essays

The State Trooper and The Biker


I still remember taking my first motorcycle license test. It was February, 1967 and the temperature was 17 degrees Fahrenheit.

I had already passed the written test a few weeks ago, on a piece of paper that was turned in to a human police monitor. I rode in, nervous but determined to pass. The motorcycle I was riding was a two-stroke 305cc Yamaha. The motorcycle I had waiting at home was a 441cc BSA, a single cylinder 4-stroke with an ultra-high compression. It was running loud and ugly so I knew it wasn’t
the bike to bring in for the test.

The motor vehicle inspector examined my paperwork and said, “Anyone who comes out in weather like this to take a motorcycle test knows how to ride,” It was an assumption on his part but it worked to my advantage. Maybe he just wanted to get back inside, maybe he was a nice guy; maybe the unknown. He pointed to the motorcycle course and said,”Just ride around it once, no fancy stuff and get back here.”

I did what he said. When I got back he handed me the paperwork to get my license. “Be careful out there,” he said.

Many years later I had lost all my driving rights for various nefarious activities. Police chases, drug arrests, driving to endanger, etc. etc. In May of 2004 I rode in to the Massachusetts Office of Motor Vehicles to take my riding test again, having already passed the written test. If I remember correctly, the written test consisted of 40 simple multiple choice questions flashed on a computer screen. I was 58 years old. The Massachusetts State Trooper looked me over. Here I was, a grey-bearded hippie type guy riding a beat-up 1985 Honda Rebel with a 250cc 4-stroke engine. All original stock except for the mirrors, with dents to the tank and everything.

The trooper put his finger on one of the dents.

“Been down?” he asked. “No,” I replied. “This was my wife’s bike and I just put it back on the road again.”

He asked me to show him the hand signals for right turn, left turn and stop. At first I showed the right turn signal for a left turn, and didn’t show the proper sign for stop because I was nervous. I realized my mistake and said, “Oh, I forgot,” and then showed him all the proper signs.

He looked at me sternly. “Improper use of signals fails you automatically. You’ll have to take the test again. But tell me, why are you learning on your wife’s bike?”

I told him. My wife had died of a drug overdose in 1998 and I inherited it. I let him know I had been riding from 1967 up until 1987 when I lost my license because of a number of offenses related to drugs.

“How are you doing now?” he asked. “You look pretty healthy for someone who used drugs.” I explained that I had gotten clean in 1994 and that was when my wife and I separated. I had taught her how to ride in 1986. “So you haven’t been riding since 1987?” he asked. “Well,” I said. “I haven’t ridden since 1993, to be honest.” His eyes sparked in the sun as he tilted up his mirror-sunglasses and looked at me for a long minute. “Show me those hand signals again,” he said.

I got them right this time, although I knew I had already failed. Acceptance of what was actually happening was the key to emotional success. Sometimes I could make it work for me.

“Okay, take the bike out for a spin around the parking lot and weave through those stations I have set up over there,” he said.

I took it out, putting on the blinker as I pulled out, and cruised the course with ease. I know how to ride. I pulled back over to him, using the stop signal. “You know,” he said, “I think I’m going to pass you. You obviously know how to ride and I can tell you’ve had a hard road. It’s not my job to make it any harder.” He handed me the paperwork and I thanked him.

He said,”Just a minute. I want you to know that the roads have changed a lot since you last rode. They’re not friendly anymore, so look out for the other guy. They won’t be looking out for you.”

I peered back at him and nodded my head, said thanks again.

“You seem like a good guy. I hope things stay good for you.” was what the trooper finally said.

As I went back into the Motor Vehicle Agency I thought about that state trooper. I remembered all the bad experiences with police, but I couldn’t get this guy out of my mind. “I guess they’re not all bad, eh,” I thought.

Two assessments had taken place that day. He’d passed me and I’d passed him. I rode out of the parking lot with my motorcycle license in my pocket, riding legally for the first time in over ten years.

Greta Thunberg, 15 Years Old, States Humanity Is Nearing It’s Own Extinction Event


The temperature is soaring. In the Northeast water tables are going crazy from all the rain we’ve had. The sun, like a malevolent eye, glows hot in a hazy sky as the world thermometer climbs; mercury like spinal fluid rising, rising, then bursting through our heads, our brains exploding under pressure.

Humans pack the city streets, panting with heat as power stations go down trying to feed the electric monster of civilization, sucking hungrily while every air conditioner in the city growls and strains. The highways are jammed with hot engines that spew carbon dioxide. Elsewhere, in Brazil and other countries, forests are eaten by chain saws and bulldozers; rain forests burn, soon to become barren desert.

We have seen the future and it is heat. In Greenland the ice is melting faster than it ever has; the polar icecaps are shrinking. Global warming, global turbulence is upon us and we, in the United States, fail to take action, spurning the warnings of scientists all over the world and spitting hot air from the mouth of a President who might as well be a red-headed stepchild. We pull out of the Paris Accord and the world environmental summit in Kyoto is dead to the United States.

