The Seven-Year Itch

May 3, 2018 at 10:40 am (Drunk and disorderly, On the road again..., Sweet sticky things)

“Hello, my name is Charlie and I’m an alcoholic.” And a drug-addict and all-around man-about-town.

I’ve been quiet lately, not feeling like sharing, or much of anything, really. Was dealing with depression issues for a bit, but like in my teens, eventually it evaporated. Depressed about what? Nothing more than the pressures and general shame of life. In the midst of the downtime, I’ve had some fun. It’s just that the fun evaporates as well, leaving me to my own empty (yet way-too-busy) thoughts.

My friends have been there for me. I drop in on Dr T. Dizzy and kitty Naomi are stalwart companions, giving me smiles and support. At work, Igor has risen to the top of the milk jug like fine cream, positioning himself to become manager-apparent. Doing such, we spend lots of time working together. I’d rather teach my boss what I want than have to make them figure it out.

And then there’s Wednesday, my day on the road. Mizelle and Lily show up about 9 AM, smiling and bringing sunshine on the rainiest days. I get up about 6 or 7 AM, putter and get my head ready for driving. Lately there’s been nothing to prep my head with, which leaves me in a weird limbo…

I will give President Cheeto credit for one thing; when he said he was going to war on opioids, he meant business. For the last five years or more, I’ve had a steady underground supply. No doctors, no crime, other than the underground nature of it all. I knew people, and people who knew people, and all I had to do was make a phone call.

Aah, the good ol’ days.

At first, I loved the superhuman euphoria. Mixing prescription painkillers with cannabis medibles made both go twice as far, so I could make the pills last, and get that extra analgesic effect from the weed. It made me quite social, and I found more amusement than irritation in my mutant-CHUD customer base.

As sources dried up, or died, mostly, a new one would come around. I wouldn’t troll at work, but a couple of old-timers in the know would toss me a stamp-sized baggie with 3-4 oxy 5s because they felt sorry for me. (Knowing, correctly, that I’d be terminally grateful.) As time wore on, especially the past year, all the living sources got cut off. Or knew what they had, and charged crazy-high prices. I felt sick, not stupid. I wouldn’t pay their prices. Tech workers in the silicon forest with bank accounts triple my size stepped up and bought everything. EVERYTHING. Must be nice to have a few grand to drop on pills…

OTOH. I know what they are in for.

I started doing the math, and I’d built a substantial habit. It wasn’t bad by cancer-survivor standards, but for the average guy who pops 1-2 Vicodins with his beer? I was way beyond that. I knew I was heading for a fall.

It wasn’t my first opiate detox. I’d watched Rain go through it with the heavy horses, and mine was a tenth that bad. Still… Life sucked, I had no energy or ambition, didn’t want to be around others, at least not much. But I have a job to do, and I can’t burn up all my sick time because I don’t “feel” it. The first detox was severe, but I’d had a steady morphine AND oxy setup. I spent three days in bed, and swore I’d never let it get that bad again.

I didn’t, but it got close.

Over the past year I’ve been tapering way off, knowing the end would come. When the end did approach, my friend, a mortal god, let me know exactly how many were left. (He ended up three short, causing me a long couple days, but shit happens.) When the calls went unanswered for over a week, and all had drained from my system, I knew it was time for me to put this habit to bed.

Why not just do medical weed again? Of course! Except, for all its glories, medibles tend to pronounce the effects of the withdrawal, much as the “good” way. I ran out of leaf-shake, and can’t afford to buy the 1-2 ounces at the dispensary to make decent butter, so I decided to lay of the medibles for a while as well.

Oh god, my legs at end-of-shift. I’d trudge to the bus, instead of lighting-out like a bat outta hell in a flying rush. I’d sit quietly, not even interested in the newspaper.

Then, the other night, “a friend of the family” texted, saying she had a present for me. A hippie relative with a green thumb had heard my story, and offered me some of his leaf-shake. It was less than I usually use, but was STINKY. I smelled like an orange skunk going home.

After detoxing, the butter took on a more subtle buzz, but how I noticed the pain relief! Fuckin’ happy feet! I stayed up late, made a pale yet highly effective batch of butter, which I am appreciating like never before. It’s no oxy, but I can hold a steady pace to the bus after nine hours standing.

So yesterday, Wednesday, I rose at 6 AM and made some special toast. It’s driving day, and I get to drive the lovely Lily all over town, watching my language and giving lessons in classic rock. As meeting time got close, my phone went off. It was Mizelle. I could see in the text preview, “I called in sick today…”

My heart sank. I was all woke up, full of just the right amount of happy butter, perfectly ready for the day. Fooey! I opened the text to get the bummer news.

It read, “I called in sick today. But, if you want to tag along, we could hang out?”

“Wha-wha-what?” Fuck yeah! as Team America World Police would say. I gave my dentures an extra brush and quickly tidied up.

Despite her sniffles, we had a marvelous afternoon. Snuck off for Indian buffet at the place too spicy for her daughter. She followed and helped haul as I did my grocery run. (I use my head as well as the car.) Saw the Nephew’s girlfriend, gave her a hug. Made a drop at the house, and Luna even let Mizelle pet her. Baby steps. I apologized for my room. “Hopefully it’s not too funky in here. I been hibernating in here for a couple days.”

“Charlie, all I smell is weed.”

I can live with that.

Mizelle and I both got to empty out a bit. At the buffet, the same guy who ran it 15 years ago remembered us. It’d probably blow his mind to see Lily. We showed up right before closing, but he treated us like family. Soon it was time to fetch the youngster.

We spent the rest of the day driving around, hitting the Goodwill bins, where I found a heavy Chicago Black Hawks hoodie. Mizelle bought a cart full of interesting doodads for art projects and farm life. By the end of it all, we were tired but not crabby. I wanted to tease her that we should drag it out a couple more hours so I could claim a twelve-hour day, but I was as tired as they were.

And so, in a weird sorta way, between this and our mini-road trip, I have had my AA meeting. I didn’t talk much about alcohol, but that’s not where my heart is. I must confess, for the past two weeks, every day staying sober was a challenge. I would dream of getting drunk at work. I’d have my “drinking plan” in place by the time I opened my eyes. But the eyes would open, my brain would register reality, and I’d be a little bummed that it wasn’t happening. Before, I would drop a pill, have a magic Eggo waffle and float the day away. Those days are gone. Fuck you very much, Mr President.

It’s almost Cinco de Mayo, and my liquor cravings are at bay. (May has always been the toughest for me, drunkwise. And October.) I’ve got the pill thing wrapped up, but I do miss the ease of them. Back to the organics…

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