Silence is pure bliss…well…it is in most circumstances anyway. Not when your stuck in a rehab while high on pills. Silence is pretty fucking depressing when your laying down on quite possibly the most uncomfortable bed ever invented, all alone, with nothing to fill the empty space of absolute silence, but thoughts of how miserable you are, how much you want another pill, and just how badly you fucked up your life. I didn’t think it could possibly get much worse than that. Then again, I hadn’t been to prison yet…had I?
I had a plethora of different emotions, thoughts, and memories going through my mind as I restlessly laid there. I thought of my friends and what they were possibly doing at that moment. I thought of my family, mostly my parents, and wondered if they were okay…I mean…since I was in rehab for drug addiction and all. I thought of the countless women from over the years…whatever ones I could remember anyway…lol…and smiled to myself. I thought of everything I had done thus far, the many places I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, and how it had been a wild ride. I smiled, I felt lucky. Then as I thought more and more of the good, I started to feel pretty shitty. I started to realize how I had thrown it all away. I had literally sniffed my life away. I began to grow sad, hopeless…like “Oh…woe is fucking me”…then I had a bright idea…I could do it again, I’d just start hustling again. I’d make some more money, and this time I’d do it right, I’d be smart. I’d stay clean, I wouldn’t sniff a single pill this time around. That was the key…right? Yeah, that’s what I would do…I’d get cleaned up at rehab and as soon as I got out of there I’d call my former friend and be on a flight to Florida. I closed my eyes and smiled. I remember falling asleep…or maybe it was all the pills I had sniffed and I was nodding off. Either way, I was out like a light.
After a short while, my nap…or my drug induced coma…whichever way you want to look at it…and the silence…was disrupted by what sounded like a small stampede. I remember thinking to myself…“Fucking pissa. It’s bad enough I’m stuck here in this miserable room, laying on these itchy ass sheets, and now I cant even nap?“ I heard all sorts of random voices, yelling, laughter and mixed conversations, and it grew louder as it presumably neared my room. It was either my new roommates or someone freed the animals from the zoo in the next town over. Sadly, I didn’t hear one female voice among the bunch. If there was one, she was silent, or had possibly the deepest voice I’ve ever heard. Now I’m not saying I was trying to pick up a woman in rehab or anything…I mean I was engaged and all…although that would have made for an interesting story…all I am saying is that I enjoy the company of women, and it would have been nice to have one, or several for that matter, around while I was stuck in fort detox.
As soon as I headed into the corridor to see what all the commotion was about, I was immediately let down. As I had assumed, there wasn’t a female in sight. The only females out there were the nurses I had mentioned before…whom…unless I was still paranoid…were still looking my way. All that occupied the hallway were a bunch of suspicious looking males of all different ages and ethnic backgrounds. My hopes of the rehab hookup were deflated…lol.
As I turned to head back to my room to avoid any awkward introductions or interactions, I heard someone call out my name. (I wasn’t trying to make friendly with anyone else just yet. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t in a good mood being there, and truth be told, I was just awoken from my drug induced slumber by these people, so I didn’t go out there with open arms ready to make friends). The only thing I can remember thinking was…“Fuck!! I guess this whole little trip to rehab isn’t going to be a secret for much longer.“ Then I realized, “Wait…who the fuck knows me all the way up here? This cant be good…”
When I turned around ever so slowly, not knowing what to expect, I was surprised to see my old friend Anthony heading my way. Let me tell you, I have never been so happy to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar place in my entire life. I practically ran over to him, all smiles, to give him dap and a hug. Now I won’t get too into how I know Anthony. Let’s just say that I met him through an old flame of mine’s little brother. We had hung out and partied together in both Boston and LA. I hadn’t seen him in a few years. If memory serves me correctly, the last time was out in LA, right before I went on BB9. It had indeed been a while. Seeing him changed my whole mood and my outlook on being there. As if to say, “Fuck it, it’s all good now. Now I won’t have to be stuck in here all alone…I have a friend to kick it with while I kick drugs…this could be alright after all.”
Anthony and I played catch up for the next few hours while he showed me around my new digs. He had gotten there a day or two before I did, so he pretty much knew the ins and outs already. He basically gave me a rundown on how the joint was run…how the other inmates…or should I say patients were…how the food was…the schedule…meetings…the staff…you know…all that good stuff.
