DOB: 11/7/27; Cleveland, Ohio.
I didn’t want to grow up, to be responsible.
I wanted to remain a kid. Somebody take care of me, and I was thirty-four, thirty-five years old, and I still wanted somebody to take care of me. Please take care of me.
From as far back as I can remember there was always a case of my needing attention. The first thing I can recognize now, looking back, that’s what I was seeking. I was seeking some attention. And I think more specifically I was seeking attention from my mother rather than anybody else. I don’t know if that was transferred in many areas.
Probably over a period of time that has been transferred in many areas. But I think one of the things that’s seemingly kept popping up is that I was always trying to seek this attention by whatever means. I didn’t understand what was going on at the time it was going on, but most of these things in retrospect we find out at another time, about what occurred or how did I perceive things at the time that they were coming along.
I grew up in a broken household where the father was not present or the father left early, when I was very young. My brother and I were kind of together with a mother that had to support two kids during hard times, during the Depression. And I knew nothing about the Depression.
What did I know about the Depression? It was beans on the table and a roof over my head, like we were. I do know during that period of time I still, I seemed to get hurt or was sick on quite a few occasions, where Mom would have to attend to my illnesses and I kind of had become dependent upon that. And I think I was left with a number of baby sitters that seemed either attentive or non-attentive at any given time.
And I might even say I probably, looking back, know as far as my memory is concerned, it had become a thing of wanted Mom’s attention. Because I wanted to have that closeness. And I can’t remember being that close in terms of Mom or her home, just saying her baby boy so to speak. It seemed it wasn’t there. It seemed to be elsewhere, at least that was what my perception was of what was going on. So it was a pretty consistent thing there.
Then I had a half-sister that came along four or five years later that really did take the focus off of me. I was not the baby anymore. I wasn’t the kid on the block anymore. And Mom didn’t have time for this baby anymore. Get sick, get hurt, then I got some attention. That’s how I kind of sought my attention at the time of growing up.
I think I had enough fears in the process, of unfounded fears, I don’t know, a feeling of abandonment or anything of that nature. But I seemed to be in many ways pretty sharp in needing to learn or catch on to things, and so I did not have too many problems in, initially, in school even. I could adapt very easily if it was called: what do you want, how do you want it done, I can do it — you know, that kind of thing. I had a tendency to do it my way. It was a kind of resistance: you tell me one way to do it, and I want to still do it my way.
So I would run probably into some kind of conflict in that regard, because of the case of the instructions: this is the way it was supposed to be done and Bob would want to do it his way. So Bob would get his ass whupped considerably when he got home, because he would want to do it his way. I probably couldn’t understand it. There were no communications.
Now that I can understand it, as to why I did things or didn’t do things, it was just because Mom said don’t do it that way. Or Mom couldn’t give me no reasons for why not to do it that way, because it was just called Ma’s way, and that’s the way it was done. And if you didn’t do it Ma’s way then you’re going to get your ass whipped. So it seemed that I was pretty consistent. I was going to get my ass whipped consistently.
It was always a case of living from, I guess, hand to mouth, or living under those types, conditions of poverty, that when the family got larger you had to find another room, and then there was the case of finding larger quarters to take care of more kids to feed, more mouths, it was always the case of seemingly not enough. So I think I shut down pretty early as far as how I felt and what was going on inside.
I probably didn’t feel that anybody understood anyhow or didn’t care. It was always the case of Mom’s rule. It wasn’t the case of how you feel or what you’re supposed to feel, or what you’re supposed to be doing. This is the way it’s done and this is how you’re supposed to feel, and why aren’t you feeling that way? And if I didn’t feel that way or respond in a certain way, I seemed to be out in left field.
So I probably shut down. My reactions were: why or what’s the use? I was particularly a bad kid as far as neighborhood and so forth. I got into a reasonable amount of difficulties as a kid growing up, being at the wrong places at the wrong time, doing the wrong things, you know. So growing up was kind of like, I guess, just a kid’s experience.
But it seemed that I was never satisfied with whatever the conditions were going on. I was never satisfied. I don’t care what it was. if it was my birthday and I had all the presents and it was Christmas, it was still I didn’t have the right things or enough things or whatever the case may be. I was still never satisfied. I wanted more or less or otherwise. It was always the case of never being satisfied. I wanted different. I wanted to be different. I wanted the conditions to be different.
One of the things that popped up for a lot of years was wanting Pops in the house, wanting a father figure. You know, everybody around the neighborhood — most of them — had fathers and families to take care of them, good or bad or otherwise, they were there.
And we had a Step-father who moved in sometime, probably mid-teens, that didn’t, was not satis¬factory as being the surrogate father, so to speak, as far as I was concerned. There was a lot of resentment that he was once again taking my attention away, demanding things that I didn’t feel he had rights to demand. My Father personally, like I’d seen him two or three times in a lifetime, even though in a case of just wanting to visit my Aunt’s house or something, to see old Dads.
