Am I sober if I’m taking psych meds? A lot of people have a lot of opinions about this topic, as do I.
I try to share my experience more than my opinion, but after what I’ve been through from sponsors telling me not to take my meds to people telling me I wasn’t “really” sober because I was taking meds, I have quite an opinion.
It is possible to be sober and on meds and even without drama. I know this now because I know my truth now.
A big part of sanity is being able to let go what people think of me. I had to or I never would’ve made it to the other side of 4 years of postpartum depression.
I got a great question about mental illness and addiction – does one trigger the other? This vlog is about my experience with my co-occurring disorders affecting each other. Hint: they do, but balance is achievable. Never lose hope!
I hit it again, this time a tad more cautiously since I now knew all the smoke in the chamber was going to shoot directly into my lungs once I took my finger off that evil little hole.
The bong went around a few more times and next thing I knew Sandy was gone and I was on the moon looking down at earth.
And Tommy and I were kissing.
“When did we get on the moon?”
“You’re high as a billy goat!” Tommy was grinning like the Cheshire Cat.
“Maybe yes I am but that still doesn’t explain how we got to the moon and how will we get back and my mom’s gonna be so mad.”
This was the beginning of my obsession with my mom being mad at me when I was high. She lived in my high psyche. It was unfortunate.
It was fun and scary and thrilling all at the same time. I knew I was in Tommy’s room, but I also knew that Tommy’s room was on the moon, so it must’ve been a spaceship.
Then there was a knock at the door, which made absolutely no sense to me.
“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit,” Tommy repeated over and over again as he gathered and hid his paraphernalia.
“You have to get out of here. It’s my mom.”
Uh-oh. I knew moms were bad. Even in my oblivion, I knew that much. They were the Jabba the Hut of my Moonage nightmare.
My adrenaline kicked in and increased my fear by a trillion. In Tommy’s room I was in a spaceship; out there I would be just floating in outer space. I was afraid.
Good thing I had my spacesuit on.
I exited the cabin and fell into some sort of alien shrubbery. But then I started floating, so I was cool. The whole antigravity thing was neat, but discombobulating. It was hard to know which way was up and which was down.
It was blackness for a long time. Thankfully I never hit a black hole. After floating in space for what felt like days – although time is relative in space, you know – a white metallic something appeared in the distance.
Was it a spaceship? Would I be rescued? After all, I was probably about to run out of oxygen in my spacesuit.
I floated toward the ship, but not fast enough.
Why not swim?
Brilliant idea. I did the breaststroke and got to the spaceship much quicker than just floating around. I was figuring this shit out right quick for someone without NASA training.
It was a spaceship! I was saved!
I swam to the driver’s side. There was a huge mirror object. It had a smaller mirror inside of it that made my reflection go all wall-eyed. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
Why would a spaceship have a mirror? Let alone two?
This was my last memory of the evening.
The next day I experienced what would be the first of many retold stories of what I did the night before. Ends up Sandy found me making swimming motions with my arms and staring in the driver’s side mirror of their RV parked in the driveway. The only words she could make out of my babble were spaceship and mom.
So we went over to Tommy’s that night and got high again.
Then the door opened. It was Debbie. And the candy! I was so relieved to see them – I mean, her.
“Is he out there?” I asked, hoping she knew.
“Are you gonna order?” the guy behind the register asked Debbie now, already knowing my answer. I already knew her answer. We had to explain or get out.
The interesting thing was not that we actually told him that some scary child rapist was chasing us, but his complete lack of reaction. Like this was an everyday occurrence at Taco Hut or something.
“We’re closing in thirty minutes,” was all he said as he started to mop.
We hid in a hard cold booth of the take-out restaurant variety, not the comfy rad variety like that of Denny’s, probably because they want you to actually TAKE-OUT not stay for five hours chain smoking for the price of one cup of coffee and making art towers out of empty creamer containers.
