Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The burning spoon

I have let many men touch my flesh. 
I have let a few of them in my heart. 
I have stuck some needles in my neck. 
Dulled the pain before it starts. 
I have lived years with no love in my life.
I have traded my morals at a cost. 
I have let blood drip down my arms. 
A sacrifice to a God I lost. 
Don't be sad when I am gone, 
Don't cry I am gone too soon, 
I sold my life for pins and needles,
That I melted in a burning spoon. 
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Black Tar Heroin T-shirts

I still have a handful of t-shirts left I had printed for a benefit. $20 postage paid. Email me traceyh415@gmail.com 

Living in the grey by Teddie Honey

I like to post different views on recovery and addiction. This is one, you may have another. I am in abstinenced based recovery but that is not the road for everyone. Success can be measured differently by different people -Tracey

When people think about recovery they tend to do it in terms of black and white,
addicts are either active, currently using, or in recovery, no longer using.
when I look back at the blurry haze that has been most of my life I often find myself lost trying to figure out when I have been most 'active' and when I have been most 'in recovery'
over my 15 year long adventure with drugs and alcohol I have shifted through many phases of use, sometimes only drinking, sometimes only drugs, occasionally (albeit rarely) neither.
In my youth everything was in play, the game was 'get fucked up' and the rules were lose,
every narcotic was a new experience, a new tool on my belt of feelings and experiences that I could have ready and waiting, wrapped up in cigarette plastic, stuffed in the coin pocket of my jeans, like a super power. Like magic little gems that contained joy, sleep, energy, relaxation. 'whatever you needed'

I vividly remember discovering amphetamines having an effect like Peter Parker discovering his confusing and awesome new powers. I was simply amazed by all the things I could do,
uppers made me larger then life, which in your early teens seems very important when running with an older crowd,
I could party as hard, drink as much, throw and receive punches just as tough.
Speed was the secret weapon I used to impress and engage.
I think it was this realization that drew my attentions to my true love of alcohol and binge drinking
my head and heart were in it, my body just needed to catch up.
Binge drinking is a problem that still plagues me today,
as an 'active' addict, the idea of slowly sipping one day into the next floats in the back of my brain every time something goes wrong,
every time something goes right,
or when nothing is going anywhere at all.
That hair of the dog morning beer, drinking off the hangover can be your only choice too many days in the bottle, a drink to make your hands stop shaking, a drink to kill the nausea, a drink to shut your brain up. But keeping all three sheets wrapped around you for that long takes energy, drunk is a high you have to work for, and not just in the 'earning the money' way, but in the time and energy consuming way, you have to KEEP DRINKING.
There's no one shot stop, no 'just a fix' no 'getting straight' drinking is an all day activity starting from your first shaky sip to your last nodding spill.

From a young age I new that with the help of my new found pills and powders I could keep the party going all the time. Although genetically predispositioned to alcoholism, finding my 'addictive behaviors' was something I had to do on my own. neither of my parents being drinkers or drug users, intoxication was an experience I got to discover like a shining new world of ups and downs.
Like paying off one credit card with another, I found that there was a pill for everything.
Each one as discreet and uncomplicated as the next. And slowly the party started getting weirder, swapping scrips with high schoolers, and stealing 40's of Steel were played out, and in an attempt to keep my chops up I followed the path that so many others do through harder drugs, rehabs, homelessness and eventual incarceration..

I surfaced in my late teens and made my first attempt at real adulthood, a job, and house, the works, but the ease of supporting myself through the drug trade led me back down that same path. pills working in tandem with and endless supply of bottles, kept me floating admit a sea of blurred shaky memories for several more years.
I quit taking narcotics when I became a drug counselor. Classy I know.
But with my heart in the right place, and my drinking mostly under control I gave it my all and was well received by my clients for my first hand experience, and more importantly, my honesty,
I never lied to them about my use, no matter how current.
I spoke candidly about my drinking and that it was something that remained prevalent.

Being an 'addict' isn’t something that can be beat, but it is something that can be controlled.
Though only through the constant winning of small battles, every trip to the bar or liquor store is an internal debate. Each drink order a small moral war.
I'm comfortable in my alcoholism in the same way that I'm comfortable in my scars, in that the damage is there, and always will be. I wouldn’t seek to 'beat' this disease anymore then I would seek plastic surgery to remove a mole, or laser treatment to remove any one of my many regrettable tattoos.
its a part of me, its who I am.
My (biological) father grew up in a small working class ghetto outside of London, I'm sure the idea of 'alcoholism' never even entered his brain.
On the other side my grandfather drank with all the impunity that a father in his day and age would, which was every night, and until he couldn’t anymore.
I still believe in many old standards of the lush,
that you don't know a man until you drink with him.
That booze makes people more honest, that a drink is the appropriate beginning and end of almost any experience. I drink to celebrate
and to commemorate equally. I drink as a hobby, as a passion, I drink as an identity.But as we age I think all of our perspectives on this change,
in the early 20's everybody 'has a drinking problem'
mid 20's separate the 'partiers' from the ' long term planners'
late 20's separate the 'drinkers' from ' people who drink'
The population of people who are willing to do shots until closing on a Monday declines slowly to one polite glass of wine with dinner. The stigma of the 30's set in and people start to build careers, families, long term plans for adulthood, or, they drink. .
In the way that a person in recovery must find new social groups to be sober in, a person living with alcoholism must find new social groups in which to drink.
it took many years to realize that the question for me wasn’t, “have i become powerless over drugs and alcohol” the questions was 'do i want this to change'
what I've found is that just like with all aspects of life, one should never apply a blanket statement to an entire group of people. what may work for many, will never work for all. each individual cannot fit into any particular ideology or program.
Through an understanding of this affliction and through knowing the where, why, who and when, I've grown comfortable in it. In this realization I learned how to strip away the bullshit, excuses, promises, lies and cover ups.

