What is wrong with this picture?

What was I thinking? I’m talking about the blatant disregard for my own and others safety. In the description of what it was like, in my last post, It’s Payday!

Ah the mind of a budding addict. I was craving a feeling of connection. I had a vast hole, or it felt like one, in my being. Something was missing. I used substances to alter my brain and body in order to feel different. The trouble is that I was severely impaired. I could care less about myself or others, while at the same time being quite self-absorbed.

I’m better now thanks to the grace of God and the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous

I have posted this song before but it’s pertinent

It’s Payday!

This piece is a brief description of “what it was like” in the fairly early stage of my addiction to alcohol and other stuff.

The year 1978. I am a utility assembly finisher by trade at Smith Tool Company. One of two, in that era, largest manufacturers of rock bits, used for drilling for oil and in other types of mining. I operate several machines in the performance of my job including, grinders drill presses lathes etc. Safety first right?

I am 18 years old and I have been smoking weed and drinking with increasing frequency. I worked first shift 6:30 AM-2:30 PM I arrive at work having smoked a joint or several bong hits of Columbia gold cannabis sativa. At that time the indica green bud had not yet become preferred. It was some good shit, trust me.

Today was Thursday, which was payday. We would get our checks sometime between morning break and lunch. This occasion, a sort of routine was developed over time with my buddy Dennis. Upon release for lunch, for which we have half an hour to complete, no time is wasted. Out to the parking lot into Dennis’s van, a couple joints rolled quickly. One fired up and we’re  off to the bar that will cash our checks. 15 minutes in and out and off to Dell Taco which was one of the first to serve a 32 oz drink with a meal. Stop at the liquor store to grab a half-pint of Wild Turkey 101 proof Kentucky Bourbon. I love that stuff and it provided a nice compliment to the weed buzz. If one drinks the beverage to the top of the sun on the logo printed on the cup a half-pint fits quite nicely into the beverage. The second joint smoked on the way back to the factory, walk back into work booze in tow and security is none the wiser.

wild_turkey_logoImage source- whiskeyid.com/google

Looking back on this now I realize how hazardous it was for me to be operating large machines and grinding small parts by hand was but I was indestructible then.

That is just a taste of what it was like for me way, way early on in my using life.

Thanks for stopping by

some music from the era

 

Happy New Year?

The mood was dark and somber. Another year had passed, we were all still stuck “On Stupid”.

The following is a composition I wrote for a writing class in September 1997. The events took place New Years Eve 1993. I am editing today as I transcribe from the paper I turned in…SOME SITUATIONS AND DESCRIPTIONS ARE DISTURBING AND FOR A MATURE AUDIENCE

Happy New Year?

The air was thick and still. A fog had settled onto West Capital Boulevard. Across the Sacramento River from the capital city of California, it was in another county, another world. Two thousand motel rooms line the next two miles of road, which I affectionately referred to as, West Crack and Smack.

The year was 1993, New Years Eve. The mighty Jester of the cosmos had guided my path into severe addiction. I was, at that time, a crack cocaine addict, and was selling heroine to help support my habit. I sold my wares, late at night to prostitutes and others on the strip. My supplier handled the demand during the day. Everyone on the street goes by an alias, mine was Pollo, “Chicken” in Spanish. Cavaillo, was my supplier and “mentor”. Little did I know, at that time, that there had been many just like me, to arrive on the scene, then to disappear without a trace, beaten, broke and used. The street takes it’s toll, Cavaillo and the others knew what was happening, I was headed to “the curb”.

Tonight, I was on my way to a room at the Pacific Motel for a celebration of sorts. Crystal, one of the old-timers on the street had invited me to a small gathering. She had been trying to get close to me ever since I arrived two months prior to the evening’s festivities. Victoria, was the girl who introduced me to Cavaillo and was very careful, before tonight, to keep me clear of other girls on the street. Vicky and I had a falling out, due to my discovering that she had been stealing from me. I caused a commotion, that led to me being arrested for possession of paraphernalia, and Vicky high tailed it away just before the cops showed up. That was Christmas Eve. Vicky knew all the crack dealers and she kept me away from them so I couldn’t score without her. She used Crack and was addicted to heroine. Tonight, however I was free to do as I pleased, I chose to hang out with Crystal and her friends.

