I’ve sat down and tried to write this very letter to you so many different times now, without succeeding, that I’ve honestly lost count. I guess I really didn’t know where to begin…or better yet…what to even say. I mean it’s been so long since…what…twenty some odd months that I’ve been away. Although it may feel like the time has flown by thus far, as I sit and look back, I realize that I have missed out on so much. It kills me inside to even think about…especially now…since the holidays are upon us and once again I’m going to be absent…I guess I’ve been feeling a certain way. Instead of keeping all of this shit bottled up as per usual, I figured now is as good a time as any to say what’s been on my mind…
I miss you…plain and simple. I have missed you since the very day that the Feds slapped the cuffs on me and took me away from the world. I don’t even think it’s possible for you to fathom the pain I feel inside every second I’m gone. You know, I always joke around with a few of my roommates in saying that every day I spend in here, I feel as if a little piece of my soul is chipped away. Chip…chip…chip…by the time I get out, there’s not going to be much left of me. I usually laugh it off with them and carry on this facade…like it doesn’t phase me…like this place ain’t shit…when in all reality that’s exactly what this place is…fucking shit…
Truth be told, sometimes it really does feel as if a small piece of me literally dies every single day I spend locked up…away from friends, away from family, away from the world…away from you. They say that time heals all wounds, but this shit is far too deep. I figured as time passed, this would get easier, I’d grow more numb, the holidays would mean less…I could brush it off, like I’ve always done so easily with everything else. I was wrong. Time has healed nothing. If anything, it has merely added to the stress of being away from life. It has made me miss you even more. Another holiday, another year…I feel even more disconnected with the world, more left out, more forgotten…with each day that passes, I am that much further from your thoughts, further from you. Out of sight…out of mind right? Shit, this is tough, but then again I’m tough. I’ll be home soon…not soon enough.
I think the worst thing for me in all of this is not doing the time or prison itself…that’s a piece of cake…it’s the feeling of being left out…feeling like the world has forgotten about me. That’s what really fucks me up on the inside. I had never experienced such a thing when I was a free man. I was always in the loop with everything and everyone. I certainly never had to worry about being forgotten in any way. I never had to question my self worth or if I mattered. Boy, how times have changed…fucking reality check that’s for sure. Being in prison is what I imagine death to be like…minus the dying part. The whole thing where loved ones cry for three days…then keep moving on with their own lives. Life goes on…with or without Matthew Michael McDonald. It’s scary to think about death, but shit, if it’s like this I’m well prepared in that aspect. That’s how I feel each day…like I’m stuck in limbo…helpless to anyone in the real world. I merely wait…for my release…for an email…for a fucking letter…any sign that you acknowledge that I’m not dead…I’m very much alive. It’s all waiting in here. I get to wait while I witness everyone, including you, move forward with their lives…happily I might add…without yours truly. No man knows my pain unless they’ve walked in my shoes.
Prison has definitely been a fucking wake up call for me…that’s for sure. I was once out there, where you are right now, world by the balls…not a care in the world. Now I’m on the inside…sweating little things like emails or letters, waiting, while wondering at all, during each day you if ever think of me as I do you. It’s pretty fucked up when I think about it, to wonder if I ever cross your mind. Time and distance do some tricky shit huh? I’m not used to not having control, not having the upper hand in life. I guess if I never put myself in this situation, I would have gone on living a lie. I’d still think that certain people who were once in my life were genuine, not riding along for ulterior motives, merely friends in disguise. I’ve come to learn that with friends…it’s quality, not quantity that really matters. I’m actually pretty lucky in that aspect. I can honestly say that there’s a few friends in my life that I know are real…who will always be there for me, whether it’s sunny skies or rain…and I am grateful for that. The rest well…like I said…out of sight, out of mind. I’ll be out of here in a few months. I’m still anxious to see who tries to weasel their way back into my life when they see me doing better than before. When the time I spent away will start to get fuzzy…they won’t remember any of that…and I wont remember them. Maybe time has made me jaded.
