If you’re reading this you have probably stumbled upon Gringo Bill’s website by accident because you were up at 2:30am surfing the internet for I can haz cheezburger. This is how addiction starts. Its like a whisper in your ear “ It’s ok, just do it. It won’t hurt anyone really.” Then before you know it, its rushing toward a small vietnamese village at a million miles an hour while you’re running behind it in a ball of chaos, fury, confusion, and sadness.
Dont worry buddy, its all good. you can slow down for now. Your addiction isn’t THAT bad and really is not even hurting anyone else. Right, and the Germans didn’t kill jews, attila the hun wasn’t a sonofabitch who mercilessly raped and pillaged.
So lets get to what addition is. Websters dictionary defines addiction as: ad·dic·tion noun \ə-ˈdik-shən, a-\
: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)
Society defines addiction as the desire and inability to maintain control over something/someone/someplace. To be an addict in todays society is to fall head over heels for something (anything) with our respite. Could it almost be likened to having OCD? ADHD? Maybe, but let’s take a look at the bigger picture. I am going to share a story with you about my early childhood, one filled with adventure, horror, drama, comedy, and maybe even some factualities. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show…..its bound to be a good one.
“Why does it have to be so damned cold?” I think to myself as I stand on the side of the gas station waiting for the grey hound bus to arrive. Its 1998, it’s cold, and I am in Albuquerque, NM waiting for a bus to take me home to Phoenix. I just watched them put my brother in the ground, I’m coming down from a 2 week meth binge, and my dad is no where to be found. What a surprise there. He has never been there. Unless he needed something or he was on furlough from the “farm”. I feel as though the world is folding in on me, and the only thing I can think of is getting back to phoenix and hitting up my dealers house. Man what I wouldn’t give for a big bowl of smurf dope, I can smell it as the torch melts the first few crystals, the first hit is always the best. It’s the smell of chemicals, mixed with addiction. Addiction. It’s a word I’ve been best friends with since I was 12. First it was sex, then marijuana, it was heroin for a short stint, then alcohol and now I find myself addicted to meth. Don’t get me wrong, I still dabble in all of the above on occasion, and I definitely still have sex as much as a fat kid eats Twinkies, but my one true love will always be meth.
What, you are asking yourself, would bring me to this level, this level of self loathing and destruction? Over the years I have asked myself the same question, and now that I’m pushing 30, I think I finally have the answers.
I started drinking when I was 12, I had sex when I was 12 and smoked my first doob when I was 12. 12 was the magical number. But let’s travel even farther back to a time where innocence should have been but was replaced with feelings and thoughts of suicide, hatred and self loathing.
My very first cognizant memory was when I was 4. It was dusk and we were visiting a friend of my mom’s, more than likely she was inside getting high as I was running around outside, alone. I guess in that time there wasn’t too much concern for child predators. Or at least she wasn’t too concerned. This family lived next door, I used to play with their kids all the time and they had a German Shepard. This dog was always around the kids, never snapped at any of us. He would always walk me back next door, making sure I got home safely. One night, something must have been triggered and as we were walking home, I remember walking beside him, then I remember him on top of me, growling, and trying to eat my head whole. I was confused, I was scared and I was alone.
I remember hearing yelling, as my mom’s friend Lucy came running out with a broom, all the while my mom was on the porch. Why wasn’t she helping me? Why wasn’t she running to my rescue? I remember sitting in the front seat of the car, more specific Lucy’s El Camino, asking my mom to stop pouring water on my face, because I can’t see and I it’s drowning me. I remember lying in the urgent care hospital bed, crying for my sister, crying for my grandma. I can remember closing my eyes, and opening them and my sister was there. Holding my hand, telling me it’s ok. And it was ok, she was there. She was there to protect me. I didn’t want my mom, I wanted my sister. I wanted my dad, but thanks to my mom, he was locked up again. I guess it’s not her fault really, but at the time I felt it was. I felt that she could have done better to keep him clean and keep him out.
I remember staring out my window at the hospital, there was a bar across the street, and I could have sworn I would watch my mom walk across the street and go in there and not come out for hours. I remember going through the double doors, into surgery and begging my sister to come with me, because I was scared. I remember my sisters face, as they took me back. Anger mixed with fear mixed with hate. I can remember praying that she didn’t hate me, praying that I hadn’t messed up again. I didn’t know that her anger was towards my mother, and I would later find out that once again she wasn’t around to protect her children.
