DOB: 3/21/61; Rocky River, Ohio –
Click Here for Addict Out of the Dark and into the Light – 05_Robert.mp3
I know the only reason why I passed the public school system was because teachers dreaded the fact of having me in their face another year.
That was their major driving force in giving me a passing grade in any subject. I had a couple of teachers who flunked me and I think they had guts.
When I was a kid, the first thing I remember was like elementary school and shit like that. I was in regular school in first grade, and I got held back in first grade, and half way through the year, the second time around, I was put in a special school for learning disabled kids. And I was in there through the fourth grade.
And I remember I went to school in this little green bus, and it used to pick me up in the mornings and drive me past the other kids at the regular bus stop who went to the public school system, and I used to go through a lot of hell over that.
I was the kid in the neighborhood who was picked on. I had one thing going for me. I was an extremely large child. I was six feet tall in the sixth grade and I haven’t grown since then. And, like I remember, violence was my first way out of situations that were uncomfortable.
When other kids would pick on me, I’d just like pop one of them to make things go away and shit like that. And going back to regular schools in the fourth grade was kind of like a really weird adjustment for me, because I had that reputation — the different kid, the kid that was on the outside, and it was, and I had that stuck to me in a lot of situations.
It’s hard for me to remember, it’s something that I have tried to shut out of my life. I don’t like to think about it and I really don’t like to talk about it. It’s one of those things, it’s in the back of your head, but you don’t really pull it out that often. And it was probably one of the major shaping forces of my life, going through that.
I started doing drugs in the summer in between fifth and sixth grade. I was walking through the woods with some friends and came across some pot plants and like that was the first time we got high.
And a couple of the kids were older. They were in junior high at the time. They had that year when they were in junior high. They met people and we all started getting high pretty regularly. I guess that’s when I was about in sixth grade.
Drugs was just like another avenue for me to get acceptance in the beginning. I’d do drugs and I’d offer people drugs, try to get friends, just like party, that’s what it was, that’s what my life became.
I wanted to party, that’s all I ever wanted to do. I never wanted to do nothing in school. All I ever wanted to do was party, in the mornings, at lunch, between classes, during classes. I didn’t really care.
The older I got and the more drugs became available to me, and the more I learned about drugs. I never found one that I wasn’t thoroughly into except like PCP and that kind of stuff. I don’t know why I never really cared for it. I started dropping acid in the seventh grade.
And just anything I ever came into contact with that was mood changing or mind altering, I did it to the hilt. I would always do it in excess and as much as I could get my little hands on. I did it.
I knew that I was an addict by the time I was fifteen years old. I can remember thinking that there has got to be a way out, there was always a time in my mind when I would stop. And it was always sometime in the future.
And that didn’t happen to me for another ten years. And it started getting painful at fifteen. I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but there was that pain there. It was like a double-edged sword, you had to go through so much to get the enjoyment.
At fifteen there was a lot of drugs that I hadn’t gotten into yet. And I did know that I was an addict and you did. I could see the lives of people around me who weren’t addicted to drugs progress, and I knew that I had the potential to progress on a better path than what I was doing. And yet there was that thing inside of me that just drove me to get high and escape. The more I got high, the more I didn’t meet my expectations of life, the more I needed to escape. And that was like a continuous cycle.
And the drugs changed a lot over the years. There was nothing that I didn’t do at some point or another. And I remember in high school the big thing was like shooting speed. That just like really tore me down. I know the only reason why I passed the public school system was because teachers dreaded the fact of having me in their face another year.
That was their major driving force in giving me a passing grade in any subject. I had a couple of teachers who flunked me and I think they had guts. That had to be the only way that I flunked a class because they must of known better that they weren’t doing me any favors. But most of them, a lot of them, were scared. A lot of teachers were scared. There was that violence and that evil that I held in me.
I started getting into satanical worship when I started doing drugs, and I was fairly into it. That’s like another whole aspect of my disease. I remember when I was a young kid, seventh, eighth grade, and starting to get into it, and I used to say, “Well, this is nothing.
I will always keep certain standards that I will live by, and I will never do this, and I will never do that.” And over the course of that ten, fifteen years that I was an addict, these last ten I probably did everything I ever said I wouldn’t do.