I certainly hope that you don’t think I’m complaining in any way to you…I’m not. I am well past my days of complaining. I’ve learned to adapt, to survive on less, to make the most out of what I DO have, rather than sweat what I don’t or no longer have. I’ve learned to accept my situation and embrace it as if it’s some sort of right of passage for me…like I’m off to war or something…there’s a war on my block everyday. As fucked up as it may sound, I feel like I needed this wake up call…a little break from reality…a chance to work on myself while I serve my debt to society. Where as I would have never imagined in a million years that I would have ended up here…I do feel it is for a purpose. What that purpose is remains to be seen. All I know is that I just have to continue using this time wisely…strengthening my mind and body…while reflecting on how I used to live so history doesn’t repeat itself…to hopefully come out of here a better man with a little more life experience that you can’t get elsewhere…in hopes of making you proud.
I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this, but I think the absolute world of you…I always have. I don’t think you realize just how much you have influenced my life…you are an inspiration, my muse, my drive for future success. You make me want to become a better man all around. When I travel down the bumpy road of memory lane, I cant help but smile from ear to ear when I think of you. My memories are the only place where I can go to help fill the void caused from the loneliness and emptiness I have been feeling. Sometimes I sit and wonder what could have been…what I could have done differently…if I had only done this…or if I didn’t do that…to be honest, thinking like that drives me crazy sometimes. I guess all I can do now is move forward. The rear view mirror of my life can only be used as a reference now. The only thing that provides some type of comfort to me while I’m stuck in here is knowing that you are safe out there. You are living your life…and most of all…you’re happy. When all is said and done, that’s all I wish for you, or anyone I love for that matter. If you’re happy…then I’m smiling…and shit, I know how much you love my smile.
They say that every man has a destiny in life…a path he must travel down to become the man he is supposed to be. Sure enough, in a few months I will start out on my life’s journey. I have to go my own way, somewhere warm, in search of my life’s purpose. It’s time for me to start fresh, a new life…the life I should have led the first time around. To be honest, I get excited and nervous at the same time when I think about it. Release doesn’t even seem real to me right now, even though it’s coming fast. I know that you and everyone else expects so much of me when I’m released. Luckily, I thrive under pressure. It may take some time and work, but I will make something of myself…that I can promise. Sadly, you and I will be far from each other yet again, while I pursue success…out of sight, but I hope I’m not out of your mind. I want you to know that no matter the distance between us, or wherever this crazy ride of life takes me, you will always have a part of me. Everything that I do, will be done for you. A little piece of my soul that this place hasn’t chipped away belongs to you. I will never forget you and what you mean to me. I owe you at least that much.
Regrets…I have a few. I wish I had told you all of this shit when I was a free man. Maybe things would have turned out different, then again, probably not. I guess I was too wrapped up in myself back then. I have a tough time letting people in. Call it foolish pride, or perhaps it was my ego that was in the way. I’ve had this shit bottled up for so long now. I think underneath it all, maybe I feared your possible response to all of this…good or bad. Because once I let you in, I’d lose control. I’d no longer hold the cards…which is what I have always been used to. Funny how life turns out sometimes…it took me going to prison to finally wake the fuck up and get over myself. If I have one regret, it’s not telling you sooner how much you mean to me…before it was too late. I guess that’s life right? In order to survive, gotta learn to live with regrets.
Until then…I’m here…just a man and his thoughts trying to get through the holidays. I need you not to worry about yours truly, for I am doing just fine. I know deep down that this time spent away was probably the best thing that could have happened to me in the long run. Look where I may have ended up….married–pfff stories, dead…or god only knows. Besides…overall, this li’l bid is a mere raindrop in the ocean of my life. There’s many good things and good times to come my way, of which I’m certain. But at the end of the day, none of that really matters, not without you. When all of the smoke clears and the dust settles, I just wanted you to know how I feel…that no matter what happens, where I go, where you go, however things may turn out…I love you.
I don’t really know what’s worse…accidentally bringing illegal drugs into rehab with me, being overly happy about the fact that I found these accidentally placed pills in my hoodie pocket, or better yet…maybe the worst of all…the fact that I offered to share my new found surprise with the group of guys that I had been chilling with…like that was a perfectly okay and normal thing to do. As if a group of drug addicts, stuck in a shit hole for a rehab, bored out of their minds, would say no….
At the time I didn’t see a problem with any of these things. My high that I walked in there with was fading. It wasn’t completely gone, but it was definitely fading fast. I looked at my new found treasure as a sign from the powers above. As if to say, let’s keep this fucking party going…and shit, the way I saw it, I thought I was doing a good thing–being unselfish–by offering to share with everyone when I could have just kept them all for myself.