In talking with Anthony, I learned that the staff members (nurses, counselors, case managers, etc) were pretty laid back for the most part, which pleased me. The last thing I wanted while I was detoxing was to be around unfriendly or aggravating people. I knew how bad withdrawals sucked and how they were going to fuck with my emotional and mental state. What if a nurse decided to be super nurse on a bitchy power trip, while I was mid-withdrawal…well let’s just say it wouldn’t have been pleasant for either of us. So…it was really a relief to hear that they were all chill. He did tell me however, that the one thing that they were extremely strict about was the med line. I was told that I had to be on time and there was to be absolutely no talking. By the way, for those who don’t know what the hell a med line is…it’s a line formed by the patients, three times daily, to receive whatever type of meds that the clinic put them on to help detoxify from whatever type of street drug(s) they were abusing. For example…heroin users typically got methadone at a high dose, oxy users (such as myself) had the choice of the clonidine and librium cocktail or a low dose methadone taper. Cocaine users got librium, etc. You get the idea. The reason they were so strict about med line, as I would learn, is because patients would try to pull such moves as hitting the line up twice for double the fun, or better yet, they would go up, pretend to take their meds but really cheek them, and then in turn sell them to other patients later on… so unless I tried to pull any stunts, I wouldn’t be bothered. I could detox in peace.
I also learned the rest of the ins and outs of the place…there were to be daily NA meetings, in which an outside guest would come in and speak…there were to be other daily group therapy sessions, and better yet, one-on-one sessions with whoever my case manager was…there were smoke breaks every 15-20 minutes in the backyard…to make outgoing phone calls, there were two payphones in the corridor…there were two vending machines, a TV room, ping-pong table, and two random tables that were used by the patients for illegal poker tournaments at night time…right up my alley…the food was edible and they even served coffee every morning. Truth be told, after walking around and talking with my friend, I had a whole new outlook on the whole rehab thing. It still sucked being there…don’t get me wrong…but I guess I was starting to feel like it wasn’t THAT bad.
After I got the grand tour and the rundown on how the place operated, I got introduced to a few of the normal guys there. There weren’t many, let me tell you. Now, I’m not one to pass judgement on others. I realize I’m no prize myself, but some of the dudes in there were straight up trash, well beyond fixing…however, I actually met a few cool guys during my time spent there. There were these two brothers from Woburn that I ended up kicking it with hard body until I got out. There was a younger kid from Stoneham that Anthony knew from before, so he chilled with us. There were a few others from around the Boston area that I also became friendly with. All in all, even though I was in a shitty place, it didn’t mean I was surrounded by shitty people. These were guys like me who had just made a few poor choices along the way. I wasn’t alone in battling addiction after all. I met dudes from all walks of life and I came to the realization that addiction can really happen to anybody, regardless of social or economic status, and that scared the fuck out of me. Shit, what scared me even more was when I told some of the patients that I was friendly with, what drugs I was there for and that it was my first (and hopefully last) time in rehab…they laughed, as if to say…that’s it??! That really fucked me up. Now mind you, I was sniffing like 20 pills a day and a bunch of cocaine sporadically during the course of a week up until I walked up in there. For them to say “THAT’S IT” made me really start to think a lot about life and where mine was heading. It also almost made me thankful that there may still have been hope for me after all….
When the evening was coming to an end and it was time for a smoke break, I told the guys that I was chilling with that I’d be right back so I could go grab a hoodie out of my luggage, since it was nighttime and getting a little chilly outside. When I came back to join in on the conversation and smoke a cigarette with my new compadres, I remember reaching in my hoodie pocket and feeling something very familiar, more like a few somethings that were very familiar. To my new friends and my surprise, I pulled out a few blueberries. Yes, I guess I was one of the idiots who smuggled drugs INTO a rehab. Now I didn’t do this on purpose. Remember, I used to have so many of these things…and I had them everywhere. All I can remember saying, while smiling yet struggling with conflict, was….”What you fellas tryin’ to do?!……
(To be continued)…
I’m not quite sure of what I’m allowed and not allowed to talk about in regard to why I had abruptly stopped blogging about a month or so ago, so I’ll keep this as brief as possible. They tried to shut me down…they failed. So now I’m back and I’m going hard on this until I’m out of here…which just so happens to be pretty soon (sometime in 2012)…
Also, please try and bear with me on this blog topic specifically. Traveling down memory lane isn’t always easy, especially when it concerns me thinking back to my time spent in rehab. I was in a pretty fucked up place in my life at the time. I guess you could say I’m still pretty ashamed that my drug use and my actions ultimately landed me there for an extended stay. Until recently, I had kept my time spent there a secret from a lot of people for fear of being judged. Shit, most people had no idea that I even had a drug problem of any kind until I started this blog. But now I’m in prison…all the fear and embarrassment is out the window. I’m not too concerned with how others view me anymore. I am only focused on how I view myself. I realize I’ve done some crazy, stupid, and fucked up shit in my life…some of which I’m not too proud of. Rehab is the exception. I am proud to be able to say that I’ve been..that I made it through (and only once)…and managed to stay clean after. Not many in the position I was once in can truly say that. So follow me if you will. Down the long, lonely corridors of rehab, while I describe what it’s like to detox from drugs in a room full of complete strangers…what it’s like to be forced into group meetings to share feelings and experiences…and what it’s like to finally convince myself to give up the life that I was leading…the life of a hustler…the life of a drug addict…this is my moment of clarity……..
