A Moments Rest
She knocked on my window, woke me up and ask me to step out of my car. I vaguely remember getting out, yet what she said next rings still. "Why do you have dried blood on your lips?" I don't remember my response but whatever it was it was spoken with my head down. I didn't have the strength to lift it up.
I moved to Nashville 2 years prior. I left a treatment center in Alabama and in a last minute decision agreed to go to a sober living in Tennessee. I came into the center after a strong opiate run. I detoxed with suboxone, as directed by the nurses, then moved into a cabin. On day 7, 2 days post-detox meds, I got a new roommate. He smuggled suboxone into the treatment center. Off I go again. I wasn't a hard sell.
I was scheduled to get the Vivitrol shot 10 days from my 5th day of detox. I continued to take suboxone throughout my stay and come day 15, Vivitrol day, I knew I may be in trouble. I was. I decided, against all better judgement and having a knowledge of what was about to happen, to take the shot.
It took about 30 minutes for the cold sweats to begin. Then my head dropped. Precipitated withdrawals is what the medical community labels it. Pure agonizing hell is what I call it. If the cold sweats, uncontrollable runny nose, extreme fatigue to the point of having to constantly take a knee......wasn't enough....my mother was in the parking lot waiting while I signed the paperwork to be dismissed. I wasn't "A.M.A.", technically, but I damn sure should've been. An important footnote that would eventually lead to a total collapse, I left with a prescription of Neorontin.
She took me into downtown Birmingham to the Greyhound bus station to depart to Nashville, TN. I was in bad, bad shape. I remember my headphones were white as I gazed out the window from my back row seat en route to Nashville. Long ride, long day....tough lessons learned about life, Vivitrol, consequences, reality, Suboxone, pain, beauty, the unknown and though I had headphones in, the silence was deafening. If you've heard a silence like that then please take my word for it.....it's a God-awful sound. Please.
The gentleman waiting to pick me up at the Greyhound bus station blended in well with the crowd. I remember a generalization of his profile. I thought I spotted him and walked up and asked "Are you a friend of Bills?" He smiled.
I withdrew for another week or so. I remember the relief only came from the thought that ran through my head every night when lying in bed. "Thank God it's over." If only for a second from sleep til dawn. A moments rest.
After 6 months in sober living, a graduate from IOP and growing, continual addiction to the Neorontin the inpatient facility had written, I took a job in the sober living house I lived in. I was in charge of all drug testing (3x a week per client), taking clients to and from meetings and miscellaneous rides here and there. Within 4 months our director, the same guy that smiled at the Greyhound bus station was offered a job in Atlanta to direct a sister sober living home. I was promoted to director of the Nashville residence. Though my abuse of the Neorontin was covert on all drug testing, it began to increase to an unmanageable level. I began taking 18-24 a day. One night while smoking on our balcony with several other clients, I collapsed. This was witnessed by many.
Christmas was just around the corner. Christmas time.....when folks go off the deep end. I am no exception. I noticed a pattern in my clients which I could only reverse back to myself. The season of family, giving.....love. The cold wind blowing outside was nothing compared to the cold wind that blew through these guys hearts during Christmas. Mine too. I drank Christmas Eve in a hotel room, away from the house. I made the call to Atlanta two days later and told them to send a replacement.
I got a one bedroom apartment. I had a six pack in my left hand and a key in my right the day I moved in. The bottle of Neorontin in my front pocket soon transformed into heroin. Within 3 months I was homeless at the Nashville Rescue Mission. I slept in my sporty BMW on a side street and only returned inside the mission to watch TV for about an hour a day. I really just wanted to be around people. I stopped shaving, let my hair grow out and had a drug habit that was like getting a salt lamp while having a cat...they will lick it until they die.
I left the mission and began sleeping in my car at the back of a Wal Mart parking lot. I would sit in my BMW for 23 hours a day, doing enough heroin to keep me unconscious on about 4 hour shifts. I am a draftsman by trade, working for various engineering firms drawing miscellaneous maps and though I looked like sh*t at the time, was a model in my younger days. One night, with my gas light on, no money and it being 90 degrees outside. I decided to exit my car and sleep outside. There was a small patch of woods outside my car in the back left corner of the Wal-Mart parking lot I resided in. Also there is a storm drain that opens up into a creek. The flat, concrete surface protruding from the headwall and pipe opening looked,more suitable than the ground. Six months prior my day job was designing and laying out storm drains. I slept in one that night. It rained overnight. I woke up from a slumber, backpack as a pillow and wrapped up sweatshirt as an additional pillow, and the water was about 2 inches deep around me. In a panic I immediately reached for my cell phone, which my mother kept on. It had washed down into the creek and a small black reflection was all I could see. I waded off the concrete and into the creek to retrieve it. The creek was about 3 1/2 foot deep.
Within two weeks I got arrested. Being passed out at a Mapco is one thing. Being passed out so long that the convenience store attendants call the police....is another.
She knocked,on the window and I knew it was over. Finally I could rest.....for a moment.