That was always the desire, of wanting, thinking that if he were there things would be different they would be better, and they would be okay. And looking at it today, it might not at all be so, it may have been worse, because I didn’t know him, didn’t know why they blew up in the first place, and didn’t know nothing about the conditions of his living or of his attitudes or nothing.
So I could only surmise that, you know, like if he were there, my old man were there, we would have took care of business or things would have been different or they — I don’t know. But it was always that kind of thing, like in the back of my mind, growing up, that if Dad was there, if Dad could be there, the conditions would have been different, things would have been better. And so the first thing I would do is put the blame on Mom. Mom should have done something different. She would have done better, she just — on and on.
My head is usually talking about the head out to get you, you know, like you grow up with your thoughts always somewhere else. Not in the now, it was always somewhere else. And I’d be in school and my head would be out the window. Just would not be in what was going on in school. I learned one thing in the school process, that once that I got into doing some reading, that I could escape in books. And I found that was a great escape.
I could get into books and get into fantasy land and take trips in these here books. So I became a kind of, found an out, a way to get off in a book. Take a trip. I don’t care what kind of book it was, funny book, it could be me and Batman going on a trip, me and Superman, Shazam, Captain Marvel. I could go on a trip. I could get in a book and just be somewhere else. Totally absorbed it, just submerged in that mother.
And that was kind of a learning process that I could have applied in a more useful manner perhaps — it probably would have been more beneficial, for what period of years? That was one of my great escapes for a long time, was books.
So I — one of the things is I didn’t have too much problem in school. I could get passing grades, just enough to get by, I would do enough to get by. And it was with the least amount of effort. Not a whole lot of effort was involved in the process. It’s kind of funny. You say, I realize perhaps if I had applied myself to the subjects at hand and done all those types of things and said, I probably could have made excellent grades, or I could have learned what I was supposed to have learned.
I used a lot of shortcuts — part of my shortcomings was shortcuts, get to the destination as a shortcut, why not use it? You know, all this in-between shit is bullshit, screw it, you know. I would find many years later that very often the stuff in the center is more important than the beginning or the end. Because that’s where the substance is.
But if I could get by with this other shit, like that’s all you’re supposed to do is get by. But those are kind of like, you say you know it, kind of knowing it now, and then you did not know it, because it didn’t concern you about dealing in those types of things. Get by, make it to the end of the road, by whatever means. So you learned a lot of bad processing of ideas or principles or philosophies.
And I think when you talk about the non-communication in the household, with no one in terms of how you feel, what’s going on, and just life itself, life in general. It wasn’t something that was discussed. And a lot of things that you learn how to do, you learn how to lie, you learn how to cheat, you learn how to scheme, those are things that I found myself doing, sometime probably for no reason but thinking that that was the way to do it.
That’s the way to do it, lie, cheat, scheme, a lot of that was going on in the house too during, you know, the time of like, bill collectors coming, Mom telling me, “go tell him I’m not home, tell him I’ll pay him next week.” I thought, “Hey,, that’s the way we do it. Hey.” And that is not to say that she could have done it any different anyhow. She couldn’t have gone to the door and told him “I ain’t got the money.” But it was always the case of, “Just tell him you know, like the money’s in the mail, or I’ll do it next week,” whatever the case may be.
So we learned how to lie and you learn like, if you can get away with it, go to the store, see if you can some way, you can get a pound and a half rather than a pound for the same amount, you know, you take that even though you know it’s cheating. Of course, at those particular times things were not packaged. Most of the things were in bulk, and there were more ways you could pull or cheat, so you pulled a little cheat. So we learned all those little things at least that’s maybe not acceptable — it wasn’t said that it was unacceptable.
And sometime you felt that telling a lie would, it just seemed to be the thing to do, make it sound, especially when I was in the wrong, I used to feel a lot like I could go through a lie more. I’d be on my way home, building a lie about the time I got home. I’d have it down, home down smooth baby, how it happened and what the circumstances were, and I’d have such a story put together that, you know, maybe looking back on it today, I would say it was too letter perfect.
It was too elaborate. No wonder they’d very often see through it, it was too letter perfect. Everything in the picture. How you can just scheme, you know, you had all the answers, you’d just get them answers down pat, so when they shoot one at you, you got one for them.
So I probably, in many ways with the case of never feeling like I was enough, in many respects too was afforded to roam around, probably not living up to my own expectations of who I am, and what was supposedly going on with me, thinking I should do better or be better or be in a better place or whatever the case is, and feeling in some ways probably that I was capable of better things, but never seeming to be, to cheat, or thinking it was worthwhile, kind of like the attitude, for what? Just not appreciated, it won’t do me no good, screw it, just kind of the attitude that went along with it.