Walking into rehab (which for now will remain nameless) on that particularly sunny mid-September day back in ’09, I didn’t really know what to expect. For the most part, it was an entirely new experience for me. Sure, I’ve watched guilty pleasures such as Celebrity Rehab and Intervention before, who hasn’t, but going to rehab is sort of like prison–unless you’ve been there before and experienced it first hand, you truly don’t know what it’s like. All I did know for certain as I walked in there high (like I owned the place) was that I was a drug addict and I needed help. Supposedly, rehab was the place that could help me safely flush all the different shit I’d been slowly killing myself with out of my body for good.
I was originally going to write, while I was checking in at the front desk that day, I had all of these hopes that while I was there I could learn how to stay clean and sober once I left…how I was so eager to get my old life back and how I was ready to do everything and anything to make that happen…how I didn’t want to wind up a news clipping or a cautionary take…how from the moment I walked in I was a changed man who finally saw the light…I was going to sound righteous, profound and motivated…inspirational perhaps……it would have all been complete and utter bullshit. Sure, it would have sounded good, but not a single word of that would have been true.
Truth be told, I hadn’t changed…not even close. I walked in there high on pills and I was itchin’ for more. I certainly wasn’t concerned with staying sober. That didn’t even cross my mind at that point. I could not have cared any less if I was going to wind up as a cautionary tale. I just didn’t want to be there. It was nice out. I was high. I should have been enjoying my life, yet I was there, checking into a hotel that would take my high away for good. I was really only there to please my family and friends, to pacify my girl at the time, and for financial convenience. Sure, I was pretty sick of pills having my balls in a vice grip. I was sick of how my entire life revolved around drugs. I was sick of the mood swings, the ups and downs, the lies, and the lacking social life and family relationships that ensued. But to tell you the truth, I was REALLY sick of almost two grand a week going from my safe to right up my nose. That’s just not good business. That was my main motivation for going through with it. All those other reasons came in a distant second.
I had thoughts of pulling some Jason Bourne type shit and hopping over the counter, slipping past the guard at the entrance, and bolting through the door to freedom shortly after my mother left. However, I realized I had zero cash on me. Nor did I have my key fob or a phone…I forgot I had given them to my mom so conveniently a little while before. So in other words, I was fucked. Even if I made it to the parking lot, I wouldn’t have made it very far. Whether I liked it or not, I was going to go through with it. Rehab was going to be my residence until I was free from drugs.
Now it may seem that my blogs are a constant contradiction. In one blog I’m having epiphanies because I meet this little boy with cancer and I realize how bad I’m fucking up, so I vow to quit selling drugs and quit doing them. Then I’m talking about how I want to escape rehab to sniff pills and go back to hustlin’. It seems as if I’m all over the place. Welcome to the mind of a drug addict. I only write about how I felt at each particular time. If your confused, imagine how I must have been. I had a devil on one shoulder telling me, “Fuck rehab, go cop some more pills and let’s get this money.” Then I’d think of my family and how I had already put them through enough of my shit, and I’d snap out of it and realize I had to get my act together.
So, if at any point it sounds like I regret going that day, that is not the case. Going to rehab is BY FAR the BEST decision I’ve ever made. Shit, I wish it didn’t take me so long to get my ass there. Maybe I wouldn’t be sitting in Federal Prison right now. OK, where was I?
