Long time addict who has been in recovery for many years. Some of those years good, some bad.
The Dawn of Addiction.
I look back now, through the fog, the haze, and the many other memories, and I try to pinpoint where it all began. Trying to name an exact start to my career as an addict is extremely tough to recall. To the very best of my recollection the journey along this downward spiral began around 22 years ago. I am turning 36 this year and the 1st signs of addiction that I can remember coping with was when I was around 14 years old. This will have to suffice as our starting point.
Most 14 year olds are NO WHERE close to the "drug scene" let alone being potential clients for a drug treatment program. That is what I assume anyways. The year was 1997. The Detroit Redwings were in their prime and on a winning streak I haven't seen since. In fact they went on to back to back Stanley Cup wins for 96-97 and 97-98 seasons. These are the days that I used to idolize hockey greats such as Chris Osgood and would drive me to play street hockey when I could. That was until I started drinking alcohol heavily and partying hard.
Growing up in a lower middle class white family in the small industrial town of Lima, Ohio back in the mid to late 90s meant you had some struggling to do. It meant you grew up fast, you grew up hard, and you grew up to be tough. If you didn't live your upbringing by these guidelines then you would have had it even worse. Violence, fighting, smoking pot, smoking cigs, being a juvenile delinquent, and being a petty criminal was just part of the life you had to adopt to survive. Or so we had tricked ourselves into thinking.
My parents were never really around most of the time because they were busy working, being buried in debt, just trying to provide. My younger sister and I were mainly left to be watched by our grandmother after school. There was a time I was known to be a straight A, 4.0 GPA, student. In fact, I was invited to the computer science magnet program after my 4th grade year.
Leaving my 4th grade year, into that summer, I had only smoked pot sparsely. I had been bullied a little during 4th grade. It was THAT summer after 4th grade where I started to "grow" and would exhibit a yearning to "prove myself" as a man in the world around me. Going back to school for 5th grade I had a deeper voice, had taken boxing lessons from Rufus "Bobo" Brazil, started listening to punk rock and metal music, and started to be interested in the girls in my class. Since I had undergone so many changes with my growth inside and out, I had become quite popular in school. Unfortunately, by the end of 5th grade, that popularity was more for being the "outcast", the "bad kid", etc, than it was for being anyone honorable.
The summer between 5th and 6th grades was the times I can honestly say set my path for life. I had been arrested a few times that summer for curfew, vandalism, and drunk in public. My interest in punk rock/metal music had taken full control. My two best friends, brothers Kenny and Tyler, is where I would spend most of my life. They grew up around the same way. Kenny played guitar and Ty Carnage played drums. The 2nd floor of their house was a makeshift music studio their stepfather had created. It wasn't long and we had the 1st band formed out of any of our peer group. Covering everything from Metallica, Nirvana, Queen, The Scorpions to more radio played things such as No Doubt, The Misfits (big time), I had found my passion. So we became the cool kids. The rocker dudes. The party kids. Individually both set of parents would buy us booze and pot and would allow us to partake in such things in the name of "if you are gonna be doing it anyways, we would rather you do it at home". Riiiiiighto!
Going into middle school I had been progressively inducted into random gang violence in the city. The side of town I grew up on was not known to be the worst or even "bad" but it did have its fair share of gang activity. I seen my 1st drive by by the time I was in middle school. I had been jumped by seven 20 something old "bloods" while helping 2 neighborhood girls help find their dog. Having the life I have led by this time, I was not about to take that shit lying down.
By the time I had gotten jumped by gang members more than once, I had went home and my father, a neighbor, and my cousin all banded together and tracked these guys down, with me in tow, and we served them street justice. My father almost went to jail. Later on, we vandalized their home with racially debased graffiti like "kkk" and "white power". Having no clue as to an idea of RACISM I had looked up to this act. In the wrong way.
Going into 7th grade, I was selling pot, drinking EVERY weekend and usually a weekday or two. School was nothing to me. I got kicked out of the advanced classes. It would be common place for me to start fights just to start them. Carrying knives and other weapons to school and elsewhere was a given. I had joined a few other "whites" and we became our own gang...and we were out to make a name. Funny that we were just a bunch of punk rock drunken newb teens THINKING we knew everything.
One of the lasting memories looking back, summer between 7th-8th grades, walking from Tylers house to my house, smoking a joint, drunk. We stopped to hang out at the street hockey rink. After an hour or so there, we had been spotted by a "black" gang I was rivals with. Tyler couldn't fight to save his life, wasn't affiliated, and was ONLY the drummer for my band. So when 10-15 gang bangers walked up on just Tyler and I, I instantly knew it was JUST ME and I couldn't let Tyler go down for my way of life. As thery drew closer, I ran to the fence line where a car had wrecked into the fence. I pulled up a fence post and ran back, drew a line in the stones, told TY to take off, and proclaimed "we get this started by 1st person over this line.". As they each took turns coming to the line I would swing that steel fence post with all I had. Eventually, they backed off while saying shit like "crazy ass fucking white boy", "come on, fuck that white bitch, lets go", etc. A 1st time lesson in someone else being harmed for a life I lived is AT THE LEAST what this was for me. I was 15-16 ish. Ty was 13-14. Shit had to change.
