When I first got to Tranquil Shores, I was journaling way more often than they were forcing me to do artwork. What follows is my third piece and my third journal entry. The journal is from my second day at Tranquil Shores, while the collage is from my twelfth day. Bear in mind that ten days (in early recovery) is a fucking lifetime, so these are the products of two different states of mind. They don’t really “go together.”
This is the product of my second art therapy group. The theme was defense mechanisms. I do a lot of shit that’s been described as “shocking” or “offensive” but I do all of it with one of those “ain’t I a stinker?” kinda smiles. I think I’m cute. I think it’s cute to “get away with” the things I do. Like this piece – yeah, there’s a crucifixion so it’s a little blasphemous, but it’s the fucking cat from Shrek. Can anyone really take it seriously enough to be offended? Similarly, there’s a penis, which is pretty crude, but look how fucking small it is. How’s anyone gonna get bent outta shape over that? As for the caption, it might say, “Mom!! You’re not watching!!” but what it’s really saying is, “It’s not my fault I’m this way. I’m a poor neglected orphan! Take me home with you and take care of me! You can make it all better! You can fix me and I’ll be a good boy!” So – yeah – defense mechanisms.
I REALLY don’t want to post this next entry. I’m not sure that this isn’t a huge mistake. This shit is alternately trivial and embarrassing. I am ashamed that these thoughts went through my head. Maybe thoughts like these go through everyone’s head, but I don’t think anyone ever actually shares them. Maybe that’s the way it should be.
In any case, it’s LONG. So: first half today, second tomorrow. Also, in the actual journal, each entry started with a lyric. Initially, I decided not to include those since they’re not my own words, but I think they set the tone for each entry, so I changed my mind and will include them from now on.
Again, I don’t know if my posting this stuff is good or bad, so if you have any feelings about it, let me know. Here’s the first half. This is the part with all the really trivial stuff. The second half is where it gets especially detailed, personal, and embarrassing.
Tranquil Shore Journal – Day #2, Entry #3
August 19th, 2012. Sunday. 9:58 pm.
“The only moment of the day when I find any meaning is the last five minutes when I’m staring at the fucking ceiling.” – The Credentials
I had my first face-off with the staff today, over my “Go Fuck Yourself” Slow Death shirt. Susan said I couldn’t wear it. I told her I’d change into something else first thing tomorrow. My first confrontation (defused) though was this morning with Fletcher. “You gotta change everything about yourself to make it in recovery – clothes, hair, everything.” Really, dude? You say that to everyone who checks in here? “Gotta change your hair?” Or just the kids with pink hair? ‘Cause page one of the Tranquil Shores handbook says that I’m “invited to express all of who I am,” and talks about integrating “all of who I am” into my daily activities, as well as some shit about creativity and “special gifts” and talents. I didn’t argue that with him though, just nodded my head.
But why’d I face-off over the shirt? Control? Identity? Insecurity? Attention? Or am I maybe testing them? (Mitch told me before I checked in that no one would hassle me about my stupid t-shirts).
I wanna make a shirt that says “Mitch’s dad sells boner pills on late night TV.” In good humor, of course. How would that go over? I’m kind of a little fuckshit, huh? Can’t help but smile. Bethany asked me about this notebook this morning when she saw me writing in it. I told her it’s mostly self-absorbed “clever things I said today” lists.
I realized today the full extent of my shitty hair. I have court on Thursday. Four days after I permanently dye my hair to look like an idiot. Like I said to Laurie before I realized my error (on Harrison Street), “Like natural red? Oh. No. I still want to look like an idiot.”
How about that ancient woman at AA this morning, shaking everyone’s hand down the line as I rambled on to Aaron, obliviously swearing “fuck [something or other]” as she approached me. “And you are?” she asked. “Charming. Clearly,” I responded as I shook her hand.
I met Mike today. He asked how I was feeling. “So long as I don’t shit my pants, we’ll log it as a good day.”
Warren has an answer for everything. Like, in an AA way. Sort of off-putting. I can’t talk to people like that. They constantly correct your feelings and ideas.
I’m gonna give Vicky a Traffic Street koozie and a Sundials CD as a thank you for being so cool and encouraging to me. She said she wants to take me to California with her. Sounds good to me, but we can just be friends? (Until you lose the weight anyway?) Fuck, I’m superficial. But I considered “gay for pay” (for drugs) (though not seriously, I guess) so I could certainly sleep with a girl to whom I wasn’t physically attracted, right? Especially if she’s cool to me like Vicky.
Wow. What happened to Candace? I wonder if she’s over me by now. I think we parted on August 1st, so it’s been almost three weeks. And me? How do I feel about her? Honestly, at this moment, I think I do care for her on a deep level (though that could certainly disappear (I think) if she no longer cared for me). If she lost just a little weight and could stay off drugs, why wouldn’t she be totally perfect for me? And honestly, I do love her just the way she is now, except for the drug-addled part. If she was clean/sober and I could support us, I think we could be happy. As happy as any other couple anyway.