The whole black magic and satanical worship scene is really sick. When you sit there and you drink mixtures of cum, blood, and pieces of flesh, and shit like that, and you drink and eat this stuff, then you get off on it, and you feel like you’re powerful.
And it was always involved around like large doses of different types of drugs, opiates and hallucinogens, and it was all like a ceremonial thing.
You know, those were all the kinds of things I said I would never do. And yet I would end up doing them. And it was always that cycle, you’d do something you said you’d never want to do, and you would want to escape, so you’d get high, you’d get high, you’d end up doing things you didn’t want to do, and you would want to escape.
After high school my parents sent me to college a few times. And like when they sent me, I was really out of it. I wouldn’t go to classes, and after like a semester in college they weren’t going to pass you if you didn’t do something. Man, you just didn’t do it, and that was on you. And all I wanted to do was get high.
After like two semesters I moved back in with my parents, and I’d sell drugs, I’d do drugs, just be involved in that whole scene. And I was living at home, I guess, for a couple of years. I didn’t have a job, I just lived in their house. I’d sleep in the morning until they were gone, and I would leave while they were at work. And I wouldn’t come home until after they were in bed. And on a good month, I never saw them.
And there would be times when I would be gone for weeks, and then I would come home when they were in bed, and they would look at me in the morning, I guess, and then go to work.
If they’d try to wake me up, I would just grumble and wouldn’t talk to them. Even if I was awake I’d like pretend that I was asleep so that I wouldn’t have to face them. So I wouldn’t have to deal with it, that eternal escape.
When I think about the people that I looked up to as a kid, they were basically people ten years older who were doing the same thing I was doing. Their lives were nowhere, they were doing nothing. All they did was get high. And that’s what I wanted. I can remember that feeling that a lot of addicts share, they can picture themselves as old men in rocking chairs, sittin’ on the front porch doing whatever they were into.
And just like rocking, when the fact is that you’d never make it that far. Addicts who did the drugs the way I did them, they either stopped or they died. I guess you could live out there for a long time, but it would be real painful, and chances of actually making it into old age are really slim and none.
So when I was like twenty-one years old, I had been living at home for a couple of years, never worked, I went to the shore one summer. And I remember I got home on like the first of July. I had been down at the shore for like a month, just kind of like beach-bumming, doing whatever I could. And when I got home my Dad said, “You’ve got a job and you’re moving to Washington.”
And like I didn’t want a job, and he said, “You’re getting a haircut.” My hair was real long and I didn’t want a haircut. And I didn’t want any of this shit, and I told him that, I said, “Look, I don’t want this job you got me.” And he said, “You can either take the job or hit the street.” And I didn’t want to hit the street either, I wanted that cushion to fall back on, I wanted to know that there was a place to go.
And so I did what he said. I said, “Well, maybe this is my chance to get away from it all.” And I went and I got a haircut, and my Dad sent me to Washington, he got me a job with the Government, he’s involved in politics. I moved to Washington on the Fourth of July, which was kind of weird, it’s like a weird day to move down here. I got my shit together for a couple of days, my clothes and what not, and I went out and got a haircut, and he drove me down to Washington on the Fourth of July. I had a brother living here, to stay with my brother until I could find a place.
I’d say for about a month things were okay. I didn’t stop getting high but I wasn’t getting high a lot. Then I met these kids who lived in the neighborhood. They weren’t kids, they were adults. I met these guys who lived in the neighborhood, and I was walking home one day, and they were sitting on the front porch, and a guy said, “You want a beer?”
And I walked up and started talking to him, and one part of the conversation led to another, and I found myself again doing with a new dope crowd, but the same things, the same drugs were there.
And I got caught up in that same emptiness. And the job with the government was real strange, because working for the government you can get away with a lot of shit. You can call in sick a lot, not show up a lot, and you have that certain job security.
And like my addiction after I met these people, started getting to meet some people in D.C., just like really went full force. I shot heroin the first time there, and just did a lot of things. The drugs I did — we were always controlled by how much money I had, and what was available on the nearest street corner.
And that’s the way my addiction was, I was a street dope addict. If prescription drugs were out there, I was doing prescription drugs; if the heroin was out there, I was doing heroin. And whatever was there is what I was doing. If it was just reefer, I was just doing reefer. And if I couldn’t find anything else I was in a bar getting drunk.