Going into 8th grade I was a full blown alcoholic. My grandmother or mother, whoever would take me to school in the mornings when I would actually go, would have to stop and grab me a screwdriver or something of the sort just so I wouldn't have the shakes. That was the bargaining chip for attending school. Being a full blown alcoholic, a young little asshole punk, a skinhead, a drug dealer, and just an all around piece of shit in training was NOWHERE on my radar. I had friends, people liked me, I got chicks, life was fun for a mid-teen. Not having any idea of the damage I was causing myself, no idea of the life that would come later from these early choices, I was the MOST naive person I have ever seen.
One day walking home from school I was half a block from my house. Looking toward my house through the neighbors hedgeline I noticed police, fire marshalls, and things of that nature. After the recent "incident with arson" I had and no one knew, I was scared shitless. I turned to run but was spotted. I was in 8th grade being taken to police headquarters for questioning in lines of an "arson case" that had happened a few days prior. A local K-mart had been burnt down by someone using molotov cocktails and they "heard" it was me. Already being on diversion for another juvenile case, I was looking at doing some major time for this if it sticks.
This was the 1st time I could obviously tell that my parents were worried about the path I was on. This was serious. The way the detectives questioned me, as a minor, without a parent or guardian present, they dismissed all charges and chalked it up as their loss. This was my 1st streak of good luck and fortune that I should have taken as a sign to turn it all around.
By the time I went into 9th grade I had regularly smoked rock cocaine/sniffed coke, drank near everyday, smoked pot constantly, ate LSD/ecstasy regularly, and was known to break down and sniff random pills that would get you high, and had been COMPLETELY kicked out of my parents house never to return. There was no boundaries that existed for my drug use and party habits. All I cared about was having a good time, having fun with friends, making new friends, and the "image/persona" I was getting from people coming TO ME for their drugs. I felt like a big shot, but in fact ,hindsight says all I was was a "knowitall" can't teach me nothing, dumb shit, little kid. Still insanely surprised to this day that I didn't father a kid before I was 18.
I dropped out after 9th grade to pursue full time "rock star" life so I had thought. I just HAD TO invest more time into dealing dope and partying. (WHAT A FUCKING IDIOT loser!?!?) My entire life had become just a kaleidoscope of doing any drugs I could find more and more, working full-time with my own landscaping company I started at 16, and playing music every chance I got and the fucked up thing is, I was happy with that. I had friends, People liked me. I made money and was well on my way to getting my GED before my graduating class even graduated. According to ME back THEN, this was being an adult.
17 years old and actual adulthood approaching fast. I had years been removed from having a stable living environment other than the kind treatment centers and jails provided. Living with a large group of friends in their early 20s, smoking opium (think opium den), and drinking nightly was where my life was before I even turned 18. I was not even a legal adult and I was a FULL FLEDGED LEGIT alcoholic, addicted to cocaine, had dosed LSD over 400 times probably, started selling drugs other than pot, haven't spoke to my parents in 2 years unless its "bail me out" calls, and all I had was this life I stuck myself with and a steady girlfriend that I would treat like shit. YAYYY MEEE! Big winner!! EVEN BIGGER LOSER!
The TRUTH behind the war stories.
I have struggled with severe major depression my entire life almost. My 1st suicide attempt predates any of my drug or alcohol use. Having tried to hang myself and then be hospitalized for the 1st time when I was 13 years old. Obviously something wasn't right.
Never having really felt "love of family" like I would see with other families even in our own economic class, it made me feel "less than" inside. I struggle with that to this very day. I would turn to drugs and criminal activity to replace the feeling that "unconditional love and acceptance" would seemingly bring to others. I found that whenever I would harm myself, almost died from partying too much (alcohol poisoning), get the shit beat out of me from picking a losing fight, or all those times I would get arrested is WHEN it seemed my family showed concern the most. Usually it was because they wouldn't answer my phone call unless it was jail, hospital, or some stranger happen to find me on the side of the road. Then they would "feel obliged" to speak to me. That is what I craved. I have been COMPLETELY alone most of my life apart from fairweather friends. Having never had any substantial connection with someone who wouldn't end up leaving like EVERYONE always did is a huge issue for me.