But along with that, I think that in some ways I was not what you might call the bad kid. The fact is in many ways I probably was to some degree the good kid of the neighborhood. I joined the Boy Scouts, and get to be Scout leader and get my troop together, and be playground counselor, and take troops out to whatever, organize the shit, and do those types of things, and probably done them quite well. Made friends fairly well with most of the kids.
I didn’t have too many problems with the neighborhood kids, it was pretty much, lived pretty much the same kind of life, and we had kind of the same existence and grew up in similar type households, so we get along fairly well as far as being a friend. But always the thing of not feeling that there was enough, or that there was something missing, or I wanted to be satisfied with where I wanted to be somewhere or doing something.
So when it came time for, not time for, I say World War II came, I think a lot of transitions took place. A lot of us felt obligated to join the Services, and Mom was getting drafted or becoming of draft age, and so most of my running partners and all that I went to school with and everything, they were either right there at that cut off age point to join the Services, and drafted or volunteering, whatever the case may be. And it served to be a purpose for me to join the Service. I always wanted to run away from home. I used to have great fantasies about running away from home, but I never took it upon myself to run away because I had no place to run.
We were kind of an isolated family in a sense, that my mother was not close with her relatives. And for a while at an early age the father’s relatives were semiclose. We used to go visit occasionally, but that was about it. So I had no grandparents that were local, that I could say run to Grandma’s house or Grandpa’s house. No aunts and uncles available to run to any of their houses.
So it was always the case of when I contemplated running away — run away where? I guess there was something in me saying that if you’ve got to run away you got to run to something or have some place to run to, just don’t get out on the street and go. I had to have some purpose or way in mind to go to. And I never had that particular thing, so I was never foolish enough to just say pack up my little thing on poles, on a stick, and get out and get on the street. It never got out to that when I said I am going to run off that way.
But I used to always sit on the shitter many a day after I got my ass whipped or got some discipline of some kind and contemplated, “I’ve got to get outta here.” There was a lot of “I’ve got to get outta here I don’t know where I was going, but I had to get out of there.
And so it seemed such an opportunity, you know — you spend a couple of years of learning how to work at part-time jobs, and earn a little money, and all those kinds of things that you know that affords you a certain amount of freedom, of activity. So the Military became an option. My running partner at the time, like he was draft age and I was a few months younger than him, so we both went down and volunteered. So we went off to the Army.
Previous to that I had drank on a few occasions, but it was a case of there was no drinking in the house. And I didn’t have a whole lot of contact with, knowledge about what drinking was about. I used to see them standing on the corner and partying and those types of things.
I’d occasionally go to teen parties where they were drinking, but I didn’t have no great interest in drinking at the time. A sip of wine or something and that was it, because I had a lot of fear of Mom’s for one thing. I carried fears of Mon’s for a long time. What will she say, what will she do, how will she react? She would sometimes get very irrational in her anger and just go off on me. She would go off. So I didn’t try to carry anything or disrupt the harmony of the house if I could help it.
So the time the kids would get to go to the Service was the time I had become a man overnight. It was just one transi¬tion, just a matter of joining the Service — you’re a man — ¬it had nothing to do about the process of growing up or much about the responsibilities of a man’s about. You just arrive at a certain age and you take off and you’re a man. You do all the things men do. Especially if you’re not under the watchful eye of, nobody’s going to tell you not to do it.
And it seemed to be, as I say, seemed to be as how narrow my vision was in terms of things going on around me. I know everybody in the Military didn’t drink or run the street or chase whores all night long and all that shit. But the way I was thinking was that everybody was doing it. Because people I ran with, we done it. So, say a whole platoon, say seventy some people in a platoon, first thing you think is everybody’s doing it. No, it was just four or five of these running around together and we used to do it.
So with only the case of looking for some excitement, it was the case of let’s go out and have some fun. Let’s go get loaded, and first thing getting loaded on was alcohol. Alcohol seemed to be the fluid of the time, you know, like that’s what you do.
At the end of a day you get your nickel and dime together and get your jug and see how many jugs you can get, jugs with them, so you can get your head bad so you can go out and have a good time, just go out and get loud and boisterous and challenging and just talk about, really feel your oats, and develop philosophies that you could not live by.
So I mixed and matched and put together, played all them things that’s going to get you fucked up in the long run and lighten your head. I didn’t start sticking needles in my arm. First I started smoking the shit, you know, started smoking opium, started smoking heroin too the same way. But it was always the case of it ain’t no big thing if you don’t have nothing to use and you get these here funny feelings called withdrawals.
