The land where all the homes have brake lights.
I’m in Dulzura, California for the third time. Good old Rancho L’abri. This is after the little white car incident… I get a visit from my therapist at the time, who also used to be a counselor at Rancho L’abri. My mom was there too and obviously they decide I need more help. Honestly, I’ve never heard of anyone else on this planet, who has gotten more help from others, than me.
Here we go again…
Another rehab, another day…. Just like any other at this point. But this time, I have resolve. I have resolve to not get clean. Not yet.. I still had more work to do.
That’s how it felt. Doing drugs is a full time job. I don’t know if you knew that. It takes up every single second, of every single minute, of every single hour, of every single day of your life.
A good friend of mine. Haven’t spoken to him since these times, but I hope to re-connect eventually. A running partner.. Generous… Goofy… Just like me… And he never judged…
I was about one week into treatment, and it was time to go. So I call my friend Layman, and he comes in the middle of the night, to the mountains by the Mexican border, drives into the middle of a field, and here I come, running out of the treatment center… Probably wearing black… Cuz it blends so well with deserts…
This wasn’t on my bucket list… There’s no reason for a drug addict to go into the mountains really.. There’s more drugs in metropolitan areas..
This wasn’t a goal of mine. Going to Big Bear Mountain…. But since moving back to California though, I have grown to love traveling through California, and Big Bear is a beautiful area.
So I get in the car, and he’s got everything ready… A softball sized rock of crystal meth… syringes, cookers, the works… (no pun intended). A good friend…
And on the drive back to San Diego, he wants to goto big bear and get a cabin or something.. It’s about 1am at this point, and seemed perfectly normal to drive to the mountains, without any hotel reservation, and no clue how to even get there. Because it took us about 4 hours, where normally, I think its a 2.5 hr drive. We show up at 4:30am. Not cool… Literally banging on some cabin door around 5am, asking for a room from someone that is trying to explain that we would be paying for the previous night and would have to leave by noon. Made no sense.
Obviously we get the room
Long story short, I end up in Tijuana the next morning.. Which is actually the same morning. The morning we arrive in Big Bear, is the morning we leave Big Bear, and is still the same day I end up in Tijuana. Gotta love California.. In the mountains at 5am, arriving in Tijuana by 2pm.
Under the flag of cheaper drugs, and US passports…
Very easy to get drugs in Tijuana. But don’t drive there. It’s a non-starter… (they search most cars of young Americans crossing the border).
You gotta park in San Ysidro… On the US side. Border towns… The cess pool byproduct of two cultures valuing the worst in each other.
Then you walk across to Tijuana. When you get across, there’s a fleet of taxi cabs, waiting to offer you any pleasure you desire. Hop in one of them, and tell them you want heroin, and off we go, as the driver says “no problemo”.
I’m supposed to be in rehab
Keep in mind.. 14 hours prior, I was in group therapy in the middle of what looked like a desert in Dulzura, CA. Telling everyone I hated sobriety. Or maybe I was telling them I loved it. Didn’t really matter… Either was a dishonest statement.
Obviously, I wasn’t too successful at this latest attempt at saving my own life.
I call the treatment center the next morning, and tell them I’m okay, I’m alive, and I’m coming back… Just needed a refresher, that’s all… Sometimes you just gotta say fuck it. Hopefully, when you do, it won’t be so dire…
So I get in a cab in TJ
There was no Uber/Lyft back then… for you millennials. Besides those drivers don’t seem to be as open minded about getting drugs for their clients..
Now, it’s important to note, I did this every day for awhile (before). I would park in San Ysidro, walk across (this was pre-9/11 so the border checks were a joke), pick up a large glass jar (half gallon size?) full of liquid meth amphetamine, and a few grams of black tar heroin, put in my backpack, and walk right back, across the border, back in San Ysidro, where there was an empty house, with an oven.
As long as you looked white, you were just told to keep walking (at the border back then). They wouldn’t check your ID or your backpack… Nada… And I’m the whitest looking Mexican you’ll ever meet, so this was an advantage.
Back to the oven
You put the glass jar in the oven for a bit, and out comes crystal meth. Then you throw the jar on the ground of this “kitchen” and pick up the huge chunks of meth that hopefully don’t have glass shards in it from breaking the jar, but do you really care? You’re injecting meth into your veins. This is a substance that is so harsh, if you use a metal spoon to make your shots, after awhile the metal spoon will corrode and a hole actually will form. It ate away at metal. And I was shooting that into my arm… Every day, about 4-5 times a day.