Once I finally convinced myself that I was indeed stuck there, I was commanded by the ever so pleasant woman checking me in that I had to hand over my luggage so it could be searched for drugs and other contraband. This still baffles me to this day. Sure, I can see maybe smuggling in a cell phone or an iPod for recreational purposes, but c’mon, who the fuck would bring drugs INTO rehab? You would have to be a real idiot…or better yet…a real asshole to pull that kind of move. I mean isn’t that counterproductive? That’s like smuggling fudge brownies into a Weight Watchers meeting. It kind of defeats the whole purpose. But, as I would later learn, there are more idiots out there than one would guess…and I’m one of them.
While my luggage was being thoroughly searched, I was given an interview and a piss test from the same pleasant woman who had checked me in. The interview was pretty basic. They wanted to evaluate how bad of a drug addict I was, what drugs I was then using, how much and for how long. The whole time I was secretly praying that I didn’t have any loose blueberries or god knows what else floating around in my luggage. That’s ALL I needed…to get kicked out of rehab before I even made it to my room. The piss test went pretty smoothly, no pun intended. I studied really hard for that test and it showed. I had three different drugs in my system. The fucking trifecta. Yippie! Well, not really. All that meant was that they wouldn’t start helping me detox with medication until withdrawals from the shit I was on started to happen. You remember…the sweats, chills, aches, pains, nausea…yeah, all that good stuff I mentioned before. In other words, since I sniffed and swallowed a handful of pills a mere half hour before that intake interview and piss test, I wouldn’t start to withdraw for 24-48 hours…I was fucked yet again. The first two days I had to spend there would be for nothing…I was already batting a thousand.
When the whole intake ordeal was through and my luggage was cleared by security, I was given a fresh bed roll and pointed toward my room down the hall. I can still remember that moment as clear as day. I passed a few nurses as I walked down the white walled corridor alone…all of which were blatantly staring at me…or at least it felt that way. It was almost eerie. I mean I know I’m devilishly handsome…lol…but this was different. I almost felt as if I was being judged as I walked by dragging my suitcase. I remember feeling my face start to flush with embarrassment. All my confidence, my ego, my male bravado…out the window. I must have left it in my car. I was nervous. No, it was more than mere nerves. It was a cross between a panic attack and shame…if that makes sense. Like I had some sort of sign on me that read, “I am a drug addict”. It almost felt like a walk of shame or what I would imagine that would feel like. I remember thinking, “Now I know how my one night stands must have felt…leaving my apartment the next morning as I walked them quickly to their car, my car, or to their awaiting cab…wearing their clothes from the previous night, usually something provocative, hair all over the place, shades on, barefoot, carrying their heels so they could keep up with me as I hurried them along…as we passed neighbors who greeted me and smiled at my guest as if to say (without saying) that she’s not the first and certainly not the last woman they’ve seen do that very same walk from my place, but yet they were still trying to be somewhat polite.”…yeah…I felt like that when I did my lil’ walk of shame by those nurses that day. I felt low. It was brutal. Quite possibly the longest walk of my life….
I was hoping for a single room with my own private bathroom, TV, and possibly a window with a nice view. Something to perhaps make detoxing a little more comfortable for me. What I got was an eight man room with a bunch of single beds evenly arranged along the walls. There was a bathroom, but it certainly wasn’t private by any means. There was no TV and the only window appeared to be sealed shut with a view of the parking lot. If I had one word to describe the ambiance of the room I stayed in, I’d say miserable works nicely. The walls were bare, off white. The floors were tile, dirty beige. The beds were small, metal, with mattresses that didn’t appear too cozy, lumpy. It almost looked like what I would picture a mental ward to look like, minus the padded walls. It would have been a perfect setting for a horror film and I was there to get off drugs, just great. The only upside to the misery of the room upon me entering…there was no one there. That pleased me. I took that as a chance to make my bed and unpack some of my shit without being bothered by anyone. After I did all of that, I remember lying there…high, still feeling judged, staring at the ceiling thinking…“So this is where my life has ended up? I’m in fucking rehab? Like really Matty…rehab??” I vividly remember yearning for another blueberry, anything for that matter, to help take my mind off the fact that I had fucked up my life to the point where I was in some dingy room at an overpriced understaffed rehab trying to get off of drugs. I never felt so disgusted with myself as I did at that moment. I almost teared up, but I held back. I think the drugs I was on played a small part in that, or maybe I didn’t want one of my new roommates to walk in on me crying on my first day. Tears or not, I was sad. I felt like a complete failure. I felt like history repeated itself. I ended up just like my deceased father……addicted to drugs….
(To be continued)…