If you haven’t read the first part, you should check it out first: Jackson, Mississippi (part one)
I land in good old Jackson, Mississippi. I don’t recall the treatment center name, but I do remember one of the reasons I was sent to this particular one. It was a male only facility.
For whatever reason, I always got along with females easier than males. Guys my age (in my early twenties back then) were obnoxious, immature, cruel, and acted like toddlers for the most part. Just how I was I’m sure, but I can only handle one of me…
I think it was because I had three moms (my mom, and my two sisters). I understood females better than males.
I can tell when a guy has sisters.. Not always, but typically, the guys that have sisters understand and relate better with other females, than the guys without sisters. They just don’t have the practice maybe? I’m not sure what it is, but I can usually tell fairly quickly if someone grew up with sisters or not. The guys that don’t, usually have absolutely no clue how to talk to females.. (at least at this age…) Men seem to mature at an older age than women. In fact, I don’t even know what that age is yet.
The treatment center
I wasn’t happy about being there, to say the least. Plus it was the south. I had never really travelled much along the bible belt. When I told ppl where I was or where I was going. They would say “ohhhh… the foreign south”. It’s a whole other world down there. There’s dry counties down there, and there’s counties that only sell beer and wine, and others that only sell liquor. Super weird.
A lovely habit I picked up in the southland. I normally smoked cigarettes (a lot), but not down here.. Everyone dipped, or chewed… The most disgusting habit you could ever imagine (well, I doubt it, but it’s up there). You have to keep a cup around with you, to get rid of the spit sitting in your mouth, because if you swallowed it, you would turn green with nausea, and get kinda sick (unless you were used to such levels of nicotine in your body, which some were). Anyhow, monkey see monkey do. I was curious as to why the guys down here did this, instead of smoking.. So I tried it, and eventually liked it. You grow to like the taste, as ridiculous as that sounds.. You would be surprised at what you can get used to.
Don’t worry. The habit didn’t last very long past my time spent in Mississippi… (which was only a couple months, due to getting kicked out of this place.. but we’ll get to that soon). Actually, I think I quit smoking for awhile after this, so I could start running. Getting sidetracked here again though…
They call it a bootcamp. It’s not like a typical one though, not physically. Though I’ve never gone through bootcamp in any traditional sense, so I don’t really have much to compare it to. It was much more structured, and this one was men only. No females.
We had to get up at 6am, and get to the gym, where we had to line up against all four walls of this big gym. Kneel, and face the wall.. To pray… There’s about 120 guys (18+ years of age
I didn’t pray. Not back then. Not even in a ‘foxhole’. It seemed utterly crazy, and downright stupid to talk to a god, or anything or anyone that won’t answer you.
I talk to my skateboard though…
Now I have my own style of praying… It’s not to a deity though… It’s to the universe at large. It’s to everyone I know, and everyone I don’t know. It’s to myself and every living thing. And I kind of live in constant prayer. Always communicating to anything and everything around me (usually in my head but sometimes out loud too). Sounds a bit crazy… (Single dad, kids in school, who else am I going to talk to).
I literally feel bad if I treat an “object” poorly.. (throwing a screwdriver on the ground for example). But I’m getting sidetracked here.
Back to the treatment
So the compound was setup with several trailers that had 2 bedrooms each, and each bedroom would be 2-4 guys if I remember correctly.. And a kitchen and a common area (in each trailer). We were given a certain amount of cash to buy groceries every week, and we had to budget. We had to cook for ourselves as well. Usually we ended up finding out who the best cook was in our group, and they would end up cooking and the others would do the other chores required from us. Like buying the groceries, doing the dishes (which occasionally meant if the pots were real bad, we would toss them behind the trailer… ridiculous!).
The rest of the day consisted of a couple group therapy sessions, and then some lectures or talks from others, and then make/eat our own dinner, and an AA meeting at night. Which is fairly typical fora treatment center (besides having to cook for yourself)..
I was only there for a couple months (if I’m remembering correctly). It was a 4 month program. So something obviously cut my stay short.
After a couple weeks there, a guy showed up for treatment from Arkansas. Hilarious guy. We became good friends while we were there, but for the life of me, I can’t remember his name. We’ll call him Arkansas from now on.