But whatever it was, I didn’t want to look at reality. I didn’t want to look at the world, and the way that some people that I knew were getting along in the world or dealing with reality. I’m sure they didn’t like every aspect of it, but yet they dealt with it. It was something I choose not to deal with.
I wanted to escape. It was like, bizarre. There is just like so much emptiness when you are an addict, and you’re always trying to fill that emptiness with the dope. You’re always trying to achieve something that’s unachievable through drugs. Trying to fulfill a life, it’s like taking a cup and drilling a hole in the bottom and trying to fill it with liquid. It will never get there. It will always pour out the bottom.
And that’s what it was, I was, I was losing it for a long time. I went and visited my brother in New York once, when I was up there visiting him. He’s an addict. He’s a full-fledged blown-out-of-proportion addict. He’s in recovery now. But when I went to visit him, he said, “Well, let’s go get some drugs out on the street.”
We went out on the street and we bought some crack, and I had never even heard of it before. And we went out and we went back and did it and like I thought that this was what I was always looking for. It was a rush that I really enjoyed, and I chased that up to my end, constantly.
I used to drive up to New York three or four times a week from D.C., and I would steal from people, stick guns in people’s faces, I’d steal from my parents. I had this scam on my Mom. she let me know the number of her MOST card or MAC card — it’s MAC where she lives — and one time when I was visiting her and it was raining out, and she said, “Here, take my card up to the machine. This is my access number.” I used to drive up to her house in the middle of the night during the week when I had to be at work the next morning.
I’d take her card, I’d break into their house, I’d crawl into her room in the middle of the night on my hands and knees, I’d grab her purse, I’d get her card out, I’d run to the bank, I’d take out money, I’d take the card back to her house, put it back into her purse, drive to New York, get my drugs, and then drive to work in the morning. And I wouldn’t sleep, and I’d go to work, and as long as I had my drugs I could at least go in, and I wouldn’t have to think about withdrawal.
Man, when you didn’t have those drugs, and then withdrawal started setting in, it was something else. Withdrawal from any drug is a bitch. You get to shaking, throwing up, real tired and not being able to sleep, breaking out in rashes all over your body.
And this shit was starting to happen to me, When-ever I ran out, I can remember them shakes and vomits, rashes, just the god-awful feeling that you wanted to sleep and you’d lay down and you’d turn and you’d toss and the only way to sleep, man, was to get high, and that driving force would drive you to do anything.
There was nothing that I wouldn’t do at that point in my life to do drugs. I had pretty much exhausted all my friends, anybody who knew me. Like I can remember going to people’s houses, knocking on the door, hearing the T.V. on inside, and hearing people talking, and then all of a sudden the voices would stop, and the T.V. would turn down, and no one would answer the door, and I would stand there for five minutes.
Now these people knew what I was. They knew that if they let me in, and they took their eyes off me, I’d steal anything from them to get my drugs. I had people who moved — I’ve found out since then that they moved just because they didn’t want me to know where they lived.
And I actually had some that were at least good enough friends or strong enough people to say to my face, “Look, don’t fucking come around here. I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to have nothing to do with you.”
And I look out over the wreckage of the past and that happened. An awful lot of people would just disassociate and distance themselves from me. And it wasn’t an individual they were distancing themselves from, but it was the aspects of a disease. It was that selfishness that I had inside of me, that I didn’t care about anyone else or anything else. I wanted what I wanted and any way to get it I’d go.
And this one night me and these were my last two running buddies, these were guys, they were as sick as I was. In this little crowd of three we knew we couldn’t trust each other, we knew that there was no trust between us, but we’d get together to do the things that we needed to do to get drugs. And this one night we rode out on motorcycles into Virginia, and we stuck up a little country — it was kind of a Seven-Eleven, but it wasn’t one — a little country store.
They sold hot dogs, burgers, bread, that kind of stuff, milk, eggs, whatever, candy, that kind of shit that you put on a small store’s shelf. And we stuck ‘em up, and we got this money, and, we were driving into town to get dope.
And all of a sudden they were just going faster than I was on the highway, and then all of a sudden I was alone and I went home. I was like all alone, and I was going into them with-drawals again, And I couldn’t deal with it any more. I needed help. I needed help real bad, and I picked up the telephone and I made some calls. The first company that I called, I went into business section of the white pages, and I started looking under “C” for chemicals.
