TW: addiction/drugs/foul language
I will never forget that morning. Which is quite surprising because I never remembered most of my mornings or nights. This particular morning was different. It was ugly. Which isn’t saying much because most of my days and nights had become filled with some sort of ugliness. Or shame. This particular morning I awoke inside of a cardboard box. Yes, you read that right. A cardboard box. Well, it was more like a couple of cardboard boxes strewn together to make some kind of dwelling. A fort if you will. As I adjusted my eyes to the brightness of the morning sun, oooh that hurts, and the cardboard walls, what the hell?, I heard someone snoring beside me. Oh dear. Do I really want to turn my head and see who or what is next to me? Ugh. Well, I have to get up, and more importantly, get out of here anyway. As I turned my head, I saw a man sleeping soundly next to me inside the cardboard box. That is when I knew. It ends here.
Another move. Another new house. Another new school. Another new bus stop.
Mom, where is the school bus stop?
I don’t know where the hell it is, just go look for the kids standing around.
Luckily I found it. Standing at another bus stop, waiting for another school bus. Thankful for headphones and a cassette player. (that's a Walkman for some of you) It’s a great way to drown out the chaos on the way to and from school. Of course there is the added bonus that I don’t have to talk to anyone as well. I walk home and open the door. I already know, no one is there. No one is ever there. Mom has to work and who the hell knows where dad is, and who the hell cares.
New friends. New streets to run. New trouble to get into. I remember the first time I smoked a Marlboro Red cigarette, with my friend in the park. God it tasted awful! But dammit we were going to be cool and smoke! I remember my first Budweiser in the can. My first joint. My first quaalude. My first hit of acid. So much fun was had in the neighborhood park. Good times. So many lessons learned, more than school ever taught me. Which is why it didn’t matter so much when they kicked me out. Mom just made me go to work.
Working wasn’t so bad. I worked all of the typical odd jobs for teenagers. Cashier, food service, arcade. But when I was old enough I started working the bar scene. It’s easy enough to get a bar job when you’re young and cute. I made such good money. Met so many people. Had so much fun. Money and fun, easy enough when you’re young and cute. Mom was happy, I brought home the money and the men. Those were the golden years. But, like most things in life, it didn’t last. I don’t actually remember the first time someone gave me speed, AKA Methamphetamine. The drug that never sleeps. Even that started out as fun. Shit, you can party all night long on speed. No sleep necessary. Hell you don’t even need to eat. You can drink all night and not pass out. The need for speed. The party rolls on for days. And nights. And weeks. Man is it ever easy to lose count, and even easier to lose your mind. That my friends, is when the fun ends.
By now my mom has kicked me out. She likes to drink but hates the speed. She tried to make me go to rehab. That didn’t work. In the beginning of being on my own, it was easy enough to float around from friend to friend. But, like most things in life, that didn’t last long. Eventually they all kicked me out. Bridges burn fast when you’re a speed demon. Got fired from my bar job. Young and cute will get you so far, but when you start looking like a dead skeleton and you can’t hold a normal conversation anymore, what good are you to any employer? What good are you to yourself? That’s when I had to start “dancing”. Yes, stripping. Easy enough. You show up when you want and the drugs are always around. It’s a speed freak’s dream. The managers don’t give a shit as long as you do a little dance, have a little drink, and sit on someone’s lap and have a few laughs. Even those were some good days. Silver days. Eventually though, you start to fade away. You become a shell of the person you once were. Life fades to black.
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away.....
........and yes, that is exactly what you believe. Someone is coming to take you away. Or rob you. Or spy on you. Or read your mind. Or the fucking aliens are watching us all and programming our lives. You’re crawling around on floors peeking out of windows. You have tin foil on your head to protect yourself from the mind readers, or the aliens. Nobody is your friend except for your drug dealer. Oh, and that bag of dope. Nothing will come between you and that precious bag of dope, not even the fucking aliens. My Precious.
Once upon a time I went to work at one of the many jobs that I tried to keep while being a drug addict. I told the bartender in the middle of my shift that I had to go out to my car, and I'll be right back. I sat out there in the parking lot, in my car, and panicked. I drove right home in the middle of my work shift because I could not go back inside that bar. Later on in life, after I sobered up, I would learn that “I’ll be right back, I have to go out to my car'' would become the running bar joke. Yeah, I became a joke. Even funnier, I actually did that again at another job. A good casino job, too. Left in the middle of my shift and never came back. And I mean you had to walk all the way through the casino and all the way out to the parking garage to get to your car! LOL. I have seen and done some shit. I could go on about all of the crazy things, stories and people that I’ve collected on this desolate road of addiction, but I will spare you all of the ugly details. Maybe those memories can be saved for another story.
I do not remember how I ended up in this cardboard fort next to some stranger. But here I am. And there I go. They say you have to hit rock bottom before you can really pick yourself up out of the gutter. This is my rock bottom. This is literally the gutter. I know because I slept in it last night. As I look back on the long and winding road of my life, and wonder how it ended here, in a fucking cardboard box in the middle of some desert, I realize just how far and fast I was trying to run from myself. I see how desperately I tried to fill all of the empty spaces, with all of the wrong things.
My mom always said “you take yourself with you wherever you go”. I finally found myself in a fucking cardboard box. That cardboard box is where I left my addiction. Oh, it still lives with me, inside me, but it doesn’t run me. I'm not afraid of the empty spaces anymore.