It’s Friday and there’s no better way to start the weekend than by scoring a bottle of 750 mg Hydrocodone from a local 24 hours pharmacy. And then it dawns on me. I’ve been steadily using drugs and drinking alcohol for a decade. I’ve recently turned 27 and here I am relieved that my PCP authorized my prescription early. To be honest, I’ve quit all the hard shit. There’s no way I could drop X or do a fat rail the night before work. Instead, I’ve been drinking a lot and it’s sad to say, I am an alcoholic and drug addict.
So, a couple of days ago I went to the Barnes & Nobles and bought A Million Little Pieces, a memoir by James Frey that recounts his six weeks in rehab. And if there was anyone who was fucked up, it was Frey. Luckily, I didn’t have to have my teeth knocked out for me to realize that my life is shit. The thing I like about this book, unlike others about addiction (including Jim Carroll’s Basketball Diaries,) is that it tells the truth. And according to the narrator, “. . .if I am remembered at all. Remember the truth. It is all that matters.” It is a brutal account of the bullshit one deals with in rehab, the unique individuals one encounters and the rattling of detoxification.
As supplemental material, I also bought my first self-help book entitled Sober for Good, written by Anne M. Fletcher. It’s a book geared to those who want to get sober without AA. It’s embarrassing but the book has made me ask a lot of important questions and I guess that’s a start. Junot Diaz once warned me, “Be VERY AWARE of your audience when you launch into these upsets.” But perhaps this is what I need to get clean, a public announcement of my decay.
I’m also reading a wonderful anthology of poetry called Last Call: Poems on Alcoholism, Addiction, & Deliverance. In this collection there is a wonderful poem by Jeffrey McDaniel entitled The Multiple Floor. The last three couplets are what get me:
In Tompkins Square, a fiend ties his arm
with Christmas lights and plugs his only tree.
Panic spreads its hideous cream over the cheeks
of a statute, and I use to be that statue
I hoist a pale vowel up the throat’s pole,
wave it in surrender over the body.
I guess I’ve always thought I was capable of being a certain type of individual; the one who looks forward, inhabiting the future, no longer a shadow but a new-born entering light.