Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Reflections

Christmas was beautiful this year. My mother has a gorgeous house in the mountains on the border between North and South Carolina. This is her little dream home, where she plans to retire as soon as she is able. She spends most of her time there, these days.

The house is a Timber Frame house, and it reminds me of a refined log cabin. There are no logs, and all the boards are sanded flat, but the entire house is natural wood. The dark circles of the wood, dot the walls and ceilings, as the boards naturally crack as the house begins to settle. There are no nails, and you can see the pegs holding the house together in certain corners. There entire outside wall of the living room is windows, and in the summer is is a lush jungle in the yard. There is a tiny waterfall just past the property line. There is more square footage of porches than on the inside of the house.

I got to the Mountain House on Thursday early afternoon, and my son and I got settled in to wait for the rest of the family. My sister and my stepdad came up in the early evening, followed by my brother. It was really nice. It has been a long time since it has been pretty much just that nuclear family unit for a holiday...other than the addition of my son, the rest of us have been together for most of my life. My brother and I are really close, after all we are only two years apart...and we went through the same trauma of divorce. My sister and I are growing closer and closer all the time. One of my biggest regrets from my addiction is that I never formed a relationship with my sisters (either of them.) in their formative years, as their little personalities developed beyond toddlers and small kids. My whole nuclear family gets along really well, and there was no tension that night. (You know how holidays always produce some kind of tension!) It was really nice, as we ate and then sat up just hanging out.

On Friday, my mom watched the baby for a couple of hours while I took the car down to Brevard, NC...about twenty minutes away. The Mountain House is relatively remote. It is very close to Ceasar's Head State Park, but the nearest grocery store is almost thirty minutes away. There is no Internet of cell phone service at the Mountain House, although you can take your laptop to the State Park and use their Wi-Fi. I just never really do when I am there. It is a nice break, sometimes. I can be reclusive at times, though...and maybe it is just an excuse. (I was never reclusive when I was using...I was always a social butterfly...I am shocked sometimes at how reclusive I have become.)

On Christmas Eve after lunch, I drove down the mountain and into Brevard. It was a gorgeous drive down, as I was able to let go without the baby in the car and really concentrate on feeling the roads. It has been many years since I had driven on mountain roads. The bright blue sky was dotted with puffy white clouds, and the sun shone brightly on everything. Brevard is a cute little mountain town, and my last minute shopping was much better than I imagined. The drive back up the mountain, I had the windows down halfway, with T-Pain blaring on the radio. Wind in my hair, and hip hop on my speakers, I weaved around the mountains climbing up, up, and up...winding to the top, and then back down again, trees naked in the winter to reveal gorgeous landscapes of the vast hills in the mountains of the Carolinas. My son went to bed at 630 that night.

Christmas morning was beautiful, and my son was overwhelmed with all the presents and activity. He was delighted! At ten o'clock that morning, the snow began to fall. Small flurries, fluttering around almost resembling rain. Then, quickly, big flakes began drifting with the light gust of the wind. It had been cold all morning, and the snow began to accumulate, and within an hour the ground was dusted with white. Snow fell all day, sometimes heavy and sometimes lighter but it kept falling and falling. Piling up on the ground, and the darkness of the mountains on an overcast day was illuminated by the brilliant reflective white. It snowed for over twelve hours on Christmas day, and we had to help our lunch guests dig their cars out. It ended up almost nine inches of snow. We took my son out several times during the day, and he had a blast. He made snowballs, and snowmen, and he sledded on a garbage can top. At one point, he tumbled off the sled rolling down a small snowy hill. I waited, holding my breath to see if he cried, but he jumped up and exclaimed, "Fun!"

The next day it was really cold, and I don't think it got up past twenty degrees. The wind whipped across the top of the mountain, chapping your cheeks in minutes. The wind whipped and whipped, blowing snow off the trees reminding me of a blizzard at times. My stepdad and sister went down the mountain, headed towards home while my mom and I settled into a quiet relaxing day. Power can go out up there sometimes, and my parents do not have a generator. The power flickered several times, always coming back on. My mom and I huddled together in the living room, several times as the lights flickered, wide eyed, hoping the power stays on. But, it stayed on and we all stayed warm. We huddled up, enjoying the we avoided travel on the icy roads. When we finally left, most of the roads were clear and it was an easy ride down the mountain.

I must say, I was not at all excited about returning to work tonight. The shift went fine, but I really just wanted a few more days off. It feels like I have not had much time to rest and regain my thoughts and composure lately. Between school, and work, and the book, and the seems like I never get to just relax...and rest. So, I wish I had a few more days off...but the truth is, I need the money right now. The hiatus is over, and before I know will be starting again, and there will be no time for rest then. One last semester.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Mountains

I am leaving tomorrow for the mountains. My parents have a second home in the mountains of the Carolinas. It is right on the border of the two states, between Greenville, SC and Brevard, NC. It is really beautiful and peaceful there.

We have a lot of mountain history in our family. My parents took us camping near this area many time when we were young. My grandfather had stories of those mountains that went back for generations. This country is in our blood, and in our souls. We come from those mountains, at least on my Momma's side.

