Did I just make the right decision? I mean, did I really just get engaged? What the hell am I doing? Is this woman even the one? Or am I just stuck in some blueberried-up love cloud? Speaking of blueberries…think I’ll have one…yeah that will help me think. OK…where was I? Am I really ready to give this all up…this life….. for a woman? C’mon Matty get a hold of yourself…what’s the worst that could happen?
My mind was literally clouded with all sorts of unanswered questions. I had so many thoughts…both good and bad going through my mind all at once…that I couldn’t really think clearly. I’d see a future me…a family man…wife, dog, couple of kids running around in the backyard while I was cheffin’ on the grille. I seemed genuinely happy. Then in a flash, I’d see another possible future me…skinny and pale, passed out in some dark hotel room, empty bottles all over the place, table full of drugs and powder residue, two women in the room putting on their clothes and rummaging through my pockets at the same time. Then in an instant I’d flash back to another possible decent future, then back to another shit show. You get the idea. I was losing my mind. I had either just made the best decision of my life, or quite possibly the worst. You know how they say everyone hits a crossroads in their life at some point or another…well looking back…I feel that this was mine. Did I want the simple, wholesome life of a family man, or did I want to continue on thinking I was some sort of wannabe rock star drug dealer for the rest of my life? At the time, I honestly didn’t know the answer to that question. So, as usual when life got hectic, I did what I normally did… I sniffed oxys like they were going out of style. And at this point, cocaine was no longer an occasional thing. I was sniffing the white lady just about every day after work, along with the berries to try and escape reality. Work, engagement, hustling, friends, family, this that and a third…it was all getting to me. I thought I was running away from my problems. I was actually running toward them full speed…with no brakes. I was a walking disaster at this point. This was probably the darkest time of my life…the climax of my drug use if you will. Drugs, not only blueberries, pretty much had me by the balls. And now I was engaged to top it all off. Nice.
Not too long after I began to literally drown myself in drugs on a daily basis…something…or should I say someone…threw me a life jacket. One day, when I just got off of work, I noticed a little boy and his mother walking toward the elevator in the parking garage that I was in right next to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The mother was holding her son’s hand. The boy had to be about 5 or 6 years old…tops. I can still see his face as clear as day. He had big, bright blue eyes, a round handsome face, and a big smile but with really little teeth. He had on a red Boston Red Sox hat, a Dana Farber Red Sox t-shirt, shorts, and those croc sandals. I remember thinking, “cute kid, he’s going to be a hit with the ladies someday with those eyes.” I guess he reminded me of myself when I was a kid. I even began to wonder what my future son would look like. As they got on the elevator, I took a break from playing on my phone momentarily. The mom and I smiled politely at each other and I continued on. She and her son were talking about God only knows. Then all of a sudden out of nowhere, the lil’ man lifts his hat completely off his head, holding it up in both hands in triumph, revealing a completely bald head while smiling from ear to ear, and asks, “Mom…why am I like this..?” in quite possibly the cutest, most innocent, inquisitive/curious voice I’ve ever heard in my life…while continuing to smile like it was funny. I’m almost choking up as I write this. I literally froze. I almost dropped my phone. The mother and I looked at each other instantly. She had somewhat half of a smile with semi-sad eyes…a look of embarrassment/fear/sorrow all rolled into one…knowing that there was no good truthful answer to the boy’s question. Then there was me with a half smile as well…along with a look of shame/sadness. I didn’t really know what to do or say at that moment.
All I did know was that in an instant, that little boy’s question broke my heart right on the spot. I knew the answer to his question. I mean the Dana Farber t-shirt and the bald head made it pretty obvious. That 5 year old boy had cancer. Now to tell you the truth, I don’t really remember what the mother said back to the kid. I was in that much shock from the question itself. I guess it really struck something in me, maybe because I saw some of myself in him, maybe because I felt that mother’s pain, maybe I had done too many blueberries that day and I was all emotional. Whatever reason, it was one of those moments in my life that I will never forget.
I got off the elevator and hurried quickly to my car. I sat in the driver’s seat, crushed up a bunch of pills, sniffed away, and thought for a while. I’m not going to lie…I’m pretty sure I shed a tear or two. I started to think…here I was young and healthy…had the world by the balls…yet miserable…and I’m literally pissing my life away to drugs. Then here’s this cute lil’ man, with a huge grin on his face, just wondering why his head is bald. He didn’t know the truth. He was 5 years old. For all I know, he probably wasn’t going to make it to 6. I was literally crushed. I guess my conscience was starting to come back after being gone for so long. For the first time in a very long time, I could actually see that I was doing wrong. It was like I woke the fuck up.