This wasn’t anything new to me. Going to TJ (my Cali version of going to see carol). But this time, we’re sitting in the cab, the driver takes my money, gets out of the car and goes into a building. He’s there for a couple minutes. but we see this undercover policia driving around the block a few times. Then they pull up right behind us. The cab driver walks out the building, and I notion to him to keep on walking but they tackle him down onto the ground immediately. Naturally, we take off running. Not about to stand there and watch them arrest the guy getting our drugs… So I grab another cab and got the hell out of that specific area.
In case you were worried, yes… I made sure to get my dope from somewhere else down there.. I wasn’t coming back empty handed… And no, this event didn’t phase me in the slightest. You’d be surprised at what you can get used to. By this point, I’ve seen enough of the world. Didn’t learn from it. But definitely witnessed and experienced enough for a thousand lifetimes.
A sobering welcoming…
I remember pulling up in the cab, on the sandy dirt road leading to Rancho L’abri. I look outside the cab and I see one of the counselors walking with some of the patients… Doing their morning walk I guess.. But when he sees me getting out of the cab, he notions for the others to go back to the center and he’ll get back with them later. He had bigger fish to fry.
Talk about walk of shame…
As we walk back down the dirt road to this oasis of supposed clarity… I don’t remember feeling shame… I don’t remember feeling anything.. I was still high. And they made me goto group therapy right away, despite me telling them I was still high. I remember it even made others feel uncomfortable… That’s what I didn’t like. I didn’t care what I was doing to myself… but I did care that my actions made others feel uncomfortable. And I believe I refused to do further treatment for a few days. So I had to talk to the big guy.. The doc…
He was empathetic to my plight…. He wanted to understand… But when you, yourself, don’t even understand your own motivations for your actions, how could anyone else?
I remember being in his office… there was a large desk between us.. He was an older man, white/grey hair… Looked like your typical old family doctor from a small town.. But inside him were memories of experiences I couldn’t even begin to comprehend.. I could tell.
He asked me point blank… “What do we have to do to keep you here…”
You can’t treat someone that isn’t even present… So I told him, quite simply… “Sedate me please”. You want me to stay in this facility… You need to chemically bind me to this location somehow.. So he did…
Gave me enough valium, clonidine, and Ambien to kill a horse.. every 4 hours (not the Ambien… that was just for nighttime.. its for nighttime, because if you stay awake while one it, you are psychotic… with no inhibitions.. super weird drug). This is a drug where if you give to ppl in a coma (not the correct word for this), they can wake up… like in the movie Awakenings with Robin Williams. But only for the half-life of the drug. Once it wears off, they lose this state of consciousness.
He did this because he knew it was temporary. I did not know this. I just expected him to have me on the meds for a month or so, keep me in treatment, and then slowly taper the dosages… This is what I thought.. I was wrong.
A conspiracy I tell you!
The doctor and my parents had a different plan. They already were planning on transferring me. I was at a level that my own favorite rehab couldn’t deal with. And they knew it. My parents were finding out.. But to me, it felt like they were giving up on me. I remember the doctor asking me… “Aren’t you tired?”
This is code in our world… It means.. “Have you finally had enough of your own prison?”
It was the most honest answer to any question I’ve been asked before.. Just three letters…. And he ran with it.
That was the permission he was looking for in me, to do what he thought he needed to do. And that was to transfer me to a last chance bootcamp rehab in Jackson, Mississippi. I was put on a plane the next day. Wasn’t given a choice. They didn’t ask me if I wanted to go. They put me in a car, escorted me through the airport and made sure I got on the plane. Because in the past, when I would get kicked out of rehabs.. I occasionally didn’t get on the plane…
One time I moved into a girl’s house in Center City, MN (population 210 at the time and they all worked for Hazelden). I did so, because I got kicked out of Hazelden for leaving the property with this girl, to go hang out a lake beach nearby…. They grounded us at first.. but then we would meet on the roof of the facility, so they kicked us both out finally..
So the facility dropped me off at the airport. I don’t even remember where I was supposed to go.. Some other treatment facility I assume, but I had other ideas…
I knew no one in Minnesota.. But I was stuck at the airport. The only phone number I had on me was this girl I met in the facility.. So I call her on a payphone (they had these back then), in the airport.. and asked if she would pick me up because I didn’t get on the plane and had no where else to go…
She says yes, excitedly, because I was still in the state.. She pulls up to the airport and quickly states that I gotta jump in because she can’t turn the car off.. Because she just stole this car to pick me up.
I’m getting sidetracked again, I apologize.. I’ll get to Jackson in the next post.
Part two is here: Jackson, Mississippi (part two)