I am excited to leave the bustle of the city, and I am still trying to decompress from the semester. I am excited to listen to the winds, and maybe see some snow. Although, i am not much one for the cold, at least at is appropriate. And I am excited to get some quiet time, where my mom can take the baby...and I can look at my book for the first time, work on a few tweeks...and get a couple of hard copies printed up. It is time to get this project rolling...

I will, however, be mostly offline. There is no internet connection at the Mountain House. I may brave the cold winds, and drive up the road to Ceasar's Head State park, and use their internet connection. But, maybe not. I do not even have cell phone reception up is always a real getaway when you leave the phone and internet behind.

I leave in the morning, right after I pack the car, full to the brim, with presents. I still have a few gifts coming in the mail, and my best friend is staying retrieve the gifts, and she is coming to the mountains on Christmas Day. I am brother (whom I adore, and am really close with) will be there, one of my little sisters, and my Mom and Stepdad will also be there. I will miss my Dad and other little sister...they are at the beach. But, it will be a nice retreat, although I am going to miss the blogsphere...

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Thoughts

Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning to me this year. My son is almost two years old, and he is really excited about Christmas. He sees Santa Claus everywhere, and he exclaims..."Santa Claus!" When you ask him, where? He responds pointing, "Right dere." He loves the Christmas lights, and the reindeer. He loves the "Noman," other wise know as the Snowman. He talks about presents, and how he really wants skateboards.

I have never put up a Christmas tree before. Let's face it, a junky usually doesn't put up a Christmas tree; I barely realized Christmas was coming up some years. And in the last few years...well, just too much going on. But, this year, I had to do it for my son. He really wanted one. And he wanted a big one, he made that very clear when we went to look at the trees one day. I had to wait two weeks to afford a big one, but that is what my son wanted to do. I bought lights, and decorations for the first time as well. My son had a blast decorating it, although he got very upset when one of the silver balls dropped on the floor and shattered. First thing in the morning, he asks for me to turn the lights on the Christmas tree on.

We have been listening tom Christmas music in the car. I am not a big fan of Christmas music, but I have managed to find a few good albums. Kermit Ruffins Christmas album, Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas album, Harry Connick Jrs Christmas albums are a few I really like. My son sings along with Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

We have really been doing it up with the season this year. So, I decided to take him to the mall to see Santa Claus. I wanted to make a night of it, so I got him a cute outfit for the picture. I know most of you are thinking, maybe a little Christmas outfit...well, he is too fashionable for that. I picked out this black jacket with red embroidery and a patch on the back that had flames and angel wings and dripping and splattered paint. The jeans had crosses with angel wings and flames, and his shirt was a long sleeve punk rock t-shirt. I had on my long black vinyl jacket with the crazy fur collar, sporting my usual chain wallet and ripped jeans. Santa actually commented on his outfit, and then he asked me if we rode bikes.

I thought it was pretty cool that Santa asked me if we rode bikes. We do not, but we must have looked pretty cool if that is the impression we made on Santa Claus. I said, "No, sir...we are punk rockers." And he chuckled, with a look in his eyes like my grandad would have had at that he had no idea what a punk rocker was. I am proud that Santa at least confirmed that I am cool.

We got a great picture, and had dinner at Chic-fil-A...which my son devoured. Then, he had some cookies from his father's work, which is the nicest restaurant at the mall. (It is really nice.) We sang Christmas songs the whole way home, and I took the long way so we could see more Christmas lights. We came home and we laughed and talked and played with a toy I bought him at the mall. Before we started watching Christmas movies, we went to put on his pajamas. I offered his red and white pants that we have always referred to as his Santa Claus pants because my best friend said they "looked like the kind of pants Santa Claus wears to bed." I thought for sure, after his great Santa Claus experience, he would surely want to wear these pants. I realized that he may be too much like me, when he insisted that he wears his Halloween skeleton pajamas instead.


My son loves skateboarding. He is almost 21 months old, and all he wants for Christmas is "skateboards." I must clarify that he wants those tiny skateboards that you skate with your fingers, alnog with the 2ft. long ramp. (I have gotten some horrified looks when this tiny little person tells someone he wants a skateboard for Christmas.) When ever he sees a kid skateboarding, he just watches intently. Once, when a kid flipped off his skateboard at a park, my son got on it before his father could stop him. I bought him a cool book, called "Scarred for Life," that documents skateboarding, and its history. He just pours over it, he passes up the pages covered in words, but he stops at the photos, turning the pictures in all direction, attempting to make sense of the images of an upside down skateboard.