I have a new heroine and she is only 15 years old. Her name is Greta Thunberg and she is the most vocal of all of the Global Warming protesters. She skips school every Friday to protest the coming Extinction Event and do-nothing politicians all over the world.

But why should she go to school on Friday when the world she will grow up in is threatened by all of us who continue to act as if nothing has changed in our world? The giant fires in California have destroyed the city of Paradise, an ironic name that now stands for Ashes, California.

The exhaust pipes from all of the cars are lined up on all the interstates around the world and we are sucking down all the fumes as they heat up our atmosphere. If you took all the exhaust pipes from cars and trucks and SUV’s in the Boston area and fused them into one pipe, how big would that pipe be? I’ll bet you can’t even imagine it, can you?

I can tell you one thing and that is our noses are stuck up that giant unimaginable exhaust pipe. Greta Thunberg knows this is true and she is standing up for what she believes in.

Greta has been protesting for more than a month and she has no intention of stopping. She wants to wake up the world and shake us out of our complacency! Before Sweden’s parliamentary election on September 9th, she began her Friday strike from school, sitting on the steps of the Stockholm parliament building. She has done this every Friday during school hours. She goes back to school on other days, but every Friday she demands that the government take a radical response to Climate Change which is not creeping up on us but roaring our way with the intensity of a
category 5 hurricane.

Greta Thunberg’s parents are Svante Thunberg, an actor, and Malena Ernman, a well known opera singer and writer in Sweden. Greta’s mother has written and published a book describing both of her daughters’ special needs. Greta and her younger sister, Beata, have been diagnosed with Autism, A.D.H.D. and Asperger’s Syndrome.

As Greta states, she sees the world in black and white, not in shades of grey. In her own words,”I see the world a bit different, from another perspective,” she states in English. “I have a special interest. It’s very common that people on the Autism spectrum have a special interest.”

Climate Change when she was nine and in the third grade. She says,”They were always talking about how we should turn out lights, save water, not throw out our food. I asked why and they explained about climate change. And I thought this was very strange. If humans could really change the climate, everyone would be talking about it and people wouldn’t be talking about anything else. But this wasn’t happening.”

Greta began to study Climate Change in depth and has stopped eating meat and buying anything that is not absolutely necessary. In 2015 she stopped flying on airplanes and a year later her mother followed her daughter’s example which meant that she was giving up an international performing career.

The family installed solar batteries and they have started growing their own vegetables on a planned space outside the city. They bicycle almost all the time and have an electric car which they use only when necessary. They don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk, and I am totally impressed with them.

Sweden’s parliament reached a consensus that rich countries should cut their emissions by fifteen percent a year. Greta Thunberg calls bullshit on that because, in Sweden, actual emissions have gone up 3.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year. Greta says, “Sweden is not a role model”. She points out that even the best plans to address Climate Change make no attempt to look beyond the year 2050.

“By then,” Greta says, “ I will, in the best case, not even have lived half my life. What happens next?”

In the United States our Trumpian president is a Climate Change denier and he hasn’t even tweeted about it! Greta states, “I can become very angry when I see things that are wrong.”

When Greta Thunberg is at her Climate Change protest post outside of parliament, many people come by to chat with her and bring her food. She really likes falafel and noodles. Greta Thunberg is my new heroine and I hope the whole world takes radical action to avoid the Extinction Event that is hurtling towards us like a rocket ship out of control.

Greta says, “The climate is not going to collapse because some party got the most votes. The politics that’s needed to prevent the Climate Catastrophe—it doesn’t exist today. We need to change the system, as if we were in crisis, as if there were a war going on.”

Shock Treatment


The first time I met Chuck he was coming back from escape at the state hospital where I worked. It was mid-winter. The frost bite on his feet was so bad that he had to be rushed to the medical wing. The front parts of his feet developed gangrene and were removed.

He would stump around the hospital on his bandaged feet, sometimes falling, sometimes leaning against the walls like a wounded tree, chanting songs from his tribe that his grandfather taught him, songs that echoed echoed through buffalo ages, songs that moved the leaves on trees filled with passenger pigeons, songs that traveled with the ghosts of tribes long dissolved into the Red American Earth. When he was tired he would spin through the dingy green institutional hallways, roll to the end by the window that overlooked the gnarled oak tree on the back lawn and his cries would shatter the white noise of the psych ward for the acutely disturbed. Then he would fall asleep in his wheelchair.

