About Me

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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

good friday

there was something in the air friday night. and it wasn't fernando.

the n.a. meeting began with an interrupted knife fight between javid, schizophrenic, and carlos, anger management. my street smarts surged upwards, but my behind didn't. riding the subway alone from age eight instilled an awareness, if not total bad-assness. i have never judged the unbathed, greasy haired, twitching, self-conversing man pushing his shopping cart of aluminum treasures. maybe somehow, there always bobbed a thought, somewhere in my deep end, that we were one and the same...

during the break, i said hello to r. we hugged. i had met him at a different n.a. meeting last friday. stringy hair, shifty eyes, lithe in leather. the stereotypical, strung out, zeppelinesque rocker if there ever was one. except i knew he had been clean and sober for 7 years off coke and heroin. i knew his name and he knew mine.

i asked him how he was doing, and he said,

"i feel lonely."...

and i said,

"i feel the same."...

there is a feeling in this room that trumps words. empathy.

we talk. we share. but in listening, cultivation occurs.

[sow. plant. water. nurture. bloom...]

haggard, bloated figures. gaunt, bony ones, too. seared souls that utterly belie the phenomenal fortitude birthed from 24, 25, 27 years of sobreity. they tower over my 37 days, and inspire me to come out of the shadows. they wear their struggle across their drawn and landscaped faces; their daily sufferings when thrown to the mat, wrestling with the morning tide about to pull them under. the roar of the ocean, the sting of the brine. they clench at sand, rocks; shells that scar your body, batter your soul. but they never. let. go.

["you spin me right round"]

it began with a whack.

pain against my head. my head against the wall.

suddenly my eyes began to crossover into white and my train of speech slowed right down. i apologized to k., my roommate, assuming my night med., seraquel, had hit me particularly hard core. sinking on a blood sugar ship, i grabbed the other half of my morning pastry and sat to catch some of the local news.

and then.

i couldn't swallow. i panicked and tried to get air through my nose. as i felt my throat close up, i could sense thick flesh pressing against the sides of my mouth, so i stumbled dizzily over to the bathroom. my tongue was fully extended out of my mouth, kielbasa style, covered in pastry. as my body began to faint and fall, i weeble-wobbled over to k's door and pounded away.

"k. help me. i can't breathe."

she grabbed and held me up and we smashed out of our apartment into the common area, screaming for the tech, b, almost off shift. he turned, and later told me, that every vein in my body was bulging hulk-wards, and my tongue was drooped nearly six feet under.

i trembled with fear. i trembled from shock, but quickly my knights with shining sirens arrived.

first do harm, but these men in uniform did nothing but. no help to a gurney or chair, but a self-induced fling, landing me unassisted, curbside of the facility. shadowy faces, angry red lights, hulking figures advancing on this shaking, shivering waif. scanning the mass of unfriendly faces, frantically, frenetically for b., as i slurred my information; nodding off, desperately warding off sleep. holding my twitching arm up against the violence of the flickering flashlights, rapid like florescent gunfire into my terrified eyes.

thrown on the gurney, like a slab of meat on a conveyor belt and packaged into the ambulance waiting.

"has your doctor ever told you there are certain medications you can't take?"

"i'm sorry?"

my head lolled around, as i tried to scrape the thickness of swollen sleep off my tongue.

"has your doctor ever told you there are certain medications you can't take?"

"well, i told you about the 3 medications i am allergic to."


my first thought was," i can't breathe, there's nothing wrong with my hearing, dude."
my second thought was, "uh?, crack is whack?"
my third thought was, "ohhhhhhhhhhh..."

you are treating me this way because i am in rehab.

["they tried to make me go to rehab, i said, no, no, no..."]

man chooses to work with the scared and the crumbled, and he leaves his badge of compassion in a drawer at home.

i met up with my angel of unmercy at cedars after a coarse ride through the meth-addled streets of west hollywood.

"i am not loaded!", i wanted to SCREAM into his judgmental mask, but my protruding tongue, baring an uncanny resemblance to my old beagle's "lipstick", coupled with the sandman's grits so heavy in my eyes, prevented anything but whimpers of submission.

he reinforced the necklace of shame that near snaps my neck every day.

so tonight i am on my knees.


after a meeting.

after calling my sponsor.

[b.f.f addiction. b.f.f transplantation.]

why can't we be friends?
stop raping my life, it's already half done.
a disease controls my mind,
a disease control my body.
one pervades with thoughts dark and obscene,
one pervades with meds that rot flesh unseen.
invasion, then grab the small pleasures of life.
invasion, then stomp out the dreams i held tight.
SICK of hospitals, white coats, sirens loud.
so SICK of this jamming a wedge between all.
i've lost friends who weren't friends, but it hurts just the same.
i still flow and i flow, i shower in pain.

[can you hear me tearing up the blueprint of my childhood?]

i have two diseases recognized by the a.m.a.

and i have a choice.

it is not easy seeing your hair fall out...
it is not easy wearing ankle braces because of painful swelling...
it is not easy seeing your face get fat again...
it is not easy being in an ambulance, under an oxygen mask, unable to breathe...
it is not easy being in rehab...
it is not easy seeing your creatinine incline; 0.8, 0.9, 1.0...

[there is no "finish line".
there is no "fix it".
there is no "over".]

it is not easy, but now i have a choice.

1 comment:

  1. speechless. but wanted to let you know i'm here, thinking of you and reading every word. xo