I learned how to say “no, this is my last one tonight guys”,
I learned how to put beer in the fridge and leave it there until I had somebody to drink it with.
I learned how to look at the door of the bar, and not go through it.
I learned how to live with it, not just survive through it,
That was my recovery,
and when I look at myself in the mirror now, even through the haze of a hangover, I'm still proud of what I see. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Os sonhos agridoces que você tem quando está são

Os sonhos agridoces que você tem quando está são


             Eu nunca soube da alegria que eu poderia ter durante a minha recuperação até o dia em que aquelas garrinhas se levantaram, a amargura diminuiu, e finalmente tive a chance de experimentar uma vida feliz. É preciso um tempo para superar os danos que o abuso de drogas durante anos pode causar no nosso corpo e cérebro. Eu estava me mantendo em uma zona decente por muitos anos até agosto de 2006. Mas esse mês iria mudar a minha vida pra sempre.

             Pelos primeiros nove meses eu estava longe das drogas, eu não podia chorar. Tentei gritar, eu queria chorar. Todo mundo me disse que era bom chorar, mas eu não conseguia derramar uma única lágrima sequer. Um certo embrutecimento havia sido criado dentro de mim. Tantos anos de desapego com meus sentimentos fizeram com que fosse impossível ter empatia comigo mesmo. Eu nunca havia derramado tantas lágrimas até aquele dia em que me disseram que eu havia perdido meu primeiro filho. Nunca jamais, nunca até então. Eu me deitei naquela mesa fria do departamento médico de emergência enquanto o enfermeiro tentava encontrar um coração batendo dentro do meu ventre. No entanto, não havia ninguém. Então, percebi imediatamente o que havia se passado com o meu bebê desde a minha última consulta.

"Como assim que não há nenhum batimento cardíaco? O que você quer dizer é que não consegue vê-lo? "Coloquei minhas mãos sobre os olhos.

             No momento em que eu havia visto aquele flash vivo de luz no meu primeiro ultra-som foi como se eu tivesse nascido de novo de uma forma completamente diferente. Havia tantas promessas, tantos sonhos amarrados naquele flash de luz. Agora, aquele flash de luz se apagava da minha vida. Eu não tinha amigos ao meu lado, não tinha minha família. Eu nem sequer tinha um telefone celular. Então, fiquei ali solitária sentada naquela sala iluminada com toda a minha dor transformada na única testemunha estranha do meu sofrimento.

             Fiquei ali por horas até que o médico deu a confirmação. Eu estava sangrando e chorando, então fui ao banheiro. Pela primeira vez em toda a minha recuperação, nunca havia tido nenhuma solução espiritual, nenhum bordão de felicidade para tornar a dor mais aceitável. O procedimento cirúrgico iria ser realizado e eu iria precisar ser submetida a mais drogas. Então que tragam as drogas.

             Até esse ponto, eu não tinha tomado nada, nada. Nem mesmo um Tylenol quando arrancaram o meu dente. Mas agora estavam me injetando um cateter com benzodiazepinas para me prepararem para o procedimento cirúrgico. Assim que eu senti aquela sensação de relaxamento tomando conta de mim, já não havia mais nenhum cobertor aconchegante me dando segurança. Não houve nenhum momento especial entre mim e o Deus da droga no meu entendimento. Havia somente uma cachoeira de lágrimas escorrendo pelo meu rosto encharcando meu cabelo. Não houve sequer nenhum momento de clareza, apenas um momento nebuloso por saber que a minha vida estava completamente destroçada.

             Quando saí daquela nuvem escura, me entregaram uma receita com 30 Vicodin. Meu primeiro pensamento foi que estavam tentando me matar.

             "Eu já estou querendo morrer e você ainda me receita mais drogas do que eu preciso ..." Disse ao médico residente.

             Imediatamente eles mudaram a prescrição. 

              Enquanto estava sentada no sofá assistindo ao UFC com alguns amigos, eu sabia que não conseguiria sobreviver àquela dor. No entanto, eu consegui. E consegui esse feito sem precisar enfiar nenhuma agulha no meu braço, no meu pescoço, ou na minha virilha para acertar uma veia em um beco qualquer. E  hoje quando cuido dos meus filhos é que percebo o presente que eles representam para mim, pois eu perdi um filho e isso eu jamais conseguirei esquecer.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What are you thinking?

