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we have a date with the underground, chapter 47
by Turtle Jones
Part 4 of a series.
No one was in there cause they cared. They were all put there by family or friends. Maybe it was their last way out and they took it.
It wasn't that way for me. It was just a break. A drinking timeout. That's what I thought of it. I knew there was no way in my life I could live sober. It just wasn't in my cards to deal with things on the straight and narrow. My whole life up to this point was just one reason after another to drink or use drugs. There was always something wrong in my life. Some reason I wanted to feel numb. If it wasn't wanting to feel numb cause my life sucked so bad, it was wanting to feel numb because I always felt numb. That's an interesting concept. I got high and drunk because I was depressed I was always high and drunk. Self respect was a thing of the past.
This hospital was strange. It wasn't loud. People looked happy. It didn't smell. Clean beds were new to me. Nice people were new to me.
This was new to me.
This place scared me.
I never let my cigarettes leave my side. No one would see the pack and no one would get them. What's mine is mine and you better be blood to have any. A left eye on you and a right eye on what's mine. That's a hard concept to understand for some people. You wake up and the only thing that you have to get you through the day alive is who you can lie to and what you have in your pockets. That is the way I lived. Smokes never left my side. Slept with a lighter. Always a couple bucks for that first forty. Always a smile and forked tongue for that first line and a mind that will never forget your name if you do me wrong.
That way of thinking wouldn't leave me in 28 days. It is still with me today.
So going into this place and being expected to trust people was a lost concept. Sure, I'll talk with these people. I'll get what I can, even if I didn't really want anything, then I'll leave. I'll get high again.
One of the stupidest reasons I never quit using before was because I could not talk while sober. Words would not leave my mouth. When I was drinking, I could. I could talk anything out of anyone. Be your best friend and take your last dollar. But when I was sober, things were different. Words escaped me. Sitting in a blank without an answer. It wasn't right. I wasn't right. My mind would focus on the past and I would ask myself questions. Was I ever able to talk? Was it always the drugs fueling my humor? Was that the only reason why people liked me? Was there ever a point in my life where I could carry on a conversation without a beer in me?
I could not think of a sober fun time I had. I could not remember anytime sober.
The drugs and alcohol were putting in one last fight. One last pull on my mind and body to try and tell me that without them, I would not be me. If they were going to go, they sure as shit weren't going out easy. In those first days, my mind was telling me that I needed a drink to forget that my drinking put me here in the first place. Wouldn't a few drinks and some cocaine be great right now? A few shots of well vodka and pint of Pabst to get started. A few lines in the bathroom and I'm off to play Golden Tee. Maybe some speed if I was too slow and maybe some dope when I wanted to sleep.
A week long binge and I would be back here to get with the rest of the program.
There was something in my mind. Some voice. Something telling me to stay. Just a little whisper in the back of my head begging me to stay. Pleading with me. Telling me it would get better. I would come out of this shell. I would be able to talk again. I wouldn't be in a corner about to cry all day long. I wouldn't be hiding from people. Just give it a little more time. Please. One more day and things will get better. I would bargain with my brain and give it a few more hours. If it didn't get better by tomorrow, I was leaving. If I had to beg pills to get through another sleep, I was leaving. I didn't come in here to get hooked on another drug. If I hang my head down one god damn more time when a girl talks to me, I am leaving.
I'd heard stories about how you stop maturing when you start using drugs. That all those years where normal people did their growing up were lost on people like me. That we had to do it again. Maybe it was true. Maybe I was one of those people. Maybe I was just like a 14 year old. Maybe worse. All of the evidence was there. I wasn't responsible. I moved around constantly. I was totally immature. Maybe I was just a kid. Maybe I was afraid of girls.
This kind of thinking scared me.
It terrified me.
That wasn't me. That was the drugs again. Telling me this. Telling me that. Over and over. But the evidence was there. I had lived in some strange places and been friends with all kinds of seedy people but I had always been on something. Maybe I was only able to handle the things I did because I was using.
Maybe the drug was me.
And without it, I was nothing.