Shoulder length brown hair fell on his face. He constantly brushed it back with his right hand as his left hand flew over the keyboard of the hospital computer. The bugs in our computer system would vanish as his fingers danced on the keyboard. Chuck was a master hacker with a Bachelor of Science Degree that he earned before he reached the age of twenty and the electronic brain would respond to him like a dog to a stern master. After working out a glitch that had stumped us all he would turn to us, grinning the the Cheshire Cat, sweat glistening on his dark forehead and say, “The machines eat our souls. All I have done is learn the pathways of the false mind. I cannot walk that way any longer.”

Then his dark brown eyes would become filled with a dense mist. Lines of tension would arc down his cheeks and the space above his nose would pull together. His hand would firmly grasp the edge of the desk and the sinews on his forearm would ripple and define themselves. He would continue to speak and his voice would echo through the office as if it had the acoustics of an amphitheater.

“This is a troubled time. I am one of the Earth’s pain receptors and there is much wrong with the Spirit during this period when the air has become foul and the waters dark with dirt and melt the icecaps under the eye of an angry sun. I must return to the Spirit because the pain is too great for me. I am not a defective but the pulsing nerve of nature exposed and I must extract myself from it all.”

Then he would turn away from us, push away from the desk and, as if hauling the weight of the Earth on his shoulders, stump laboriously down the hall. The doctors determined that Chuck was schizo-affective and delusional and he was placed on suicide watch. But Chuck had determined that the hospital was a symptom of the disease of the human soul. He instituted legal action to overturn his commitment.

One day, as I escorted him to the whirlpool bath, he and I talked. “I trust you,”, he told me. “I am going to win this court fight because I know what the judge needs to hear. You know this is true.”

I knew in my heart that he would succeed in his court battle and asked him what he was going to do when was released.

He smiled and his strong teeth seemed to beam in the fluorescent light of the institution. “The task you and the doctors have undertake is immense. It is your job to convince me not commit suicide. It is my job to ensure I return home. I am convinced that may course of action is correct. You must convince me otherwise before I get out. Time is on my side, no?”

I nodded my head and grinned at him. He shook his head and his nostrils flared as he flipped his long hair with his hand. He grinned back.

“Look Chuck, I know that I am supposed to stay within an arm’s length of you because of the suicide watch but I want to give you privacy in the bath. Are you going to be okay if I leave you alone?”

“You sure you can trust me?” he replied laughing.
“I will be if you say I can.”
“You would risk your job to give me privacy?”
“Yes” I replied.
“Thank you. You have my word.”

I lifted him out of the chair and lowered him into the swirling water. Then I stepped out of the room and shut the door. Suddenly a chant I had never heard before made my ears dance. There was splashing and laughter and song and my eyes became wet as I leaned against the wall. It was the first time Chuck had been left alone in a room for at least two weeks.

One week later Chuck successfully fought the order of committal in court. On his third day of freedom he stripped down to his skin, wrapped himself with a thin layer of sheet metal, stripped a heavy duty extension cord and splayed the conductor metal onto his tin suit, taped it with black electrical tape, placed his half-feet into a large pan of water and then plugged himself into an electrical outlet.

I can still hear the stumping of those half-feet and his chant haunts the corridors of my mind. He was right! Time is on his side.

Central Square, Cambridge, MA

“The form of a city changes faster than the heart of a mortal.”– Baudelaire

The streets teem with activity. There is a giant hole where the building filled with many small businesses, owned by individuals, flourished. There was a clothing store over 90 years old, a breakfast place where one whose pockets contained only a few wrinkled bills could eat. Lucy Parsons Bookstore has been chased to Davis Square and then from Davis Square to where? City Foods closed in the dead of night, leaving only a store that sells liquid spirits. A giant hole. A husk. A ghost of a place where the homeless drift side by side with shoppers and lawyers. The rents rise and the area of the square fills with yuppies moving amidst the many shelter dwellers who have no place to go.

Two coffee shops owned by young entrepreneurs; the Liberty Coffee Shop, a place where bookshelves spilled over with donated novels and reference books and computer set-ups rested side by side, and the Phoenix Coffee Shop, which was the last bastion for people who enjoyed a cigarette with their coffee with regular poetry readings that took place, where musicians could come and play and put out a basket for donations, the Phoenix; a place where genius sat side by side with minds cratered by madness and drugs—both gone.

A Starbucks has taken the place of an old breakfast shop. They modified the property they purchased so now all the stores on that corner have the same look. Starbucks. Where wage slaves work for corporate overseers.

The shelters. The wet shelter on Albany Street. Shelter Inc. The Salvation Army. Will it come time for these dwellings to disappear in the middle of a moonless night?

How do you change the face of Central Square? First you sew up it’s mouth, then you rip out the eyes, fill the nostrils with cement, and then you finish with a proposal for a frontal lobotomy. Is there a second for this proposal? All in favor?

Pass!

The City Council, none of them poor, rub the cash in their pockets, or is it their Visa Cards? Like a wishing stone of old. Beg for our votes and then do whatever they want.