I don't know how many of you are familar with the television show "Yo Gabba Gabba," so I will give a little background on the show...It is a Nickelodeon Jr. show hosted by orange clad Dj Lance Rock who brings life to the 5 costumed characters. The show has special guests, including a regular appearance by Biz Markie in his segment called "Biz's Beat of the Day," where he teaches the kids a beatbox series of sounds. Jack Black invaded the show for a segment, as he got lost in Gabba land when his minibike ran out of gas. There is a "Dancy Dance" segment that often features a guest teaching a dance to the characters, featuring stars like Elijah Wood, Sarah Silverman, Andy Samburg, Sean Kingston, and Sugarland. Other guests include Anthony Bourdain, Mos Def, Solange Knowles, Jack McBrayer, The Roots, and Questlove and Rahzel in other episodes, Shiny Toy Guns...and also Tony Hawk. My son's face lit up when he saw the skateboard on his favorite show! It is interesting to see Tony Hawk doing kids things now...I think back to how great I thought Tony Hawk was when I was in Junior High. I had a crush on this one kid, just because he looked like Tony Hawk. (I always liked the bad boy...) Now, Tony Hawk is still the most well known name in skateboarding, but he is also just a little bit older than me...and we are both middle aged now...

My son is enthralled with anything skateboarding. I am excited to see if this my be a passion developing. I have never pushed the idea of skateboarding onto him, and I do not know anyone who even rides a skateboard son has just fallen in love with skateboarding anyway, already...

Thursday, December 16, 2010


So, I wrote a book for one of my classes...Expository Writing. Now, the assignment was to choose a nonfiction writing project that would be four installments...totalling about twenty-two pages. One category he suggested was a memoir....

The first class, he asked a series of questions to generate topic ideas. I saw several themes recurring in my answers. Katrina, stripping, and addiction. And just like that, I decided to write the memoir. My professor encouraged me to go ahead and write the whole thing...he would only grade 22 pages, though.

So, I wrote it. I started the project at the end of August, and finished at the beginning of December. Essentially, it took me three and a half months to write the book. In the summer, I wrote a short story about part of the storm, which was included in the manuscript. The rough draft of the book, that is. And I turned it in two weeks ago...

We had a reading instead of a final, where we each read from our portfolios. The entire class sat there with their mouths gaping open after my reading. It was pretty intense, and a lot of cussing, I noticed when I read it out loud.

My teacher handed out comments on our work...pieces of his comments..." I'm not convinced I was of much use to you, other than to encourage you a bit "(which was exactly the thing I needed to get this book written...I have been sitting on the story for five years...) "I hope you can find the unit of meaning that matters the most to you in the revision process-the word, the sentence, the paragraph, the section, the chapter, the volume, and really polish this around that unit-put your stamp on it-make it part of a recognizable and distinct voice. You are a writer. Now find your editors, publish this, and go on to the next."

I am excited about the revision process. My mind is reeling with thinking about revision, at the level of the sentence...the word...I already have several parts I want to work on first....

And I am excited...about the entire thing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rambling Shit...

Kind of rambling, tonight. Exams are drawing to a close, and my brain is flooded with too much random shit. So, I am just going to ramble a little.

Sometimes, I wonder if maybe I am too cheery. If maybe I am too happy. I try to be positive. I try to stay upbeat, and my life is really good right now. Things are finally starting to fall in place for me. it has been a long, fucking time coming, I will tell you that. Things were real shit for me for quite a while. I guess years before I even realized it, things were shit for me. And when I realized I was up to my fucking neck in shit, the climb out of the god damned toilet was hell in itself. Shit, piled upon shit, scrambling for the fucking top as the rest of the world just tries to flush you down. Yep, recovery was a bitch a lot of times. And addiction, and all the fucking relationship crap, getting beat the fuck up, and such....Yeah, my life was pretty shitty for a long time. But, is finally going good. And let me tell you, I feel like I have earned it. I know I have worked really fucking hard to get my life back, to get myself back, and to get my fucking shit back on track and headed in the right damn direction. And hell life is finally working out. And hell yeah...I am finally happy. I worked hard for that shit.

Let me tell you, therapy ain't easy. It ain't easy to bare your soul to your ownself, and take a hard look at that person inside. It ain't easy facing up to all the shit...but let me tell you, it is worth it. It is no easy thing to get clean and to stay clean. You gotta climb out of that shit your life has become. You gotta do more than get clean. You gotta battle some demons, both inside and out. Its hard fucking work....but it is worth it.

I believe in the Threefold, everything you do comes back to you...three times as good or bad. If you put enough good hard work into are bound to come out on top. The Universe has a way of balancing out, and it all works out in the end. To those of you in recovery...put it out there, and you will eventually get your return. That is how the universe works...

Now, back to my point about being cheery...sometimes I think maybe I can be too cheery. Anna, this piece of the post is dedicated to you. (I have thought this before when I read parts of your blog...) I bet you hate me for being so happy. I really hope that you do not. I know that I can be optimistic, and I always try to look at the bright side. At one time in my life...I would have hated me, too. Some times, I still stick my tongue out at happy people...especially happy couples. I hate that shit. It pisses me off because of a relationship I lost in the past...But, anyway, I am happy now. For the first time in my life, I am really happy. I am happy to be a strong single mother, who does not need to rely on anyone else. I am happy because my trials and tribulation s have made me a better person. I am happy because I have a lot of stories m to tell. Things are finally starting to work out...and most importantly, I have a beautiful child. And I can't stop smiling some days. Please don't hate me...and do not think that I cannot understand the bleak, dark moods of an addict...because I can. I was once there, and now I am here... I really think I can give you some good advice, and I do apologize if its too cheery. You day will come, too, dear, sweet Anna...and you will be fucking happy, too. I believe. (Anna...I know you do not hate me....)