Fast forward a few years…..we had just moved into a house off of Los Padillas, this house had an acre of land and this huge hay loft in the middle of the field. I used to walk to school, which was a few blocks away. I would hunt for crawdads in the irrigation ditch behind our house; I would sit and watch the sunset with my best friend Freddy. Freddy was just as broken as I was. I was destined to marry him. He was my first kiss at 7; he was the only person who understood what it felt like to be ignored. His dad used to beat his mom, he would come home from work and get drunk and the yelling would start. I could always guarantee that Freddy would be with me until his mom called him home. He lived right next to us, and sometimes his dad wouldn’t let him come over. So we would sit by the chain link fence our fingers interlaced, ants crawling over us. Laughing about the time when the crawdad pinched my finger and it wouldn’t let go.
We would tromp through his mom’s vegetable garden, helping her pick cucumbers; we would lie on his bean bag chair in the family room watching movies or T.V. We would always watch Transformers, or G.I. Joe, or He-Man. He wanted to be He-Man when he grew up and I wanted to be She-Ra. And we would have a big farm and raise animals and kids and have a garden. He told me he would never hit me, and I told him I would always love him, unconditionally. I told him that would forever be best friends, no matter what. And when we were 30 if we weren’t married we would marry each other. I sometimes lie in bed wondering where he went. What did he end up doing with his life? Does he love his wife, his kids and his family? Did his dad finally stop hitting his mom? Does his mom still have a garden? Did he get his ranch with the animals and never ending love? I wonder if he ever thinks about me, and for a fleeting second I can feel him. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it feels true.
That house was a house of discovery for me. There were other houses along the way, the house on silver, where my sister locked me in the basement, the house on copper where my mom would bring Charles over to hook her up with coke and weed. There was the house where I last saw my dad until I was a teenager. I will get to all of these, but I want you to see that I wasn’t always broken. I wasn’t always chaotic and angry. I was made to love. I see that now, I am a caregiver, I am a lover and I am the true essence of a mother. I am a fountain of never ending love. So why, why am I so broken? Maybe I feel broken, but in all reality I am completely whole, with a few nicks and scrapes.
That house, in Los Padillas, nestled in the south valley just out side of Albuquerque was the start of many things for me. It was where my fondest memories were created with my father, where my mother would become jealous and threaten to call my dad’s PO. Where my brother Michael would take care of me when I was sick, and call me a runt and a jerk when I invaded his button collection. Where I would find the dirty needles and cotton balls, the bent spoons behind my dresser, and they didn’t belong to my dad. Where I learned to set the timing on a 1984 Nissan Sentra, and where I would remember walking out to my dads shop, two seconds after he had just mainlined a spot of heroin. I remember having my first holy communion, my grandma so proud of my white dress and perfect veil. I remember my mom intentionally burning my veil because she was jealous that my grandma was paying attention to me. I remember all my aunts and uncles, and cousins and family coming to visit and my mom sitting in her room getting high. My dad, my grandma, they were proud of me.
I remember my dads 1957 Candy apple red Chevy pick up, fully restored with a wooden deck bed in the back, and bouncing on the seat as we drove down the street coming home from baskin robbins. Lynrd Skynrd playing on the radio, the windows down, the wind tossing my hair around and my dad laughing, calling me leggers. I remembered being loved. I remember my dad loving me and my mom hating me. I remember my sister visiting and my mom ruining the visit. I remember lying in bed at night listening to the sounds outside, wishing Freddy could be with me. A child at the age of 7 shouldn’t know what sex is, or what feelings this act invokes in you, but I wasn’t a normal child. I was a child who had been molested, by people she trusted. I was a child who understood what addiction meant, but would never completely understand what addiction was until I was 12.
We moved from that house, we moved from that house to another house. This house was downtown. It was a 2 story town home. We moved from that house, from Freddy and from those long gone memories. The day we moved, I never saw him again. I never saw the boy I was supposed to marry and have a family with. The boy who would grow up to be a man, who would love me unconditionally and cherish every word I said.
This new house was cool, it had a spiral staircase up to the 2nd floor, my room had a view of the city, and the kitchen had brown Saltillo tile. This was my last Christmas with my father, right before he went back to the joint and right before we moved to Austin. I didn’t care what I got for Christmas, as long as I could sit on my dads lap and open presents. As long as I could smell his old spice cologne and feel his stubble on my face when he woke me up Christmas morning.
