Now, that I had been in Kerrville, staying at The Red Rooster, I had a schedule and set routine for everyday. The house had a policy that you must find a job within two weeks of your first day. I had been talking to this restaurant Chili’s on the River for a couple days. They had me come in for three different interviews. The two weeks had already passed but my house manager and I both knew I already had the job.
What chain restaurant would ask for a third interview if they didn’t plan on hiring you?
It was the third week when I finally got the call telling me to come in and start bussing tables. So I was the new busser/host at Chili’s on the River, a chain that was one of Kerrville’s biggest hits. If you were new to town and you wanted something familiar, you came to us. We always had a steady rate of customers, or guests, as we were supposed to call them.
Once I had my set schedule and daily routine, time flew by. It was the beginning of October, my favorite time of the year. Randy had become my new best friend and we had recruited another fellow addict from rehab, Callie, to be in our tight-knit circle.
Callie was from Austin, like myself, and had arrived to treatment about a week before I graduated, so I got to know her a little bit. I believe she had developed some sort of crush for me, but I was not looking to date anybody at the time. I wanted to be single and open for the beginning of my new sober lifestyle. Being understanding, she decided to be apart of our gang. We were a trio of friends, but it did feel like we were missing something…
Randy and I had both gotten sponsors and completed the twelve steps, which meant we were working steps 10-12 everyday. That pretty much meant that everyday we would meditate, help out other alcoholic/addicts and do inventory.
Inventory was awful, to be say the absolute least. You write down everybody that you had harmed and who had harmed you and figure out your part in every situation. Ultimately, to figure out what fear inside of you made you have resentments towards yourself or someone who hurt you. It was also the 4th step in the program, and after you wrote all of that out, you had to read it in front of somebody else (5th step).
It’s much like in Catholicism, where you confess your sins, but the other person doesn’t absolve you of your sins.
You feel better for letting everything out, which puts some people on that pink cloud I talked about, earlier. It is tedious and annoying, so I did skip out a few days of doing this, not to mention, I never meditated. I didn’t know how and nobody offered to teach, so I came to the conclusion that nobody did it.
In accordance with working steps 10-12 everyday, Randy and I would come back to Arcadia Recovery Center to do patients’ 5th step, in which they would read us their 4th step inventory and we would say a prayer with them which would magically absolve you of all your fears and insecurities.
Again, very much like Confession, in Catholicism.
For me, it just made me aware of my fears and to watch out for them in future resentments.
While I was there, I would check on my buddy Owen. Owen was the first person I smoked weed with, showing me how to breakout of reality, but over the years, had developed a problem with bars, or Xanax. He’d have a thousand delivered—illegally—to his house. Along with selling them, he would pop some in his mouth whenever he felt like it.
He must’ve always felt like it.
Through trusted friends who really seemed to care about him, I was told that he had gone off the deep end, eating bars like candy every day and night.
“He’s out of control,” and “he can’t even remember doing this to us,” were repeated to me by friends back home.
Being a friend and not knowing what to do, I talked to my sponsor about it, who said we needed to talk to his parents to propose the idea of an intervention. I was nervous and doubtful. I knew Owen was going to resist to the idea, but I went along anyway.
Talking to his parents went easier than I thought it would. Of course, they were aware of his problem, and wanted the best for him. He needed help so they were willing to give it to him.
We had an intervention, very much like the T.V. show. Each parent wrote a letter explaining what his addiction had done to him or her and the family—having a brother who didn’t participate in the intervention—while also threatening to no longer help support him financially.
Much like the show, the guest of honor, became really upset and started showing it in his crimson face, surrounding his damp, sorrowful eyes. I remember the first time my parents brought up the whole rehab idea, it hurt. It wasn’t so much hurt towards my parents as it was towards myself. It wasn’t an “I got caught” feeling, either, nor a realization that I had a problem. I knew I had a problem. It was realizing how much it affected my family and friends. Alcohol and drugs made me feel like the confident person that I always wanted to be, but it also made me a person that didn’t care or have any concern for other people and their feelings. I didn’t want to be that person anymore, but I’d get sick without the alcohol.
After much lamenting and rejection, on Owen’s part, I started to regret what we were trying to do.
Who was I to judge him? Who was I to decide for him to leave his life for 30 days to do what he didn’t want to do?
He was a good friend, who had shown me a way to escape reality, while I was shoving it right back in his face. I felt awful, until—
“Okay… I’ll go.”
My eyes lit up like beacons and shot up towards Owen, who was sitting on the opposite side of the couch in a fetal-like position. A tear had abandoned my eye. I was proud of him. Jubilant. Not so much being that it made me feel better, but on account of him actually coming to terms that his addiction was hurting not just himself, but others as well. So much that he wanted to stop it. He looked up at me, and smiled.
While in Arcadia, Owen was sobering up and learning how to live his life without drugs. I would pop-in a few times a week to do other patients’ 5th steps and also check to see how he was doing. Just letting him know that I was still there supporting and rooting for him. Also, to see if he needed anything from the outside world. Rehab is like a bubble you’re stuck in for a month. You wouldn’t know if the world was ending if you didn’t call someone and ask. It can be like a vacation from reality and actually be a good, life-changing experience, if you let it.