They’re not talking about withdrawals and no long term effects or drug addiction, because they didn’t know more about it than I did. Those times we’re talking about was in the Forty’s. Even the places they were studying didn’t know. So you know the people in the street didn’t know nothing, very little about drug addiction. They knew if you didn’t have none you got sick, the progression of the disease was, or any of the symptoms.
I just knew one day I woke up that we had been shipped somewhere else and I needed a new supply and I was sicker than a dog. I wanted to know what was wrong with me. They was hip enough to tell me “Hey man, you’re sick.” It was a fact and my head proceeded to tell me about, learn about the world of substitution, learn that morphine is a hell of a damn substitute for heroin. It works just as well and in the Military they had a lot of it.
So they were short a lot of medical packs. And talk about learning how to use dope and kind of like one of these things, you know, like I went through Korea probably because I would say, by many ways, by being loaded. I had part of the things — getting shot up, getting blown up and everything else.
I felt guilty because I didn’t. I was loaded most of the time. I did what I had to do to get through. It wasn’t that I was running away from anything. It just seemed that I was never in the wrong place at the right time, whatever the case may be, but I got away. But I still got whipped.
So I’ve kicked a number of habits in transit, being moved from one place to another. They put you on boats for long trips, places for two or three weeks, you have to kick a habit.
I was always on the fringe, on the fringes of a lot of shit, underground shit. Growing up with those conditions, the disease was progressing. I knew nothing about no progression of the disease. I just knew that I was doing a lot more bizarre things to acquire the drug.
I was taking greater risks, and I used to think at one time like, well, there’s nothing to it, it’s just like going to the store. Just go out and get your shit and have some, go home and get off, whatever, just take everything. And then it gets to be more hassle, or you find you have to steal more shit or do more manipulations in order to get it.
People were being concerned that certain things weren’t getting done or that they were being or they seemingly had you under a kind of watch, checking you out, what’s going on. It gets down to the place where as I said the shit hits the fan, where you find that you just can’t maintain, where they said the connection gets too far away or apart, many things start to occur, the addiction reaches a place where you don’t give a damn. What you gotta do is called “feed me,” and you have to go out there and “feed it.” The monkey calling and wants his food.
Shit, you kick your ass out of bed, it’ll get you up in the middle of the night and send you off on one of them journeys. I found myself running around back streets and things, you know, just it’s very conspicuous when you got to a place when you’re in uniform and you’ve got a military vehicle and the place is like Japan and you’re running the back streets and you become very suspect. And people start watching you.
So to make a long story short they was tightening up this Japanese girl that I had been scoring from. I used to send her out to score all the time. So they busted her and made her say this soldier you been going out and getting heroin for, they gave her twenty five dollars to turn me in. Thinking about it later, it was a set-up. Make her go in and brought me the stuff and went on and took off back to the base and everything, and the CID is sitting there waiting.
Needless to say, the results of that was like, even in that insanity, it was called “restricted to quarters” at first and that didn’t work because I was still running downtown. I had an access to a whole motor pool, a whole regimental motor pool I ran. So I had vehicles. When it was a thing of having vehicles, I had vehicles. I could go, just go. So they had to lock me up for real, and just, “we got to put you under lock and key. You not gonna do right.”
But as I said, to make a long story short, after general court martial and the discharge and to the penitentiary and back to the streets, I would learn not how to be an addict but when your environment changes, the things that you do changes along with it, the way that you acquire your drugs, the games you play in the particular surroundings that you’re in, the playground that you have to play in. You learn how that game goes.
So I had to learn the street games, the addiction street game. It’s a lot colder, colder game, not that it’s any different, just a lot colder game, very exacting in terms of what you gotta do. So what occurred here, it was a case of I would learn fast, I’m a quick learner, I might stumble around for a few times, but I am going to watch first and see how the game goes.
So I learned where one of the things was that I needed somebody to take care of me. That was essential, because I used right from Mama on to the Military, to jail, and they took care of me. They gave me three hots and a cot and no responsibility. They let me play crazy. And so I would learn that game. Come out of the penitentiary, sit around and find somebody that’s got something, that’s willing to take care of you.
I don’t care where it comes from, who it is. “Hey you, let me move in, all right?” Shit, I might have even shared part of the first month’s rent or the first meal, or so, but that was only short-lived, because you know what the next move is. “I ain’t got nothing, I ain’t going to have nothing.” If you’ve got a shooting partner, both of you ain’t going to have nothing.
So you figure out all the hustles that you can come up with. One of the big hustles that I figured out is that with drug dealers, is top of the line, they keep you well supplied as long as you have the source, place to get it, and just sell drugs. I thought that was it. And I had a runner, a broad that I was going with.
