Tag Archives: withdrawal

Living in Shit with The Copyrights (Song Stories #1)

If you’re anything like me (and for your sake, I hope the similarities start and end right here) certain songs trigger memories for you. On our drive down from Jacksonville, late Thursday night, I had the iPod on shuffle and a few songs came up that I hadn’t heard in a while but gave me an idea that I thought might make for a cool series of entries on the website. Here’s the first in my (remarkably cleverly titled) series of Song Stories.

Song: “Prove Me Wrong” by The Copyrights
Time: June 2012
Place: Miami, FL


It backed up. From wall to wall, the floor in our little shitbox of an apartment was now seeped in toilet water. And yeah – when I say “toilet water,” I’m talking about a lot more than water. We had no cleaning supplies and no car to get to the store. Normally, I’m happy to walk but this was Miami in June and I was in the midst of heroin withdrawals. I felt about as awful as a human being can feel. Besides, we didn’t have any money to buy cleaning supplies anyway. And you can fucking bet that – whatever money we were going to scam up – it sure as shit wasn’t going to pay for paper towels and Lysol. I did the same thing any “sensible” person would do in my position: I took the comforter off the bed and threw it on the floor. It stayed there like that until we left town a few weeks later.

I hated being in that apartment. Actually, to call it an “apartment” paints too grand of a picture. It was a fucking room. And it felt more like a coffin. I felt trapped all day and night around the clock. I wished I were dead. But I wasn’t going to walk out the door for anything. Anything but drugs.

My memory’s a little hazy but if things were as I remember, I’m too ashamed to spill all of the details. You don’t really need to know the source of the money anyway. Suffice to say it was a process that involved more than one felony and ended with a Moneygram or Western Union transfer. I braved the outside world to go pick up the cash, so I could hop a train to Overtown and finally get some heroin. Not enough to overdose and kill myself (what a sweet dream that would have been; I fantasized about it constantly) but enough to make the hurt go away for a few hours. That was enough. I calculated the exact minute that I could expect the money to be ready and left so as to arrive just in time.

But it wasn’t ready. I waited. And waited. And waited. And it still hadn’t come in. Because the people that I was counting on to send it were also drug addicts and – you know – they’ve got their own schedules.

So I sat on the sidewalk outside of the CVS, calling and texting, trying to find out when the money would become available. It started to rain. And I just sat there, clinging to my hope that they would eventually come through. I shook and shivered and sweated. I prayed not to be recognized – after all, this was the same CVS where I’d steal $80 boxes of allergy medication which I’d then return to Publix or Walgreens for store credit. (On the rare occasions that I ate, this was one of the ways that I got food). I’d have walked down the street and looked suspicious elsewhere but I just didn’t have it in me to care that much. It all hurt just a little more than I could stand. Sitting there in the rain… I don’t know… maybe I was paralyzed or maybe I was punishing myself. Maybe I enjoyed my squalor and tragedy on some sick, stupid, self-destructive level.

In any case, that was my evening. And as I sat on that stupid fucking sidewalk in the rain, I listened to music on her phone. The battery was low and I shouldn’t have done anything to speed that process up but I couldn’t help it. Those songs, my songs, were all that kept me from laying down in traffic some days. There was one that stuck out and that I’ll forever associate with that night.

I told you there was a time back then when I still believed
You asked “believed in what” and I said “in anything”
Well the world’s still spinning, and we’re still grinning with cold drinks in our hands
But you’re grading on a curve while we’re sitting on a curb in a cold and callous land

And you tell me there was a time I’d laugh at this dramatic trash
That was coming out of my mouth after too much sour mash
I say the world only spins when I shut my eyes and it goes too fucking fast
But then I’m free to dream about the frequent smiles of a not-too-distant past

You will always run into creeps like me
Who love to swim and drown in negativity
But we want you to strongly disagree
Ignore all the surface signs and prove me wrong

Reminds me when I first saw the Pacific in a sunset glow
Or when we came through the Holland Tunnel for our first New York Show
But if the winners like these are fewer and further between now
The losers like us are too stubborn to ever forget how
to compare and contrast to the best of days
in competitive, unfair, and bullshit ways
instead of just putting our arms around someone we love
you gotta let it go

Please make sure to remind us
Our best days are not behind us


“Prove Me Wrong” by The Copyrights comes from the compilation LP, “The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore.” You can buy the LP from Interpunk. And (I was under the impression that it was only released on vinyl but) it looks like you can also get it on CD from It’s Alive.

