8:34 pm – March 18, 2004

I had my first stint in a drug rehab facility n Sept of 1997, and after that I became what is known as a “chronic relapser” never getting more than 45, maybe 60 days together before I would use again. This continual relapsing and then ongoing use lasted for six years.

My second time thru a drug rehab facility occurred in January of 2003, the exact date was the 24th. I didn’t pick the date; it was just the way the cards fell. A couple of weeks in, a group of the rehabbers were discussing clean dates, and one dude was twisting dates into “sober-astrology”. When I stated my date, he cooed “Oh, a sober Aquarian” And I just about lost it and not in a good way. I had two significant friendships in my life, both being Aquarians who were born 7 years and 14 hours apart. I call them friendships but they were, at least to me, extremely intense emotional relationships just without the sex…but nearly on the verge.

Nothing against Aquarians in general (well maybe, HAHA)…I just didn’t like the idea of having my “sober sign” be Aquarian and knew when I heard this that a relapse was certainly in order.

I maintained being clean and sober until Aug. of 2003. That month, my 15 year old nephew was killed when he lost control of a stolen car he was driving as the police pursued him. The events surrounding that, the wake, the funeral, family dynamics and other personal issues gave me the delusion of justification to go back out (and use).

I continued to use for another six months, yet at the back of my brain was that whole “clean time astrology“ I had heard a year before.

I decided to have another go at trying to clean. Only this time, without using a rehab facility, just the fellowship of a 12 step program; and I thought that celebrating my birthday as my first day clean would be a keen idea.

I had been getting high all day, but as 8:25 pm approached, I put an allotment of meth shards in the pipe, cooked and melted them down, then smoked them, keeping an eye on the clock. Exhaling and repeating the process until the digital clock switched from 8:33 to 8:34pm, March 18, 2004 and as it did, I exhaled the last amount of meth smoke from my lungs. I took what was left of the narcotic in the bindle and flushed it down the toilet, and put on my shoes and coat, walked out to the garbage to break and toss away the glass pipe.

So at 8:34pm, March 19, 2004, as I celebrated my 41st birthday, I had my first 24 hours without crystal methamphetamine. But trust me the cigarettes were burning like wildfires!!

I went a year, and then drank three beers at a company party, which proved foolish, because I got sloppy quick, and then the next day the hang over was everything I despised.

A year and a half after that, to “celebrate” a promotion at work, I took a couple of hits off a joint at a friends house and it was the worst experience… I hyper-ventilated, couldn’t breath, over heated, thought I was going to die.

I had felt that way many times in the past after smoking too much weed and/or meth for days in a row, and always lambasted at the heavens to “get me out of this“ and I, begged, I wouldn’t do it again. This time I could make no deal with the heavens, for I accepted the fact that I put my own silly ass in this predicament.

Aside from these two instances of use, I have remained clean of narcotics over the last eight years. So I am a “Clean Piscean”…. if you believe in the ways of astrology, clean or otherwise.

Somewhere in the last few years, with the assistance of doses of Chantix, I put a pack a day plus cigarette habit down on August 19th in some year….can’t really remember when….four or five years ago?? Does it matter?

12 steps dictate you start you clean time countdown over again with a relapse and ya, I have done that…but meth was the issue at the time for me so I hang more on the 3/18 date. And besides, my life is not dictated as it once was by 12 steps…maybe in theory, but not in practice.

The last eight years have been a world of change for my life…mostly in the things I never would have imagined. Yes, on occasion, usually triggered by a visual of a drug bust on the news, I will have an urge to get high.

Last year on 3/18, I was in Cocoa Beach FL, as I walked to the local yogurt shop for breakfast, I found a bindle full of what looked like meth shards. I picked it up looked at it and instinctively put it in my pocket. ( I seem to find more drugs now that I am not using them, than I ever did when I was using them) I walked a half a block, took it out, looked at it again and began to laugh as I thought of explaining to a cop: “ but honest officer, I just found it, I am clean for 7 years today” I tossed the bindle in the trash.

When I got to yogurt shop, the owner, whom I had visited with for the last few days while I ate breakfast, asked me “How are you today, hon?” I told her it was my clean date , tomorrow my birthday, and what just evolved. She said “come here” as she motioned with her hands to come close. Thinking she was gonna give me a hug, I leaned in across the bar and with an open palm she hit me on the forehead and asked me “ are you NUTS?!!? What are you doing picking that shit up?” and began to scold me for picking up the bindle, but then showered me with love and praise for maintaining 7 years off narcotics.

The urge to use and the encouragement to stay clean can come at any time out of anywhere; which is why I am “out” about being a recovering meth addict. I really don’t give a shit who knows…for I am comfortable in the fact of who I am, and for those this fact makes uncomfortable, they usually just scurry away and those who support this fact, acknowledge it.

The greater “tweek” is  the cigs, they’re everywhere, but the smell of them has come to repulse me. And the look of a person’s face as they draw off a smoke almost looks like they are sucking the life force out of their body. Of course I never noticed ANY of this when I was puff-puff-puffing away, no, I was too cool, too fantabulous to notice that I stank and looked like hell.

Alcohol rarely triggers me, but at times I get bitchy about it. Society seems to have this mentality that all good times surround a bottle or glass of beer. But I just have to remember that I love the feeling of not waking up all hung-over more than the feeling I get from a beer; but more importantly, I really love going to bed…not just passing out or passing out after being up for days. Keeping this recall seems to remove my desire for a beer.

The last eight years has been the most continual clean time I have experienced since I started using when I was 12 years old. The course of my life has been one that most may not have taken, but it is mine and each day it brings me to where I am, and for that I am truly grateful.

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