I was staring out the window one icy Ohio morning. I could see my breath against the window pane as I shivered in my seat on my way to school. I was bundled up in my leggings, covered in thermal underwear, hastily tucked under my blackwatch plaid uniform skirt. I had wool socks, waterproof boots, and layers upon layers over my sports bra. I knew I had gym class that day. I hated to change clothes around the preppie bitches I called my classmates. They had been cruel to me since I started this educational nightmare three years prior. My notebook was covered with offensive bands, offensive sayings. I wore a black crucifix around my neck. My black nail polish was chipped, my cat eyes were slightly smeared that day. I looked out the frosty window pane that morning and I knew I needed to get the fuck out of here. I imagined myself in a movie, I saw it. I knew one day I would be someone special. But I was fucking nobody, seventeen and alone.

My first time I really remember getting high was at seven years old. Some of my sister's friends decided it would be funny to get me high to get me to shut up. They were teenagers and did not like having a kid around them. Who likes to get high with prying eyes? I don't remember much about the feeling but I do remember the way the alcohol burned as it went down. I never liked the taste of alcohol, only the effects. I remember the way people laughed at me. Apparently, I wasn't getting high the right way. They wanted to teach me. I slid down on the couch and felt sleepy. This was not not the first time this went on, or even the last time. It was just another stepping stone in my road to addiction. My parents were at work and I was high like everyone else because apparently it was not a big deal to them.

The next time I remember getting drunk was at a wedding. Someone started pouring me drinks. How old was I- 10? I am not sure. I don't remember much except for seeing the world start to spin. The colors became hazy and felt as if I was melting into a chair. The next thing I knew, I was 22 years old with a needle hanging out of my arm.

"Tracey..." I felt someone shaking me before I heard the voice " Tracey we have to go."

I had ended up somewhere between two cars. I guess I had started nodding off right there in front of God and everybody.  I saw the trail of crusted blood starting to form down my elbow as I peeped through my pirate eye. 

"What were you thinking?!!!!!" he asked me. He starts to pull me to my feet.
I am starting to come back to my senses. I hear the sound of children playing. I look around-  I have my back turned to a school yard. They must have let the children out for recess. The look like they are about seven years old.

"Bryan, " I tell him in that garbled junkie voice. "I was back in Ohio. How could people get a little kid high?" I am stuck in woe is me opiate moment, when a junkie  turns into a pool of fuck you. Nothing good comes of that mood swing; nothing productive ever comes when I inject self pity and back it up with a few units of self loathing. I had tried to analyze my life a thousand nods ago and I still ended up in this same place, with me the ever present victim. It felt comfortable to me, like nodding off in a sunny alley with no regard for anyone else or their feelings.

Now he started pulling me and cursing at me "you are one to fucking talk, Tracey. What the fuck are you doing out here. Stop all your hope to die shit and learn how to live."







Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guest Post JF

Addiction, its the little voice in your head tellin you to just do it....like an infinite nike logo swooshing through your head eternally, "...just do it....just do it"    The well known voice thats whispering sweet nothings into my ear every night....enticing me to give in my cravings and go cop a blow...this voices, speak in such a way that you dont ever hear it....you just react to it, its gets into your blood and begins to work its way through your inner core..where it sinks its fangs deep into the black glob of your remaining soul...where it feeds off of your emotions like a parasite. EVERYTHING becomes a reason to get high...Have a bad day at work? Fuck it, just get high....Relationship problems?..fuck it, just get high....stubbed your toe...might be time for a little heroin to cure the pain.

Before you know whats happening your at the ATM, pulling out another 40, 80 or 100 dollars to give to the devil..the rush of going to cop is something  that every addict is familiar with...its that same feeling you would get on Christmas eve as a child, the eager anticipation of finally getting something you have been waiting for.
This of course only applies to those that arent getting sick and dont NEED a fix, they merely want it really bad....it hasnt manisfested into a full blown baboon on your back, its a cute little spider monkey that you visit too often and give your money and soul too.   
Which is followed by a short lived bliss (the high never last as long as you want it to) and then reality sets in....you just blew your cash and have nothing to show for it but residue and  the residual guilt that follows.  The high only temporarily displaces your true emotions and replaces them with a narcotic ignorance that numbs you to your anxiety, your worries, your depression....or whatever it is you are trying to escape.

I am a prisoner to my own mind and I am held captive to the drugs...or should I say im merely captivated with the high. Fuck Nancy Reagan and her bullshit "just say no" slogan....bitch, you try to just say no when you have a voice in your head that will never shut up telling you to just say yes.
In my quest to find inner peace I have tried meditation, which is great is you are able to quiet the symphony of addiction playing the theme song to your life in a endless loop on full blast. The music plays, the addiction stays, and the poor addict continues to pay. As I write this I am waiting for my dealer to call me....he is the devil himself that is able to bring peace to riot in my mind. When your dealer is also a user, the thought of buying dope isnt so bad...its like a social visit with underlying hints of denial. Its like for that moment in time we are both in the same boat, 2 people looking to get high... and in my dope career I have gone through many dealers, some were friends, some were just dealers, but all became my best friend at some point...even if the feeling wasnt mutual. When your dealer ignores your call, it hurts like having a lover cheat on you....you spend all day just hopin he will answer by the 4th ring....hoping....waiting...."maybe ill try one more time"....and before you know it you are acting just like the junkie you make fun of....the fiend comes out...2 calls turn into 5, no answer....so you keep trying...and sometimes you get through and start the cycle all over again....the same thing you just finished with and will repeat again tomorrow..