Everywhere I went I made friends. I made one friend here; she was a lonely old lady. Her name escapes me now, but I remember how she loved turtles, despised slugs, and would tolerate little kids. She always had treats for me, and would always let me feed the turtles. She had 25 or 30 turtles through out her house. We would sit outside and pour salt on the slugs to kill them. We would let the turtles run (more like meander, because her turtles didn’t run!) through her small veggie garden. We would giggle and eat fig newton’s and tease the turtles. I remember times like these randomly, they come and go. I don’t know if it’s the drugs that I’ve done or possibly the fact that I’ve blocked a lot of trauma and heartache. Either way, they follow me where ever I go, always and forever lingering.
It was at this house where I first thought of suicide. A thought that would haunt me for years to come and will probably still haunt me on my death bed. It was Christmas Eve, my mom and dad were fighting and I was upstairs, in my room, twirling and dancing in the new skirt and top my dad had gotten me for Christmas, I could hear the sound of music coming from the T.V., I was watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, in full Christmas cheer when my mom came home. She was angry at something, something I did, something someone did to her, something she did. It was never the same scenario; it was always something different that made her angry. But you always knew, even if it wasn’t you, you would get the worst of it.
She never hit me; she would attack me with words. Words were her weapon of choice. She was a smart woman; she knew that if she could get you, she would do it with words. She would shoot words at you hotter than 50 cal bullets whizzing past your head. Her words could tear you down in 10 seconds flat, or your money back. Her favorite word was “asshole”, oh man she loved to use this word on me. “Why are you such a little asshole?” “Quit crying you asshole.” Little did she know that later in life that word would instill violence and anger in me, an anger that no one would contend with, an anger to make Hitler himself shit his pants. Words, words that she was so good at tossing about, would some day come back to haunt her. But that’s for later in this tale. Right now I want to give you the foundation for where I came from, what I’ve done, and where I am now.
That night I knew something was bubbling up inside of me, I was 8, my thoughts should have remained on waking up to finding presents left by Santa Clause, and the thought of a snowy Christmas morning. Instead they were tuned to thoughts of suicide. She was pushing the only person I could feel safe with away. She had pushed my sister out of my life, and now my father. I was 8. I don’t recall what they were fighting about; I think it had something to do with money or drugs or something. The week before my cousin had stayed with us, and apparently he had written a check from my mom’s account and cashed it, and I think that she had blamed my dad. Because at the time, no one from her side of the family could have done any harm.
I remember opening these wooden shutters, they were a rough wood, the kind that leaves splinters, and they smelled of oil and mildew. The kind of mildew you find in the forest under rotting tree stumps. I remember opening them, I remember lifting the window up, and I remember pushing out the screen and watching it fall into the snow below. Beneath my window was my dad’s prized possession, his truck. I remember feeling sad about me falling on the truck, although I was 8, I was still a porky kid and I would probably cause some damage. I looked up, and I could see the lights of the city, I could feel the crisp air whipping my face and I could smell burning pine in the air. It was Christmas Eve; families across the valley were sitting down to dinner eating Tamales, and chile rojo, biscochitos, and empanadas. They were singing and welcoming weary travelers celebrating la posadas, luminarias were being lit, abuelitas were singing traditional cantadas and the air was filled with the essence of Albuquerque.
I was a porky 8 year old girl, with braids standing in a window watching over the city, I could hear the laughter of the city, and I could see the city moving, breathing. I stood in my window, my heart racing, the cold air hitting me. I heard my dad’s voice, then I felt his arms wrap around me. The arms I felt safest in. The arms that held me as a baby, carrying me out of the delivery room, the arms covered in prison ink with women behind chain link fences and prison guard towers watching over them, with Spider webs, and “ruka’s” with big tits. I felt his arms wrap around me and hold me. I could smell his cologne, and I heard him say it was alright, that it was ok. He was here, he would protect me. I don’t know if he knew what I was thinking that night, or what happened, but I know he saved me. I was 8 years old. He closed my window, closed and secured the shutters, and sat down with me for a bit. When he left, I could hear them fighting. This time they were fighting over me. She was jealous that he had left her to check on me. She was yelling at him that I could have taken care of myself, I was ok alone. I was a big girl.
I remember gathering all of my presents I had been given, mostly from her, I kept the black and white checked skirt and top, and I threw them down the stairs at her, hoping something would hit her. I was angry at her for all the names, she called me, all the cookies she burnt, and all the times she spent away from me. Wasn’t she supposed to be my mother? Wasn’t she supposed to be the one to protect me? I threw my presents down the stairs, went back to my room and locked the door. One solid push was all it took for my dad to open the door, and I can remember him standing there smiling, his blue eyes sparkling, his hair a mess from running up the spiral staircase, and the slight smirk on his face. That smirk told me I had pissed her off for good. That smirk told me she was gone. She had left. She would be back, but for now she was gone. He came back and in his arms were all my presents. He helped me organize my room, put everything away. Then we went downstairs and while he ate cottage cheese with sugar, I ate vanilla ice cream and we watched frosty the snowman.