The mood was dark and somber. Another year had passed, we were all still stuck  “On Stupid”. Next year would be better, maybe. We were lonely people, doing our best to fill the void by surrounding ourselves with others of our kind. I sensed a phony attitude of optimism about the future, but that was probably just me. I arrived fairly early, only Crystal and a man named Bill were there, when I got there. Bill was a tall man with a medium build. He wore a cowboy hat, so I naturally kind of looked up to him, due to my background on the ranch. He was very polite and friendly. I assumed that he was one of Crystal’s regular customers. Crystal was wearing something flimsy. One could see the lines of experience on her face. She had dirty blonde hair, cut fairly short, and with a dated style. The was an aura of independent wisdom about her. She was resourceful, confident and had a cynical sense of humor. Crystal greeted me and made me comfortable.

The room had two beds, a small table a dresser and a TV. Small talk ensued before the arrival of more participants in our modest celebration. A quiet knock on the door interrupted our conversation. Crystal got up and let them in. Larry and Rex were introduced. These two were meth addicts, the looked virtually the same. They were emaciated, wearing torn faded jeans, grayish white tee shirts and old sneakers. their hair was dirty and stringy. They were in constant fidget mode. I thought that they would jump right out of their skin at any moment. They were talking about how someone had done them wrong and the revenge they would get. I thought to myself that they were doing the easy part, talking about it.

Just then, came another knock on the door. It was Brian, he appeared normal enough, wearing a Polo shirt and khaki slacks. It turns out Brian was only there for service by Crystal. They politely excused themselves to the bathroom. I remember being surprised at how quickly the “deed” was done. Then Brian was out the door as quickly as he had arrived.

The conversation was dwindling, as we all really didn’t have anything of substance to talk about. My pager went off, time to go to work. I dialed the number on the display. It was Beth; she was new, only for me as she had recently gotten out of jail. We made arrangements for a rendezvous. The addicts love me. I sold Cavaillo’s dope, the best on the street, but I also answered and delivered quickly. This is vital, when a junky is dope-sick from the onset of withdraw. I did well selling heroine, as long as I did not smoke up my bas capital for another batch. It was time to go though, Beth would be waiting, just a few blocks down the road. I rode a bicycle, I found that this attracted less attention than a car, or in my case and small truck. I found Beth, and the transaction went smoothly.

I was on my way back, when the lights of a police car, came on behind me. Fear clenched my heart and sent a spike into my gut. I was carrying about $900 worth of dope, prepared into packages for sale, and $600 in cash. Cavaillo had coached me well for times such as these. The dope was stashed, none, too comfortably, in my crotch. The money was folded neatly in the palm of my hand, under my riding glove. I stopped and waited patiently for the officer to get to where I was. It was not far but everything was now, moving in slow-motion, or at least it seemed so. He asked to see my I.D. and said seen me talking to Beth. He inquired about my knowledge of her history. I played stupid. He commenced to pat me down, while asking if I had any weapons. He told me that Beth was a known prostitute; “really?” lol 😀 He put the handcuffs on me and had me sit down while he went back to the squad to check for any warrants on me. After what seemed like half an hour, he came back and took the cuffs of and told me that I was in the system but there were no warrants. “Get a light on that bike, and go straight home” he told me. “Yes sir” I responded, and off I went into the fog.

What the hell am I doing here?  I thought to myself. The next thing I thought about was getting a nice big hit of cocaine smoke into me and I could forget everything while the rush hit me. It was all that really mattered to me. Escape from reality. That is exactly what I did. The party was still going on when I got back. I told everyone about my encounter with the police, and how clever I had been to travel light with nowhere really to search. We all laughed and carried on; I would get a lot of mileage out of that story and still am lol 😀 We all went out to eat breakfast and I went to bed.

I remember this night as a reflection of my state of mind at that time. To some it may be disturbing. Maybe sick, twisted, even immoral. To me nothing else mattered but getting high and keeping the ways and means intact to continue. I was running away from how I felt. Quite an exercise in futility, at least doing it in that way.. It was, however, very necessary, as I look back on it today. I have grown to have a deep appreciation for life and no longer have a need to escape how I feel. I am looking for, (pilgrimage), and finding ways to make a contribution to life instead of demanding life contribute to me. I have embarked on a path to improve my life, with it’s incumbent fits and starts, and to connect with others. I am immensely grateful for my new found attitude, and am willing to share my discoveries with anyone who cares to listen. We are here, I believe, to love, learn and all laugh at the joke that the mighty jester shows us.

Peace

Jeff

 

 

 

Easier

It was easier for me to continue to be dishonest, deceit had become an ingrained habit and because there was a grain of truth in the story or even once was true, it was more believable than an honest expression of what was.

I couldn’t exist comfortably in who I really was, I had to embellish my existence, then there was a split, the true definition of neurosis

It continued and the lies got more dramatic and I had to cover for the initial withholding, eventually it evolved into psychosis and none but divine intervention saved me.

Who The F%*k am I

Hi how are you?…no! I am serious How are you doing, feeling, etc?  I am interested.