And I found this chemical company. I called these people up, I think they were some kind of a supply business, hospital supplies or something, I don’t know what it was exactly. But I called these people up at like 10:30 or 11:00 o’clock at night, and someone answered the phone, and talked to me. And that was weird, because a business like that shouldn’t even be open at that time of night.
But the person that talked to me referred me to another number, and I called up. He said, “You’re sick, you need help.” And I called this second number up and I talked to these people for a while, and this was somebody who was some kind of crisis line or something like that, where they had some type of train-ing in dealing with people like me. And they said, “You’re sick, you need help, you need to go to a hospital,” or something.
And they gave me another number that was local to my area to call, and I called that number and I talked to these people for a while and they said, “You’re sick, you need help.” And they sent me some place for help.
And since that night when, I reached out on the telephone my life has changed a lot. Since that night I have never can’t say that — I was going to say since that night I’ve never gone into withdrawals.
But those withdrawals last a few days. But after those initial withdrawals went away, I’ve never gone back into them,
I’ve never shook in my room at three o’clock in the morning, sitting in the corner of a room under-neath of a table, holding my legs with my head between my legs, and just like wrapping my arms around them, curled up in a little ball in a corner wondering what in the fuck was wrong. Now I know what was wrong. There was nothing wrong with me as an individual, as a person. There was a lot that needed to be changed.
But probably the most important thing was just getting the drugs out of my life. Because once the drugs were gone, after some time had passed, and I could start to think clearly, and I could start to say this behavior is fucked, you need to change this aspect of your life. And I have gotten a lot of help. It wasn’t the type of thing I could do alone and there is a lot of help out there for people who need it. You know, if you look for it you’ll find it. The help’s definitely there.
I can’t begin to express the way that I feel now. In my entire life I have never felt this good. Today I’m not worried about the things that I was worried about when I was a kid.
I remember sitting underneath a pine tree with my buddies talking about why the government had to build atomic bombs, and I care. I don’t think they should be there, but it’s no big deal today, it’s nothing I need to run from. There isn’t anything I need to run from any more, which is probably the biggest freedom I’ve been given.
I can face things today. I have the freedom to say yes, to say no, to say maybe, and to say I’ve changed my mind. And I never used to have that. I used to have to do what I had to do to get high. And that was all that mattered, that was the only thing that mattered.
The freedom, the aspect, when I was a little kid I used to be into that peace, love, and freedom scene. I didn’t grow up in the Sixties and I didn’t do my drugs in the Sixties.
But yet I was growing up in the Seventies, I was a product of that, and I watched that — I guess it was the peace, love, and drugs movement. And that turned into the sex, drugs, and rock and roll movement. And all I ever really wanted was freedom. And I thought that by getting high I’d get that. And I never realized I was a slave.
Today I have been set free from that insanity. What all that boils down to for me is faith that things will get better. I’ve been through a lot of shit since I’ve stopped doing drugs, but I have this undying faith in me that things will continue to progress in a better path, and they have.
I’ll be out of a trade school in November where I’ve picked up a trade. I’m going to be working on computers and that was something that I could have never had as an addict. I couldn’t have done any-thing like that. I couldn’t of shown up every night. Now I go to class every night.
I learn what I need to learn. These are all things of growth for me. A lot of my growth I can’t even see. Other people point it out to me. I’m not alone any more. An addict in the middle of a crowd of addicts is alone. When we used to party, and we would all sit around and do drugs, and I was alone there.
I don’t know how to describe it to somebody, but when I was high you could talk to me and you sounded like the teacher in the Peanuts comics book, you had that weird voice, man. Today when I talk to people, I understand what they say. I’d like to believe that they understand what I say, and I think that they do. I can have things in life that I could never enjoy before. I can travel. There was times in my addiction when I couldn’t get that far away from the dope.
And I would never have enough dope to leave town. You got away from the dope man, and you were in trouble. You were in big trouble. I can travel. I can go anywhere in the world and do anything I want to do. It’s what I want if it’s within my goals I can make it. It can happen for me.
I have learned that. I guess what I am saying is that I have been freed. That feels so good it’s hard to describe. I think maybe for the first time in my life, I’ve found peace, love, and freedom. Beyond that I don’t know what to say — peace, love, and freedom. That’s it.
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