What was it like? Well, what can I say? Using, using, and more using! It's difficult to remember exact dates, but I can give you a rough estimate of where I was, my frame of mind, and my daily routine.

I had moved back to my place of true memory, North Hollywood, two months before. The week I moved up here (sometime in early September) I was immediately offered a job with an organization I had been affiliated with for the last thirteen years. It was a very laid-back job that I figured I could do "under the influence." The job was a step up from what I had done in the past—it was actually a position of authority!—and it scared me.

I promised myself I would limit my usage to weekends, although I hadn't been able to do that for years prior to this "wanna be" commitment. I wasn't even able to keep my promise for one day.

The job seemed perfect for a drug user. I was my own boss for the first four hours of the day and my employer trusted me. This gave me the opportunity to smoke at will. The second four hours of the day consisted of planning and supervising programs for junior high school-aged children. The kids knew me as a slightly amusing person with red eyes the whole time they were involved with this organization (there is an unusually high return rate for these children every year). Anyway, my opportunities for using drugs were endless.

My routine was this: I would wake up at about 9 in the morning and mosey on in to my kitchen, where I would reach for one of my bongs, fill it with ice-water, and then make it back to my bedroom dresser where my dope was stashed. And this was all before I could get out my first yawn of the morning!

For the last five years or so, that first high of the day had always been the best one. I would pack two fat loads in an extra-large bowl. Each bowl provided about five huge "cough-master" hits. After about ten or twelve lungs full, I'd either stumble into the shower, or over to work (depending on how stoned I had managed to get).

I'd start jonesing at about 10:30. Luckily, I was the transportation coordinator and could take a van out whenever I wanted. I'd speed off to "do errands" (get high) and return just in time to watch the kids for three hours. I never had any activities planned. I'd just go on auto-pilot, hoping that I could remember what I'd been told to do in the past. I normally "maintained" around the kids for most or all of the three hours, only jonesing when troubles arose (they did every day).

After work there were no holds barred. My friends and I would smoke until it was all gone, or we had no more money, or we passed out (that never happened). Then I would come home around 1:00 a.m. and smoke the last of my daily stash before hitting the sack.

In the middle of November, I lost my job because of a drug test. My excessive tardiness and mysterious days off for "illness" probably also had something to do with it. By then I was paranoid, delusional, and suicidal. I was stealing to buy drugs. I should mention that though pot was always the mainstay of my drug habit, I also used a slew of other drugs (notably crack, speed, and alcohol) to keep me going.

The weekends were when I played Russian roulette. Whether it was the people, the drugs, the scams, or the situations I got myself into...my life was in danger. My pot habit alone cost me $40-60 a day. I had borrowed, stolen, sold, pawned, and weaseled as much money as I possibly could on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. ANYTHING FOR DRUGS!!!

My mind was lost, and after only 23 days of sobriety, it still is. I have no confidence, little faith, a heartful of resentment, and a fistful of rage. I fear death but still I embrace it. I seek love, but only end up sabotaging my relationships. Will it ever end? My heart is heavy. I am a child with no inkling about how to live. I come to these rooms as a last resort. I can only live second to second. I'm quite sure I have another life-long binge in me, but I truly doubt I have another recovery in me.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I now have a little over 4 months of sobriety. Things are beginning to look up for me, slowly but surely. In the distance, a new life awaits. It's pretty blurry right now, but it is becoming slightly clearer and more focused with each passing day. I know that it will take a lot of work and determination to get there, but at least now I have the willingness to keep trying.

-- Gannon B.
April, 1996

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