Massachusetts Avenue has narrowed in Central Square, a clogged artery. The heart of a city is mortal; rip it out; only the husk of a city remains.

How I Grew Up And Learned To Be A Racist


I grew up in a white factory town until I was 10. My father had a small grocery store in Newark, New Jersey and his customers were all Black people. My parents had a term that they referred to Black people while they were in the house. They called them Schvartze’s, pronounced Schvat-Suh, and they claimed not to be racist. Yet they were and I was adopted into thinking that I wasn’t racist but, in the meantime, I was being taught racism.

I remember one night, when Eisenhower was running for president, I was with a group of my white friends and they saw a person of Color going into my house. One of the guys said, “what’s that “Jungle-Bunny” doing going into your house?’ I had never heard that term before and I told them that it was the man who worked in my father’s store.

Racism was rampant when I was growing up and it seeped into my mind’s eye and my attitude. Yet, I thought I wasn’t a racist. But I was one. I had no conception of what it was to grow up Black in the inner city. I did notice that the factory town I grew up in was almost all White and I heard the word “nigger” bandied about by the kids I hung out with.

I just received a book in the mail yesterday called “So You Want To Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo and it is an eye-opener. I won’t go into a review of it at this time because I’ve only read three chapters of it. But it exposes me and outs me as a racist and calls into question my commonly held beliefs as to what is racist. I admit that I’m changing but I don’t really know, first-hand, the reality of being Black in the world because I’m White.

My parents moved into a suburban town when I was 10 and there were no Black people, that I know of, that lived there. Prejudice was rampant among the kids I hung out with and some of them were even gay-bashers as teenagers. At the time I felt there was something wrong with that but queers were queer, right? I got into hard drugs while I was in high school, beginning with the opiates. It took me to places that I never thought I’d go and I remember, one time copping heroin in Newark, New Jersey, which was only 7 short but eternal miles from Livingston where I lived.

This guy, Joey who I was copping with had grown up in Newark and we picked up this Black guy and his friend who were taking us to buy heroin. The Black guy turned to me and said, “Heroin is the great equalizer. Black or White, we become the enemy of society.” That really struck me and I’ve never forgotten it.

I remember times, when my friend and I were cruising the streets of Newark and we saw this unmarked cop car stop by a bar where a bunch of Black guys were hanging out front and the three white cops, dressed in plain clothes and long leather jackets flipped their coats open and two of them had shotguns and they lined the Black guys up against the wall of the bar and were frisking them. Why was this happening? I never saw this happen in front of a bar when all white guys were hanging out, that’s for sure.

In my racist mind, this was something I couldn’t process very well. I just knew that we had to flee that area because I didn’t want any attention drawn to us. After all, we were heroin addicts and probably had more of a criminal bent than some to those guys being frisked by the White cops that actually looked more like gangsters than the Black guys they were shaking down. Sometimes I copped in Harlem and was always nervous, more like afraid, but the drugs were running my life and I let my racism slide to get the drugs. Then there was that special night where 4 White kids, all about the age of nineteen, went to Paterson, New Jersey to buy drugs. We were all juiced on what we called goofballs (barbiturates) and wanted some heroin to straighten us out.

Three of the guys went off and I was waiting in the parking lot of a store when all of a sudden I was surrounded by 4 or 5 Black guys and they were asking me for money. I looked around for my associates (not necessarily friends) and they were nowhere to be seen. I broke bad with these Black cats and tried not to show my fear (and prejudice) but this was their land I was the trespasser and all of a sudden I was being hit and went down and they were kicking the living shit out of me. After all, I wasn’t giving up my dope money; I was just the dope isolated on their streets. They must have knocked me unconscious because all of a sudden there were cops all around and the Black guys were running.

The cops caught a Black guy and asked me if he was one of the ones who was beating on me. I didn’t have a clue and I didn’t really recognize him but I was so angry and full of hate that I said, “yes, that was one of them.” The cops took me down to the station and had the Black guy alone in a room, no lineup thank you very much. They asked me again if that was one of the guys and, to tell the truth, I had no idea but I pointed at him with one of my eyes closed and said yes that was one of them. The guys I went with were waiting at my car and even with one eye closed I insisted on driving home. I was furious and full of hate and that night I used the N word for the first time that I could remember and I blamed all Black people for what happened to me. Suddenly I was a full-blown racist.

I had to be hospitalized because the lower rim of my right eye was shattered and they needed to remove the pieces and place a plastic rim in my face. My head ached for almost six months because of the beating and I was full of hate. I testified in court against the Black guy who I wasn’t even sure was the one and he wound up being sentenced to three months in jail for something he might not have done. I’ve grown up a lot since then and I realize that I was taught racism undercurrents my whole life and all it took was that event to make it blossom. I had no idea what it was like to grow up Black in an inner city and be poor and oppressed because of the color of my skin. My understanding of my racism has grown and I have worked on my ignorant prejudices until I have come almost full circle on race hate.