Sunday, December 12, 2010


A little story I have been meanin to tell for a while...

Have you ever seen cats dressed in clothes? Now, maybe its just me, but I don't really see cats dressed in clothes very much. Yeah sure, you see dogs dressed up in clothes all the time. sweaters and shit...but cats? I have always had cats. I am a cat person, and I am not a big fan of dogs. I tell you, my cats would have NEVER, EVER let me dress them up.

That said, I met this girl at the Methadone clinic in Savannah. She was getting on the same time I was, and we got to know one another a little as we sat outside the clinic together that first day...just waiting, no dying, for our dose. I always saw her in and out of the clinic. She was nice, and she seemed pretty normal.

One day, she offers me a ride home in her light tan trans-am, you know, like a Firebird. I climb in, and staring at me from the back seat are two cats. In dresses. One is in pink, and the other in blue. I shake my head to make sure I am really seeing this. After she introduces me to her children, I asked her about the clothes.

"How did you get them to put those clothes on? Don't they hate it?" I ask, knowing my cats would have a shit fit...literally.

"oh, no...they don't mind anymore. At first, they hated it but they got used to it. They have a closet full of clothes!" she tells me, excited. "One is a boy, but I still dress them both up like little princesses. Oh, my babies."

And all I can think is , "Damn...this chic is more fucked up than I imagined."


Reading some blogs today written by people in early stages of recovery....and I think back to those days. It seems like so long ago, but I remember exactly what it felt like to still be obsessed with my need. I remember those days when all that I thought about was dope, dope, fucking dope...don't wanna do no dope no more. I remember how the streets of my beloved city looked different, their hue a little more grey, my insides a little more blue. My feet dragging along behind me because I barely have the strength to stand theses days. Waves of nausea cascading for months and months and months...when I least expect it.

Uncomfortable. I shake and I twitch and I really wish I would itch. I moan and I groan and I really wish I could hone in...on some dope. Dope, dope, fucking dope...its all I ever think about. Invading my thoughts and my wishes and my dreams, there like a constant reminder in the back of my head. Droning on and on like a television you cannot shut off.

It gets better, I promise. A day, into a week in a month and a year...pretty soon, your thoughts of dope get further and further apart...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Doctor's Office

I took my son to the doctor yesterday. He has been sick since he started daycare several months ago, and we have been to the doctor quite a lot. His doctor is a really nice man from Nigeria with a complicated name. He came highly recommended from the hospital where my son was born...and he took my son while his Medicaid was still pending. He really has a way with the children. He is kind and gentle, and very realistic. I really love him.

He runs a small family practice, and many of patients are on Medicaid. He also is licensed to prescribe suboxone. I did not know this when we first started going to him almost two years ago, but I noticed some information about it in his office. I have never asked him about it or anything, because it is not something I really care about at this point in my life. I never even really thought about after the day I saw the pamphlet...until yesterday.

My son and I waited in the waiting room yesterday, speckled with random people. There are always other people in there, and my son can be quite a handful at times, so I did not notice her at first. My son, who can be overly friendly, started making eye contact with everyone, waving and saying hi. I noticed her, as she tried to avoid his eye contact.

That was when I noticed the look of pain in her eyes. I recognized that pain, that pain from the void. That anxiousness and irritability that comes with dope sickness. I could read it in her eyes, and I knew it in her movements, stiff and uncomfortable. I could see the look I wore for years, the look of trying to hold it together in a place like this for just a little while longer. I recognized the pain. I could smell it.

And I thought about her shoes. I thought about all the times I have been in her shoes, trying to act normal. Through the pain, she avoided eye contact with my son...and I bet he was real annoying to her at that moment. I know a kid in a doctor's office could have driven me crazy as i sat there waiting for my medicine, or waiting to be seen my a doctor. A lot of suboxone doctors here will have you come in in withdrawal, and wait several hours then for the medication.

She probably took the bus here, and had no where to go for those hours. She probably didn't realize it would take this long. She had a long, deep scratch that stretched across her dark, black face from her eye to her chin, marking it with pink and white where the skin had been ripped away. Her hair was disheveled, and her eyes were distantly wild with the pain and insanities in her own mind.

I thought about the days i was in those shoes...sitting in a doctors office, hoping to be given something to make me feel fucking better. Trying to fake normalcy, when all my insides were screaming with both need and want. Everyone around me, getting on my last fucking nerve...especially myself, an all the fucking pain. Trying not to puke. Trying not to lose it all together. Trying to hold on just a bit longer, as all the shit is creeping slow...

And, I was tankful to be the one with the beautiful baby. And not the one waiting on some one form or another. I don't miss that fucking shit one tiny bit.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stagnation vs. Change

Yesterday, I noticed two crack heads walking down the street, by my house. The live in my old neighborhood, and I used to see them almost everyday, walking the streets in search of money and the next hit. I actually wrote a post about them when I first started my blog, called "Crackheads on a Snowy Day." Seeing them yesterday, got me thinking...