After a five-minute play-by-play recap, the realization hit us. It was Friday night and we hadn’t TOUCHED a piece of candy yet. This realization was not spoken; it was addict-mind-trick spoken through brain waves. Where any two or more people deep in addiction are together jonesing, this is the norm. We can speak the unspeakable with our minds.
Side note: Ritual is an integral part of drug usage. For most addicts, the ritual of using is multi-faceted: scoring, holding, preparing, and using. If any of these components are compromised, the high can suffer. I like to call this “super-addict-stition.”
Whoever establishes the ritual is as follows:
The Elder who brings the newbie under his or her wing.
People who party together may merge rituals or form new variations of each ritual, as long it’s copacetic.
There was no hierarchy in our underground network of transplants, but there was a strict class structure when it came to getting high. The bottom line was devout respect for the other user’s ritual because the ultimate party foul was fucking up another person’s high.
Yet again, I did some math:
Debbie was holding = Debbie’s in charge of score.
She was the Elder = Debbie’s in charge of score.
We merged rituals somewhat with the subtraction of banana and the doubling of funds, but the location of scoring, the act of piling, and horror movie watching were all ritual B.C. = Debbie’s in charge of score.
We sat across the table from each other mind melding. My mouth started to water. Candy filled my senses. I ached for sugar. I knew she did too.
“Let’s go,” she said as she rose, without even checking outside for eagle decaled cars.
I knew better. We should wait longer. He could just be out there lurking in the old bushes waiting for our young bushes to come bounding out of Taco Hut’s door all innocent and candy-eyed. I considered bartering with her to stay another 15 minutes and eat some candy there, but I knew it would fuck up both of our highs and perhaps our friendship.
My thirst for sugar became stronger than my thirst for survival. We booked it the half block more to her house and made it back safe. Who knew what happened to GP and who cared. We were onto the next thing.
Immediately, and with not one word, we devoured ten bucks worth of sugar to the sound of naked chicks getting slaughtered. Candy fixed everything. We went into sugar comas and woke up with unrelenting hangovers. We did this every Friday night for the next two years.
The Grody Pedophile incident was only the third time I used with Debbie and it didn’t stop me one bit. The Slippery Slope Theory is just a speculation, but from less than a year after moving to Sparks I’d already gone from smoking to porn to sugar. And this was only the beginning.
. . .
Thanks for reading, gorgeous! Stay tuned – next Monday will be another new vlog. If you missed my last vlog, click here.
The first time I went over to Debbie’s house, it was obvious why she ate. Her mom and dad were both really big and her house was really small. It was rented, not owned, and on a street that was one lane away from having “interstate” in front of it. The sound of cars whizzing by at German engineering speeds competed with the deafening cry of airplanes landing and taking off at the airport that was mere blocks away.
She wasn’t even zoned for Agnes Risley, but her parents let her switch because she was having huge problems with the bullies in the school for which she was originally zoned. I changed my mind about her parents right away. They cared about Debbie; they were just so poor that they had to move wherever job opportunities presented themselves.
Her dad was a janitor at the school she left. I guess the only thing worse than being a mid-school-year transplant and six-feet-tall was having your dad be the custodian. My empathy grew for Debbie almost as quickly as my pant sizes were about to.
Her parents made me dinner every time I came over. I had liver and onions for the first time there. I actually didn’t know it was liver because I always thought it would be all jello-y wiggly like in the store. I didn’t realize that when it’s cooked it, well, cooks. It was alright, just not good enough to freak out over so much that I’d go so far as do something dramatic like actually eat it again. And I had a layer of grease stuck on the roof of my mouth for about a week.
My first sleep over was on a Friday night that, luckily for me, was allowance night for Debbie. Her dad handed her a crisp five-dollar bill and we were off and running.
“I’m going to show you what I do on Friday night,” Debbie said, mischief beaming out of her dark brown eyes.
I followed her out the front door and onto the practically-a-freeway street. My belly welled up with butterflies. Where was this strange Michegonian taking me? Would guns be involved? Should I have worn two pairs of underwear?