Welcome to my blog. I have invited all to share in my ramblings and musings about my journey of self discovery. At this point, I shall inform you a little, (nearly all) about myself.

I entered this realm in Denver Colorado at the end of the 1950’s. I grew up mostly in southern California (across the orange curtain) Newport and Irvine to be precise. I remember riding my bicycle on I 405 between Culver and Jeffrey before it was finished. I am among a unique demographic that rode the Pink Bus to the beach during summer.

I spent my high school years in rural northern California, Butte County. I cherish those years and feel very fortunate to have been exposed to the business and life of food production. Sadly at this point in my life I felt lacking somehow, I didn’t know it at the time but as I look back, I know it to be true. My response to that was drinking and smoking weed, to alleviate my perceived inadequacy.

The consequences of the use of substances, was not getting enough credits to graduate high school with my class. Now what? Let’s move! Ha ha! The geographic solution, often attempted, never really works. But I digress lol

I moved back to southern California to live with my dad, who has traveled the world as a mining engineer. He got me a job in the factory that built the rock bits, that he helped design. …This is going on way too long

Let’s see if I can pick up the pace here. Keeping in mind that my addiction continues to progress with brief interruptions, in the form of crisis, moving, general chaos and running out of money. Bought and crashed a new car, lost my job, started in the hospitality field as bellman and busboy, my car got repossessed, gained and lost love and reached the end of any good will left from my family due to abusing their generosity, without any gratitude.

I joined the navy during peacetime in 1980 and managed to get discharged under less than honorable conditions. Upon leaving service, I was graciously offered a position as a hand on my step fathers, soon to be acquired cattle ranch in central Nevada. It was a 2,500 cow operation with 5,000 acres and permits for grazing on 25,000 acres of Federal Government land. I spent a day helping feed the cows, we started before dawn and didn’t finish until after dark. I was smoking weed the entire time. The deal on that ranch fell through and My step dad felt obligated to do something so He allowed me to stay on another ranch he had in Oregon.

While there I got my girlfriend pregnant twice, witnessed and experienced the trauma of terminating those. Bought an ATV wrecked it got another one and nearly killed myself and a neighbor’s son wrecking that one.

Moved back to the Sacramento area where my family lived and started back in the restaurant business, busing and waiting tables. I decided to venture into the back of the house and found a place where my people dwell and thrive. I got help to go to Culinary School and nearly made it through that program before I screwed that up. I did manage to learn quite a bit and was doing well with a job in the restaurant where I was doing an internship with a pastry chef.

The details of what and how much I used are, in my opinion irrelevant. From the stories I have heard at meetings, It all leads back to The Longing . The reason I used drugs, which led to the most severe consequences, but also using people and things to help me feel okay. Wow okay here is where Happy New Year? is inserted

They told me not to smoke crack and now I live in Minnesota..No place I’d rather be.

July 24 1994 I arrived at MSP Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport. I was met by a fellow from Hazelden and I was going to find my bride in treatment, Oh my F’n God what a sick puppy I was, I really thought that…She could relate to my plight and I to her’s There’s a reason we’re told not to enter into any kind of loving relationship within the first year of continuous sobriety. One just does not have the emotional maturity to deal with those feelings and it just ends up being another addiction. I recommend more than 18 Months or better yet don’t do it until you don’t want to.

I struggled a bit early on and relapsed a couple times then gained about 2 years of continuous clean/sobriety. During that time I was introduced to meditation and learned about not being attached to results. It was about this time that I started to work in the front of the house of a restaurant in Minneapolis. That is when I began to think I could just drink and maybe smoke a little herb and not have any problems. I am just now realizing that the issue of my separation from my true eternal self  was driving me to seek fulfillment with and from the people I was cavorting with. I was of course disappointed, leading to discomfort /pain to the degree that only using could give me relief.

I was off again to the dope man. I was on a binge that lasted a few months, which landed me back into inpatient treatment at Hazelden. I emerged fairly humiliated and dejected. I wasn’t done. I had to go out one more time briefly when, at that time a new model of treatment had been introduced by some fellows I had met in meetings.

The Retreat in Wayzata  http://www.theretreat.org/  that uses the “Big Book” Alcoholics Anonymous as the guide by having residents work through the twelve steps just as the first 100 alcoholics did.

This worked I have been clean/sober ever since. This is only a prelude to my actual “awakening” I ambled along mostly unaware and using the principles I had been taught to stay sober and mostly spiritually fit. The key being is that I remained sober.

That is what is was like and what happened.

I got married fathered 2 daughters and still made several poor decisions that lead to my getting divorced. Follow my updates to learn more if you like