I realize that we are all people struggling with our different crosses to bear and my ignorance has changed to enlightenment. Am I still prejudiced? Well, we don’t change ingrained belief systems overnight and I do the best I can with it. I pray that my mind doesn’t let me slip back into old thought patterns. I was my worst enemy and, over the years, I have changed the way I see things. Am I still a racist is the question I have to always ask myself. If I catch that ugliness creeping into my thoughts I send those thoughts packing. I meditate. I feel empathy. I do the best I can under the circumstances that have shaped me. I need to always face the truth about myself, what ever it may be.

Back In The Days of Old School Crime

When I heard the news about James “Whitey” Bulger being savagely killed in his new prison in West Virginia, it came as no surprise. For years he ratted on the New England Mafia to increase his own organization of crime’s control of the Boston area.

I grew up in New Jersey and started using cough syrup with codeine and antihistamines when I was about fifteen years old. By the time I was 17, I was using heroin on a daily basis. Back then there were no police Tip Lines. But if you were outed as a Rat or an informer, you were likely to get what we called a “hot shot.”

Street justice was swift and merciless. Two off my associates died of a poisoned heroin shot. The old time junkies would scrape the white powder from the battery cables of a car. It looked just like junk but it was pure acid. Some people got rat poison mixed with their dose if they turned when the police picked them up.

In West Orange, New Jersey, there was this detective called Palardy. When he picked people up, he would bring them to the police station and put them in a room, pull the shades down and beat them around the body and slam a telephone book on their heads.

During my first drug bust, when I had just turned 18, I was arrested with a Dyke named Angie and we were both holding. They took me into that room and beat me for a while and then I gave them old information that I knew they already had to stop the beating. They weren’t satisfied and threw me in a holding cell next to Angie.

This wasn’t Angie’s first rodeo and they knew she was a hard case so they didn’t beat her. I heard her calling to me and asking me if I was all right. I told her that I didn’t give anyone up but myself. Back then we actually had mattresses in our holding cells and Angie said, “You’re about to smell smoke.” And she lit her mattress on fire.

James “Whitey” Bulger was beaten by two Mafiosi to the point where he was unrecognizable. One suspect is Fotios “Freddy” Geas who is doing a lifetime bid for murdering a head of the Genovese Mob in 2003. They hailed from West Springfield, MA so they were local and had a major grudge against Bulger. According to the prison officials Bulger’s body was wrapped in a sheet and unrecognizable. How could this happen in the prison system? Well, transferring a high profile rat to another prison and putting him in general population is like signing the death sentence that he never received.

Back in the day, when I did time I was being held in Maximum Security in West Boylston, MA . We were two to a one man cell. The new guy slept on the floor on a mattress and the senior cell citizen slept on a bunk. I had two choices where to put my head. One choice was by the bars of the cell and the other was by the toilet. As unpleasant as that might seem the toilet was the better choice because if your head was by the bars, you could be fair game to anyone who didn’t like you. Now when I got popped in Massachusetts with 15 pounds of reefer and a little heroin and some hashish and cocaine, not to mention the weighing scales and the hypodermic needles, they threw all the charges at me and I was even charged with harboring a fugitive because my woman back then was wanted in two states.

But it was an honorable crime, as they call it in prison. I was all over the news, both television and radio. The police said they had arrested a major drug kingpin but I never saw myself like that. I had a history of arrests for simple possession of heroin, which was why I sold marijuana. I didn’t care for reefer so I didn’t use my profits smoking it up. Getting back to the honorable crime situation, I didn’t rat anyone out and I knew I was going to do my time. My first cellmate was transferred when his case came up and a new guy was transferred to my cell. The first question anyone asks when they come in is “what are you in for?”

The new guy told me he was in for receiving stolen goods and I took him at his word. But in prison, everyone has a story, some true, some not so true. The next day one of my associates on the Maxi-tier came into my cell during open door time, which was about 2 and 1/2 hours every night after supper.

He told me that the guards had tipped them that the guy in my cell was in for rape of a child and the guards gave the leaders of the tier a carton of cigarettes, major currency back then, and told them, “you know what to do with this guy.” He asked me if I wanted to take part but I opted out and told them to do what they had to do. A little while after I left that cell, three guys came in and beat the guy so bad they had to take him to the hospital. The guards, who we called “screws” back then, took their time coming in to break it up.

When I think about that and the transfer of James “Whitey” Bulger to a new prison and placing him in general population, I feel that they did this on purpose. It served to have the proper, as they saw it, justice finally administered to a guy who got away with murder because he was a major rat. Justice was done all old school and, in my twisted mind, I know that Whitey was set up deliberately.