They toted the same cart as before. They wore the same clothes, and they had that same adoring look for each other, with a hint of desperation behind their eyes. They looked exactly the same as they looked when I watched them spark up a rock almost a year ago in the snow. I think about stagnation. And I think about change.

This couple always reminded me a little of me and my ex husband. They were always together. The way they looked at each other, it was obvious how close they were. And they were always walking around the neighborhood in pursuit of their high. Not at all unlike me and my ex. That was a long, long time ago.

And a year later, these two crackheads look exactly the same. I think about all the years that went by when my ex and I were immersed in the addiction. I think about how we looked the same year after year, with our bruised arms and battered souls. And I think about how different I look now...

I think about how different things are now. I am no longer a junky. I am no longer living my life in constant pursuit. I am no longer skinny, with sunken eyes dressed in stripper clothes wherever I go. I am a little chunky, now...and I never show my stomach or milk full boobs. I am a mother now, and I have a car and my own place. All my bills are caught up, and I no longer get high before I go anywhere. Stagnant in the mire of addiction, even my physical appearance remained, I am changing and growing every day. Granted, I am growing older every day, which is something I never felt before...but I am growing closer and closer to what I want to be. And granted, my muscles and bones felt better back in those days of stagnation...but, now I am happier than I ever thought possible. In spite of everything. I am productive, turning out writing like there is nothing else in the world. I am finally whole, once more. I am changed...and I am better in spite of it all...because of it all. I am thankful to be back in the real world of the living. Change is good. Growth is good. Life is fucking good, too. Finally.

A Note On Music

A little rambling post this morning before I go on to begin the next few hours of editing and revision...the scariest part of the book!!!

I want to ramble on a little about music, today. I love music. I love all kinds of music. Punk music is my heart and soul. Let me say, Social Distortion rules...and I can't wait for their new album coming in January (?). The Bouncing Souls, the Distillers, and of course, who could forget old school Ramones. (I actually have a punk rock bathroom complete with a Ramones shower curtain!)

I toured with Phish for several years, back in 95, 96, 97, and 98. I got into the whole hippie jam band thing for a while. Although, I still really like this stuff...I got tired of the closed minded attitude of so many of these neo-hippies. Hippies are supposed to be all about acceptance, but I was not accepted in some circles when I rolled onto the lot pumping NWA's "Fuck the Police." Apparently, hippies aren't supposed to like rap music.

I love house music, too. Progressive house music. Dancing all night on X in the 90s. My ex husband was a hard house DJ. Like Jersey Hard House, almost industrial. I like it hard.

People are always shocked to find out that I really get into hip hop. I keep up with all the new releases, and I love so many rappers. Yelawolf is my new favorite. He looks like a very red neck version of my ex husband. He is from a small country town, but his voice is a little like Andre 3000 from Outkast. So many great hip hop albums have been released in the last few months.. SB...this one is for you, I fucking LOVE Kanye's new Twisted Fantasy, and that mother fucker may just see my mother fucking hands at the concert! Also, Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday...TI's new album is amazing. And the best two released recently....Rihanna's Loud is awesome, and I gotta mention Eminem's Recovery, too.

Anyway...just thinking a little about music this morning...and I want to give my respect to these hip hop artists....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Feedback Please

One more excerpt. This one describes the post traumatic stress that manifested as pure anxiety.

Feedback, please.

