Thursday, January 21, 2010

How I Got Here

The following is an excerpt from an Email I sent to a very dear friend of mine who found me two days ago through these wonderful social networking systems like Facebook and My Space. Her name is Michelle, currently works as a flight attendant, and I haven't seen her in 17 or 18 years, and will tell that story soon. But since I've never told the below story before, I offer it:

First and foremost... and I've been thinking about how I should break this to you, or if I should even mention it, but I will always strive to be completely honest with you in all matters. Okay, here it goes... I have not been able to get through the copy of "Lonesome Dove," that you gave to me... yet. I'm still working on it though, and I have seen the mini-series with Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, and I do own a copy, as a matter of fact I'm looking at it right now. It's looking back at me in a taunting fashion. I promise to redouble my efforts.

Okay, I'm glad that's off my chest. It's been bothering me for years. Time to move on.

By the way, I haven't had a cigarette this morning and feel fine. Not grumpy at all. Just the opposite in fact. I feel serene. Perhaps it's your influence and example. See, you've helped me once again. I had a little over two years before November, time to stop again because I always feel better when I don't smoke.

Alright, my sad tale: I was suspended from my job at the ARC for smoking a cigarette in the Sample Room of the residence after the Salvation Army had instituted a strict no smoking policy. My friend Reuben Smith (remember him?), then my assistant, turned against me and ratted me out. I was dismissed as manager, put on leave, where I promptly relapsed with booze. The Administrator was unsympathetic. It didn't help matters the he knew I had a crush on his wife, who had befriended me.

Anyway, I bounced around from ARC to ARC, Canoga Park to Carpentaria, where I got another desk job, and was assigned an intern for counseling named Julie, and we had an affair. She was my age, had an eating disorder, and basically used me to help end her 19 year marriage. She got pregnant, then my new counselor violated my confidentiality, told the administrator, I got the boot of course, and they dismissed her. She got an abortion and I relapsed. We remained close friends however for many years.

I finally entered a recovery home in Woodland Hills owned by a friend of mine. This would be the late 90s, 97, or 98, where I got a good job as a customer service rep (we both were, or are in the customer service industry I guess) at a company similar to AAA. I really liked it because I got to help people from all over the country who needed emergency road service. Very Satisfying, but they made a mistake and promoted me to a management position which I didn't care for as much. I relapsed, and moved to Bullhead City, AZ where my sister Cheryl lives, using settlement money (the city of Camarillo, where I lived threw me out of my apartment because they wanted to tear it down and build businesses, and had to pay me for it. I went back there a few years ago and my old apartment is still there). I drove into Bullhead on New Years Eve of 1999.

I got a job as an ATM tech, drove around all day getting the money out of ATMs and taking them into the banks. Had to wear a gun. My partner was a right wing wacko (it was Arizona for God's sake!), I wasn't getting along with my sister, got into money problems, relapsed, and moved, and eventually wound right back at the Pasadena ARC as a benecifiary. They threw me out after 26 days because they found out about the affair in Carpentaria. I was in the homeless shelter, Union Station, right down the street from the ARC, and was about to enter a recovery home when the first "Lord of the Rings" movie debuted.

You may not know this about me, Michelle, but I was a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings (now of course I'm sick of them) books, and had wanted to see this movie... real bad. So bad that instead of entering the recovery home I got drunk and went to the movie. For some reason they wouldn't let me in the recovery home after the movie was over. So I went and spent a few days at the USC hospital, went and saw the movie again while drinking a bottle of vodka, then checked myself into the Salvation Harbor Light facility here downtown. Now this facility was independent of the ARC system, so they let me in (at midnight). It was a wonderful place. All you did was go to three meetings a day, AA at night, no "Work Therephy." Stayed there for a year, got a job as a customer service rep for a company who contracted to the city to handle parking tickets.

Los Angeles is notorious for its predatory parking enforcement policies. They even had a PBS documentary about it. So my job entailed getting bitched at for 8 hours a day. One of the worse jobs I ever had, and the last one. Two months I lasted before relapsing.

I moved into the Weingart Center, in their Veteran's program, for another year. That was 2002.

My friend Ron (who I had met while still working at the Pasadena ARC. He had been the resident manager of the Los Angeles ARC before he relapsed and came to Pasadena) got me into the Las Americas Hotel, where I live now, under what is called the Shelter Plus Care program, which is just subsidized housing. I took my last drink the month I moved in, got interested in politics by the time the 2004 election came around, and started writing about it, social commentary, and science. I somehow, through no fault of my own, I assure you, got on SSDI for depression (who wouldn't be with George W Bush in office (if you're a conservative, I apologize, he is a wonderful man, doing fine work right now with Bill Clinton in Haiti!), got a computer, got that computer hooked up to this thing called the Internet, and on February 22 of last year began Joyce's Take. The rest you could say is... well documented.

No comments:

Post a Comment