Whitey should have known, and probably did know, that he was being transferred to another prison and put in general population so he would be given the death sentence that Rats get when they break the code. Like I said before, this was all old school. When I was a young junkie, I knew better than to break the code. No tip lines, and the police were always the enemy back then. Some things change and some things don’t change. Are things better in today’s world? I think not. And for old guys like me, it’s still old school. You don’t have to like it, it’s just the way it was—and in some cases, it still is that way.

Love No One But You



Love No One But You

I love no one but you,
Darling, don’t say we’re through
I can’t sleep at night
I dream with all of my might
that you’ll come into my heart
and we’ll never part.”—-hit song by the Jesters in 1957.

We would sit and have coffee and smoke cigarettes after shooting the heroin and she told me tales about what it was like when she was a child. About the time her father picked her up by her long beautiful hair and slammed her into the refrigerator because she dropped a dish. I was mesmerized by the story of her father chasing her across the pasture with a pitchfork because she was afraid to ride the new stallion. She showed me the scars on her butt when she told me the story. Her mother was the same size as her. When I met her mother she smiled at me and shook my hand. Just like her daughter her eyes always looked sad. Star was what everyone called her. Her real name was Anastasia. She loved her mother very much. Tears would fill her eyes as she talked about the times her father would beat her mother. I’m not sure if my parents ever really loved each other but my father would never hit my mother. Never.

***

I had just returned from California. One year on Parole. It went pretty fast now that I think of it. I worked most of the time in a group home for assaultive autistic teenagers. Sometimes they would get really violent. I was pretty good with them when things got rough. The other counselors liked working with me because I was really effective when a client went off. One, two, three, and they would go down.

Anyway, I got back to New Hampshire and had been there only a few days. Right away I started working at an inn as a chef and dishwasher. It was a live in situation.

Next door to the inn was a low-income apartment building. I knew some of the people there and when I passed the building some of my old acquaintances were drinking beer out on the front steps. I wasn’t going to go over to see them.

Then I saw her! Her hair was reddish brown and was full like a lion’s mane. I could see her eyes from the street. They were like haunted holes in her face and they pulled me right across the lawn of the building. I was talking to my old buddies but I couldn’t get my eyes off her.

“Hey, I’m Dean,” was what I said and held my hand out to shake hers.

“Star,” was all she said as she gripped my hand.

Her hand was dwarfed in mine but she had the strong shake of a working man. We talked for a while. When I mentioned prison her eyes got real big. I don’t know. I never saw eyes that big in my life before. When I was younger there was a set of paintings that were popular and all the people and animals in them were all eyes that you could fall into. Maybe God saw those pictures and made Star.

***

At first she wouldn’t go out with me. Every time I saw her I would ask her out. She would always have some excuse. She was staying with the people I knew in that building. I noticed that she slept in her car sometimes. She asked me for money twice. I said no. I figured that if she wouldn’t go out with me why should I let her use me for the money.

Finally one night she was hanging out on the front steps and she asked me if I had five dollars. “No, but I have a tab at the bar in the inn,” was what I said. “Do you want to have a few drinks with me?”

She thought for a long minute.

“Yes,” she said. “ I guess I could use a drink.”

I don’t think she wanted particularly to drink with me. She just wanted to drink. That was okay by me. I didn’t really want to drink. I just wanted to be with her.

We closed the bar and went back to my room. She never left.

***

A lot of things happened over the next four years. We got married. We moved into the city and were working two jobs.

At one job we were Mental Health Workers in Medfield Hospital. I worked the acute admissions ward. Star worked with the chronics. We worked the graveyard shift and after getting out of work we went to a horse farm and grained and watered the horses and walked them. Star would groom the horses. She grew up on a horse farm and could even break horses. She used to talk about it all the time. After work we would go to a bar and drink until about noon. Then we would go home and sleep.

We would argue sometimes. I had started shooting heroin again and soon I would leave her at the bar while I went off with some people to get the stuff. When I came back she would have some guy or another hanging around her. Sometimes I would fight with them.

One time there was this guy who started giving me a hard time when I told him to keep away from her and we started to fight. I wasn’t doing too well. The punches made noise in my ears and I could feel the vibrations. The punches were coming at me one after another and I was dizzy but waiting for an opening so I could take the mother-fucker down. I don’t know how many times he hit me but I knew if I couldn’t start hitting soon that I would be in trouble.

That was when I heard the crack and the glass breaking. Suddenly I wasn’t being hit anymore and it took a couple of seconds for my eyes to focus. He was on the floor and blood was pouring from his head. Star was standing there with a broken beer bottle in her hand and her eyes were full of tears.

“I hit him. He was beating you up like my father always beat my mom. No one will ever do that to someone I love again.” she said.

I looked down at the guy on the floor. He was still breathing but he didn’t look too good.

“We better go.” was what I said. And we left.

I kept watching Star as she drove us home. She watched the road.

“I love no one but you.” I said to her.