Addiction is like the movie Groundhog Day...a never ending cycle that takes dramatic changes to break...good luck.

"Maybe I'll try calling.....just one more time.....he's got to answer by now"

And the adventure begins.....yet again


my assessment of depression

            I never knew Robin Williams but I thought I would add a few words that are in shock or grief. I feel like I can provide some insight for you. As a person that has struggled with depression since childhood, unfortunately I am never surprised when a person takes their life. Yet, of course, I am profoundly sad. I feel a connection with that person. I remember walking about in my pajamas as an adolescent for week at a time, wanting to sleep my life away. No one could put a label on this feeling, until one day they did. Depression hangs over you like weight pulling you into the earth with no soft landing. Depression pushes out all other thoughts and leaves no room for competition with joy. Depression chains you to the couch and disarms you with it’s subtle dismissal of hope.

            When a depressed person first discovers drugs, it is a revelation. It provides a warm sense of relief that fill your entire body. Finally- I can be in the company of my fellows. Finally, I can talk without question my words. I can feel things because my pain is muted, until it slowly creeps back in. Drugs and alcohol provide a measure of relief. They do. And as quickly as the relief came, it leaves us with more problems. Picking up the shattered pieces with bloody fingers and a dull mind, we retreat back into our shell.

            A person who brings great joy is also capable of great sorrow. We addicts now empathy can be channeled to crystallize the beauty of the world. One day however, our feelings can overwhelm us. We do no leave because we do not love you, we leave because we do not know how to carry on. Give someone you love a hug today. Let them know that they are valuable to you. I did not know this man, but I have been him many times. It was only when I was dying that I truly realized I wanted to live. Please get the help that you need. Someone loves you.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

مرحباً

 أُحيِّيكم يا قرَّائي الأعزاء، أشكركم لقراءتكم سيرتي، و آمل أن تأخذوا العبر من الإدمان من خلال كلماتي

كوننا في عوالم مختلفه، الرحمة توحدنا. الرغبة في التفاهم هي الخطوة الأولى في التغيير.

لا تترددوا في سؤالي أي سؤال. شكراً ,تريسي

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Bittersweet Dreams You Have When You Are Clean

            I never knew the joy I could have in recovery until the day the PAWS lifted, the bitterness subsided, and I finally got a chance to experience a happy life. It takes time to overcome the years of damage drugs do on our body and brain. I was coasting along in a decent zone for many years until August 2006. That would be the month that changed me forever.

            For the first nine months I was off drugs, I could not cry. I tried to cry, I wanted to cry. Everyone told me it was good to cry but I could not summon a single tear. Av hardness had developed over me. So many years of being detached from my feelings made it impossible for me to empathize with myself. I have never cried so many tears as the day they told me I had miscarried my first child. Not before, not since then. I laid on the cold medical table in the emergency department as the technician scanned for a beating heart. Yet, there was no one. I noticed immediately how my baby had grown from my last appointment.

“What does that mean there is no heartbeat? You mean you can’t see it?” I put my hands over my eyes.

            The moment I had seen that flicker of life on the first ultrasound it was as if I became alive again in a completely different way. There were so many promises, so many dreams tied up in that flicker. Now, that light was extinguished from my life. I had no friends with me, no family. I did not even own a cell phone. I sat there in a bright room and all my pain was illuminated with my only witness being a stranger.

            I was there for hours before the doctor made a confirmation. I was bleeding and crying and going to the bathroom. For the first time in my recovery, there was no spiritual solution, there was no happy clichéd catchphrase to make this right. The procedure would follow and I would need drugs. Bring on the drugs.

            Up until this point, I had take nothing, Nada. Not even a Tylenol three when they had pulled my tooth. Now I was being hooked up to an IV of benzos to prep me for my procedure. As I felt that warm rush come over me, there was no fuzzy blanket of security. There was no special moment between me and the drug God of my understanding. There was only a waterfall of tears that ran down my face and into my hair. There was no moment of clarity, only a foggy moment of recognition that my life was completely fucked up.

            When I came out of the haze, I was being handed a prescription for 30 vicodin. My first thoughts to myself was- they are trying to kill me.

            “I want to die and you are feeding me more drugs than I need…” I told the resident.

            They hastily changed the prescription.
             As I sat on my couch watching UFC with a few friends, I knew I could not survive this pain. Yet I did. I made it and I did not stick a needle in my arm, in my neck, in my groin out in some alleyway. When I hold my children today, I know they are a gift because I lost a child I cannot forget. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Overdose- In Portuguese

A Overdose

Tem algum mofo se formando na vidraça. As ruas estão me chamando de volta novamente. Se eu morrer nesse quarto, alguém vai saber o meu nome? Serei uma carta marcada para overdose. Se eu me estabelecer aqui por um momento, cairei na escuridão. Engoli aquelas pílulas com um Old English (bebida alcoólica). Se eu acender um cigarro para me acordar, será que eu me queimarei em chamas encima desse colchão? Têm buracos nas minhas meias, buracos na minha calça jeans. Tem um buraco no meu coração tão profundo e tão grande quanto as lágrimas que caem sobre meus sapatos enquanto grito. Ou pelo menos eu achei que você tivesse me ouvido chorar, mas tudo foi apenas um sonho lúcido.

