bar. I don’t even know what I have done to end up in this cell, and it seems that no one in authority here wants to clue me in.
The door is opened by a guard. He looks angry and kind of menacing. It is almost 6pm, and this is the first time they have opened the door since I woke up at 10:50am. I have a phone call, and they are gonna let me take it. I walk timidly to the phone…this cannot be good. The voice on the other end is screaming, ranting and raving. My husband is pissed, our marriage is over, and there is no way he bailing me out of this one. What have I done this time, I wonder. If I want to talk to someone, my husband tells me, call my mother because he and his family have had it with me. They are all done with me, forever.
And its Mothers Day…this conversation will not go well. My mother picks up the other end...”Hello?” I hear her say. Her voice sounds very, very far away. I begin to cry softly because I realize that she IS very far away. And at this moment, I just want my mother. “You have a collect call from Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, do you accept the charges?” As my mom accepts the charges, I can hear the anger in her voice. Of course she is not bonding me out. I have no option except to just wait it out. At least my mother knows I am safe from all the drugs and alcohol in jail. And I am sure she is hoping that a little time behind bars may give me that clarity that everyone in my life keeps begging me to find.
“Well…if no one is bailing you out,” the guards tell me, “We had better get you dressed out and put you in general population.” It seems the world has closed in on me. I have learned that I am charged with public intoxication, possession of marijuana, and assault on an officer. Assault on an officer? What the hell does that mean exactly? The guard chuckles and tells me that I kicked a cop in the balls and it is a felony charge.
A felony? Then, they hand me a mesh bag with a bunch of blankets, a toothbrush, a cup, a fork, and several orange jumpsuits. Then I am herded into an industrial type shower that only squirts out cold water. I am told to also wash my hair, and that a guard will be watching me. I just close my eyes and grit my teeth; my hangover is still pounding through my veins. The water is freezing, my long hair is soaked, and I fear I will die from being completely chilled to the bone…if not from shear embarrassment.
I am escorted through several sets of locking doors, waiting between them each time as one closes and then the other opens. It is nearly 9pm now, and I am taken into a large open room, housing cells all around the borders. There are stairs in the middle, and about forty pairs of eyes staring at me. They lock me in a corner cell, and all those eighty eyes go back to their business.
After about an hour, I am retrieved by a mean, manly looking woman guard who barks something about a visit from my court appointed lawyer. I remember vaguely speaking about my financial desperation with a magistrate and being appointed a lawyer. And now at nearly 10pm, a lawyer is here? It just seems so weird…
My fat and sloppy lawyer chuckles as he reads through my paperwork. Assault on an officer, huh? I don’t even remember all that. What did I do? What happened? He chuckles again. Apparently, the cops found me passed out in the grass somewhere. When they woke me up, I went into a drunken rage…kicking and screaming. I kicked one of them in the balls. Oh, crap, I think.
I tell the fat lawyer, I just want to get bonded out and go home. He chuckles again. He tells me that assault on an officer carries a MANDATORY six month sentence, and since I don’t even remember it…I cannot argue I didn’t do it. He says that as long as these charges stick, and he doesn’t see that they won’t, I am looking at least six months in here. “So, you might as well get comfortable.” I am stunned, shocked, and starting to panic.
Six months or more? What about my marriage? And my apartment? My parents? What am I gonna do in here for six months? I just cannot fathom this horrible destiny that is just looming over me. I DO NOT BELONG HERE!!! My insides are screaming, my guts are twisting, and my heart is racing itself into s sheer panic…
But, I do belong here, somehow- or else I would not be here. Something has gone drastically wrong for me, and I have finally ended up in jail. This destiny has been years in the making…something like this was bound to happen sooner or later. And now, I have six months to just sit and think about it.
My thinking, at first, is just more blurry. Maybe it is that my mind is in such a panic that I cannot find the clarity that has been so many years headed my way. Maybe I have been cloudy for so long, it takes a day or so to assimilate. Maybe it is the substances still swimming in my system that keep me from the clarity just a little while longer.
A day passes. Another day passes, and I am just left with my thoughts. And they seem to be just running laps through my head. Then, it dawns on me…I am an alcoholic, and a drug addict. My life has become completely derailed because of alcohol and drugs. And look at the mess I am in now. The “I” I used to be does not belong here, but the person I have become has made the choices that landed me here. And something has to be done to change my future…I do not want to stay here!
And with that clarity, things began to be put in perspective. And slowly, one day at a time, things begun to change. I lost my marriage and my apartment in the process. I lost all that I had known for the past seven years, but I eventually gained by sobriety. I ended up pleading to a lesser charge, and ended up spending only thirty days in jail. Since then, I have had ups and downs but none of which put me back in that awful place that my life was. Now, I am sober. I have a son who is such a blessing! I am back in school, and I am finally on my own again. And I have been writing again. I am truly blessed that after so many awful moments, I finally found the clarity I needed to pull myself up and out of the mess I had made. It is still one day at a time, but now I know I am gonna make it.

1 comment:

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