She put her big eyes on me and smiled with her mouth.

“I know you do.” was what she said.

***

Star kept getting sicker and sicker from all the drinking. I had almost stopped going to the bars because I was shooting heroin every day now. I was worried about her because of the drinking, so I asked her if she wanted to try a shot. She yelled at me and told me never to let her take a shot.

I knew that the drinking was going to kill her. She was losing weight. She started missing days at work. At least the heroin was healthy, I thought. I knew the only thing bad about using junk was that you were constantly breaking the law. All the trouble I had with prison and all that was just because it was against the law. Maybe one day things would change.

***

Star was drunk and depressed when I came home with a bundle of dope. She went to sleep after she threw up and I shot two bags and nodded out. When I woke up she was opening another beer. I asked her if she wanted a shot.

“Okay, just don’t hurt me,” was what she said.

I tied her off and gave her one-third of a bag. She smiled at me and the pupils on her giant eyes became like pin-pricks.

“Make love to me now,” she said.

“Okay, I want to shoot another bag first.”

“Can I have a little more,” Star asked.

I was happy that she liked it and hoped that maybe she wouldn’t drink so much now. I gave her another small taste and her head drooped down as her eyes shut. I watched her for a minute to make sure that she was all right and then shot two bags because I was happy. We made love for a couple of hours. I couldn’t come because of the dope. It just felt good being skin to skin and inside each other. I never loved anyone like I loved her.

***

We began to make dope runs together every day. She always wanted to come along even though she was afraid of the police. I would always go to the connection in Great Brook Valley and she would wait in our truck. My friend Hector, who I was in prison with, would come with us a lot. He always had money.

Hector had a scam going with an old lady whose son he used to hang around with. Her name was Frannie. Her son’s name was Victor. Frannie always called Hector her other son.

Victor alway would call his mother for money when they were dope-sick and when she said no he would threaten to commit suicide. She always gave in.

One day Frannie started to go to Al-Anon. About a week later Victor called her up for money and she said no. He threatened to kill himself if she didn’t come up with the money. She didn’t budge and said that the people at Al-Anon told her she was enabling him.

Victor had a gun and shot himself in the head while he was talking to her on the phone. After that, whenever Hector called for money, she would cry and tell him to come over. She stopped going to Al-Anon. She never said no again. Over the next year she gave Hector over thirty thousand dollars. Someone told me she died penniless in a state mental hospital.

Hector didn’t have a car so we would pick him up and drive him over to get the money and he would buy us all some bags for the ride. We would go to McDonalds and shoot up in the bathroom.

Then we began seeing the police around there a lot so we started going to a bar parking lot to shoot up. We would bring a small vial of water and share the needles and the cooker. The worst part about it was when we had to wait for each other to get done to use the needle. I hated it when I was the last person to go.

One day the police came up on us when we were shooting up in the parking lot. We tried to make a run for it in the truck but they must have radioed ahead and cut us off on the back road. One of the cops hit Star in the middle of her back with a rifle butt and she fell down and cut her hands. She was crying and when I moved toward her the cop pushed me into the side of the truck and held his gun to my head.

“Go ahead, you fucking asshole. Move so I can shoot you,” said the cop.

I didn’t move. They handcuffed us and took us to the holding tank in the police station. Bail was twenty-five dollars apiece and we were charged with possession of heroin and hypodermics. We didn’t have the money. I called someone we worked with and he came down and bailed us out.

Star didn’t come with me to get the drugs again for a long time.

***

We were working a lot of hours at the psych hospital. There always was plenty of overtime because they were short-staffed. I would make the run into the Great Brook Valley projects or to a dope house on Charlton Street every morning before we went to work. Between the two of us we made close to thousand a week and it was all going into our arms.

We could barely pay our rent and utilities. If it wasn’t for the food at the hospital cafeteria we wouldn’t eat. Star went down to 105 pounds and I was pretty slim too. Heroin was the fuel that kept us going. During break times we would go into the bathroom and shoot up. A couple of times I fell out in the bathroom. I just told my co-workers that I had gotten sick.

On my floor I was a member of the treatment team. Sometimes we would refer a client to a drug program. I could always pick out the ones that had drug problems. The people I worked with always said that I had a lot of insight into that type of thing. Then I would go into the bathroom and do some more dope.

Once in a while we couldn’t get any dope before we came to work. People would remark that I didn’t seem quite normal on those days. Usually I would leave early to get some. It was hard to work like that. Star always said that “Heroin is the glue that keeps me together.”

Star would have trouble falling asleep and would drink coffee until about 3 or 4 every morning on the days we wouldn’t work. I could sleep early but I would wake up before it got light and watch her sleep. She looked so small and gentle and beautiful. I wanted to give her everything that her parents never gave her.

I would get up and do a bag. Then I would lay back down next to her and rest my hand on her arm while I smoked a cigarette. I watched her breathe for hours. She was the best thing that ever happened to me.

