Booze and Blizzards

I was released from the county jail on November 1st, 2013, to the halfway house. My nerves were shot. It’s really strange getting out of jail after a stint. You would think I would be on top of the world. I was excited, that’s for sure. But fear shot through every single thought and emotion I had. I remember violent trembling. Nerves shot to the breaking point. All I wanted to do was see her. Talk to her. Run. I knew that I didn’t want to use anymore, it had been consistently kicking my ass for quite sometime now. But I didn’t necessarily want to recover either. I didn’t want to stay clean, and I didn’t want to use. Figure that one out. I was completely lost. I just wanted to be out of jail. This drug court thing would be easy enough right? All I would have to do is stay on schedule and not get high. Cake walk right? “I got this.” Once again, I did not have this. The first thing I did was smoke a cigarette and call my family. Then I settled in at my new home. I didn’t sleep a wink that night, I couldn’t stop shaking. Maybe in the back of my mind the equation of “serious reservation + jumping back into toxic relationship + drug court + (fear x 100) ” was taking hold. I was in this thing for the wrong reasons. I can’t ever stay clean for someone else. Hell, I didn’t even want to stay clean. This is probably gonna be really bad. I had no idea…

The first couple of months went off without a hitch really, I wasn’t to be sentenced officially into drug court until February, I was ordered into the house as treatment, though, part of the drug court deal is being in a half way house anyway. So it was good to get a head start on recovery. I got a sponsor right away, and started doing what we do. Recovery. Meetings. Groups. Work. I even went to church a few Sunday’s with my Grama. But in the back of mind I still flirted constantly with using, not heroin, but with drinking. Booze, the liquid stuff. Undetectable at the time by urinalisys,  I started plotting on how I could pull this off. It grew from reservation, to flirtation, to anticipation, to obsession. I was going to do this. Every Saturday night at the house we’re able to go on an over night pass, to visit family and friends, so long as fees are up to date, and I hadn’t been causing any trouble. I was clear in both these requirements and granted a pass in early January 2014. The time had come. Let’s get it on. This night started out like any other social drinking event, casual, laughs, and music. And it was all good. Nothing bad happened, other than a vicious hang over the next morning.  But as with all addicts and all relapses, this was just the beginning. After shaking off the cobwebs and getting on our feet, we realized that a massive and extremely dangerous winter storm had settled in on our town. With temperatures plummeting down to near 50 below, and a blizzard making travel impossible, a state of emergency was declared. We were snowed in. This was great! Another party night, free and clear. I was contacted by the staff of the house I was staying at and told to stay put, no one risk traveling. It was okay to stay out another night. Well, we had plenty of booze left, and off we blasted again. Of course we drank to excess, as we always do, and the morning turned to night and then it was morning. We continued drinking well into the next day. “Certainly, we will be permitted to stay out one more day.” “The state of emergency will keep me safe.” Not at all. I was wasted well into the evening and sent a text message stating that all clients are to return home asap! This was bad. I was smashed. Do I stay out anyways? Go home and hope I won’t be breathalized? What to do. I tried the old wives tale tricks to sober up: coffee, food, shower, brushing my teeth. Sure, I’ll be fine. They won’t even notice. I walked in the entrance way of the halfway house and was stopped immediately by staff. “C’mon and take a piss test, Herb.” Well at least it’s a piss test and not a P.B.T.” “I’ll be fine.” Not the case. We were in the bathroom about 3 seconds when the gentleman administering the urine screen said, ” You know what, Herb, just come blow in this.” Shit. He smelled me. I’m busted. Not good. I’m going back to jail. I wobbled my way into the office and blew hard into the straw. The numbers came to life and climbed. .05, .08, .12, .15, onward and upward they soared until finding the magic number where they stopped; .35. “Jesus Christ, Herb, you’re wasted!” Was all he said. “Little bit”, is all I could get out. And I looked at my feet. “Well, you know what you gotta do now brother, gotta go start packing.” Damnit. ” Um, well, no, I’ll come back to get my stuff tomorrow.” And I bolted out the door. I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and called my friends back to come get me. I should have been terrified, full of fear, scared of the consequences. I was not, my reservation had been fulfilled and I now had a one night free pass, it was time to smoke some crack. My friends scooped me up at the end of the road and we went back to finish off the liquor. Within an hour I was D.U.I cross eyed toward Chicago, in a state of emergency blizzard. I was the only car on the road, but I had that phenomenon of craving, a free pass for the night, lowered inhibitions, a “fuck it” attitude, and the dope man answered. The only thing stopping me tonight was the police.

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