Since all the other games was halfway planned shit, I didn’t send her, she went to the big connection and we come up with this big thing of drugs, and we went into business, with me being the best customer. Very often couldn’t keep the money together because, shit, I am my best customer. Fear sets in, all the things, cops and robbers game sets in, fear of the people you got out there, supposedly selling drugs for you, whether they are going to turn crazy on you. You’re afraid of everything. So you’ve got to keep your head in check.
So you spend a few years playing that, I wouldn’t say it seems like a few years, but it wasn’t that long. Those periods are usually short lived. Two or three months is a long run in those particular situations. Then you finally start going to jail. They used to lock up drug addicts if you just had marks on you. I always had marks because I was using drugs. Very simple.
So after a number of successions of playing that little game, like take care of me and trying to do some dealing and learning how to steal again, the burglary games, playing cops and robbers, and all kinds of little hustles and con games.
And it just gets ratty, you know, rugged in terms of being an all right guy addict, a regular, because on the streets you had to kind of represent that you was regular, and you weren’t going to turn nobody in, and wasn’t going to rat on nobody, and you weren’t going to play none of their funny games with one another, you weren’t going to burn nobody, you was a regular, you hold your mud and you done certain things in order to be a reg.
It just means that you’re an asshole, that’s all it meant. You played the role well. I played the best I could, and you try all the little hustles that you have come to learn and to develop. You learn how to receive stolen goods. You learn how to sell stolen goods. You learn how to do all those things, but the whole thing is illegal and going to get you in jail bottom line.
So when you’re thinking about them in terms of what you can get away with, it’s just an unending thing that you hate. I promised myself I am going to quit this shit and I am not going to go into jail. I am not going to get loaded this time. I am not going to do anything. Hey, I’m in withdrawal. It was almost the occasion when things got too shitty or too rough I would prefer to be in jail than to be continuing in some of the shit I had to go through in order to stay out. Lock me up, fuck it, you know. That wouldn’t be what I’d be saying. I’d just be running hard, like here I am, get boogeying baby, so I would go to jail.
So in the process we find other little devious manners in order to try to maintain and one of them was we use people. I used everybody that kept in contact with. They was primed to be used. I don’t care how nice I seemed to be or they seemed to be. They were going to get used if I was using.
Some way. I used to show up at the house and talk real nice and be real nice and polite and this other shit, don’t turn your back, don’t give me no slack, and don’t give me any opening, like you got some money or something else of value that I am going to run off with. Because when you turn your back I am gone. I am gonna get you. Even to the point of just saying and going to deny it every time, whole lies to death, you know, that wasn’t me, must have been somebody else. Even tried to set it up to make it look like somebody else.
Besides, you can run out of places that you can hide or places that you can duck and dodge into. Or the process of trying to find one that’s going to be your hope card. Almost like going to Mom’s house, you know, how like Mom’s be the one. If you run out of everybody else, go to Mom’s. Mom would go for a sad story, right hard times, all the shit that go with it.
But I couldn’t run to Mom’s because I had left home and Mom didn’t have anything in her home, nothing to run to her home in the first place, that’s the reason why I didn’t go there in the first place. So it ends up like I just need me to find a surrogate Mom, or you find some unsuspecting or willing participant in this here game of life called Mom’s. “Shit, Mamma, do you want to take care of me? Do you want to help me out?” Yes, great. Let’s do it.
And through the process you find some unsuspecting woman, man, whoever, who’s going to be the great rescuer. Going to fix and make everything okay. Addicts love them, they rely on them. Not that I set out for that in my mind and say I’m going out here and find me a Mama to take care of me.
We find them. It’s almost just like hone in on them, like I ran through many a relationship, but most of them were using relationships. We going to help one another down the road to happiness together, arm in arm, going to jail usually and usually find one somewhere along the way that’s more socially adjusted, that would go for a sad story.
So I married one. It wasn’t my idea. It was hers. But it was very convenient because I was down to nothing. When you run out, when you run out of everything, I had run out of every¬thing, and just got out of jail one more time, and she said, “You and me, till the wheels run out of hay, us baby.” Why not? Shit, pay the bail, write the letter, whatever you’ve got to do, shit, let’s do it.
We tried everything. You drive everybody around me crazy, just stay close to me, they don’t know what’s going on, and it’s kind of hard to understand what’s going on. Even being an addict in the relationship with another addict that’s using, knowing what’s going on, don’t make it no easier. And I have been in a few of those relationships.
This was subsequent, after going to jail one more time, finding recovery, ‘cause she found it, so I said, “okay, that’s a good idea.” ‘Cause she was always trying to take, get me, get my shit together. So we visited many a place to get my shit together. It was always her idea. But what the heck, I had nothing to lose, I had nothing, I had nothing anyhow. Shit, go for it.
So what usually happened was the case of that’s how I discovered what recovery was, that there was some place that addicts went, not that I was ready for it at the time. I went and peeped in, looked around, didn’t see my kind, didn’t see nobody that I thought that I could identify with — a hope to¬ die — you know. At least I didn’t think there was.