Everything Sucks When I’m Out of Adderall

"Everything Sucks When I'm Out of Adderall." 3/23/13. Watercolor, pen, marker, and acrylic on 140 lb cold pressed paper. 9x12".
“Everything Sucks When I’m Out of Adderall.” 3/23/13. Watercolor, pen, marker, and acrylic on 140 lb cold pressed paper. 9×12″.

I don’t believe that drugs are always bad. Even drugs like heroin. I think drug use is a problem when it starts to cause problems. If you’re able to use heroin recreationally, sporadically: congratulations! Have at it! If it’s not draining your bank account, if you don’t ever develop a physical dependence, if your use isn’t destroying your personal relationships – well, I say, shoot up to your little heart’s content.

I did that for a while… Five and a half years. I can’t seem to pull that trick anymore though so – for me – the party’s over. I don’t take any drugs these days. Except for Adderall. Every day. Do I have attention deficit disorder? Um… yeah – sure, probably. [Whatever that means]. What’s important though is that it helps me; I do well with it.

Until I run out. In March, there was a hiccup in getting my prescription. [Adderall is controlled to the extent that a doctor needs to write a new prescription every single month]. I had been getting it from the doctor at Tranquil Shores, but I wasn’t in Tranquil Shores anymore. And once I actually run out, it gets even harder to get my prescription. I’m pretty debilitated by its absence in my system. (I’ve been on it for almost ten years). So I had been out for at least a few days and I was struggling to get out of bed or even move. If I’m being honest, part of this is probably psychological but – if that is the case – it’s a tough fucking psychological hurdle to overcome. I feel thoroughly drained.

I dragged myself to the edge of the mattress so I could reach at my backpack on the floor. And I stayed in that position (hanging off the side of the bed) painting or – more accurately -just swiping at the paper. Raising my arm and letting it fall. I wanted to be productive, I wanted to create, but I just didn’t have it in me. Eventually I found the strength to lift myself back onto the mattress and finish the piece with my pen.

You know – having written this all out – I come across as way more pathetic than I’d intended.

The caption says, “I remember when I had ideas. I remember when I had Adderall.”


I’m breakin’ it bad over here! / Orange Is The New Black taught me nothing!

Re: “4-Hydroxybutanoic Acid Talent Show

I’m in the financial aid office at Georgetown waiting for someone to come up front and answer a question. Another kid comes in and I find out he also grew up in Sarasota; we even went to the same school at one point. I didn’t make any “friends” while I was in law school, but now I’ve got someone to exchange nods with when we pass each other on campus. His name is Joseph.

Flash forward five months. My part-time job is still “assistant to the Law Center’s Director of Wellness Promotion” – and I’m running the school’s Healthy Recipe Exchange. As I manage this wholesome event, I’m more than a little strung out on heroin. Really – I’m not managing shit. I’m nodding out and sweating at a table while people swirl around me and ask questions that I answer with a shrug and a funny face.

Here comes Joseph. He tells me I don’t look well, asks exactly what the hell I’m doing – and finds it thoroughly amusing. Then he asks me how I’m doing. For some reason, he becomes one of the only people whom I tell that I’ve recently been arrested for possession of heroin. And then he tells me about some serious drug charges he had faced at one point for dealing meth. Of course we exchange phone numbers. Clearly, this is a good person for me to know!

It’s been a month since I talked to Joseph at the Healthy Recipe Exchange when I get a text message from him. “Do you have a stove?”

“Hmmmm,” I think to myself. “What are the implications of this text message? He knows I live in an apartment building, so he can’t possibly think he can get away with cooking meth here. What then might he be up to…?

I write him back, “Yes. I do. And I don’t want to know why you’re asking. Just let me know when you want to come over.”

Because this sounds like an adventure! Right???

As it turns out, Joseph has learned a new trade. GHB! Which – as he tells me – doesn’t stink up a place the way meth does. Well – what’re we waiting for?!

[insert Act II here]

There is nothing worse than the pain of opiate withdrawals. Except for the pain of opiate withdrawals, experienced in a cloud of disgusting, noxious, chemical shit.

I wish I were dead. The end.

Kicking Dirt

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"     8/22/12 Oil pastels on scrap paper 9x12"

“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.