Se eu morrer hoje, eu me agarrarei a essa mesa - ofegante como se eu estivesse tentando ficar?
Será que escorregarei para o abismo, enquanto você dorme a um metro de distância?
Eu te prometi que eu iria parar. Outra mentira, outro dia.
Uma overdose, uma vida explorada.
A morte é meu conforto.
E a minha dor agora é sua.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Guest Post- Short Story by Remy

Melody and I drove into Santa Fe. It was about midnight. Unaware of the size of the place, by the time I thought I was entering a downtown, I was already leaving the city limits. Taking the first exit, we quickly came upon a funky looking old motel, set back from the highway by a couple hundred yards. The neon sign proclaimed Raving Eds. Motel and Bar.” It seemed like a desert-biker version of the motel from Psycho. It was so desert-dark the motel seemed to be floating in the void like an apparition. We decided to park and get out.

               Upon entering the lobby, Raving Eds wife rushed up to us and gave us a hospitable Southern welcome. She was dressed like a biker-chick, and was in her mid-50s. Dirty blonde hair like a horses mane and leathery skin. The lobby reeked of cigarette smoke. Her name was Sharon.

               “Boy, you dont look so hot! You better hunker down for the night. He aint plannin’ on doing any more driving tonight, is he?” Sharon aimed the question at Melody.

               “I dont know,” she said in a stiflingly thick accent, and smiled a quaint smile of surrender.

               I scanned Sharons face longingly, and noticed a fat old biker sitting at a desk at the rear of the room. He was smoking and arranging stacks of money on the desk.

               “Thats my husband, Raving Ed.

               “Howdya do,” he barked, distracted by the money.

               “Can I get you something, dear?,” Sharon asked me.

               I looked in her eyes as deeply as I could and tried to telepathically suggest to her the reason behind my suffering. She seemed to take a hint. Drawing closer to me and giving me that quasi-playful look that people get when they talk about drugs in a non-condemning way, she asked me point-blank, Are you in withdrawal?

               I said yes.

               “Heroin withdrawal?

               I nodded.

               Sharon looked at Melody, who seemed to perk up as she began to understand the conversation.

               “Well, lookee here, we might be able to help. Come over here… Ed! Can you take care of him, whats your name?

               “Remy

               “Can you take care of Remy here?

               I slowly ambled up to Eds desk. He looked up at me.

               “What do you want, kid? I got some fire here…” and he began to show me his wares, organized systematically in a case. He had little plastic packets of black tar heroin. Each $20 bag was so melted from the heat that it was perfectly flat. Ed showed me some packets that had an un-melted small chunk of heroin in them, and claimed that these were $60.

               “The heat around here kind of melts it a little bit, but its fire. Im telling ya, kid, you could look around Santa Fe all you want, you wont find better shit than this for a better price. And let me warn you, its hot out there. The chance of you running into an undercover or someone trying to burn you is extremely high. Here, you can cop your dope, hang out, and then crash in the motel. Sharon can fix you up some dinner. Aint nothing going on around here but here, man.

               I instinctively pulled out my wallet and noticed I only had $40. I knew there was plenty more in my account, but we were in the middle of the desert. I told Ed I wanted a $20 bag. He gave me one and I played with the brown liquid between my fingers. He asked me if I had a rig. I hadnt even thought of that. Shit.

               “Fuck, no I dont.

               He gave me a syringe, a cooker, a q-tip, and a tourniquet. The syringe was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was seemingly handcrafted from some basic materials and held together with a rubber band. I would find out later that Sharon makes the syringes by hand after taking apart used syringes and soaking them in bleach. The syringes make the rounds at the motel, and Sharon makes sure they never reach the hands of the infected.

               I went back to my car to shoot up. Melody waited for me in the lobby. The syringe was so fragile and the needle so thin, it was almost impossible to find a vein. I found one in the crook of my arm and the needle actually bent while going in. I booted the heroin into whatever the needle was making contact with. I knew it wasnt a vein but I was so sick, I didnt care. Missing the rush, I stashed the works in a plastic bag that was lying on the passenger seat and threw it in the back of the car. After sitting still for a few minutes, I could barely feel the slightest buzz and warmth from the shot. I walked back into the lobby.

               Sharon was in the process of asking Melody what our plans were for the night.

               “Now, we have different types of accommodations based on what you guys can afford. If youre real hard up, you can sleep on the floor in the back. We got a couple back there already. You can sleep outside somewhere if you got a sleeping bag. We got small rooms, with naught but a bed, those go for $10 a night and the rooms with cable TV and bathroom go for $25 a night.

               I was already starting to nod. Whatever high the heroin provided for me was teaming up with my exhaustion from driving. Every fifteen minutes or so, a surge of consciousness would electrify me and I would frantically grasp for my phone and my wallet, thinking that I might have dropped them somewhere. I gave them to Melody. At a certain point, Sharon kind of ushered us into one of the expensive rooms. I was so out-of-it that I just passed out on the bed, fully clothed, almost as soon as we entered.

