Friday, August 5, 2016

Detox and Delimas; The Winter of our Harshest Discontent


“Babe you’ll never guess what I found.”

My outstretched hand contained a various assortment of Ritalin, Oxies and Xanax bars. My scrubs smelled like a corpse in the hot sun and I too walked around like the living dead, but with a hand full of chemical bliss. I felt alive and then some.

“Scored these off of Mrs. Sims.” I said with some darker undertones.

Despite the terrible choices I made, I really did enjoy my job. There were rare moments that made me forget what I was turning into. I took care of a man with MS once. He’d long lost the ability to speak, but him thanking me for changing his catheter, (mouthing out the sound as best he could), was one of those lost artifacts that made me feel a little more human.

“So… you stole those?”

“Well,” I said after some outstretched silence… so long humanity.

“Not really… she passed away this morning they were going to get thrown away after we gave them back to the pharmacy. Thought I’d you know, cut out the middle man.”

“Are we bad people?” she asked, after her turn of equally long silence.

“There are no bad people. We’re conditioned to believe in bad people. The media, the politicians the things they taught us in Sunday school. None of those things are real. I forget who it was… there’s some quote about life being nasty, brutish and short... shit who was it that said that? But in any case, people just do what they do to get by. It's all part of the ride ya know?”

“I really wish I could believe that,” she said, reaching for the pile of pills in my hand.

“I really, really do…”

(Some time and a slew of  mistakes later)

 "Kant’s categorical imperative states that while we are free in a way to experiment with our ethical conceptions, this relates to us using our rationale to reach a conclusion as to what is ethical. He also believed that once we determine what is right, we must commit to it. We must not deviate from the plan set forth by our reason. Once we’re in… we’re in.”

I sat in room 108 in Morgan Hall, a sprawling echo chamber of a lecture auditorium that housed more faces than I could count. There were so many people from so many walks of life all lumped together into the same gigantic clusterfuck of youthful idealism. I thought about all the promises these people had made to themselves, the gods they’d sold themselves too which quickly reminded me that some questions are better left unanswered. No, there was only one distraction that I had in mind. The ultimate distraction. I pulled out my phone and shot Jake a text as the lecture drew to a close.

I’d first met Jake while coming off the tail end of a particularly nasty bender. It was cold outside, very fucking cold.

“So you can get E?”


His gaunt eyes never moved not even to blink. He just stared out at the world while I smoked cigarettes.

“E saved my life man. I was suicidal for a long time then I candy-flipped and bam, something… changed but then I started eating way more than I should have and that comes with its own set of problems.”

Jake’s room was by all appearances, in a permanent state of entropy. Bottles of liquor and cough syrup littered the floor like fallen soldiers in some third world skirmish.

“Cheers,” Jake said, washing down his bomb with a shot of vodka. Within second my share of the shards were crushed up and lined up. I brushed my hair to the side and clenched the straw.

“You feeling it yet?”


“Why does anybody stay sober when there are soooo many good drugs out there?” I asked

“Hell if I know,” Keegan responded in between puffs from his newly sparked joint.

It was a Friday. The air (following the dictates of early winter/late fall in the Midwest) was crisp, the sun cast its blinding sheen on the light snow, a day like any other day. It was out boredom, spare time and a determination to shake off the winter blues that, Keegan, White Mike and yours truly found ourselves hanging out in the woods.

“Shit that sounds pretty awful when you say it out loud.”

“We’re addicts man, we’ve gotta have somethin. I’ve been clean off H for 90 days man. Three whole months but I still feel like I’m crawlin out'a of my skin. I mean, I’m still hooked on weed and Adderall and suboxone… I’ve been thinking about going to NA.”


“Yeah man. It helps. When I was…” It was Mike’s turn to take a puff.

“When I was using, all the shit that I went through… It was a good way to forget about it. Even if it was only for an hour.”

“Fuck that man. You guys don’t need NA you need to cut back on the booze and the cough syrup and God knows what else. That shit’ll fry ya.” Keegan coughed.

“It’s all will power.”

“Now that’s some bullshit. You can’t do it alone. You need God.”

“Yeah okay.”

“No I’m serious… There was this one time. I was at McDonald’s about to pick up, well outside in the parking lot, I don’t fucking eat at McDonald’s but anyway. I get a call from dude. Turns out his girl split with all of his dope. So, I’m fucked right? I can already feel myself starting to get sick. After I hang up on dude. I get out of my car to like, I don’t even fuckin know what I was thinking man. Maybe I’ll find some dope in the parking lot? But I fuckin didn’t. I found this.”

Mike reached down his shirt and pulled out a silver chain with a cross attached to it.

