That’s what my friend and I would call it, when we were going to the westside of Chicago to score dope. Because one of the dope spots was on Carroll Ave.
Most people do not do heroin….
Most people frown upon it actually. So for this reason, most heroin addicts don’t advertise the fact that they use heroin, to regular people. So when it was just me and a couple other people using heroin (in our group of friends), we didn’t want the other… less enlightened fellows knowing what we were doing. So when we had to go score, and had to leave a friends house or whatever, we would tell everyone we were going to Carol’s house.
After awhile, people started wondering who this Carol person was.
It was what looked like an abandoned projects building with a boarded up entrance. There was no door really, just a board covering the doorway. It didn’t open.
You had to drive up to this building.. Which was right next to an empty lot. You had to park on the other side of the empty lot, and run across this lot towards the boarded up entrance. Then someone yells through the door “how many!” (if you’re lucky). If not, you run back empty handed…
So you would yell through the board and tell them. Then you slip your money through the space between the bottom of the board and the ground. A few seconds later a piece of cardboard would slide back towards your feet. On it would be the foil bags of heroin that you just purchased. Then you would grab them, and run quickly back to your car, to avoid being seen by the police who are circling most blocks in this area. And quickly drive away, using your knees to steer so you could cook up a shot at the same time without pulling over. This became an art form.
Good ol’ Carol
Always reliable. Always open. 24/7 and on holidays you would get a bonus bag or two sometimes. It was reliable until it wasn’t. All dope spots have a shelf life. The dealers get greedy and start ripping people off.. Or the cops get too frustrated and they take that spot down. Or they just keep their presence known there until ppl stop coming.
I remember Chicago started putting up cameras. Or what amounted to a camera “box” that was empty. Even if some were active, all it did was move the dealers one block down. The mayor even stated he would keep moving the dealers this way until they’re out of cook county and no longer his problem. Basically everyone just stopped paying any attention to them.
Growing up in rehabs
This was around the time of my first experience with rehabs. If you recall from my Paris post, I got on methadone and then worked on getting off of it, with my parents help.
Or Ultra Rapid Opiate Detox… There was nothing ultra or rapid about it, nor did it detox. In point of fact, it’s not an opiate. Not one word makes sense in that acronym. It just doesn’t work. Not for me. But what did we know. This was the first time myself, or my family attempted anything like this. It was recommended by Hazelden. A company that ran several treatment centers. I went to three of them, and one I went twice. Like I said, I’m stubborn (and this was just the beginning).
So Hazelden just opened up a location in downtown Chicago. My parents and I went to visit, and they said I can’t go there unless I was detoxed.. and it would be hard and long to detox from my methadone dosage. So they told us about this UROD treatment that University of Chicago just started testing.
They put you under general anesthesia for about 6 hours. During this time, your body is bombarded with naloxone. The brand name is Narcan. They give it to people (like me) who are overdosing. It basically forces the opiates out of your body very, very quickly. Allowing you to start breathing again…
So the idea is instead of just one little injection, lets flood the body with this stuff, while they’re unconscious so they don’t feel the affects.. Because this stuff makes you go into severe withdrawal instantly. You feel like shit. But all this is supposed to happen during the 6 hours you’re asleep… And when you wake up, you’re all better! Yeah right.
As soon as I could walk, I called my friend to come pick me up. Which he did, only because I was offering to buy him a few bags of dope for driving me. So I just walk out of this supposed lock down facility, and I’m already downtown so no need to go very far. Get picked up, we score, (probably at Carroll Ave). Go back to his house and crash. By morning, my family was freaking out looking for me, and my girlfriend (who I just took to Paris), etc. She was driving to all my usual spots, friends houses, etc looking for me, until finally she found me.
I hear her outside… She’s yelling she knows I’m inside. I quickly do another shot of dope… Because I knew this wasn’t going to be a fun interaction. That was a mistake..
I walk outside, and I overdose for the first time in my life. It was Chicago, so it was cold and icy. I just collapse I guess… When I fell, I must’ve hit my head on the ice because I started convulsing violently. I don’t remember this part much.
Actually I don’t remember much after this point either. But I think the consensus was that I needed more help than Hazelden Chicago could offer (ya think?), and recommended I go out of state to their flagship center. In Center City, Minnesota.. And yes, its even colder up there.. Fuck…
This was the beginning…
Luckily, I’ve made it this far… After literally dozens and dozens of longterm treatment centers, detox centers, hospitals, psych wards, recovery homes, halfway houses, sober living homes, etc…
I thought it was all for nothing. Because it didn’t help me. I wasn’t ready anyhow. I know that now. Because when someone is ready, they don’t find the faults in the world.. They find the lessons..
What they were trying to teach me was how to live. I didn’t listen back then. But it wasn’t for nothing. Because I’m living proof today that some of what I learned back then really does work. You just gotta take the good stuff and ignore the rest. And there’s a lot to ignore. But hopefully, together, we can figure out a way to help all of us out of these pits of despair. You can dress us up, but underneath it all, we’re all the same.