I was asleep when he left. She had come home drunk, high, and yelling. I think he hit her. She deserved it. I remember the yelling. Always yelling. I fell back asleep, and when I woke up he was gone. There was a note, telling me to be good, he loved me and would see me soon.
And like that he was gone. I wouldn’t see him again for a few months. Not until we moved into the house with the high ceilings and red velvet carpet. Once again my mom had managed to run him off. I never knew until later in life where he went. I never asked him, and he never told me. There are so many memories of my dad, and hopefully I can touch on all of them. There is so much to be told about this life, and the person who holds it. The good, the bad and the indifferent. While the preface might be depressing or seemingly filled with a horrible child hood, there are good memories. There are memories of sitting in the kitchen with my grandma, of sitting on my dad’s lap watching Dune, or learning to swim or participating in the posadas. This is merely a foundation for what’s to come next.
Red Velvet and Guns
Webster’s defines the word fall as the following:
Fall verb \ˈfȯl\
: to come or go down quickly from a high place or position
: to come or go down suddenly from a standing position
: to let yourself come or go down to a lower position
The house with the red velvet carpets, the high tin ceilings, the luminous and open living room and the brass bed. I had Flannel penguin sheets courtesy of my sister, Clothes in black bags, and bay windows overlooking the yard. My mom and dad had a brass bed and on the first night we were there he got his head caught in between the bars. He was pissed, angrier than a snake in a jar.
When someone falls from grace, they say it’s to sin and get on the wrong side of god. When my dad fell from grace I was 9, He fell from the pedestal I had placed him on. My mom for the umpteenth time had started a fight with him, I really don’t remember about what, but it was serious. I had been watching my dad for the last few days as he came and went, running in and then gone again in a flash. I knew what being high was. I had heard my mom and sister talk about it; I could smell it on my mom and my brother. I knew he was high. I could feel it.
How does a 9 year old know when she is surrounded by addicts? When she realizes that she is one as well. I fell from grace; I was no longer a child in god’s eyes. My innocence had already been taken from me; I was living in hell and trying to take a side. By this time I had already been introduced to Mein Kompf and Ernest Hemingway. I knew I was different, and I don’t think I fought it. The day came. This was the last day I would see my dad until I was 15, going 120 on I-25 in Albuquerque in a Ford Taurus SHO driving him and his buddy around to different bars.
My mom sat me down, told me we needed to hurry, pack everything as quickly as I could. Luckily my bags were already packed. Screw Gucci luggage, I was rocking the black trash bag. She loaded the bags into a truck, A peach-ish Ford F150 single cab truck. Maybe it was gold. I don’t remember. I remember my dad pulling up in his candy apple Chevy. He was wearing a black wife beater and black adidas jogging pants. He smelled of stale cigarettes and old spice. To this day, when I smell this scent on a man, I am launched back in time to that day. And inside I sigh.
Leggers. That was his name for me, leggers. He knew it was coming, he knew and he didn’t stop. This must have been the moment when a little girl realizes her dad; her idol wasn’t the super hero she thought he was. This was when I realized my dad was a fuck up. I sat on his lap, I didn’t want to, and I could see the look of fear on my mom’s face, and what did she know that I didn’t. He pulled me close, and at that moment I didn’t want him to touch me, he was disgusting. I knew he was high. He was high and he was trying to hold me.
My mom told him that we were leaving; she said my brother is waiting, and if I don’t call him and let him know I’m safe, you’ll go away. Shannon, she said, let her go. And like that, that would be the last time I saw my dad for a while. She took me by the hand and led me to the truck, where our stuff was, where my uncertain future was. Velvet carpets were a thing of the past. Uncertainty and new adventures waited. That was the first time I ever saw true fear in my mom’s eyes, the last time was right before she passed, and in our 30-something years together, those were the only 2 times.
Our adventures to Texas brought us down a long highway, dark and menacing. We arrived in Ft. Worth, which to this day I STILL do not know why we went through Ft. Worth instead of cutting down through Lubbock, down the 84, through Brownwood and Killeen. On the interstate in Ft. Worth, we happened to be driving next to a limo, remember this is 1989, the height of the party century, where disco and bad haircuts were the in thing, these kids were partying, and all of a sudden my yelled, DUCK! And of course in my innocence, I popped up and said where? I think I may have given my mom a heart attack, and for whatever reason that was the most exciting part about my trip to Austin.