I would love to be able to tell you that we fought the good fight against drugs and we came out victorious…that we just said NO to drugs…that we were above the influence…or that we practiced any of those other cliche drug ads that you see on TV…I can’t. As soon as the smoke break was over with and we were let back inside the building, I led the brigades to my room and victory was ours, and ours alone. The pills were crushed and sniffed faster than I’d ever seen the process done. I was happy. I can’t speak for the other guys, but I’m sure they were pleased as well….
While still enjoying my new found high, I figured I’d hop on the ol’ payphone and call a few friends and family members. Well, I could only remember a select few phone numbers, so I figured I might as well call my mother Laura. We exchanged obvious pleasantries. I believe her first words and the gist of the conversation from her perspective, was something along the lines of just how proud she was of me for getting help, how much she loved me and supported me, and how I didn’t have to worry about anything while I was gone, other than getting the help I needed, cleaning myself up, and getting better. Guilt ensued. Shit…guilt is an understatement for how I felt on that first night during and after talking to my mother. Here I was, son of the fucking year already, admitted drug addict, admitted drug dealer, high as a fucking kite while sitting in a rehab, listening to my unsuspecting and supportive mother tell me how proud she was of me. I had hit a new low. I obviously lied to her. I told her that I was doing great. I told her of how I had run into an old friend and how my first day went by without a hitch…I was on my way. I told her how I was so eager to clean up, go back to working a regular job, and how I hadn’t even thought of ever touching another pill ever again (stories)…what was I supposed to do….rat myself out? “Oh yeah, hey Ma. I’m doing great. I love it here…listen to this…so I found a bunch of loose 30s in my sweatshirt. Pretty funny right? Oh yeah, crushed and sniffed faster than I found them, all gone. YES Ma, of COURSE I shared…what kind of man do you think I am? I DO have manners…ok, ok….love you too, call you tomorrow. Ciao….” Yeah, that would have went over really well…let me tell you. So…I did what I thought was necessary. I lied…at least I felt guilty about it.
After the phone call with my mother, I was pretty disgusted with myself. I made no more calls. I spent the remainder of my night all alone…high…but not enjoying it because of the overwhelming guilt and feeling sorry for myself. I ended up falling asleep fully clothed while reading one of my favorite books that I had brought in with me.
I realized I had really hit rock bottom when I woke up the next morning to a plethora of unpleasantness (if that’s even a word…lol). Let’s see… I was in a strange, unfamiliar bed, which normally might have been a good thing…lol…but that day…not so much. I was all alone and it was brutally uncomfortable. I was mildly soaked with presumably my own sweat. I had what appeared to be mild chills. “Fucking pissa…the withdrawals had begun.” I was no longer high. I was insanely hungry. I still felt guilty for the previous night’s debauchery and for lying (yet again) to my poor mother. To top it all off, when I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw (yes…I said thing) was what looked like a fucking wildebeest sprawled out in one of the other beds a few feet from mine. It was facing in my direction. It was presumably a male of its species, seeing there were no female patients in rehab. It was drooling or sweating, or perhaps both, definitely going through some major withdrawals. This creature was snoring and farting simultaneously in the most unpleasant melody I have ever heard….nice way to wake up and start my day huh? Yup, I had arrived in hell…oh yeah, if anyone sees Tucker Max, tell him they don’t serve beer…and if they do…I didn’t get any. All I got was drug withdrawals, a snore and farting symphony for the ages, and my first ever legitimate excuse for wanting to end my life….
After I woke up to that shit, I figured that my day could only get better…boy was I wrong…
I was told by the nurse, even though I was clearly going through some serious withdrawals, that I wouldn’t be placed on any medications to help me until later that night…or even worse…possibly the next morning. Which meant, since it was six in the morning at the time, I would have to suffer for possibly the next twenty four hours. “Fuck. My. Life…” Remember, withdrawals from opiates only get worse as the day progresses. Considering I felt like shit then, I could only imagine what was in store for me. As one would imagine, this didn’t please me. Once again, I thought of escaping…once again, I realized I was fucked. I’ll tell you one thing, I definitely regretted sharing the pills I had found the night before with everyone.