I just went to the bathroom, turned out the common area lights, and I’m back. My body is not enjoying heroin withdrawal. That Imodium forty-five minutes ago is doing nothing for me. So long as I make it ‘til morning: successful evening. Just eight short hours.
Is Candace really gonna stick it out in Christian boot camp? We’ll see. I guess it doesn’t matter if I can’t stick it out here. Actually, the worse case scenario is both of us failing and somehow hooking back up. I can’t fall back into that. Or into any way of life of drug use. I really need to resolve to kill myself if I fail here and have no decent back-up plan for recovery. Like, this time around, I should accept the transfer to another facility if it’s forced on me. Three “less restrictive” rehabs failed = time to try a more traditional approach. STERILE WALLS, dude. But… um… for serious.
Tomorrow’s my first day in group. Scary. Two 1½-hour sessions and one 2-hour sessions. No breaks. I don’t know if I’m built for that. It doesn’t seem right. I’ll bet it makes people cranky. I should petition for three 1-hour sessions and two 1-hour sessions. What’s the rush? Make the breaks ten minutes long instead of fifteen. Stretch the day. We’ve got shit to do at 3PM anyway (by which I mean nothingto do). We need nicotine. We’re in rehab. At all other hours it flows without relent.
Aaron couldn’t tell the difference between Troublemake and The Brokedowns. I told him that was the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me. Vicky and Jenna both said it was good. So that’s cool, right? Vicky’s California comment came after I played the record so I think that means I must be the most gifted songwriter alive today.
Back to Candace: if both of us were to succeed and we were to reconnect, could I remain faithful in the interim? Is it important? She’s right about me loving attention, especially from girls. The fucked up part is that it’s not about getting laid for me, but that part is still crucial as the ultimate form of validation. It’s the culmination of the attention. The part that says, “Yeah, Sam’s good enough for someone, at least for something.” And not just something really, but something intimate which still means more to some people (most girls, I think) even if it means little to me, in that way.
You guys catch the Psyched to Die and This is My Fist references? Looking back, it’s funny that (even in withdrawal) my brain is so saturated with pop punk that it leaks out of me in every thought and every word.
The second half of this entry is set to publish automatically tomorrow morning at 6 (along with my first painting). This is thoroughly uncomfortable.
I want to have a place online to share my art and my writing. A place where it can be sorted, searched, and viewed easily. Ideally, this will function both as a blog and a gallery.
I’ve decided to start at the beginning and work my way to the present. When it comes to pieces about which I have nothing worthwhile to say, I’ve decided to post excerpts from my journals. Below is my first piece and first journal entry after arriving at Tranquil Shores in August 2012.
“Kicking Dirt.” August 22nd, 2012. Oil pastels on scrap paper. 9×12″.
This was my first piece from expressive art therapy group. I was on Suboxone. My last shot of heroin had been five days prior. I had been forced to participate in art groups at other rehabs and I wasn’t happy that it was happening again.
Tranquil Shores journal. First entry.
August 19th, 2012. Sunday. 4:43 am.
It’s been thirty-seven hours since I checked in at Tranquil Shores. My third treatment facility. After getting kicked out of Wellness – and the five month disaster that followed – I was pretty sure I’d never go to rehab again. But things have been too desperate. The last few days, all I did was shoot up, cry, and think about dying. I wanted to die, but I was scared. In my head, I used Riley’s suicide as an excuse to not kill myself. I told myself that I can’t put Elena through two suicides in two months.
I still thought about killing myself a lot today. In retrospect, that’s what got me Baker Acted when they kicked me out of Hazelden. It didn’t matter how cool I was that day, there had been too many blinking red lights leading up to it. It was a liability thing. I need to word my discontent more carefully this go-around. But I would overdose if given the opportunity. I’m too scared to do anything that isn’t failsafe.
My withdrawal symptoms are next to nothing so far, but I’m pretty sure that if I don’t get up soon, I’m going to shit the bed. The diarrhea’s been a constant.
I’m giving up on getting back down to 135 pounds. I’ll be happy if I can get down to 145.
I got my record player and some records out of storage before I checked in. I have my own room right now and it’s nice, sitting in here, not having to worry about getting heroin, and just spinning records. They even let me put my Traffic Street posters up on the wall. I’m like a dumb animal driven by a compulsion to mark my territory. God forbid someone comes in here and doesn’t immediately know just how punk I am. Speaking of which, I stupidly put a red blotch and pink streaks in my hair last night. No one was talking to me at the smoking table so I went upstairs. Thought of it, did it, and went back down because, apparently, I’m just that starved for attention. What the fuck is wrong with me? It looks really dumb. Just like me!
I’m pretty sure Elena threw out my letters from Candice. (She was pretty mad when that car she loaned me back in Miami was stolen in a bad drug deal). I wonder what she – I mean Candice – thinks of me (of us) right now. I wonder what I think of us. Do I actually care about her or was our dependence on each other pretty much the same as our dependence on heroin? And how about Elena (and Mark)? I stole sixty dollars from the drawer at the dealership on Thursday. Fuck. I’m awful. How do I face that? I don’t want to have to face that.