A Couple of days later we arrived in Austin Texas, on my sister door step. Surprise, your mother and sister have now followed you to Texas. I had a pretty normal child hood at this point. I fucked off as much as I could. My mom thought it would be cute to buy me Barbie’s, and of course I thought it was cute to burn, cut, mark and destroy them. She was never home, which was honestly no surprise to me, because growing up she was never there.
I think this was about the time I took up smoking. My dad had smoked camel non filters most of my life, and my step grandfather had smoked pall mall non filters. I am sure when I was 6 or 7 I picked one up and smoked it. I am sure I enjoyed the buzz it game me, the light headedness and that euphoric feeling for 10 seconds. I’m sure I did. I was 10. By this time I had moved to 4 different schools from Albuquerque to Austin. I think this was the school that turned things around for me and my mom.
She was always away, and I was always into something. Reading, friending weird girls who thought quarters and garlic would keep the hippies away, blinding little boys who grabbed me and attempting to kill myself a 2nd time by mixing chemicals. I hated my school, and more so hated my teachers. While everyone else was learning about the Dewey decimal system I was busy locking myself in the bathrooms to read a new book.
Normalcy in my life was restored for at least a year. Nothing really off the wall or insane happened. And I think for once I felt like the rest of the kids my age. Except my mom was a cocktail waitress, and I would dance on the dance floor of the bar she worked at. I didn’t have many friends, and I was ok with this. I had books and for this short time, books were my addiction.
Basic introduction to Punk Rock 101
The definition of Insanity is:
noun, plural in·san·i·ties.
1. The condition of being insane; a derangement of the mind.
2. Synonyms: dementia, lunacy, madness, craziness, mania, aberration.
1990 Was the turning point in my life, I would assume I was in 4th grade, but at this point it could have been 5th with the school changes and expulsions. Let’s see….the last point we left off at was becoming addicted to books. I was so addicted that I locked myself in a modular school class room so I could read a book on The Brothers Grimm Fairy tales. Not the fairy tales themselves but about the folklore and history. My teacher at the time was Mrs. Perez, despised me and I her. She was short, petite, wore glasses and she was and angry woman.
From here I was expelled for insubordination towards an authority figure. This was the start of my personal revolution. We moved, again, for the umpteenth time to another house ( I am sure there were other houses in between but that black cloud still lingers over my head) 410 E Annie Street Austin TX. This was where I learned how cruel people can be, how amazing freedom is and what it meant to be a kid growing up in an adult’s world.
E. Annie Street. This house was my golden ticket, my prize at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box. I had my own room, my own closet. And I could lock my mom out any time I wanted and she didn’t care. I would blast her old Janice Joplin records, singing as best I could in that wonderfully raspy voice.
I would spend my days exploring. About 4 blocks away there was this long stretch of park, called the Blunn Creek Greenbelt. It was filled with a natural spring, hidden caverns, trees pregnant with acorns and squirrels. We moved here towards the end of summer, before school was supposed to start. I made friends with my neighbors in the duplex next to mine who were the artsy type, and drove a Subaru and had traveled to exotic places and were interesting. They intrigued me. And I guess I intrigued them. Here I was this bubbling, overly intelligent 11 year old who didn’t see the borders or boundaries of life and just went. That is all I knew how to do, is just go.
I attended Travis Heights Elementary for 2 years before going to Fulmore Middle School where I was integrating for the first time in my life with the kids I went to elementary school with. I was happy. Travis Heights brought many new things to my life. I joined the swim team, and proudly held blue ribbons and medals boasting I was the fastest free style swimmer in the state, Winning Regionals twice over. I met the twins Gene and Graham who lived with their grandparents who were from what I could tell, well to do. I met Dillon, whose mom was this old school hippy punk, and then there was Oscar. I really don’t know why Oscar stood out; maybe because he lived with his mom and dad, and dad’s name was Norm (who served in Vietnam and had a fake leg) and Mom was Linda (she was bigger, wore moomoo’s and had curly hair. They were the epitome of classy white trash; they drove an old 1964 Ford Falcon Ranchero Wagon, kind of like a sea foam green color. During the hottest part of our summer/fall transition Oscar and I would swim in the natural springs by the park, eat hot dogs his dad grilled and laugh about who knows what. I remember the oddest part of the whole relationship was his interaction with his mom. He wanted nothing to do with her. And I didn’t realize this until I was really thinking about my time here, that he may have been sexually abused. The signs were there, but I never asked him. The next summer he was gone.
