we have a date with the underground, chapter 45
by Turtle Jones

My story isn't unique....

Cigarettes weigh you down after awhile. You know you don't want to smoke but you just keep smoking because it is something to do with your fingers. I used to wake up in the morning hating this feeling. That feeling where your lungs felt as if someone kicked them because of a pack too many the night before. Now I enjoyed the pain. I was still foot deep in self destruction and self pity and maybe a good cancer scare was what I needed. Something other than feeling sorry myself. Anything other than that.

Camel2.jpgHere I was in a car hundreds of miles from home. My face pressed on the glass, savoring the coldness of it. There is no other way to describe the brutal reality of being driven away somewhere because you couldn't control yourself. Failure, maybe? You couldn't stop doing drugs and you couldn't stop drinking. You couldn't even live right and you had went so far as to believe that your life had actually ended about 10 years before. The rest of this was just some sort of cruel punishment. Someone's idea of a joke to watch you count change for a bottle of wine or a few lines of dope. Self respect was the first thing to go when you started shaking and you didn't want to be a victim of sobriety.

Now it had seemed like the joke stopped being so funny. It had stopped for me years ago, anyways. Now I felt like a shell of who I once was. I guess it is just an occupational hazard. Some die. Some disappear. Some get locked up. Some burn out. That was me. Burned out. Not yet enough of life to actually die but enough of it to just want to quit and fade away.

I was in a car. Listening to the highway pass under the wheels trying to get a few more hours of sleep. No sounds other than the street. Silence. The sad part about the whole thing was that I not only had to admit that I lost to myself, which was easy, but I had to do it to my mom and dad. Two people I had wrote off when I was still in my teens. They had no idea what I had become. I talked with them about twice a year. For all they knew I was successful and making money doing what I did. Unfortunately, they were just finding out that what I did was drugs and alcohol and they had to pick up the pieces.

"Hi mom. Remember me? I need to detox in your back room."

Doesn't really matter how I said it to her. I just remember saying it. When you have to look for your mother for the only hand of help, you know that you have lost all other routes of escape. Doesn't matter. She picked me up. Told me I stunk and let me try to detox at her house. By the second day, I think she realized that she couldn't handle it. She had friends. They took me in but they never left me alone to deal with myself. One thing my family or friends never understood about me was that when I want to get away and be alone, I really mean be alone. My dog is a rare exception of who can come along with me when I left for where ever the hell I used to go was. But now all the big houses I had hidden away at in the past were gone. All my hiding places had slipped away and I was left with one option. Mom's. Now she couldn't even handle me.

Detoxing is a pretty scary thing. The nights are your enemy. When normal people sleep. I lived in California where the liquor laws run til 2 AM so every night at 1:50, my body would violently fight my mind to get to the liquor store for that last fifth of vodka to get through the darkness. If it was past two, I would have to drive to Nevada. I didn't want to do that anymore. Sometimes those were parties unto themselves but not when you are detoxing. Or trying to anyways. Mumbles in your head move to voices then to screams ordering you to get that last drink before the last hour ends. But not tonight. Tonight is a sleep night. Not a drive to another state night.

long_long_road.jpgBut now it was over. Well, I thought it was over. I had made it through the night. By the time the sun was rising, I was heading to a rehab that is on late night TV ads. St. Helena. Seemed good and I had an in at the place that got me a bed. In all reality it was my mom who convinced me to go in. There were some other reasons, too. Maybe it was a girl who would give me once last chance if I just stopped this or that or maybe a friend who wouldn't stop thinking of me as an embarrassment and start talking to me again or maybe it would be my brain who let me forgive myself of all the things I had done in the past and all the people I hurt just living my life on my terms.

There had to be something. Obviously my body didn't want to die yet. If I really wanted to die, I am convinced I would have used a gun. I had enough of them stacked around my room. So it became clear to me later that I didn't really want out. Maybe just one more "poor me" bullshit to get everyone to forget what I did on a daily basis and to let them get some solace in the fact that "he had issues. That's why he drinks."

Doesn't matter why I was there. All that mattered is that there I was. Plastic bag in my hands with a couple cartons of smokes and some old clothes. Rehab. Great. Just great.

I was pretty happy about the fact that I had finally detoxed off most of the drugs I was on a day or so ago. Still had the alcohol running around in me but the worst was over for the harder drugs.

Now I just had to spend away 28 days.

28 sober days.

Like that would ever happen.

We Have A Date With The Underground Archives


wow, a real writer. i feel you, man.


Beautifully written.

What you went through at the time is part of what makes you the person you are today. Sometimes out of the bad, comes the good.


It's not unique, but it is moving.

congrats. and welcome back.


in our darkest nites, we find the brightest stars

good luck


In my personal sobriety roller coaster there weren't any guns around, for which I am truly thankful.


Chills, Big T. I'm so glad you've come through so well.


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