I cannot really remember when it started. It just seemed like one day, I could not seem to focus. I could not concentrate on my thoughts. And it seemed like my heart was racing. I could not sit still. I had this feeling inching down into my bones that was not unlike the uncomfortable, cannot sit still feeling that accompanies dope sickness. I knew it was not the dope; the methadone had me nodding out just a week before.
I sat down on the couch. I turned on the television. Flipped through channels. Too fast to really see anything. Too fast to really even catch a sound bite. Just various images. Flashing images, of all sorts of things. Flashing across the television screen, as I flip faster and faster. Trying to avoid the chaos. Flip, flip, flip…the sound of television static clicking between the flashing images. Flashing images in my mind. Alex. Blue. Johnny. Blue. Linda. Howling like a fucking cat. Flashing images of water. Just look the other way. Just pretend like you are watching the television as you flip, flip, flip. The sounds are driving me crazy.
Thoughts flitter. Birds flapping their wings, pounding my brain with the sound of flutter. Maybe I could read a book. Open up the pages, they feel rough in my hands. Close the cover, smooth to the touch…as I fingered the image of Anthony Keidis on the cover. Smooth cover. Rough pages. Uneven on the edges, when I run my hands along the sides of the closed book. Smooth cover, smooth and shiny, slipping slightly beneath my fingers. Open the book again. Read the first page. Read it over again. Read the first paragraph. I don’t know what it was about. Read it again. Uncomfortable. Stand back up.
I walked around that little living room. Again. And again. I walked out on the balcony. The air seemed to be a little colder. And I am really nervous. My heart is pounding all the time. I cannot sit still. I am smoking tons of cigarettes, but I think I want another. Liquor. Liquor. The pills do not really seem to be working.
I take a couple Seroquel. Am I building a tolerance to these things? I took several of the small ones. I waited. Still nervous. Sit. Stand back up. Walk to the kitchen. Open the refrigerator. Look inside. I see everything. I see nothing. Thoughts of cigarettes, the need for something is screaming at me in a rushed and hurried pace. Thoughts of vodka. Cheap vodka. The cheap and flavored kind.
I discovered Burnett’s vodka in those days in Rhode Island. I have always been a Jameson drinker. And I generally drank for free in the club…and I always drank for cheap in New Orleans. Well, Jameson was expensive in Rhode Island. Everything was expensive in Rhode Island. Cigarettes were six dollars a fucking pack. And I had taken to smoking cloves, my voice had become gravelly…and I always smelled like apple pie. A half gallon of Burnett’s vodka was around ten bucks.
The flavors made it more palatable. Orange, grape, sometimes raspberry. Liam and were drinking about a half gallon a day. We mixed it with Gatorade. We mixed it with Sprite. We drank it straight. I mostly just swilled it right out of that big plastic bottle, chasing it with whatever was fruity. The alcohol did not seem to permeate through the anxiety a lot of days. I dank, and drank, and drank. Seemed like nothing was getting through that insane exterior that was keeping me pacing around the room.
The pacing. Pacing back and forth. Pacing back from one bedroom, to the next. Then around the table, and through the living room. Pacing through the kitchen, before I started the circuit all over again. I wanted to cuddle with the new kitten. But, I could only hold him while I was pacing. Back and forth I wore a hole in the carpet. Back and forth I wore a hole in the linoleum.
I woke up in the dark of morning every day, with several hours of a fitful sleep under my belt, and within minutes, the anxiety took over. The pacing began. The trek to the clinic was riddled with insanity. Sitting still on the fucking city bus was impossible. Middleton is a pretty small place, and in small places…it seems like you wait forever for the bus to come. I paced the streets where the bus stop was. I walked up and down that block, looking in the distance for the bus. It always seemed like an eternity in the dark, cold autumn mornings for that damn bus to appear.
Then, once on the bus…I was instantly relieved when I saw the bus approach. I felt like the wait was over and maybe I could get on with the next step. But, all the steps of my day were riddled with anxiety and everything seemed to run together. I wanted off that fucking bus, just as soon as I had gotten on. I could not sit still in my seat. Shifting my weight, and shifting around in my seat. Looking out the window. Feeling fucking trapped. Let the clinic get here quickly. Let me off this fucking bus…it feels like I cannot breath. I want to get off the fucking bus. Let me off this fucking bus…I am screaming in my mind. I am pacing in my mind. Back and forth. Back and forth. Running all over the same ground with broken thoughts and fucked up images. Yet, somehow, I am not sure what is wrong with me. Get me off the fucking bus.
Off the bus. I want to run. I need a fucking smoke. It has only been fifteen or twenty minutes since I got on the bus. I still need a fucking cigarette. I need one bad. I probably smoked five waiting for the bus…but I need another fucking cigarette. I need to do something with my hands. Occupy my hands…and maybe I will occupy my mind. Six bucks a pack, and I am smoking two packs a day sometimes. Cloves. Newports. Whatever….
I puff on the clove cigarette like a madwoman as I walk to the clinic. I am surprised I did not pass out on those little walks. It was only about three blocks, and I would inhale a whole smoke in that time. I walked at the insane pace, with the hurried gate that is only owned by a crazy person.
The methadone clinic sat on the corner. It had one of those caddy cornered doors facing each street. This little part of downtown Newport is really cool. I wish I could go back there now. I would like to look around. I really do not remember that much about it.
It is weird how my memory is so disjointed in this time. I think that the anxiety left my memory more busted up than any drug use ever could. I cannot clearly remember so much of that time in Rhode Island. It was running by too fast in my mind. Images flashing all day, and most of the night. I was blind to the world around me because I was constantly bombarded by the world inside me. I remember bits and pieces, and I am convinced everything in my mind was disjointed in those months.
I would get my dose, gulping down the methadone with orange kool-aid each morning. I left as quickly as I came in. I am sure I breezed in with a scared expression, and a panicked manner…rushing back to the dosing line. If there was a line, I fidgeted the whole time. Shifting my weight back and forth. Twitching my hands. Looking back to the left. Glancing back to the right. Shift my weight again. Look ahead. Look back. My mind spinning, thoughts running a marathon through my mind. Shifting back and forth. Fiddling with my ring on my hand. My skin feels rough and cold. My heart…beat,beat…beat,beat…beat,beat…beat,beat…and echo in my head of that panicked heartbeat. An echo in my head of Linda screaming. Always echoes in my head of that scream. I was frantic inside, trying to keep the cover on this insanity as I shift back and forth on my feet.
When the dosing was over, it was back to the fucking bus again. I was too frantic to talk to any of the strangers at the clinic. When I did try to communicate in those mornings, my words seemed to merely jumble up in my mind, and all I could do was look stupid while thoughts raced through my head. Duh, uh, duh, uh. Mumbling and bumbling and fumbling through attempts to speak. I hoped no one asked me a question. I hoped no one in authority even talked to me. I smoked another cigarette. All I wanted to do after the methadone hit the back of my throat was get back to the safety of the apartment, and start drinking again. At least the vodka made me for forget…a little. It helped me to sit…a little. It helped me to stop shifting and shaking…a little.
Vodka. Gotta get the vodka. Of course, Liam and I emptied another bottle last night. The sun had barely come over the horizon. The bus ride here was mostly in the dark. Now, the sun seemed to be blaring all around me. Singing like an alarm that another fucking day had begun. Back on the bus, and I just wanted to get back off again. I felt like I am fucking trapped. I could not get out of here, even if I wanted to. The city flowed past me, as I barely took notice. All I could think about is vodka. And getting the fuck off the bus. I was ready for another fucking cigarette. I will need to get more smokes before I get home. I will be chain smoking while I wait for the liquor store to open.
After an eternity, the bus finally got to my destination. We passed several liquor stores. They were all closed. The two near the bus stop are also closed. I cannot take it. I was shaking, and shifting, as I waited to get off. Open the fucking door already; I wanted to scream at the driver. When the door opened, I came exploding out as if I was shot from a strange trajectory.
I guess I needed to stop at the store. I could tell the methadone was sinking down in my bones because I was starting to get hungry. Grocery store it is. Maybe I should get Liam first. I started across the street, headed home. I changed my mind. I needed to go to the store. My stomach rumbled. I stopped short, turned around. When I got to the other side, I hesitated again. Unsure. Unsure where to go. Home? Store? I continued to the grocery store. It wasn’t far.
Up and down the isles. The pacing had settled in again. At least here, in the grocery store, I could look at everything with my mad pacing. I was sure I got something sweet for breakfast. Sweets were all I craved on methadone. Cigarettes. Oh, and I went ahead and got a 12 pack. Headed back to the apartment.
When Liam woke up, I was drinking and smoking. I was pacing back and forth with a beer. This was generally how my morning went. Get to the clinic. Come home and drink. And smoke. And smoke. And pace, and pace, and pace.