“It’s St. Michael man. St. fuckin Michael! I almost shit myself after that.”

“Huh well whatever works man,” Keegan coughed out while adjusting his glasses.
“I’ve gotta run I’m late for Econ… oh yeah here, I owe you from the other day.”

Keegan dropped 2 blotters into my hand

“Have fun,” he said while walking away.

“White Mike.”


“Let’s go to NA later.”

“Right on man. You won’t regret it.”



I don’t remember going to NA after that.

“One shot for the road.” Mike said

“Just one though.”

The next however-many days were a blur of sensory soaked vignettes. So many odd moments interspersed between black holes. Much like the universe itself… but the universe doesn’t have a drinking problem. From what was I was able to salvage from those unfortunate enough to be have shared my company during that time I can safely that the main culprits were; 1 handle of rum, 2 fifths of everclear 60mgs of Ritalin two tabs of the craziest acid I’ve ever eaten, a few boxes of robo gels and some ambien. I somehow made it through this bender without incident. I came to sitting in the middle of Jake’s war-zone of a room, eating a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

“Hey,” Jake said apathetically. His eyes never wandering away from his computer screen.

“Super glad you’re alive man. You should tone it down a notch. I’ve lived with heroin addicts and I never saw them as messed up as you got last night… well now that I think about it, more like the last couple of nights.”

“Wait, what?”

The first round of splitting pain made its appearance and it was an evil bitch if there ever was one. My shaking hands balled up and rolled out. I coughed and reached for one of Jake’s many Styrofoam cups, (please be booze. Please fucking be booze. Nope not today). I took a long sickening gulp of a howevermanydaysold sports drink which didn’t help matters much, but when it comes to feeling like you’ve been face-fucked by a chainsaw, there isn’t much that can help with that.

“I need a cigarette.”

“Here,” Jake responded, still glued to his desktop.

A machine rolled cigarette appeared in my hand. I stuck it behind my ear for safe keeping and fumbled around for my lighter.

“So you said I’ve been… whatever the hell this level of fucked up is, for two days?”

“Yeah, probably more. You were wrecked when you came here. You kept going on about some girl named Amy.”

“Oh… yeah she was… well never mind. Fuck man two whole days?

My hazy vision made much worse by my icepick infected head, wavered in and out as Jake talked about whatever online game he’d been playing. I could sense that another blackout was on its way so I let it happen. Goodbye (for a little while at least) cruel world...

Several hours later, my body was finally done with the bender of all benders. After leaving Jake’s room and taking a lone hydrocodone that I’d found in my pocket while looking for my keys, the headache from hell, started to subside. I was used to battling the fallout from massive poly-drug benders but this was different. For the first time in a long time, I reflected on the gravity of my situation. I’d returned to my own room now, decorated with the scent of cheap vodka, and discarded Tussin DM bottles. Gram bags of MDMA sat on my desk along with my one-hitter, a couple bags of (whatever brand the local head-shop was selling) synthetic Cannabinoids and a packet which to my best guess contained some sort of unknown, RC stimulant (old habits)… I just might have a problem.

“Hello,” I said groggily answering my phone.

“Holy shit man. Holy fucking shit. Thank God you’re alive!”

“You know, you’re only the second person to tell me that today.”

“Fuck man. I… thought you’d killed yourself.”


“You locked yourself in your room with a knife and said you were gonna do it right this time.”

The flashbacks started. Unsteady hands guiding cold steel along my wrist. Instinctively, I checked my arms… nothing. For better or worse, I’d decided against it.

“No man I’m… I’m alright. It’s just been a rough couple of days.”

“Yeah, no shit. You wana grab a beer or something? I for sure need a beer. Let’s keep it light today though man. You’re really starting to… fuck I don’t know, scare people I guess. The cops came bangin on my door yesterday. They said they got an anonymous tip that someone on my floor was suicidal. That they were seen with me a few days ago…I thought the worst man. The absolute fucking worst. They tried searching my room but I wasn’t havin that shit... I guess I’m kinda fuckin up too… I did some speed balls last night. Dude said he could get dope. H and C… I broke down. Just once though. I’m fuckin done with that shit man. For real!”

“C’mon man you don’t need that… Look, I’m sorry dude. I never meant to put you in the middle of this shit. I can barely remember what happened. I just…I can’t turn it off sometimes, well most of the time actually. The drugs and shit…I’m really sorry man.”

White Mike said nothing for a while.

“We’re addicts man, fuckin addicts... It’s what we do.”