I thought they was a bunch of lames, you know, I was going to get that shit together, so I just stayed out in the street for a little while and just drove her crazy. And in the process she got help for herself. And she made a move that made me make a move — that’s called you’ve got to get your shit out of here, you’ve got to go.
And when you ain’t got no place to go, if you’ve ever had that feeling of not having a place to go, there is kind of a desperate feeling, you know. Maybe at one time you’ve had alternative places, you said, “Well, shit, if I can’t go right there I’ll go right here.” But you’ve run out of places to go.
We burn bridges, well we burn them motherfuckers down, baby, there are no scraps left. Most places we could have went we can’t go, ‘cause we done fucked up. Eventually we fucked up. At least I did. Every place, I fucked up, every place that I had a haven, for any given time and I fucked it up.
So what usually happens, I said, becomes a case of running faster and going to jail more often because those seemed to be the frequent places where it would serve you the three hots and a cot and no responsibilities, and you would get clean and stay clean for “x” amount of days, months, years, and come out, but never said about the idea of going to use again, because always the idea of just going to have a taste for old time’s sake.
But the here thing wears you out. I think it’s kind of the thing where you get worn out, of the revolving door, of the same thing happening and seemingly not getting better. And one of the things about recovery per se was, there were some directions that I heard I may not have responded to then. because I didn’t think they were sufficient, correct, or proper. It was just kind of a thing that, okay, they say that’s what works. I don’t believe it. You get willing to try anything. You get desperate. You’re going to try anything.
I was not committed any longer to, said that I was going to be a hope to die dope fiend. Because it had not attracted me. It will carry you to those depths that you know that you’re talking about bottoms, just below the bottom. We’re talking about sleeping in weird places, in weird positions, and doing weird things. They say that you don’t even approve of yourself, probably for you or nobody else around you, even, as far as that’s concerned.
But those are the kinds of things that even in our quiet moments, and the quiet moments are usually in a place of when we are locked down or in isolation of some type. All of a sudden we’ve become very clear as to our plight, or as to our predicament, and we can’t lie to ourselves about it. And we have no excuses for what’s happening and you have to stop lying to yourself.
For some people I kind of ask the question and say, well, what is enough? I had to look at myself in terms of what was enough, and I think what was enough, it gets down to the place for many of us, it had to be a place of almost dying before it would really get our attention.
And I had almost died a couple of occasions and O.D.‘s and shit like that. And I had placed myself in very precarious positions. I could have died on numerous occasions, on some capers and shit like.
But sometimes it becomes very clear that, hey, you’re going to die, that you’re going to lose your life doing what you’re doing. And the sum total of what was happening in my life at the time was with really nothing. I had lost all the havens to ride or hide in. And you really gave in to the street, and said to your best game when your best game became a snatch and grab and all the shitty low life things you could mull or get away with, all that good shit, and you know it’s nothing but bogus shit. Hey, what am I pretending, you know, it’s bogus.
And it just gets to the place where you’re disgusted with yourself, and you say I am insulted to the lowest of lows, and you’re talking that the drugs are not cutting the feelings and the emotions and the things that are going on, it doesn’t cut it off anymore, or doesn’t shut it out. It’s only momentarily, you know, like a quick nod and come out of it. And you’ve got to get up and run again.
It gets disgusting. You don’t want to come out of that nod, and you ain’t got enough stuff to stay in the nod. You have got to do it all over again. So short-lived, like the instant that you are in, and everything is at peace, and another half hour till you’re together, you’ve got to your head, got to go into that mode called scheme. It goes on, like you turn up one of those timers — click click click click — you better start moving now. If you mess around and don’t start moving now and fuck around and wait until you get sick, it’s going to get slow down then.
So you know you’ve got to, and it becomes unacceptable to you. It’s not because somebody told you it became unaccept¬able — you know, like wait a minute — no, no, no, no. Almost to the point of where you knew death was imminent, it’s coming, because of the things that you’re doing, because of the position you’re putting yourself in, the risks that you are taking, not only talking about, daily basis, I mean shit, just all the time.
And I think that kind of desperation, some time I’ll say, well, I guess each to his own, in terms of where that bottom is. They say we’ll reach out and accept help as it is rendered, not as you specify it, for it to be. See, it was always the case of me specifying the help I wanted. I will only accept that kind of help. It came to the case of any help that’s tendered to me I am going to accept it.
I said I had done some peep-seeing in the rooms of recovery and I used to stay in touch. Every time I got locked up they used to write me letters and come visit me and shit like that. But I had never done any of the things that they had suggested — very simple. But I was going to try it just to see what was going to happen. And I think that’s part of the thing, is that the process is some attitude changes come about, and you see a little light, just a little glimmer of light.