               When I woke up, Melody was gone. Everything quiet. The desert sun was blasting through the windows, telling me it was probably nine or ten A.M. I rose up from the beds, my eyes dry and crusty from sleeping with my contacts in, my clothes wrinkled. I immediately checked my pockets. Nothing. My belt was missing, but my shoes were still on. After panicking for a minute, I saw my wallet and phone neatly placed on the table next to the TV. No doubt Melody or Sharon did this after I passed out. The next item of panic was the status of my car. I threw open the door and the brightness of the sun stunned me. After adjusting to the light, I looked at the parking lot in front of the lobby. My car was still there, where I parked it. I walked up to it and noticed the doors were locked, the headlights were off. My heart began to calm down. I looked around for Melody or signs of her, but there were none. All of a sudden, the misery of my situation became tangible. I fought back a tear and began concentrating on the physical feelings I was experiencing. Something about the suns heat and this desert landscape put me in an extremely deep melancholy. Everything about the air seemed to be telling me I was improperly adapted to the climate, like a fish out of water. Goosebumps completely covered my body despite the heat and my nose was running.

               I walked up to the lobby to see if Melody was in there. I saw Ed still sitting at the desk, drinking coffee and reading a newspaper.

               “Good morning,” I grunted.

               “Hey there,” Ed gave me a sly look, as though inferring what I was up to last night. Feeling better?

               “Feeling worse,” I said. I realized there was still $20 in my wallet, even though I hadnt paid the price of the room yet. Hey, Ed, can I get another $20 bag? I just need a wake up before I drive out to an ATM.

               “Theres an ATM in the back,” he said and points to the hallway. I bought the heroin and rushed back to my room to do it. Once again, trying to squeeze the liquid black tar from the bag onto the cooker, and then fighting with the makeshift syringe, made it seem like I was losing money and hardly getting a buzz on. However, I had no other options, and I was undoubtedly dopesick. After doing the heroin, I walked back to the lobby and poured myself some coffee.

               “Let me show you the back,” Ed said, and started down the dark hallway. I walked into a room about the size of a large garage. The room was subdivided with a cheap looking partition. Apparently, the room was some kind of record store. Shelves lined the walls and were filled with all manner of dusty CDS, cassettes, and vinyl. Things had peeled off stickers, broken jewel cases. Browsing the shelves, I couldnt find a single album I recognized.

               “All of the stuff is from local musicians. In fact, anyone can just put their music here and, if its sold, they get a share of the profit. However, as you can see, we havent been selling anything in quite a while. We still put on shows every now and then, and people sleep here all the time.

               I walked around the partition and saw a couple of Asians in their twenties sleeping on the floor. Next to one of them was a geology textbook sprawled open.

               The walls were completely covered with stickers, posters, merchandise from bands I had never heard of. Dust was swirling in the air as Ed and I walked back towards the lobby.

               That night, Ed and Sharon gave a party in the music room. Id never seen such a bizarre collection of characters that just seemed to melt out of the woodwork. The Asian couple finally woke up and was joined by a few more Asians. When I spoke to them, I noticed that the only one of them who had an accent was the young man sleeping next to the geology textbook. The rest were apparently born or spent a considerable amount of time in the U.S. They were all Japanese. I had a suspicion that the girls had grown up part of the Indian Reservations around Santa Fe, that the Asian immigrants that built the railroads were somehow clumped together with the Indians.

The Japanese girls also told me that they were detoxing from their own opiate addictions. Representatives from different tribes around New Mexico would come to Santa Fe and Raving Eds to sell handmade items and herbs. Sometimes they sold mushrooms and peyote, that they use for religious purposes, and the legendary opium that they grow in the wilds. The girls were taking a combination of powders and herbs that I had never seen before, and tapering down on an opium milk drink that the Indians and the girls produced. I felt too high-strung to relate to these girls, to really hang with them. For once, my East Coast heritage forsook me, and I was ashamed of spending most of my life in the city. The girls shone like beacons of beauty in that claustrophobic den of filth and degradation.

I cant remember if one of the girls told me this, or I just suspected it. At the time, I was thoroughly out-of-it. Whatever high I was getting from the dope was not the main reason for this. I had lost so much sleep since leaving New York with Melody that my perception of reality began to slip away.

               The party unfolded like a dream. I chatted with the ethereally serene Japanese about their preferred method of black tar consumption – letting the melted fluid just drip down their anuses while they prop themselves upside down – and the legendary opium that the Indians have been growing in the wilds of New Mexico. With Albuquerque being the only big city by a long shot, New Mexico is an open prairie that skirts the badlands of Mexico and eventually reaches the cold peaks of the Rockies.

               Another character who seemed to be particularly interested in me was this anemic, skinny white kid who stuck out among the crowd like the sore thumb he was. He was a crack-head who looked about 19 or 20 but was actually in his mid-Thirties. His attitude was that of an excited teenager, trying to make friends at a rock show. He kept pushing his music on me. Apparently, ten years ago this scene was really happening, and, consequently, most of the music in the room was from that time period. Todd (lets call him) showed me the place where his CDs were, all somewhat professional looking but obviously from another time period. I looked at the blurry pictures of him and noticed more than anything else how much healthier he looked back then. The whole place seemed to be one decaying body, sagging and infected from all the drugs, booze, drifters, and violence that permeated the midnight aspect of the place. The patrons of the party careened around like spinning tops in slow motion, shooting up smack or meth in the dark corners, their shadowy forms hulking over their drug of choice. Ed kept the back room for the heavier druggies, and the front room for the occasional meth bumps and weed smoking.