MY entire adolescence can be summed up in one sad explanation. I just wanted to fit in. I just wanted to feel part of something. That explains why I joined a skinhead group when my cousin who was my only male role model who didn't turn their back on me introduced that life to me. Even though I would KNOW it as wrong and by the time I turned 19 renounce my ways and leave that life, I still gave and risked so much for that "identity crisis in the making" just to experience the missing feeling of "familia" I was missing. Sad, but very true. Turns out my cousin (by marriage) liked to talk big game about being a skinhead superior race fuckhead while the whole time behind closed doors physically abusing my actual family member. FUUUCK THAT!
This entire explanation has lead me into relationship issues, trust issues, abandonment issues, and to this day has made me extremely isolated feeling and depressed that I was never "good enough" for ANYONE to stand by me. OH fucking well buttercup...life goes on. That is what I would always be faced with when asking for advice from family. Even when I just needed to talk something out in detail, never would I be granted that without feeling obviously "less than".
SO...now that the reader has been given an explanation for how my true adolescence went by, and knowing that I have left out SOOOO MUCH (probably 50%), and going further into this junkie diary...use this explanation in your heart to figure out for yourself why and for what reasons, things have went like they did.
Ages 18-20ish (The Wreck)
To be totally honest I have a true to form "black out" period from the ages of 18-20. I was sooo drunk, sooo much. Black out drunk daily almost. I even learned to term it "time travelling". We will pick up when I was in college.
I wasn't yet 21 and was in college. I went to The University of Northwestern Ohio for High Performance Automotive. Also did my work study at the college working for the maintenance department. It was a blast is all I can remember! Halfway into my freshman year at college I got into a very bad car accident. I was at a complete stop in my 1987 Ford Tempo one morning on my way to class, running errands 1st. Of course I was hungover and barely conscience. A guy driving a 70s model Caprice Classic ran into the backend of my Temp doing about 60-70 without braking. My car got pushed under the truck in front of me while the truck pushed into a car in front of them, and that car got pushed into a tree. The metal part inside of the headrest tore through the cushioning and drove straight into my head.
I woke up in St. Rita's Medical Center days later. Having no recollection of the wreck. My parents were there asking me "What about school?" and "Where are you going to live?". I was confused. I answered those questions with "What do you mean? I dropped out!" and "I will live with my girlfriend (non-existent)." and had NO IDEA that I was in college or living in my 2nd apartment all to myself. My memory has never been the same since. Might be way I have a "black out" period of a couple years, who knows!
Doing what I have always done, signing out A.M.A. and leaving the hospital with the back of my skull stitched shut I had to go drink and drug. That is ALL I knew had to happen. I couldn't process what had happened. As soon as someone gave me directions to where ever it was I lived, I was gone.
When I arrived at this HUGE yellow multiroom house with the windows on the 1st floor entirely boarded up, spray paint graffiti across the front and side (mainly right on front "PAPER STREET"), punk rock blaring, friends everywhere welcoming me warmly, I knew....I was HOME.
The Days of PAPER STREET
These days of my life are probably some of my most fond. Since the wreck I hadn't touched cocaine or pills but I drank like a fish. Seeing how I was helping grow and sell AMAZING psilocybin mushrooms, of course I was tripping almost daily again. Also, somewhere I had obtained a prescription for xanax bars.
My last mental health checkup was around 18 years old. It was no where on the map of my life to get mental health help that I desperately needed looking back. Unfortunately. Hey, I was surrounded by friends. People liked me.
This house was nothing more than a punk rock squat house that I had leased and paid rent at. We had bands play the 2nd floor living room nightly, no less than 20 people in the house at any given time, have backyard fistfight club (because Fight Club had recently came out and we all fell in love...hence...PAPER STREET), drinking, drugging, prostitution probably (well at least that one chick), people getting seriously injured, and the entire time.....the local police HAAAATED US. We were a few houses down from the corner of Metcalf and Wayne street. The house was on wayne, a one way street, busy most any time of day. All the debauchery went on right out in public. I have no clue HOW it lasted those 3 months it lasted but, boy, did it ever last.
After a while the police started using unfair tactics like planting guns and drugs in my 1988 Crown Vic LTD and would show up during the busiest of times to "bust me". Sucks for them that I would almost never sleep and would watch them early in the morning hours do this. Soon as they would leave, I would go get the shit out and keep it. That pissed them off good though! It came time to move.
Having met the mother of my children Salina that summer, and knowing I needed to settle down if I wanted a normal life ever. We talked and decided to pack up and move in with my Uncle Ed in Arkansas. Yeehawwww! Not to mention, he lived in the middle of nowhere on Chapel Acre Road in a DRY COUNTY!!
Sheila A Myers from Elmira on September 06, 2019:
Thank you so much for sharing your story!! I too am a recovering junkie, and I really enjoyed reading this.