I tried to take my mind off of the fact that I felt like death, which was rapidly getting worse by the second…or so it seemed…by trying to wolf down a little breakfast. Bad idea. That hunger I felt upon waking up had subsided. The mere sight and smell of food made me nauseous. Anyone who knows what it’s like to withdraw from roxys, or any opiates for that matter, feels my pain. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t go back to sleep. My body ached in the worst way. I was cycling from hot to cold every ten minutes or so…it was fucking miserable. Especially considering I wasn’t withdrawing in the comforts of my own home, in my own bed, with my own TV. Nope…I was stuck in some shitty rehab, with an uncomfortable bed to lay in, with no TV anywhere close to where I laid my head (it was two rooms over). Not to mention, I was stuck in a room going through all this shit with a room full of strangers…good times…let me tell you.
However, I didn’t have to suffer for too long. One of my new friends, whom I had selflessly shared my pills with on the previous night, decided to return the favor. He had witnessed me arguing, more like begging and pleading, with the nurse in the AM pill line about how shitty I felt and how she held the key to making me feel all better. Then he witnessed me attempt to eat breakfast and fail miserably. After mid-day pill line, he gave me…well…to this day I’m not quite sure as I never asked…some pill-like object that he smuggled from the line. It could have been a fucking Tylenol for all I know. Regardless, I took it without question considering I thought I was on my death bed. I would have taken anything to make me feel better. It did the trick. Within ten minutes I felt so much better, as if I was never sick. Looking back, I’m pretty sure it was either a methadone wafer or some other sort of opiate that I took. Whatever it was…it worked. See folks, that’s karma for you… always share…lol.
Speaking of sharing, I have a little advice that I’d like to share with anyone that is thinking of checking into a rehab. First…DO IT…GO…don’t think about it any longer. If you have a problem…go get help now! It was by far the best thing I’ve ever done. Second…DO NOT…and I repeat…DO NOT bring anything valuable or expensive (clothing, jewelry, etc.) with you that you would mind losing. I didn’t know this considering I had never been to rehab before. I won’t get into too much detail here, but my wrist watch (that I thought nothing of wearing in there because it was my everyday watch) apparently caused a little bit of a frenzy among the more less fortunate patients. Allegedly, there was talk among a few of them that they were going to try and steal my watch from me somehow. I guess they figured that they would steal it, pawn it, and buy drugs and/or small used sedan with the proceeds. Well…they thought wrong. Nothing happened to my watch, or me for that matter. I actually almost laughed when I caught wind of that little nonsense plan because if you saw the caliber of people I was in there with (other than the few guys I became friendly with) you would know that neither I nor my wrist watch was ever in any danger. However, somehow word got to one of the staff members that my wrist wear was causing a distraction among the patients. When I say distraction, I mean two little pussies that were 100 lbs. combined challenged me for my watch. When I stepped up, they backed off and ran and told the nurse… so after hearing that, the nurse made me hand my watch over so someone could come and pick it up…or I had another choice…I could leave the rehab with it still on my wrist…if I refused. I reluctantly obliged. I handed it over and all went back to normal…whatever that meant in that place.
Even though I didn’t lose my watch (as if that was ever going to happen anyways…lol), I did end up losing a pair of pants later on in the day while I was at a group meeting. I remember laughing hysterically when I realized my pants were missing…as if to say… who the FUCK steals another man’s pants like?! shit are times THAT tough out there…PANTS!? I could understand stealing the watch…it’s worth money…it has value…but PANTS!? I actually had to laugh out loud to that one. Shit, if someone needed a pair of pants that badly, all they had to do was ask me nicely and I would have given them a pair. It just goes to show you the caliber of people I was dealing with in there. Aside from the few I kicked it with, and my pal Anthony, they were straight trash…
All in all it was a pretty fucked up day. I had woken up to what looked like a mutant creature a mere few feet from me withdrawing from god only knows how many drugs…don’t forget the fact it was playing a special musical for all who were there…I had to endure withdrawals of my own for the first six hours of my day…a possible plot to steal my watch was unfolded, and when the two idiots were confronted they told on me…and to top it all off…somebody went and stole my pants…I loved those pants…
TO BE CONTINUED….