               Other than Todd and the Japanese, the only other people I had any kind of intelligent conversation with at the party was Ed and Sharon. They always rose up to the occasion of playing the hospitable hostesses. Ed told me more about his drug operation. He sold a variety of drugs, and meth was extremely popular among this crew, black tar a close second. Ed warned me about looking for heroin about town and let me know that he always had the goods. He told me not to shoot dope or do anything obvious in my car whilst parked in front. Sharon intervened and warned me about Todd, who they considered a leech. The crack is just ruining him. It doesnt work for him at all, but hell never realize that…” Sharon intoned over the music blasting from the speakers. We dont even want him here…”

               As I moved throughout the crowd, I noticed the Japanese girls eyeing me. When I told them I am a musician from New York, they perked up and became interested in what my music sounded like. A long-haired Hispanic kid, wearing typical 90s punk rock fashion, sidled up to us and took part in the conversation. I didnt know what to say.

               “I play all kinds of musicMainly heavy stuff, melodic but experimentalI dont know, its kind of hard to describe.

               “Here,” the punk kid said and handed me an acoustic guitar. I awkwardly played a little bit of some kind of slow dirge riff that didnt seem to go over too well. He picked up the guitar and flat out told me I was no good.

               “Im much better on drums,” I said.

               “Really? You got a drum set?” he asked.

               “Yeah, its disassembled, all over the place at the moment…”

               “Thats great, man, maybe sometime you can set it up here for a jam.

               He played some fast metal stuff on the guitar and told me its all about the interaction between the fast picking and palm muting. I felt embarrassed by my poor performance and already felt the esteem from my Japanese admirers start to diminish, as though they began to realize I wasnt a celebrity, a rock star, just another junkie loser who washed up here at the motel. The girls told me about some band, probably out of Albuquerque, that they loved. Apparently, they would go crazy if they ever could hear that music live at the motel. I got the sense that they lived here, never really experienced anywhere else.

               All the time during the party, I was getting more tired, more out-of-it by the minute. At a certain point, I decided to hit up the ATM and buy more of the shitty heroin from Ed. He was more than happy to keep ripping me off, pulling those godawful bags out of his suitcase like he was some kind of criminal kingpin. I retired to my car, shot the dope, and got the hell out of there.

               I drove through Espanola, looking for the dope that I heard the place was soaked in. I found a motel that was near the center of town. Oddly, the downtown area centered around a drainage canal that was large enough to serve as another sidewalk. The streets were empty. The only other people around were extremely down-and-out looking Mexican women, sitting on the side of dry stone fountains, watching their children play with demolished piñata pieces on the ground. They looked abysmal and I stayed away from them.

               At the motel, I noticed a group of elderly people that would convene in the parking lot. They were all pill freaks. In fact, the whole motel catered to them. Faces strewn with makeup and breasts sagging for all to see, absolutely craved their daily dose of benzos and opiate pills like a heroin addict does his fix. I dont know why these women werent in a nursing home, they were so demented and frail. They performed sexual favors for pills in the parking lot. The scene at night was absolutely unbearable. Somehow I got acquainted with one of these women, her name was Sandra. She was addicted to benzos and I used her friendship as a way of procuring some unknown pills for myself. Sandra was so desperate for attention, she actually forced herself bodily on me one night after ingesting her usual dosage of pills.

               I was sitting on the bed waiting for the pills to arrive. Sandra, out of nowhere, jumped on top of me and began ripping her clothing off. She pulled my hand away from me and slammed it into her vagina. When I touched the wiry flesh, she immediately came and a deluge of urine streamed out of her, soaking me all over. She was beside herself, convulsing on top of me like an epileptic. I rolled off the bed and vomited into the toilet.

               This hotel is fucking cursed, I told myself. I got to my car overlooking the drainage canal, and passed out.

               When I came to, the first thing I saw was a baggie of syringes sitting on the passenger seat, looking like, Lets go man!” My right arm was splayed out over the controls. I noticed the window was partly down. I had the sickening sense that someone had been in the car with me. I started the engine and started driving back towards Santa Fe.

               As I got closer to Santa Fe, I started picking up the local radio stations. The one I found was some kind of community station run by teenagers. The big hit that they seemed to play over and over again was by the same band the Japanese girls told me about. Acoustic guitars, tribal drums, harmonizing vocals. To me, it sounded like the musicians were trying really hard to say, Hey, were humble, laid-back guys, sitting on the porch, unpretentiously. Not to say that we arent fucking rich.

               After the song, a girls voice came over the radio. She sounded no older than maybe ten or eleven. Her voice was somber, and the volume was much higher than the music just playing.

               “This is an emergency radio broadcast. Because of a mysterious and potentially significant geological phenomenon detected taking place among the Earths mantle directly under Santa Fe, all residents are advised to take these precautionary measures. First of all, please move any large, heavy, especially metallic, items from your car, garage or yard to the approximate center of your house. This is to minimize the magnetic forces damage to your property. Once this is done, please stay indoors and do not leave your homes.

               When I got to the house, I forced myself to move everything from the car – assorted musical instruments, records, books, clothing. As I was doing this, I saw a yellow VW bug drive by and take a picture. I turned the radio back on. Apparently, the car driving by was an employee of the station, who was going around commenting on the status of the preparations. I heard them commenting on my own labor.