Another Excerpt from the Book

Okay, so here is another excerpt...

This is when I wake up the first morning after evacuation in Rhode descibes the state of my mind in those first few days after evacuating New Orleans...

Let me know what you think.

I woke up that morning in Rhode Island, not at first unlike many of the other mornings I had recently awoke. Still groggy from a plethora of pills, opening my eyes a little leery and unsure of my surroundings. Images always flashed back in my head during those first few moments after waking up. At least for the first few weeks. I always woke up, of where I was. Then, the barrage of images, sounds, memory flooding back onto me.
Water, rushing and rising. Water all around me, up to my chest. Wet and warm, with my clothes sticking to me. Wet shoes tracking water inside until everything has water seeping into its core. Water, bloating bodies and buffering boundaries between the wards. Water, black as an oil slick shining on the surface in the light of the moon.
Darkness. Stars bright, shining down on the city that was previously starless. The moon, shedding the only light when the sun had retired, sparkling its reflection on the slight lapping waves. The sound of the water, lapping the houses in the pitch black of the night. The darkness that still sinks down into the hearts of all those who witnessed those days.
Deserted streets, and utter chaos. Buildings churning with people and a rejection that spit them back out. My own deserted soul comes following me here to Rhode Island. And I am still left cold and unfeeling, as this barrage of images pushes me way past the limits of my sanity. I look the other way…I am distracted by all I have known these last ten years.
Sickness creeps in a little, only around the edges. Flashing images, and my heart rate is raised a little, pushing out the mundane madness of withdrawal…and all these fucking pills have to be holding me over a little. I remember the cooler…full of our looted prate’s booty of pharmaceuticals. I look over at Liam, sleeping with his arm draped over the chest. We are still on that back porch in our minds.
I flash back there momentarily. Scavengers, desperate for drugs and the mayhem around had made us all a little more aggressive and feisty. Liam and I slept with one hand on our drugs for so many days; I guess it had become habit. I know the minute Johnny fell asleep, we were in his stash…I am sure they did the same with us. In the world of a junky, a friend will steal from you quicker than a stranger might. The friend has the inside advantage…they know what you got, and where you got it.
In a circle of junky friends, there is always one or two that steal. I was never one of those. I always earned my dope money; even if I had to twist my morals to get the money…I never stole. Liam, on the other hand, was quite the thief. He did not think twice about stealing to get what he wanted, and I know he stole from me more time than I can count. I wonder if he would admit to it now…or if he would still deny it to the hilt, like always.
Liam, sleeping so peacefully in a comfortable bed. I looked down at him sleeping that morning with those adoring eyes I often had for him. I noticed the perfect shape of those lazy bedroom eyes, and that chiseled nose, with his long, shaggy hair falling over his eyes. His veins, strong and bold. Long and lean, his thin legs were still adorned with a little sculpted muscle. I remember looking at him with that look in my eye that morning, as I had so many other mornings but this morning felt different. Looking back onto that morning, I realize the only other person I have ever looked at that way is my son.

