Monday, May 26, 2014

The Possibilites

"Who the fuck would ever want me?" I lean with my back against the wall. I am feeling keenly sorry for myself today. That happens after I have had a few beers. Alcohol brings out an intensely ugly side of me. I either end up crying or trying to stab my friends once I reach an undetermined threshold. It is almost as if every bad thought I ever had about myself is released within a few drinks. It ferments deep inside my guts and is regurgitated for all to hear. I have no shortage of opinions when I have been drinking, either. For the most part, heroin makes me subdued. I become drawn inside myself like an intense ball. I curl up in such a way that I can ignore reality as it passes before me. Alcohol is my second drug of choice and my first addiction. I have been short on cash so now I am on a bender.

I feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I push them down with a gulp of my malt liquor. "I just don't understand, man " I utter to my companion. He is half asleep, half passed out. We are pan handling across from the strip clubs down past the financial district. I clench my 40 ounce a little tighter. I am on my own here. He is a pissy squatter kid, content to drink whiskey in the morning, pass out in the afternoon, then smoke a rock at night to get him going on more booze. He has vegan boots, dreaded hair, crusty facial piercings that haven't quite healed. I grip my brown paper bag with a purpose. I need some drugs. The last time I got this drunk, I was throwing bottles across the Sub Galley trying to hit someone in the head. As the glass shattered, all I felt was angry at life. Fuck all this shit. Fuck my life. I am two 40ozs into an afternoon and I need some drugs. The booze isn't working anymore. The concrete is hard, I am broke and angry and the day is just getting started.

I walk past this spot many years later. I am harder now than I was in 1992. My hair is straight, my hips are wider, my tattoos are better, my hygiene is on point. It is funny how the main things I learned in rehab started with the correct way to wash my hands and ended with how to make my bed. You would have thought I was a child again. I am alone again. I do most things alone. I walk alone, I go to meetings alone, I go to meetings alone, I eat alone, and that is entirely okay with me. I have friends but I am not ashamed of my own company. When I moved into sober living, I brought a lifetime of baggage. Slowly, patiently, I unpack my resentments.

The club is hot inside. They have all ages days that cost $6-10 to see bands all day. At first, I couldn't be around anyone that was drinking. I would smell the beer and my mouth would start to water. But I remember who I am. Some people can have a drink or smoke pot after quitting hard drugs. We call that "punk rock clean". I am not one of those people. I have tried it. TRUST ME. I tried it. My brain instantly announces it's desire for MORE. Like seriously fuck this shit, where is the REST of it.

I come in between two bands. I am late and early at the same time. The show will go on all night.

"There is no where to sit..." I mumble to myself. Then there was the offer that would change my life.
He pointed to his knee. He said "You can sit on my lap."

This was not a creeper offer. Or even overly sexual in nature. We had been friends, this man and I. We had gone out to eat. We had even seen the movie "Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street" together in the movie theatre. Normally, I would cringe at such a suggestion. My life was filled with older dudes from recovery that were constantly searching for a vulnerability in my boundaries. This was not just about a seat. It was about taking a risk. I was afraid, I was too chubby, or too old, or undesirable to anyone except the most broken of individuals. That moment, I was none of those things. I was at home.

When he put his arm halfway around me, I felt a spark like electricity of sorts. And that was that. There was no kiss that evening. I wasn't even sure if he would call me. But I was excited at the possibilities.
The 28th will be 14 years 


  1. Tracey that story brought tears to my eyes, Because You my beautiful friend both inside and out are worthy of being loved& respected, I knew that old Tracey who once felt so unworthy and it's beautiful seeing how far you have come, seeing them beautiful mini Tracey's brings lots of joy to my heart, I just think you are an amazing, woman, wife, mother, friend, with a lot to offer others who come from where we come from. Thank you for being Tracey, Love Your Friend Gabriel Cano Sr

  2. Congrats on your 14 years and thanks for sharing your posts. You give me hope.

  3. Once again you have proven that "it is possible" all aspects of life....keep being the living proof that needs to be seen.... JF

  4. The life of a hustler....never knowing where your going, never satisfied with where you've been.....thats the realest shit ive read in a long time, and sums up my entire existence..I need a change, but change doesnt come easy when its embedded in your bloodline and engraved on your soul. I got no thing but love for you not only understand, you overstand day the cycle will end.

  5. I like that line alot. One of my better quotes

  6. Love this post. In another city, nestled in the upper midwest, around the same time something similar happened to me too. Kicking the drug scene I was involved in in Duluth, Minnesota I had to get away so I went to the "big" city of Minneapolis to go to school and get my shit together. During that time, and I'm sure you can relate, the transition from junkie loser to trying to make something of your life is awkward. I mean I wasn't quite in the dire state you were in but I had plans to be a maniac till I died and I come to realize that I really didn't want to die like that after all. And looking forward while trying not to look back is hard and scary but I just knew it had to be done. Giving up was not an option. While in school there was this girl in my class that I felt an immediate attraction to. But she was clean and smart and I thought no way would she want to know a bum looking guy like me who knew nothing about anything. But then one night me and a friend were invited to a local club by this girl and her friend. OK, this type of stuff doesn't happen to me so it can't mean anything. But while there she wanted to sit next to me. She wanted to talk to me. She wouldn't stop smiling at me. And at the end of the night we kissed. Today I look at this picture I posted a link to (which reminded me of your picture) and I wonder "How did I get here?" 15 years ago I was banging morphine and cocaine thinking there is no way I'll be somebody. But here I am, somebody. At least somebody to two beautiful daughters and wife. And really that's all could ask for these days.