“Where are we goooooooooooiiiiiing?” was muffled by the cars whizzing by coupled with the foot-shorter-I-was-than Debbie. Instead of grabbing a bullhorn and attempting a repeat performance, I hurried my little legs up because that girl hoofed it good. Especially when she was on a mission.
The alarming chirp-chirp accompanied by the heavy glass doors heaving open, Debbie introduced me to my soon-to-be-favorite-place in the world, the Sev. At least that’s what we tweens-trying-way-too-hard-to-be-cool called it long before the word tween was even a glimmer in the American vernacular’s eye.
My love of the Sev was so serious that every single dream I had for an entire year featured a 7-11. Besides simply being a sweet-ass convenience store, the Sev contained a world of consumeristic possibilities from cigarettes to tampons to No-Doz to Slurpees.
She sprinted to the candy aisle and practically lay down on the shiny fluorescent-lit floor.
“Pick out five dollars worth of anything on this bottom shelf. I like everything so I’ll let you pick.”
Everything I learned in math class came into play. On the bottom shelf were all of the penny candies, which really cost anywhere from a nickel to a dime, but nickel candy sounds about as lame as a dime bag, and are all about as extinct as beepers. Jolly Ranchers were three for five cents. Tootsie Rolls were five cents apiece. Ring pops, Laffy Taffy, Sweet Tarts, Jawbreakers, and these weird skeleton candies in an actual little coffin were all a dime apiece. Anything with banana was out because I hated banana-flavored things. Banana is about as subtle as rape. It takes over any other fantastic taste with its “hi-I’m-banana-I-suck-because-I-taste-like-ass” taste.
Little beads of sweat formed on my brow. I could tell this could be a pivotal moment in our friendship and I didn’t want to lose a friend. I did the math and tossed candies onto Debbie’s stretched out sweatshirt which she, once full, folded in half to transform into a remarkably crafty go-go-gadget candy pouch. When finished, she strongly resembled a crack kangaroo. She hopped up to the counter and dumped our booty out. We waited in frothing anticipation for the clerk to count out every-single-candy that, of course, equaled exactly five dollars. Yay, awesome math student extraordinaire!
This was the Friday night ritual:
Race back home, giddy with anticipation. No candy eaten in transit, even though we both really wanted to.
Arrive and dump out all the candy onto coffee table.
Put ultra gory horror movie in VCR (yup, they too had a VCR – how was it that only my poor friends had VCR’s?)
Devour all the candy during the movie. One at a time.
Go into full sugar coma.
The next morning ill from a gnarly sugar hangover, I devised a way to double our sugar intake for next week. Mom picked me up that afternoon.
“Mom, Debbie gets an allowance of five dollars a week,” I said, batting my eyelashes.
And with that, we doubled our prize money.
The next Friday double sugar coma was so intense I was unsure we would ever recover. Our stomach’s ached. Our head’s ached. We felt death approaching.
We couldn’t wait until next Friday so we could do it again.
Not for a moment did either of us ever consider doing anything different with our 10 dollars. We could’ve gone to the movies, which I’d only been to about two at this time. We could’ve gone to Park Lane Mall and bought fifty pairs of earrings at Claire’s. Each. Or we could’ve bought twenty-five pairs and gone to Sparro for pizza and Cokes.
I didn’t smoke a cigarette at 9-years-old hoping that by 14 I’d be screwing a drug dealer for cocaine on his waterbed with my best friend watching. This was not a place I went to with rationale or intention. Just like moving to Reno.
Reno started out as a quick fix and ended up in permanent residency. It was like a pile of dog crap I accidentally stepped in that got stuck in all the intricate treads of my new hiking boots. Scrub with a toothbrush as I may, the specs of brown were never coming out.
This was not my master plan.
I know I should’ve listened to Nancy Reagan and “just said no,” but this series of essays should prove that after your parents move you to Reno, you’re left with very slender options.