No Frame (Time Frame Conclusion)


“So this is what square 1 looks like. What on Earth have I gotten myself into?”

The Time Frame Conclusion begins….

The proprietor of the halfway house arrived to pick me up. I was expecting a smiling, over zealous, get sober and be happy John Candy kind of guy driving a sports car or a Tahoe.

He was not what I expected…..

What I got was a grumpy, you got my up front rent money, non Hollywood guy driving a beat up Ford Ranger.

I had his rent money……only because my Mother was gracious enough to front it to me…Western Union…on the premise that I use it and get help or forget her number. My drinking and antics apparently affected more than just myself.

I gave him the rent. He then took me on a short tour of the town highlights.

-the Crack District
-Liquor stores
-bars
-the jail

Before I could protest on why I was being shown these areas, he told me.

“Listen city boy…..just because you are away from the bright lights and hustle n bustle of city life, it doesn’t mean that our country bumpkin redneck you don’t want to be here town doesn’t have the same party favors you are used to. If you want to change your life, you can. Follow the rules, do something different and you have a shot. But you have to abandon your reservations about living here and realize the reason you are here. You are out of life options at this point. I am offering you a life line. It is up to you what you do with it.”

With that, he pulled up to my new home. It was not new. Some would not call it a home. More like a shanty. I got my bag and went in.

The inside is clean. Everything has its place and is in order. I had 9 other housemates. I was able to get a room by myself. I dubbed it “The Mystery Machine Room”, because each wall had the colors of the Scooby Doo Van. I was still weary of the place, but no one said that at the end of the line there would be a Marriott.

The rules were basic.

-Attend a meeting every day AA or NA
-Check the calendar for your chore
-Sign in and out
-Curfew 11pm
-No females allowed on premises
-1meal a day would be provided Monday-Friday. Weekends I was in my own.

I was broke. It was Friday. It was going to be a long weekend. I had gone days without eating in my past, but, not without being mind blown.

Change happens quickly.

I chose to attend AA meetings. My reasons were simple. I did not have a vehicle. The meeting was 4 blocks away. There were 5 meetings a day. The biggest reason being that I had attended AA meetings in rehab and I already had their little meeting schpeel
down pat.

-prayer
-readings
-chips
-topic
-go around of speaking
-prayer
-out

I went to my first meeting that night. I picked up a chip. I really didn’t want one….but if I wanted to fit in, it is what I had to do. October 13, 2006.

I went back the next day
And the next
And the next
And the next

I went to probation to visit my P.O. I was requested to pee into “The Chalice of Consequence.” I did so, with confidence and without hesitation.

I went back two weeks later
And two weeks after
And two weeks after

Same result each time. No alcohol or illegal substances found…..because there was none.

I had a job that paid the rent and left a little money for myself. The sober life was alright but it was not easy…..

The halfway house I lived at had a “revolving door” for clients. In the 10 months that I was a resident, I witnessed 26 different addicts/alcoholics come and go. The reasons for being ejected from paradise varied-

-non payment of rent
-drunk
-shooting up
-selling drugs out of the house
-some just left
-some died
-some got arrested

I wondered if the term “halfway house” meant halfway to sane or halfway to crazy.

But I stayed.

I learned how to deal my addiction and how to live with it. I worked “the steps” and my life began to change.

After 10 months, I was ready to move out in my own. I made a choice…..a bad one.

A guy I worked with had a room to rent. It was 2 blocks away from AA. It was $100 a month. I jumped at it. Only to find out that I had moved into a crack house.

I lived there 3 months. I stayed clean. I stayed sober.

I picked up my 1 year sober chip while living at a crack house.

I upgraded to my own apartment next. Paid my bills. Bought my own food. Began to have a life.

At 38 years old.

A lot has changed since that first year in sobriety.

I no longer have to pee into a cup.
I no longer look over my shoulder
I no longer have the fear of prison
I no longer wonder what if?

I no longer place my life into a frame.

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23 thoughts on “No Frame (Time Frame Conclusion)

  1. runningonsober says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I read through each post dreading the “to be continued” soap opera cliff-hanger because I didn’t want to take the 20 seconds to reload the next page on my phone. Yeah, it was that good dude.

    I can’t imagine picking up a year while living in a crack house.

    Your drill sergeant roommate in rehab sounds a lot like your man that sits on top of your fictional mountain. Thank god you got him as your roommate. Life is crazy strange sometimes.

    I’m blessed that I never did prison time (yet.) Prison, institutions or death; it wasn’t if, but when. My heart hurts for anyone suffering. Just get off that elevator before it crashes.

    Fabulous read. There’s a shortage of current male addiction memoir authors. Of good ones anyway. Give it some thought…

    So glad you found me out here in the land of blogging. Small small world. Shine on.

  2. joseyjo says:

    Wow! What a story, and what a journey you have made. Well done for everything, surviving, coming clean, and for writing your experience. You have a rare gift……the gift of words, and of being able to ‘paint a picture with words’ so that you capture your readers heart and imagination. From the moment I started reading your blog, I had to finish, as your words drew me into your life and your story. Thank you so much for sharing, and keep writing. Congratulations!

      • joseyjo says:

        I love the way you write…..from the heart, and you say it as it is. It is raw, powerful, honest, and real. Sometimes facing the truth is hard, and facing what life throws at you, but you have come through. You are the victor, and not the victim, I have total admiration for you. I love you stories too, the one about the little girl is very moving and poignant. I truly think you write in a beautiful way. I have read many blogs, but yours stands out…..something about the way you write has drawn me to want to read more and more. Have you ever considered writing a novel of some kind?

  3. working on it says:

    Echo to the comment just above. Your experience is an inspiration for those of us who are climbing out. Oct 13 is a significant point in my journey too. I hope the end works out as well…it will be my choice!

    • It has been a few years since then. Still, I’m a work in progress. I’d like to hear about the date significance……I hope it works out too. Try not to travel the road to recovery alone. The choice is yours but it’s a rougher journey by yourself.

      • working on it says:

        If you want to email I will tell you. I think you have the addy. Not comfortable sharing with a wide audience. If not, no offense taken.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. It was such a good read, I couldn’t stop; I had to get through all the sections asap. You’ve made a really monumental change in your life, one that I really haven’t known many to /successfully/ do. So you have my respect and admiration, you fought the hard battle and won 🙂

  5. Wow, I finally got to finish the end of this series, and I am blown away! You write so well… so honestly, and you have a knack for how to end each with a cliff hanger! I hope you are a circuit speaker wherever you live, because you would obviously be fantastic! Thank you so, so much for sharing your story, I am honored and inspired to have read it!

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