Hey, maybe, just maybe, I am not going to get into a lot of, that’s it, just maybe it could be different, it is a little bit different, because I am doing something different, I think it is a direct result of what I am doing, maybe I better explore it just a little bit further, becoming willing to try just a little further, because I think you get to the place they say you run out of your way, you know your way just got you into deeper and deeper shit, my way, every time I looked up I was just digging my hole deeper and deeper, every time I come up I was just going in deeper.
And I had been to enough recovery meetings for addicts. They said many of the things they had been telling me, had told me there, were happening. And it became a thing of saying, well, they ain’t lying. They told me what was really happening, and they would tell me exactly what was happening.
So I got willing to do some of the things that were suggested, just for an exercise, I’ll try it out. It was kind of like contemptuous trying out. I try it out just to show you it’s not going to work. I’ll prove it to you that it’s not going to work, not for me. It might work for you but it won’t work for me. And I am going to do just what you told me to do so you won’t have no excuses to say that I didn’t do it right. Right!
But I think that part of that process is what happened, say, is that some things usually happen. Most of anybody that I know that tried to the best of whatever of their ability, of time, compared to nobody else’s, that something happened. So I know that there were some attitude changes took place that I didn’t understand.
I knew nothing about God and spiritual principles, those ideas, because I had shit-canned all of that a long time ago. I had no concept of God except I was kind of feeling that there was something out there that held it all together or, you know, took care of business, but I had no particular God concept.
Spiritual and God was the same bag as far as I was concerned. Because I missed church a long time ago, and I had read most of the philosophies and religions of the world and they seemed to have nothing to offer me.
All they talked about was double-talk and in tongues and they talked in parables and they talked in a lot of things that I did not understand. So just by the very process of doing some things that, very simple things called one, two, three, four, five, and in the steps, some things took place. Wow! Not that I understood what was taking place.
Because I had no idea about the God concept. I knew that I was insane, because the shit that I was doing was insane. Rational people just didn’t do that, none that I know. Maybe somebody else. But I had no real God concept. I gave it credit that there was one. By the very nature that I had survived a lot of crazy shit. That was not my doing that saved me. It was not my doing.
So I could see one thing, like there must be something out there that’s watching out over me, somebody or something likes taking care of me, because I wasn’t, I was not taking care of me, because I was destroying me there. And I gave myself all the right excuses to destroy me fast. I had every¬thing I needed to do. I had been everywhere I needed to go. I had seen everything that I had needed to see. Fuck it, life is that what it is, you know.
I had some weird concepts as to what life was about. My philosophy for living was fucked up. So part of the journey has been finding out about me and how I react to the world around me. It was okay to feel things. That was a hell of a relief, that I could be emotional about something that is occurring. I didn’t have to remove my feelings and emotions and put them somewhere else because you’re not supposed to be involved on that level.
Somewhere, as I said, I had some bad teachers in that respect. I had no teachers in that respect. They told me, to give me a lot of bad information for one thing. Also it was the places I had been. The teachers gave me bad information. You were not supposed to feel this, or this is the way you’re supposed to feel. My parents gave everybody the bad informa¬tion. This is the way you’re supposed to feel, that’s not the way you’re supposed to feel. I didn’t know the way I was supposed to feel. People were always telling me to grow up. You’re supposed to act like that. I didn’t know what to act like. I was feeling these feelings and acting these ways and didn’t know what the hell to do.
So I didn’t think you were supposed to react and feel things, but I used to shut them down. I knew exactly how to fix it. “I’ll fix that mother shit so I won’t feel nothing.” And all of a sudden, that you get clean, and all these things start jumping up. Oh how spooky, wow, I felt something then. You mean I was supposed to feel that emotion? Wait a minute, shit.
I started feeling things for people and places, things like, wow! I don’t like that. Some of them were painful. One felt good and you never knew that was what you were supposed to be feeling. And you had some things that started happening in your life, and you started some kind of reliance on this here power that you have been given. It seemed that it had to have been given, some power, you can get powerless and you get power kind of a thing.
And all of a sudden you find out that some things start working in your life, that kind of proves they say you’re on the right track, or the direction is right. You start feeling better, you start doing better, and I think that’s one of the valuable things as far as I was concerned, that I found that started happening, you know, like I started feeling better and my attitude got different. It wasn’t because somebody told me, it was because I recognized, you know, like wow, that’s not the way I usually acted in that situation, or that’s not what I usually done in the past in that situation.
And I find I am doing other things. I don’t think I am a trick because I go out and help somebody do something. I used to never, hey, I am not going to get caught up in that trick¬bag, you know, me helping somebody, nah, no way. I am above and beyond that. You know what that is.