He was an opiate addict. Addicted to pain pills. Back then, it was much more common to be addicted to pain pills, then heroin (in that part of the country). Just more accessible. This was before the so-called “opiate crisis” though. Many people were buying pain pills (in the foreign south) on the street, like they were ‘street’ drugs (by the time they got to rehab anyhow). Paying crazy prices too. Arkansas said he was paying $20-$50 per pill sometimes. (These were the stronger, higher doses, and not time-release pills…)
Biscuits and gravy
Besides learning how to dip (chewing tobacco), I also discovered biscuits and gravy. Arkansas was a decent cook, and he could make some killer biscuits and gravy. I watched him make them a dozen times, but I could never replicate the process. I had almost zero experience with cooking by this point. Just could never get the roux right, or whatever it’s called.
Arkansas drove himself to treatment. This is not common. Most drug addicts and alcoholics… Well, we just wouldn’t arrive at a treatment center left to our own devices.
Flashback: Remember Hazelden? They dropped me off at an airport, those silly bastards… Of course, I wasn’t going to get on the plane to another treatment center…
After about 8 weeks of this bootcamp, I think Arkansas was getting a little squirrelly/bored/call it what you want. He wanted to get out of rehab and get high.
Twist my arm
It never took much for someone to convince me to get high. Didn’t matter what kind of high. Just get me up there… So, of course, I was on board. Only problem was we didn’t know anything about Mississippi. We didn’t know anyone here, except the guys in rehab trying to learn how to stay clean, so most of those plebs were not to be trusted. However, we found a kid… probably 18 years old (we’ll call him ‘the kid’ from this point on). And he was ready to party. The kid was from the area, and he said he knew some ppl that could get us some drugs.
Remember I told you Arkansas drove himself to rehab. This was the key. We had a pickup truck in the parking lot of this fine bootcamp. Only problem was the car keys.. They were locked in counselors’ offices in the admin building. We could get into the building, just not the offices. They were locked.
The Breakfast Club
Remember, when Judd Nelson is crawling across the ceiling in the high school, to get back into the library, while telling a joke (to himself)? This is what Arkansas did to get his car keys. He even fell, like Judd Nelson did. I doubt he was talking to himself at the time though, but who knows.
We wait until night time. Arkansas has me prop him up so he can get into the ceiling of this building, or some shaft or something. And couple minutes later, he comes out with a grin on his face, holding the keys.
We didn’t have phones with GPS back then, so before embarking on our excursion, we had to go on yahoo maps and print the directions. This was our downfall.
Turns out, the kid didn’t really know where to get drugs. He just wanted a ride out of there. I think we ended up smoking some pot or something, and then going back into the rehab, hopefully undetected.
Unfortunately, Arkansas dropped the map we printed along the way from the car to our trailer when we were sneaking back in. The next morning, the head counselor had found it, and knew some of us had snuck out.
After we were done doing the morning prayer, kneeling with our faces towards the wall, the counselor (standing in the middle of the gym, holding our map in his hand) starts asking if any of us have anything to admit to about the previous night. Obviously no one responded. He was getting angry. Then he singled out our trailer, and we had no choice but to step up. Obviously, we got kicked out. All three of us.
This was the last treatment center I ever went to.
I was driven to the airport, and put on a plane. This time, I was coming home to Saint Charles, IL. where my parents lived at the time. I was done with treatment. I didn’t care if I got high again. I just knew (to this day) that I would never go back to another rehab.
Consequently, I started shooting heroin again, soon after getting home. But it only lasted a couple months.
A moment of realization is worth a thousand prayers
I was in my bathroom, trying to get high. I’ll spare you most of the details, but it wasn’t going so well. I had no more veins, and the hours I spent poking myself unsuccessfully just made me a bloody mess. I remember crying. I remember feeling so low, so ashamed, scared, tiny…. I didn’t want to do this anymore.. I couldn’t even take my pain away anymore. I’ve never felt so worthless in my life.
I never touched heroin again.
The next morning, I went downstairs and told my parents I was strung out again and needed to get back on methadone (for the 4th or 5th time by now). I stayed on methadone for the next ten years, and actually stayed clean. This isn’t the end of my struggles though. I was just saying goodbye to my one true love.