Of course, Owen needed things. One of which was my iPod that had a shit-ton of music. I was hesitant at first and really didn’t want to give it away, but figured he needed it more. Plus, it was only for 30 days, so I caved and snuck it in on one of my visits. I had to find someone else, other than artist, Fiona Apple, to sing me to sleep.
Eventually, I came to see him and saw he had made some friends. They looked like the weird outcasts of the place, but that’s exactly who I hung out with, so I was glad. After asking how he was doing and getting caught up on his experience in recovery, I’d always ask how my iPod was doing. Every time I asked, it was fine, until－
“I don’t have it,” he said angrily, also seeming a little bit nervous. “The girls took it!”
Fortunately, I already knew one of the girls whom he was talking about. Dylan and another girl that I’d never met.
Dylan, if you don’t remember was the girl who picked up my buddy Eric from rehab and took him straight to Dallas to score dope—heroin. She actually had her own apartment in Kerrville. It had been some time since their trip to Dallas, plus she told me Eric was now doing okay, so we became friends. I’d visit her in her apartment from time to time, but everytime I dropped by, her place seemed to be more unkempt and tattered than the last. And she looked even worse—skinny,sweating with raccoon eyes. Eventually, she told me that she had been using and needed help.
I had no idea what a junky looked like while strung out, otherwise I probably would’ve said or done something earlier.
So, my sponsor and I got her checked into Arcadia. I was so dedicated to the program at the time, I became Arcadia’s secret, little recruiter, a.k.a. Pet. I didn’t see it that way then. I saw it as “being in the business of saving lives.”
Straight out of “A Few Good Men.”
But apparently, I’d find out later that not everyone saw it that way. I had developed a few haters—enemies even.
“They won’t give it back,” Owen angrily said.
I’m was feeling somewhat irritated. “Well, let me take care of it for you then.”
Since I was a former patient there and had done them many favors, the staff pretty much let me do what I wanted. I already knew which room Dylan was in, as I came walking down the pale, fluorescent-lit hallways. I came up to the room. It was the one women’s room that only had one bed. Usually for the patients who have annoyed the shit out of others or who have severe mental issues, so they have to be housed by themselves. She must’ve requested to have that room. This wasn’t her first stay.
I knocked three times, hearing my music being played. For some reason, in that room, the bathroom and sink were right there by the door. I could tell what was being played—the lead vocalist of The Killers has a very distinct voice.
I opened the door to find two girls giggling like six-years olds, doing their hair and makeup together.
Why anyone would do their makeup and hair that fancy, night-on-the-town sort of way in rehab, still perplexes me today.
“Excuse me ladies, I don’t mean to stall you from your hot dates, but… is that my iPod playing?” I ask.
“Yep.” “Uh huh.”
Just like young sisters playing with their mommy’s things, treating their faces like a coloring book. It looked like the Revlon factory had puked up hundreds of little cases of makeup onto the counter. Even the sink was filled with hair curlers and junk.
I’m not a huge fan of women wearing a whole lot of makeup. “Too caked up,” is what I call it.
“Oh my God, J, we love your music! But there’s no country!”
You’re damn right. “Oh my, I’m so… terribly sorry.”
“We were just borrowing it to do our hair ‘n’ shit,” said the one I didn’t yet know, “We’ll give it back.”
Dylan nodded and agreed. The two little devils they were, disguised as beautiful angels. I knew they were lying. However, I wasn’t going to be the asshole that cried over an iPod. Besides, these girls were looking damn good, despite all the makeup and track marks that littered up and down both their arms.
The one I hadn’t known, was named Scarlett, Owen told me later. She had my sober attention. Dressed a little bit indie, punk, and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. I loved it. I also knew I didn’t have a chance in hell. Besides, Owen probably had been crushing on her already. She was beautiful.
“Alright, alright. Just please let my buddy have it back tonight, okay?.”
They both agreed.
“Thank you. Y’all have fun.”
“Thanks J, we love you!” Dylan yelled back.
Was it Dylan who yelled back? I pretended it was Scarlett. My eyes took one more glance at her, while I closed the door, and was caught in her hypnotic eyes looking back at mine. Caught in the act of checking her out.
Maybe there’s some promise there, I hoped.
My time was up, yet again, for my visit with my therapist, Gail. The past three to four sessions had been her asking me random questions, while I answered them as best as I could with events that happened in my life. I’d just got done telling her how I met the girl that started it all. The one who brought heroin into my life and completely screwed me over physically, while also crippling me mentally and emotionally.
Over the past few weeks, I’d been taking Valium until, I found a kid, Trey, who was about my age, dealing OxyContin. Oxy’s were like synthetic heroin. They’re some of the strongest pain-killers that you could be prescribed, therefore, making them very addictive. The feeling is much like heroin but with a cleaner feeling.
Trey was gay who, I’m sure, had a thing for me because he hooked me up with damn good prices. Usually, on the street it’s a dollar per milligram. He had 30mg Oxy’s, so technically they would be $30?, but he’d sell them to me for $15-20—depending on how much I had. It was an awesome deal so, of course, I was hooked again.
“At least I’m not shooting,” was something I told myself before he, one day, asked if I wanted any rigs.
Before I could say yes, they were already in my pocket. I’m shooting again.
“At least it’s not heroin,” I told myself.
That is, until he was out of Oxy’s. But he did have some H. I told myself I would never go back to that shit, but it was either that or be very sick. So, I had to take the dope.
I was back on the train again.