After school Dillon and I would sit under this bridge that connected the school to the Stacy Park Pool and sit and listen to the Sex Pistols, Red Hot Chile Peppers, The Ramones, The Clash, The Cramps and a few other local punk bands he had on tape. We listened on this busted ass Walkman with tape barely holding it together. That was when my cherry was popped. That was when punk music fused itself to my DNA making me an instant anarchist and punk kid. I cut my hair short, tore holes in my shirts, wore Airwalks and eventually just became the music I was listening to. After school I would take the bus down town, to 6th Street, where I would wander into the art galleries, stand outside the local bars and listen to the music. I remember there used to be this Tattoo parlor at the west end of 6th street, next to the pathway that cut through the city, and I would stand outside in the window and watch people get tattooed. I was instantly addicted. To the sound of the machine as it made its way savagely across its victims skin the smell of blood and ink and the Old man that ran the shop.
Eventually I made my way to my mom’s office, where she taught juvenile delinquents and thus started her work with the community. Here I learned about sexual education, in a very weird, yet slightly amusing way. These kids, they were the ones that lived on the bad side of town. The ones whose parents sold drugs and were less than favorable, but to me they were like the older siblings I never had. The watched over me in, took me in and introduced me to things I probably shouldn’t have been introduced to. But it was fun. And I was addicted to having fun and for once enjoying my childhood. This is where they taught me about sex, STD’s, how to use a condom and what to do with it when I was done. To this day I STILL don’t know how to put one on.
Eventually my mom hired a nanny. Her name was Sandy; she was the coolest person I had ever laid eyes on. But our time together is coming to an end. I must say, that puking this small 2 page story helped clear the mental constipation I was having from the holiday stress. Sandy, Graham, Gene and Dillon all stayed a part of my life until I left in 93. Along the way I met other friends. Some who ended up being stranger than any fiction I could write. I hope you enjoy this story friend. I believe it’s now time to pretend I like some of my coworkers who aren’t Facebook friends, and mingle and hob knob with the upper classmen of my corporate world. One day I will be having Christmas parties, where people get drunk and do stupid things, and no one is afraid to get fired or written up. But until then, I will begrudgingly work for the man.
There is no greater feeling than falling in love, and no greater pain than when you lose it.
*sigh* I am not the broken one; I tell him as I turn to him and smile. You’re broken, you’ve been smashed into a million little pieces and I cannot put you back together. All the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men have refused my pleas.
He looks at me as though I sliced his heart in two, knowing that I was hurting him. He slowly straightened his posture, looked me in the eye and said, you have the devil in you. You are mean and nasty and one day you will find yourself alone.
Those words ring in my head like a loud bell, every hour on the hour. He was my addiction. My drug; I was addicted to his kisses, his touch, his laughter, the way he made me feel and the sound of his voice. To this day his memory haunts me, chasing me through the halls of my brain like an axe murder.
Nothing in my 30 years could prepare me for this. I had overcome addiction many times before just casually setting down the pipe, the bottle, my pack of smokes, the needle. Many times over I picked up the same objects again and again, waiting for death to come knocking.
My son was born September 15, 2000 and at that moment I knew that I had a purpose. He was born at exactly 1316, 21 days before my 21st birthday, at the same time I was born. During his life I continued to struggle with addictions, smoking, drinking, meth….those were my choices now. I was never good enough for my son’s dad, or my mom, or my sister. I was always struggling to fit in, to find my spot. But at the end of the day I knew I could come home to that sweet smile of my son and things would be ok.
And then I met Joe, a few short months after I kicked my husband out of the house for cheating on me, a few short months after my mother had been diagnosed with cancer, I met Joe. And I knew the moment I laid eyes on his beautiful, loving face, that I would never love anyone as strongly and as purposefully as I did him. I knew he was the one I would spend the rest of my life with. Thinking about that moment now as I write this makes my heart beat faster, my legs weak, and my palms sweaty. But, with in an instant I remember that I won’t get to come home to him. I won’t ever kiss his lips again, or hear him laugh in my ear. I won’t ever feel his touch burn through the layers of my skin caressing my soul. His smell has disappeared from my memory. The light in his eyes when he saw my face has since faded and we are reduced to 3 or 4 word text messages every so often.
Joe was my greatest addiction, my weakest moment, the hardest thing to let go and even harder to accept his words. Never, has a man looked at me with such awe and love as Joe, to him I was the most beautiful woman in the room. No one could break his loving gaze and yet I was the vilest. I was the meanest woman he had ever been with, evil to the core as he would say. When we fought he would tell me that I was the poisonous yet most beautiful creature he had ever encountered. And to that I admit I was mean. I was venomous. I bit him with words strong enough to hurt the toughest man.
