I’m facing felony charges for possession of a controlled substance. These are not old charges pending from my days on heroin; I was arrested earlier this month for possession of Adderall, the prescription medication I’ve been on for nearly ten years. Adderall is one of those meds that can’t be refilled with a phone call each month. The patient has to actually go in to the doctor’s office for an appointment every thirty days, physically pick up the prescription, and bring it to the pharmacy. My prescription lapsed before I found a doctor, here in Chicago, and a friend with a prescription gave me a few pills to hold me over until I could get my own. (I have an appointment with a new doctor tomorrow but – a little late).
My case is still pending but the offer from the state that’s currently on the table includes two years of supervised probation, a shit ton of fines and fees, community service, and enrollment in a substance abuse treatment program. Everyone can always benefit from counseling but, these days, I get invited to speak at substance abuse treatment facilities; I don’t need to be a patient in one.
At the moment, I’m optimistic about a resolution to my case but don’t necessarily have any reason to be. For a while, it looked like the state was actually going to push for a conviction and, possibly, even a jail sentence. No one (defense lawyers included) seems to care that I’m not actually abusing drugs or that my entire life and career are pretty much based on that fact. No one cares that I help other people suffering with addiction and other mental illnesses, on a daily basis, both directly and through my art and writing. In the eyes of the court, I’m just some faceless degenerate that got busted with some pills. Just to get released on bail, I had to pay $1,025 in cash. Getting that money together (without even being allowed access to my bank account) through collect calls in a city three hours from anywhere that I know anyone was not an easy thing to do. Being stuck in Illinois, on probation in Normal, is not conducive to what I’m doing with my life. Two years of criminal fines are not in the budget. And god forbid I somehow fuck up, get tagged with a “violation of probation” and actually get put in jail after all. I’m caught up in a shitty, unfeeling system that doesn’t care about me and it hurts and it’s scary.
This was the last painting I finished before my arrest so the journal written on the canvas isn’t actually about this situation but … it seems even more relevant now than it was when I wrote it.
My world gets pretty dark some days. I try to smile, try to have fun, encourage other people to do the same but sometimes the world just spits at you. At me. Negativity is poisonous and infectious. I don’t let tragedy beyond my immediate vicinity affect me these days but a single mean word directed my way can still obliterate me.
I understand why people kill themselves and I don’t fault them for it but, today, I’m gonna try my best to not succumb to my darker impulses. I’m gonna listen to pop punk songs with my friend, Chris, and I’m gonna walk into five galleries, bare my soul, and try to get my funny faces and emotional instability up on their walls. I believe in myself and what I do and if you don’t get it or you don’t like me, that’s nothing I need to focus my energy on.
The world can be cold and mean but I’m gonna try to do my best anyway.