Small Excerpt from the Book

I am posting a tiny excerpt from the book...let me set the scene.

This scene is in Rhode Island, after I have been evacuated from New Orleans. I am just starting to feel the dope sickness once again...

Weed can take away the pain for a while, as it helps you relax, and you kind of slip into a semi-nothingness…the uncomfortable sinking Sickness is mellowed slightly around the edges. Sedatives are good for kicking, too because they help you sleep. A kicking junky wishes he could just sleep for three days, but that is impossible as the Sickness is looming over your bed. Seroquel and Phenobarbitol were what I liked to take to help me sleep. It would only let me rest a couple of hours, but anything was a relief in the pits of hellish withdrawal. We had all three strengths of Seroquel in this cooler, and several bottles of each. But, that wouldn’t quite do it. Benzodiazapines are good for kicking, and a xanex can really mellow out the rough exterior of the kick…making it just a little more comfortable. There was a huge bottle of T3s, Tylonel 3 with Codiene. But, those are really weak…and a shit ton of them would not help as much as it would hurt my empty and rumbling stomach. There was nothing in that cooler full with hundreds of bottles of pills that could help me. I took a couple of Vicodin, and a handful of T3s, and I tried to relax.
I could not sit down. I left the apartment, headed out to just walk. I could not think about anything but the Sickness, and I could not sit down because the old, familiar foe that was pure discomfort was creeping back in. Dope, dope, fucking dope, the circular dance in my head begun, and its disparaging damage sank deep down in the dark crevices of my dead, and dying spirit. I was crumbling. My stomach was grumbling that empty grumble from the Sickness.
That empty grumbling is what eventually drives me crazy. As the Sickness sets in, my stomach is almost always empty. The stomach of a junky is completely empty at least 70% of his existence. The Sickness, which creeps in daily in strange and untreated hours in a junky’s world, hurls up everything you have eaten, as you puke and wretch, with this disgusting yellow bile seemingly emmitted from every pore. When the dope man finally shows up, your veins are quieted, and your body is longer screaming and wretching. But, you are not hungry. You are still weak, and shaking, and the last thing you could handle is food. But, it would make that grumbling come to an end.
Oh, that god awful grumbling. Stomach just flipping, and skipping, and nipping at your insides. Collapsing inward, hunger cries turned into a call for nausea. Fucking empty stomach is what starts it all, it starts the first bits of nausea, and then it just escalates in my mind and body…until the constant wretchhing starts. Wretching, gagging myself…trying to puke. Trying to eject all this fucking poison out of my system. That is what it is like, your body is trying to eject all the poisons and toxins from your body, and the Sickness is wringing your entire body out like a wet towel, with liquid bile and leftover poisonous toxins squeezed out from every possible hole. I just know I am not going to be able to take this fucking shit.
Not again. Not here. Not now. I just can’t do it. I cannot handle puking and shitting and walking around like a mad woman. Lying in bed and moaning and groaning. Hours in the bathtub, when we share a bathroom with these random people, anyway? Hell no. I am not kicking in this foreign land. I just do not have the strength to go through that shit again. Grumbling, grumbling madness gets a grip on my gastrointestinal track as well as on my fucking mind. Hell no. Hell no…I can’t take this fucking shit now. And all the while, that fucker Liam is just sleeping his fucking ass off. And I am wallowing in the mire and muck of this painful madness. Hell no. Fuck no. I just cannot. I just can’t.
Still in a bit of a frenzy, I dig through the kitchen drawers in search of a phonebook. My mind reeling back and forth, no phone book in the drawers. I look on the table. And I look with the books, and by the TV, and by the stereo. Back into the kitchen again, digging through the drawers once more. Until, I look by the phone….
Ahhhh, the fucking phonebook. Methadone. I flip through the pages, fingering the corners of the pages, reading the tabs. A, B, Cs floating by with alphabetical listings of everything from here to Providence. M…Maintenance, McDonald’s, Mechanics, ahhh…there it is, Methadone. See Drug Treatment. Flipping back once more, with a grumbling stomach driving me to panic and Sickness. D…Damage Repair, Debt Consolidation, Dirt, Docks, Driving, and ….Drug Treatment. I only hope they have a methadone program near here. I hope there is something available to me here. I hope that I will not have to go to Providence…that would be a real pain in the ass on the fucking bus.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Power of the Internet

So the book is getting closer and closer to being finished. My current goal is by Monday, but that could change...

The power of the Internet...

In my story in the book, I am in a manic state of post traumatic stress after the Hurricane. I go to describe the methadone clinic in Rhode Island, and I am having trouble picturing it in my head. I cannot even remember the name.We all know how the details can get a little fuzzy in our memories, especially for those of us whose memories are laden with multiple substances...

I google "methadone clinic in Newport RI", and the name and information instantly pop up. I click on the bold blue name of the clinic, and right before my eyes google maps provided me with a picture. You can even get up so close that you are right at the front door of the clinic, getting ready to walk in...

And all the memories of the place come rushing back over me, until I am almost there once more

Oh, the power of the fucking Internet!