I was spiteful and angry. I was loving and caring. I was loyal and stood by his many attempts to get clean. OH? My dear audience, I failed to mention….Joe was not only addicted to me like I was to him, but he was addicted to opiates. If ever there was a mistress it was Opium (well, synthetic opium best known as opiates or opioids), like our relationship his love for me and opiates spiraled out of control and I along with it. I used occasionally. I lied about it, as a good addict does. I fought day in and day out for the love of my fiancé, my soon to be husband to be returned to me. I held his head when he overdosed and was puking, I cleaned him when he shat his pants, time and time again I lifted him up, drove him to the hospital, denied relationships with my adopted brother, his family and friends I had known all my life. Time and time again I sat in the uncomfortable chairs at Community Bridges, listening to the friends and families of other addicts beg and plea for their loved ones to come back. When it was my turn, I sat silent. I wasn’t there for them, I was there for him.
Time and time again I had to threaten his drug dealers, who finally after asking around after me discovered I was not joking when I stated plainly that if they came near my house again I would kill them. Time and time again I had to control his intake, and hide his drugs. Time and time again I had to suffer through my own anxiety and pain because I could not have Xanax or pain pills in the house. Finally in February 2011, I gave up, and after years of fighting, violence and pure hatred. I checked out. I wanted nothing more to do with him, his addictions, his family or his ego. About that time, is when he came back to me, but by then I was angry, I was hurt, I had built walls to keep him from loving me.
Rewind about 8 months. He attacked me, choked me, held a knife to my throat and threatened to kill me and my son, because I refused to let him leave. Because I knew he was going to use. I held him hostage until he fought back. I wasn’t scared that he would do anything, I was afraid he was going to use. He was going to leave me. The police came, arrested him, and kept him away for 2 days. Up to this point, that was the worst 2 days I had to suffer through. He came home at 3am 3 days later, after I bailed him out of jail with the help of his dad. He knocked on the door, and I welcomed him home with open arms. I hadn’t missed something so much.
I wrote a letter to the courts, claiming it was the drugs that we were working on getting him assistance and counseling. The day he went to court I discovered that he had cheated on me a year prior. I confronted this woman, as though we were junkies fighting over the last hit. I confronted him, made him grovel at my knees for abusing my trust and my love. Over the next few months from September, things were chaotic but peaceful. We battled with addiction to each other and with opiates, we fought and made up. We kissed and we hated each other. And with each passing day our lives became irreversibly out of control. A black hole spinning and twisting, eating everything in its path until one day, I came home from work to find him on the floor, naked, he had downed 33 30mg oxy’s, a handful of Xanax and then some. I came home, and he was slumped on the floor, head between his legs and incoherent. Once more, I lifted him up, cleaned him off and held him. We were the poster children for co-dependent relationships. I continued to enable him. I had assisted him in getting to this level.
I left my amazing job to move closer, so that I could be with in a cab ride or bus ride home. I refused to let him break me and I kept him hooked with my smiles and kisses. Empty words whispered in his ear, empty promises. I love you’s and even the I want you’s. We lost our truck, we struggled to pay our bills, because I had taken a 10$ hit on employment, he lost his job due to the drugs, and we were barely getting by. Another round of community bridges, home detox, and trying everything to help him get clean, while i became more and more twisted in my lies and deceit, while I hung over his head pulling the strings on this lovely Marionette of mine. Do this and you’ll get this, do that and I will give you my body. And he did. I broke him on December 19th 2010, right before Christmas.
He cried that he couldn’t do it anymore and we checked him into a dual diagnosis clinic. I had just started a new job and was scheduled to fly to Wyoming for a few days before Christmas. I had to cancel. I was his only emergency contact and while I had pushed and fought him to this point, I couldn’t let him die alone. So off he went, to the clinic, no shoe laces, 3 gallon zip lock bags of all of his medications, memories of friends we lost, of friends he lost because of our abusive relationship. We took him to the clinic, the look on his face killed me inside, it broke my heart into a thousand pieces. Shattered my soul. Not 25 minutes after checking him in, I had a pipe in my mouth and I had forgotten about our fights, I just wanted him. I wanted him to be next to me. Kissing me, loving me. Fucking me. Because he was better than any high I had ever experienced. He was worse than any low I’ve come off of. I was addicted to him. He was addicted to me.