But this here growing up gets to be, it’s to be, I think, after a time it gets to be an adventure in itself. It’s not frightening. It used to be very frightening. I used to be afraid of tomorrow. Oh boy, I sure hope tomorrow don’t get here. Almost in that respect like, boy, I don’t want to face tomorrow. I think after being around for a period of time, it’s to the place of “Bring on tomorrow, baby.’” Shit, just another adventure. Another time and space that you have to deal with. Whatever it might be, it’s okay. It’s not a case of good and bad anymore. I think it’s a case of life experiences are sometimes pleasant and sometimes they are unpleasant. It’s not a case of good and bad.
I learned that I can get through things without having a cushion to fall on. I used to cushion everything with drugs, cushion life, me and life with drugs. It’s just part of the growing up process, that kind of growing up that I avoided. I avoided growing up for a lot of years. Because growing up takes on a responsibility.
I had to be responsible when I grew up. And I didn’t want to grow up, to be responsible. I wanted to remain a kid. Somebody take care of me, and I was thirty-four, thirty-five years old, and I still wanted somebody to take care of me. Please take care of me.
I am not too far away from dead, so I could find somebody to take care of me the way I wanted to be taken care of. I haven’t found nobody in that vein yet, that said, You came to the place where you can have many things that happen, that we learn how to live through or live with, or how to interact with people, or learn something about what love is about, what the feelings and emotions are about.
Being sensitive in many areas, I found out how sensitive I am in a lot of areas, get very sentimental about a lot of things. The fact is, I have had some emotions that I don’t quite understand. I still don’t understand it.
It’s that something about that Vietnam Wall, I can get near that wall? or that wall thinking if something even comes on the T.V. that gets involved in that wall, I get so emotional that I start crying. And I don’t understand what that’s about. I have been to D.C. two or three times and I will avoid that wall. I will avoid it. I don’t know what it is.
It’s kind of the things like that, you know, you would like to know where it comes from, or what sets it off. I really don’t know. I don’t know whether it is, was the Korean thing, of where as I said I got out unscathed and so many didn’t. I don’t know what set up it was, just one of those things that’s okay to feel, whatever that feeling is. I don’t think it is something that I have to use drugs over it. Maybe I don’t have to understand it even, whatever it is. Maybe it’s not that important.
But it is just some things of that nature that I find I can finally have compassion, that I don’t understand. I guess it is just a human thing. I guess other people feel it, other people are empathetic toward it, and it doesn’t make them less as a human being, as a human feeling. And it’s a human experience.
I used to think that was Pollyanna or babyish or childish. And I found out maybe I need to learn about being, about how to be more human, not cut off the feelings, be a part of what I am. I am a feeling human being.
It’s an experience. It’s a hell of an experience to be introduced to yourself in all of your in’s and out’s of who you are. I’m not the coward that I thought I was. I am not as brave as I thought I was. I’m not a lot of things that I thought I was. Parts of all those things.
Growing up is especially, for people like myself and many others who think we’re grown already, when we find out we’ve got so far to go. So far to go. But I am not avoiding it anymore. That’s part of the key: become willing. I’m not avoiding it anymore. It’s been a hell of an adventure. Life has been a good adventure. Growing up is pain, is joy, is an adventure.
And I haven’t always been up to the task. It was tug and go for quit a few years. All these new things that were happening, I was resistant to, avoid it. I just had to learn how to give in to it.
If we get into all the very detail, intricacies, of our being, because there’s lots of adventures, parts of us are left strewn around the world, little bits and pieces of us, that we lost ourselves, and there are areas that are still sensitive, unresolved, but life goes on. Check it out as we go. Do the best we can.
There is hope for us to do the best we can. Sometimes we don’t do too swell. Sometimes our mess is not good enough. our hindsight then is a handicap. Just can’t do it anymore. We look back on it and wonder how did I do it? That was the best I could do it at the time. But hopefully we get on down to business.
Getting off that fence, about the time the policeman was about to shoot me, I got clean immediately at the threat of death. What I say, it is usually to the point that death is immediate, or the crises that have occurred that said that life is about to pass beyond our grasp, and somewhere along the way we say, “Help!” I think the response is help is available.
And that was in 1961. I just, the policeman said, “Freeze!” and I was hanging on a chain-linked fence. He was nervous. There was two of them that was nervous. Pistols drawn. “Woah!” was all I could say. But it make it very clear that I was about to do what they had told me, that you die if you’re an addict. And not always at your own hands either.
Because that’s what the game is as far as addiction is concerned. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the truth. And I haven’t had to challenge it again. Because I know what the future tells me. It’s a lost game, lost game.
There’s no relief, that momentary relief that I used to get out of using, that will take you away from whatever is seemingly going to fix that momentary relief. Don’t know how I got caught up in that shit.
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