Times change. Drugs change. People change. After surviving one of the most brutal hangovers of my life. I entered the flood of 2012. The world hadn’t ended, snow still fell, computers still worked, there had been no nuclear holocaust. But in many round-about ways, things were taking a turn for the worse. I’d been face deep in my habits for a while now but had now reached a stage where I could no longer deny it. I could still ace my exams (most of them anyway) but it didn’t get rid of the morning shakes. I had to rely on a steady diet of Klonopin and Adderall for that. The fact that Jake had discovered the dark-net didn’t help much either. An online bazaar of drugs, guns and crypto-currency. It goes without saying that my friends were following the same path to ruin that I was, albeit with a little more gusto. Mike was chipping H again and self-detoxing in the dorms after his trips back home.

“Fuck man. I can’t do it. I just can’t fuckin do it… can you talk to Jake for me? He isn’t returning my calls and I need dope man. I’ve got a huge project due tomorrow. I can’t do these stupid fuckin equations,” Mike yelled and punched the wall,

“When I’m blowin chunks every 10 minutes.”

“I don’t know... You’ve been goin pretty hard. Don’t you think it’s time to dial it back? Shit man, you had 90 days. That’s more time than I’ve been able to string together lately.”

“No, no, no! Fuck no man. Just… just fuckin talk to Jake for me. I need to get well.”

“Alright fine. I’ll be back in half an hour tops. Later.”

I left Mike’s room and headed for the Washington dorm complex on East Ave. Lighting a cigarette as I walked. Smoking did very little for me these days other than starve off the cravings it elicited, but it was a distraction from the bitter cold if nothing else. My torn-to-shit hands bled in the dry air. The new set of slash marks on my left wrist weren’t faring much better. I’ll never know why my persistently wasted doppelganger thinks that carving his/myself up is a good idea but fuck it this isn’t about me it’s about drugs and Mike and Jake, (but, mostly drugs). To speak of the proverbial devil, Jake hadn’t been himself as of late… and that’s saying a lot.

“Hey, do you know where I can get some more of that?”

“What you mean meth?”


“I… I can’t man. Even if I knew how. Cody and I aren’t exactly on speaking terms anymore and…fuck dude. I just couldn’t live with that on my conscience, you know?”

Not more than a week later. I got a call from a very, very, very strung out Jake bragging about how he’d found a new plug on the dark-net…. There used to be a saying in NA (I’d been a couple of times. I think at this stage in the game, failing to grasp a 12 step program was a prerequisite to the whole rock bottom thing). You don’t find the drugs. The drugs find you. I just might have some common ground with those folks after all.

“Jake?” I said, knocking on his door. The knocks became louder and more frequent as the seconds passed.

“Shit,” I muttered.

Instinctively, my hand grasped the handle. It was unlocked. After, popping a Klonopin and doing a quick check over each shoulder I made my way inside and closed the door behind me.

Jake’s room was more wrecked than usual. A bottle of Roxies sat on his desk along with a needle and a bag labeled 3-MEO- PCP. It took me a while to notice that Jake himself, was hunched over on his bed, wearing nothing but a pair of gym shorts, a brand new needle dangling from his left calf muscle.

“Oh fuck! Jake, Jake?!?!” I yelled.

A quick check of his vitals assured me that he was still alive but I couldn’t take any chances. He came to after a round of rapid fire chest compressions and me splashing a bottle of Gatorade flavored vodka (behold the mixed drinks of the university’s finest alcoholics), on his face.


“What the fuck Jake?”

“Wha… what. What are you doing here?”

“Oh gee, I don’t fucking know, saving your life and shit! What did you take man?”

“3-MEO. Nothing serious. Just went into a massive hole.”

“Oh I see… well shit man, can’t blame me for thinking the worst. The way things have been going lately… how was your trip?”

“I don’t remember.”

Lucky bastard… if only I could so fucking lucky. After pocketing the Roxies and making sure that Jake was conscious enough to stand up on his own, I left.


Three for Mike and one 20mg tab of pure bliss for me.

“Oh fuck man. Thank you… you have no idea.”

“It’s straight dude. I just wish we didn’t have to do shit like this all the time.”

“It’s life man. Some of us just get a shit hand. I’ve got a cig and an Addie if you want em. It’s a 30 should have plenty of kick and it’ll break down like a dream. I’m tellin ya man.”

Mike sniffed and itched his eyes. As I stood there looking at my gaunt dopesick friend, fearing for his soul as he wasted away in his vomit scented dorm room, I wandered how a person can end up like this. Is it really all just a game of chance? How and for the love of God, why do people allow themselves to end up in these places? Mike nodded his head and looked away as he prepared to crush his share of the pills… I soon realized that I wasn’t the only one in the room asking those same kinds of questions.

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