I went home and literally dove face first into a pile of pills and cocaine. I was trying to sniff the image of that kid’s face out of my brain. I can still see his face today. I still wonder what happened to him. He didn’t choose cancer. He seemed like a happy-go-lucky 5 year old boy… a Red Sox fan…just happy to be there with his mom. He’s supposed to have his whole life ahead of him. Here I was, literally killing myself slowly with drugs…and choosing to do so. With every sniff, I was loathing in self pity, self hate, almost wishing I could trade places with that kid.
I showered. I figured that would help. I was still trying to wash off the image of that lil’ kid’s face and the thoughts of his probable fate. I tried to scrub off the fact that I’d been a lying to everyone for so long about my drug use and my drug dealing. I couldn’t. No body wash could cleanse my conscience. There was no shampoo for my soul. This was no AXE commercial. This was me bugging the fuck out on drugs.
I remember getting out of the shower that day and looking in the mirror. I was disgusted with the person staring back at me. There I was…Matty the drug addict. I had dark circles under my eyes. Despite the tanning, my face and lips looked pale. I looked really tired and worn out. I was muscular, yet skinny at the same time (if that makes any sense). I didn’t look healthy…that’s for sure. It looked as if I’d been partying for two years straight. All the drugs were finally starting to take a toll on my looks. It was the first time in my entire life that I can actually say I hated myself…and that’s a lot coming from me. I hated everything…who I was, how awful I looked, the life I’d been leading, the lies, the secrecy, the man I’d become. I hated my place in the world. Addiction had won. I lost myself to drugs. I wanted to die.
I splashed water on my face and tried to snap out of it. I decided right then and there that it was time for a major life change. Maybe it was the mass amount of cocaine I sniffed that afternoon, maybe it was the little boy on the elevator, maybe it was the weight from all the other shit I was going through, from the headaches of drug dealing to my new engagement. Whatever the reason, I finally saw the light and decided to really quit drugs and quit selling them altogether.
I took the first step. I went to my then fiance and finally told her the truth…about everything. I didn’t leave out a single detail. I told her the whole story…about my Florida trips and how I was a drug dealer…and had been for quite some time. I told her about all the drugs I’d been doing, about all the money, and how it was going up my nose at a rapid pace. Every little lie, every little excuse, I spared no detail. I can’t sit here and say she took it too well. Can you blame her? I mean it was almost unbelievable. For the past however long, I was a drug dealer, I had a secret life, and to add insult to injury, I was hooked on the very pills that I was selling, and in a very bad way.
I told her about the little boy…and how I had this cocaine fueled epiphany when I got out of the shower. I was ready to make a life change. I was at a crossroads and I made my choice. I no longer wanted to be a slave to drugs. No more breaking the law, no more sniffing pills, no more lies. I wanted a new life…a clean life…a life I could be proud of. I’d love to sit and tell you that it was all smiles and hugs after I admitted all this shit, but it wasn’t. I’ll spare the details for now, but lets just say it was epic. The little word…trust…well that went out the window…and she almost went running out the door. Luckily for me, I was actually being genuine and sincere in my countless apologies and my desire to quit. So instead of me having to chase after a runaway bride, I got a new ultimatum. I had to prove that I was done with pills and all other drugs once and for all. I had to give up my phones…all of them. I had to cut ties with anyone associated with my drug dealing…no exceptions. I had to hand over every single pill, every gram of cocaine, every vial of steroids, and any other drug paraphernalia that I may have had stashed around my apartment…or wherever else. I had to check into a rehab and clean up my act. I couldn’t do an outpatient program…oh no…I had to do an inpatient rehab to ensure that I actually got help. There would be no excuses, no more lies. This was it. If I didn’t complete all demands, every single one, not only would I no longer be engaged and newly single, but my parents would be getting a nice telephone call, followed by the authorities. At the time, prison wasn’t even on my radar. This was before anyone in my conspiracy was arrested, indicted, or decided to flip. Needless to say, this woman meant business. I have to admit, I was impressed. I mean she could…and probably should have…just cut me off right then and there after I admitted all that to her. I mean it probably wasn’t easy hearing that I was a drug dealing, lying, drug addict. At least I can’t imagine it was anyways. If I hid all of this for so long, what else had I been lying about? So…I have to give credit where credit is due…this person played a role in helping save my life. Whether her and I worked out or not is irrelevant, because I am forever grateful for at least this one thing. I guess it’s true what they say…certain people may not come into your life for a lifetime…but they do come into your life for a reason.
It felt better than anything I’ve ever done to get everything off my chest that day. It was a high like no other. I felt free…which is ironic because a mere eight months later…I’d lose my freedom. Regardless of what the reaction was in me telling her what was really going on and how bad I really was on these drugs…it was the first step. I admitted I had a problem, no small problem at that, and that was a huge step for me. It was something I was never able to do before. It was like I was starting to get myself back. Now all I had to do was break the news to my parents and get my ass in a rehab. That might be a little difficult…
(To be continued)…