Doesn’t mean they’re not following you.
I was in Boca Raton, FL at the time. Another treatment center I went to, about 24ish years ago I believe. Around the time hurricane George was hitting the coast I think. I had been here a couple months by now, and they were telling us we would need to go to a shelter, or get out of dodge. I was in a dilemma because I was not done with treatment, and I was told I couldn’t go back home to Illinois. Because every time I did, I would relapse before the plane landed in O’hare. For some reason, just smelling the Chicago air, was enough to get me going to the west side.
.I didn’t have much time. They were going to close the airports soon I thought. We had to figure out where to put me.
This area in Florida… it’s humid as all hell. You take a shower, and go outside, you gotta go back in to take another shower. Your sunglasses fog up the second you leave your air conditioned oasis. Lizards running around in front of you, while you try to walk and not step on them, leaving their tail as a souvenir for anyone who wants it. There’s usually a few lizards on the wall behind your couch, watching TV with you. And if you’re 70 years old, you’re a youngster.
I wasn’t too sad to leave. But I knew I didn’t want to go back to the midwest. Never cared for the weather. So naturally, I chose California. I’ve never been. So we find a sober living home in San Diego. And I get on a plane from Florida, to California. Supposedly to start a new life. Ended up being the same life, just better weather…
The house was gorgeous, on top of a hill in the area of Clairemont, in San Diego. I think there was 3 guys there at the time, but the house was big. It had a pool and hot tub over looking the hillside.
Long story short, I didn’t stay sober for long. There wasn’t much structure at the sober living home. One of my roommates got kicked out not too long after my arrival, started using, and that’s how I ended up getting tar heroin for the first time. Before this point, I had only been using china white, or afghan brown. I had also been sober for a couple months by now, so when I did the tar heroin in my room, I overdosed. One shot is all it took. One shot is all it usually takes.
Quitting is dangerous
I’m joking there, but typically when you overdose from heroin, its not from doing a large amount so to speak.. People generally aren’t doing large volumes of it and then dying.. It’s usually because you don’t have a tolerance. I didn’t have a tolerance.
Ironically, I didn’t start overdosing until I tried to quit….
So when my roommate found me on my floor of our bedroom, not breathing, they call 911. I was taken to the hospital and revived. I have no memory of this event really, other than I know it happened, and had to be picked up from the hospital by the manager of the sober living home.
This was how I was introduced to Rancho L’abri, a treatment center in Dulzura, CA. A remote area in the mountains/hills by the Mexican border. The treatment center was the only thing there. No other buildings or homes as far as I could see. The sober living home was owned by the same doctor that owned Rancho L’abri. A kind man. Had his own demons I’m sure. But a good man.
I went back to his treatment center a few times. They had the best food.
I made some good friends there. I made good friends in every place I went. In fact, many treatment centers I visited, I got kicked out of due to fraternization with females, or drug use in treatment. Which is ridiculous, but crazy and reckless was the norm back then. I was young, and so very clueless. I knew nothing of how the real world works…
I think the second time I went there, I finished the program but I don’t remember how long it was. I don’t think they had a set amount of time… Most likely it was more about how long your insurance will pay for your bed.
After I got out of Rancho L’abri – obviously I go back to the same sober living.. And I kept in touch with some of my friends.
I get a call from a friend of mine from there, and she asked if we could go out for coffee and talk. I said of course, and we got to talking. By this time, I had started using drugs again. That was my MO. I don’t know if I ever even tried to muster the resolve needed to stay clean. I don’t think I even tried. Because almost every time I left a rehab, I usually was using drugs within a week.. sometimes within an hour… Long story short, I had syringes of meth and heroin already prepared in my trunk (like usual), when I met her for coffee… So when she mentioned she relapsed, and obviously I had too, it was like a reunion of lifelong pals, even though I just met her 45 days earlier.
Off to the races…
That’s the pandora’s box.. Give a junkie a running partner, and there’s no stopping them. Someone to share your misery with? Yes please.. Who wants to go it alone..
She lived in Coronado, and had a studio apartment that was on top of a garage. For what it’s worth, it’s never a good idea to be a drug addict, living on someone else’s property. It won’t last too long.. We didn’t last too long. She was asked to leave by her family friend’s landlord.. (after I moved in). So we moved into the Marriot near Seaport Village. A big, fancy hotel in downtown San Diego. She paid for everything.
The little white cars
By this point, I was shooting large amounts of meth and heroin together. All day, every day. The only time we left the hotel room, was to get more drugs. And because we had been up for two months doing drugs like this, we definitely got paranoid. I would leave to drive down to ocean beach or Tijuana to get more drugs, but every time I did, I felt people were following us out of the hotel.. In these little white cars…
Every time I left the Marriot, or came back, there was one or two little white cars behind me, following me but not doing anything else. This went on for what seemed like weeks. I don’t even remember what I thought. All I knew was I didn’t like leaving the hotel room anymore. It felt like that scene in Goodfellas, when he was being followed by helicopters.
I was going nuts. I couldn’t figure it out and definitely wasn’t sleeping enough to even comprehend what it could’ve been.
One day though, we leave to go procure more drugs, and when we return, the little white cars are following us like usual. But this time, when we get up to our room, the key card doesn’t work. Odd, but okay so we use the hotel hall phone to get someone to help us.
But when help came, it wasn’t a bell man, or concierge. It was five dudes from security. They asked to see our identification right away and explained that the room was under a females name, but a man was signing all the bills.. (me).
That’s what it all was about. Our room service bills had a male’s signature on them. That’s it. I almost had a heart attack… But it didn’t end there. As soon as they saw we weren’t committing credit card fraud, they opened the hotel room door, however they make sure to enter before us (rudely). They were looking for any excuse to kick us out but they found nothing. Thank god… Luckily, we had put the glass bongs under the bed that morning, for some reason. Normally they would’ve been on the dresser, and we probably would’ve been kicked out for smoking meth. But for no reason at all, or maybe due to paranoia… that morning I moved the gear under the bed and we got lucky. Security left us alone after that.
What happened after that… is for another post…