               “Here at MOON we would like to thank one considerate resident of Rancho Viejo for his cooperation. So far, hes moved more stuff into his house than anyone else here in Santa! Congratulations, and good luck, sir. Would you like to make a comment?

               I turned around. There was no one there. But the last question seemed to come from somewhere very close, closer than the radio speakers.

               “You are doing a great job! An excellent example for the city! You should be so proud! Wouldnt you like to say something for the rest of us to hear??

               “Well...I am a drummer, so I know about vibrations. The world is like a drum, the closer you hit it to the center, the stronger, clearer vibration you get. So I am applying that theory to what I am doing here.

               “Wowwhat an amazing idea! If only everyone could be like youWhats your name?

               “Remy Eldrin.

               “Well, Remy, you have done a great job tonight! Youve gotten a great head start on preparing. Now the rest of us just have to catch up!

               “Thanks,” I said, and turned the radio off. I locked my car and walked inside. So far, everything outside was peaceful as the sun was getting brighter and the day beginning to unfold. I crashed on the couch, pulled a blanket over my sweating body, and turned on the TV. Images of snow and the Albuquerque Balloon Festival flitted across the screen. I browsed several news channels and couldnt find anything about the geological phenomenon.

               Shwooooooshhhccchhhhwwooshhcch

               Out of nowhere, my phone made a crackling sound. The noise sounded like the lo-fi combination of breathing and stepping over dead leaves. I stared at my phone.

               Shwooooooshhhccchhhhwwooshhcch

               “Remy?” the girls voice from the radio station, again.Are you there?

               Staring at my phone in horror, I tried making as little noise as possible. Delicately I picked the phone up and held the receiver to my ear. The faintest sound of breathing. I clicked through all the menus and controls, but couldnt find any answer or origin of the sound. I experimented with muting the phone, turning Bluetooth off, even turning my phone off. Just when I thought that had done the trick...

               Shwooooooshhhccchhhhwwooshhcch

               And then, Remy, I know youre there, all alone, sitting on your couch.

               I remained absolutely frozen. The TV blared on.

               “I know your TV is still on. You know, everyone has been instructed to turn off all their electronic devices, to minimize the effects of the seismic occurrence. Anything running on electricity, and especially over a network, will potentially exacerbate whatever magnetic forces are building up below the Earths crust.

               The idea of sitting here all day and all night, withdrawing, without a TV or a computer to keep myself from going crazy, was unacceptable. However, the fear of incurring the wrath of this radio station made me turn everything off. I turned my phone back on. Nothing I did to my phone seemed to make any difference. It was like the voice was running through all the power lines, the phone lines, everything capable of creating static. And yet, at the same time, I could almost envision these teenage girls, sitting in a recording studio somewhere in Santa Fe.

               “Are you there?” Now, it was just me and the voice. Acting out of some hidden instinct, I pulled the car keys out of my jeans pocket and pulled each individual key off the chain, separating them on the table as far apart as possible. Each time a key lost the metallic contact it had with another one, I felt a kind of surge run through me, as though I was simultaneously purging my body of loose electrical currents. As I paced the house, turning off anything electrical, I could feel some kind of momentum, or energy, leaving my body. It was an altogether different sort of withdrawal, but unpleasant nonetheless.

               “Remy, you are doing such a great job today. You should feel really good about yourself. If only everyone could be as helpful in counteracting this…” The voice was interrupted by the alarm system beeping throughout the house, letting me know it was disconnected. I stared at the windows lining the roof of the house, expecting at any moment to see a face staring back at me.

               “Is there something wrong, Remy? Are you going to be playing music for us tonight, during the storm.

               “Im tired, Im just going to nap on this couch. Ummgood luck with everything, have a nice day,” I replied in an attempt to end the conversation once and for all.

               “Its Ok, if you want to be left alone.

               Complete silence, interrupted by the periodical beeping of the deactivated alarm system.

               “Remy, I am standing by your car right now, looking in. I can see your Nirvana CDs. Im right by your front door, if you want, but only if you want, Ill come inside.” The voice belonged to a different girl who sounded older, maybe late 20s.

               Feverishly, I shook my hand, and said, No” over and over again.

               “I can see the syringes in your car.How long have you been using?

               I tried to keep my mouth shut, but the voice in my brain kept answering – “Im clean.

               “How long have you been clean?

               “Four days.” The truth.

               “What were you shooting up?

               “Heroin.

               Silence again. I could sense the voices mute disapproval. All of the good cheer and congratulations were gone. The voice was coming from somewhere in my head. I threw the phone into a closet and slammed the door. But, purely mentally, I was powerless to do anything but invite it back. I could easily control the voice from my vocal cords, but the voice in my head, no matter how hard I tried, just kept going, answering all the questions as truthfully as memory could serve.

               The interrogation continued. I unwillingly gave all the details of my drug use, how much money was spent, who I bought from, the effects addiction has had on my life, my relationships, my parents. As soon as I would mention something, the voice would jump on that and not let it go until I revealed everything about it. Drug addiction, fear, self-esteem, ex-girlfriends, misery – all of these things that had been brewing in my consciousness for years were pouring out of my mind like diarrhea. The voice was a sickness, a mortal sickness enveloping my entire world, and I was the symptom.