He was released December 24th, we had some sort of a Christmas. He stayed in the room while I stayed in the living room, I cleaned, made food, and went to a friend’s house like I had for the last 13 years of my life in Phoenix. Slowly but surely our entanglement slowly undid itself. We were no longer two lost lovers, we were no longer one half of the others soul. We lived, side by side in our house that once was, barely being held together by my son and our niece. The kids were the only reason our house still stood. We barely talked like we once did and avoided eye contact as often as possible. He would go to his sister’s house and come home late; I would lay on the couch and listen to the Beatles, or hank the 3rd, or NOFX. I would go for late night walks to cry, because I didn’t want him to see me cry.
Like everything living, our love had died a violent and bloody death. Together our last act as a couple was to kill and bury our love in the back yard. One night, on one of my walks, he caught me. He caught me crying, and for just a split second our love was as pure as winter snowfall. He held me and I cried. We laughed at moments in our relationship where we held each other up when times were tough. Mine was the day my mom passed away, I had been sitting at my computer, and all of a sudden I heard this high pitched giggling sound….I turned around to see him one nut out, underroos up to his nipples and his finger up his nose. His was the day brought Gianna back into our lives, I had been pushing him to make up with his sister, as I already had, and she and I had arranged for me to bring Gigi home for the weekend, all Joe needed to do was make the call, he made the call and the light came back into his eyes once he saw her beautiful face.
Our addictions finally came a horrific end when I traveled to West Virginia and cheated on him. Never in my life had I cheated on anyone. I was always the forever faithful girlfriend even after men time and time again cheated on me. And I told him. I had finally shattered his soul. He fell to his knees and I had never known weakness until that point, through all our battles, our tears, our bruises and our name calling. What I had done to him did no compare to those things. I asked that he leave, with a weeks’ notice. I went about my business, work and home, work and home, work and home. We slept together, we fucked, we got high off of each other until the very last day. Every morning he would ask if I was sure. He was willing to work it out; he was willing to keep feeding into this ever growing black hole that had now consumed so much of our normal lives that we couldn’t control it. I told him I was. It had to end. The misery, the fighting, the name calling. It all had to stop.
The morning he left, I took my son out to breakfast. We got our hair cut. And by the time we came home, he was gone. His side of the closet empty, his side of the sink empty, his medicine cabinet empty, shower…empty. We agreed on some things, I kept the things we had collected together. He sold the TV, xbox, PS3, laptop and iPad. His side of the room empty. My life was now empty. What I had known for 2 plus years, my soul, the other half of my heart was empty. I went through withdrawals, screaming and crying. I didn’t eat for a week maybe more, and any time I could I got high. I got as high as I could.
I finally moved his sister in, and with that the reboot of an addiction I had kicked 5 years prior. Meth. While his sister looked like a typical tweeker, I kept my round full face, my eyes anything but lively. But that was due to my soul slowly dying. My skin still soft and supple. Tan. My teeth intact and my overall appearance didn’t change. But inside I was a rotten corpse, maggots eating through my flesh. Skin crawling, hallucinations that I could hear him outside my bedroom door. Smelling his clothes and buying the same body wash and shampoo to make him reappear.
We tried a long distance relationship that withered miserably like flowers under a heavy frost. He couldn’t trust me (and with good reason) and I couldn’t trust him. We fought, and again I killed his soul a 2nd time, berating him for leaving when he should have stayed, cursing him. Crying for him to come home. Anger swarming within me. Little by little I pushed him further and further away. I completely severed my love with him. As I pushed him away, I got higher and higher. Days and nights came together, I lost count of sleep, of days, of people. I just did. I worked, I came home, I got high, I cried, I walked the streets until I had to go to work the next day.
I stopped using on October 12th 2011, 2 days later a lady ran a red light and nearly took my life. I hit the windshield head on, and walked away with nothing but a scratch. It was at that time I decided my best option is to leave. Leave my playground, leave my playmates, leave my playthings and get sober. With a big insurance check coming, I made arrangements to move to Tennessee, for my ex-husband to assume full custody of my son, and put my stuff in storage. Sick and alone, I drove 2300 miles to Tennessee. Ever so tempted to keep going to Pennsylvania, where Joe was. I stopped in TN. I stayed there for 5 months, and in that time I learned a lot about myself, my addictions and my actions towards Joe.
Joe, the love of my life. I can’t say he is the one that got away, but I can say that he is my soul mate. Where the gods separated us, we have been brought together many times over the course of many lives, and each time ended in tragedy. One day, I will look upon his face with love again, and one day he will hold me like he used to, calling me beautiful, his touch burning through my skin to my soul. When that day comes I don’t know, but until then his prophecy remains. I am and will always remain single.