HALT! That is when they say you are in danger of relapsing or more so...picking up. I know in my case I have relapsed for days, even weeks before I picked up and got high. What I am referring to are the four conditions which put in a danger. When you are Hungry Angry Lonely and Tired.
I woke up on the wrong side of the earth this morning. I probably should have just pulled the covers over my head and stayed in bed until the morning sun roused me. Instead I woke to a full moon. A full, barking mad, moon. It was 5:10 AM and 19 degrees when my day began. Before I ventured out in to the frozen tundra of East Springfield, I made my bed. This is a habit I had gotten into in the halfway house, where I was a resident for 8 months, last year. I had never given making my bed much thought. I was the only one who would see it so I really didn't give a shit. But, now it is important to me to do so every morning.
It is nice to come home to a relatively clean house with a made bed. It gives the impression that crack heads and junkies don't live here anymore. That they have been shipped out to the countryside with all of the other undesirables so the tourists can enjoy a peaceful vacation void of panhandling, hustling and other forms of chicanery designed to relive them of their money.
Another good thing about making my bed is that it puts me on my knees where I take advantage of the humbling posture to ask my higher power, including but not limited to God, Jerry Garcia and that wonderful floating Purple Neon Orb. The Orb and I had an extended conversation at 4 in the morning, in downtown Providence, RI, back in 1986 after a Max Creek show. It asked me if I wanted to see the mother ship, but I declined citing the Sauce and Skills test I was destined to endure in less than three hours, at Johnson and Wales College, as the reason I couldn't partake of what would most assuredly have been a very interesting sojourn. Being a loving and Caring Orb, it under stood. I guess the Orb does qualify as a Higher power. So does Jerry. And God of course. The prerequisites for achieving this status are entity in question is a power greater than myself and it is loving and caring.
This morning I did pray. I even prostrated myself, face down on my bed (the floor was too cold), as I asked to continue to have the obsession to use drugs lifted for just one more day. I prayed for my family, my daughter and ex-wife. I prayed for the sick and suffering I left behind when I surrendered asking God to talk to them as he had spoken to me the day my journey to recovery began.
I read my inspirational passage from "Just For Today" which ironically described the type of day which lay ahead of me. It outlined how I must get back to the nuts and bolts of my recovery and not lose ground, not let a bad day turn into a bad week or month.
As if it were some sick perverted joke, my day began with me eyeballing the bright shining full moon. I knew right then and there that I would have been better off had I been consumed by a werewolf who didn't subscribe to the early bird gets the worm adage. A cunning and calculating wolf that scoured the neighborhood looking for someone like me, a docile half conscious, plump, juicy morsel caught unawares, which would satisfy his cursed but discriminating palate.
I stopped by my folks and had a coffee with my mom. That was good, but I couldn't shake the feeling I had. I must have been acting weird because she seemed a little concerned. Perhaps it was an incident which happened the previous night with my new cell phone.
My other phone 86ed itself by having the display screen go blank. This was noted by the kid who sold me my new phone. "Are all of your contacts saved to you Sim card?...cause I can't load them onto the Sim card with the screen blank." I assured him that I had saved the contacts recently.
Now I'm a pretty technically savvy guy. I can dope fiend any piece of information technology to cover my tracks...no evidence of impropriety, no incriminating web pages to be found in my history. With my old phone I had overlooked the Sim card.
When I looked through the address book which was loaded loaded into the new phone, I was horrified to find a bunch of numbers I thought I had deleted. Ali, Sharon, Nikki and bunch of other numbers for various dealers and hustlers and active addicts I had no business holding onto, and thought I had discarded.
I erased all of them until I came to one, the last one. I hesitated. Just for a few seconds. long enough to consider the consequences. It should have been a no brainer, but I did hesitate. How could that conversation possibly have gone?
"Hi, Iris, It's Paul. You are out of Jail I see. Yeah I was wondering, would like to go to a meeting?...No? Okay...What you need a ride? And you'll hook me up? DELETE.
I did the right thing, but that moment of hesitation jarred me. It made me realize that I had not been to a meeting in almost a week. Sure...I was busy with my daughter. And now, that Mom was back from her trip, she picked up our kid and took her home. I went home and went to sleep. B ut i was only destined to get about 6 hours before my alarm went off.
So, I woke up, I was already tired, and lonely for my baby. I was angry at myself for my hesitation with dealing with the phone numbers in my directory. And, I was getting hungry. When I got to work things just got more stressful, for no other reason than I was having a bad day and stupid shit, which would normally roll off my back was getting on my nerves.
I peaked at about 10 AM. It got to be too much and I needed to step outside of the situation before I REALLY lost my cool. I asked the dishwasher If I could have a cigarette. I haven't smoked in 6 months, but i asked anyway. I needed to do something, this was the last straw.
He handed me a yellow pouch of Tops. These roll your owns were what I was smoking when I was strung out. The days where I was caught up in the insanity and all the money I would spend on anything other than drugs was the 1.75 for the package of Tops along with a $1.25 milk and some buy one get one free honey buns for 50 cents. Seeing that yellow pouch brought me right back to a time where I was stumbling down Ft. Pleasant Ave with Miss Right Now, high and lonesome. This was not good. I was smoking a cigarette. Something had to change. I summoned up the couraqge to confront the situation.
At that point I began to talk myself down. To identify what was bothering me, I contacted another addict, just briefly to get things off my chest. I revisited with my higher power asking for the strength I needed at that moment. I simply prayed an abbreviated version of the serenity prayer by repeating to myself "accept the difference." Powerless but not helpless, as my sponsor has told me many times before.
I got through the rest of the day. I had something to eat. I began to joke lighten up and partake of the fun to be had at work. I went home got changed and sought out a friend in recovery hanging out with him until it was time to go to my meeting. I had a very good meeting with my home group. Then I came here, to my studio, where my glass making apparatus lies idle, while I tell on my self and outline the struggles of the day.
And guess what. It is now, once again, today. I made it through those 24, 60 minute intervals, some were rockier than others, but I made it. At least I get to sleep tonight, and I don't have to get high...for that simple pleasure I am grateful, Just For Today...
As always, you will find me "Running Hard out of Muskrat Flats"