***

There were times that we argued over the dope. She accused me of shooting some of it before I got home and that she never got her equal half. Sometimes I would stop and shoot some right after I got out of the projects but it was the pressure of the chase that drove me to it. I always risked arrest and I felt like I was justified in taking a couple of extra bags.

Sometimes Hector wold come over with his wife Patti and we would shoot dope together. Star hated Patti. It would seem like Patti was coming on to me sometimes. She was very pretty and I would want to sleep with her but I never did. The two women fought all the time.

Then Hector and Patti lost their place to live and were living in their car. They asked if they could stay with us and we let them stay a couple of nights but it got to be too much. They began bouncing from place to place. We lost touch with them.

The last time I saw Patti she was selling blowjobs for ten dollars on the streets of Worcester. Hector was waiting for her in the car. I heard that Hector went back to prison and Patti just disappeared from the scene.

I took a rapid succession of arrests and was on probation with a two-year suspended sentence. Then I got dropped again and it looked like I was going to go away for sure. Star cut her wrists and they took her to a private psych hospital because through work we had good insurance.

I would come to see her and sneak dope in. Sometimes she would get a pass and we would go out and sit in a park and cuddle together. I loved her more than anything in the world. We were talking an I told her my court date was coming up and that I might be gone soon. She cried.

“You’re not going. I’ll kill the judge if he sends you away,” was what she said.

What I didn’t know was that she told her therapist at the hospital the same thing. Because of some kind of law they said that they were bound to call the courts and tell them what she said. And they did.

****

Star got out of the hospital and came with me to court. All of a sudden the State Police were all about us and whisked us out of the courtroom where we were the only ones there. I was frightened and thought that I was going away for sure. I wished that I had shot some dope that morning. I kept having to run to the bathroom with the shits. Star kept crying and leaning on my shoulder and the lawyer disappeared into the back room with the judge for over two hours.

Finally he came out.

“You’re very lucky,” was what he told me.

He said because the prisons were very crowded and I had no history of violence that they were going to make my probation longer and execute the sentence but put a stay of execution on it as long as I didn’t get into trouble again.

My probation officer told me that this was my last chance. He said he didn’t care if I drank eight days a week as long as I didn’t shoot any dope.

****

Star and I decided to clean up and stop shooting dope. After work we would go to the bar and drink to make the sickness go away. It didn’t work that well at first and we puked a lot. After a while, if we drank enough, we passed out. We began missing work quite a bit.

We drank more than ever before. I never liked drinking that much but I would sit at the bar and pound down Jack Daniels straight up like it was water. Star and I started arguing more and more. I used to hate it when guys would come up to her in the bar and act like I wasn’t there.

We went out dancing and drinking and always wound up in an argument. I felt like I was getting sicker and sicker and didn’t know what to do. When Star would start drinking she would just go and go and not stop until she passed out. Sometimes I could do that but sometimes I felt like I just couldn’t go on.

***

We had been clean for three weeks but were drinking more than we ever had. The fight started in the upstairs bedroom. Star leaped at me and her nails raked my face. I was shouting at her and punched her in the head and she kicked me hard. I fell back into the bedroom window.

There was the sound of breaking glass.

She jumped at me again before I could get my balance back and was all nails and teeth. I rolled to get away from her but she seemed like she was coming from every direction. I picked her up and threw her across the room. She hit the dresser and bounced to the floor. One leg snapped off the dresser.

Star stood up and grabbed the wedding picture that had fallen to the floor and smashed it against the wall and then threw the leaning dresser over and the drawers spilled out. She picked up a lamp and threw it at me and I ducked and it hit the mirror on the wall. Glass sprayed everywhere and I grabbed her by the arm hard. She leaned forward and bit me on the cheek.

I screamed and kicked her in the stomach and she curled up on the floor. I bent down and asked her if we could stop. I was frightened. She reached up real quick and grabbed my hair and spit in my face. I grabbed the hand that held my hair and squeezed it real hard and stamped on her foot with my boot as hard as I could and she let go.

I ran for the stairway just to get away from her and she hit me at the top of the stairs. We tumbled down like two wildcats in a fight to the finish. She was biting and scratching and punching. I kept hitting her over and over and she smashed her forehead into my head as we hit the bottom of the stairs.

I heard the sound of wood breaking and we fell through the broken bannisters. She pulled away from me and grabbed a vase and through it at the bay window. We had a three tier glass coffee table and she pulled the tv off the stand and dropped it through the table.

I came towards her to stop her from wrecking the place and she screeched and launched herself through the air at me like a wolverine in a killing frenzy. The momentum of the leap carried us into the kitchen. Everything was in motion.

We separated for a minute and stood there breathing at each other. There was blood running into my eye; Star’s face was swollen on one side and one of her eyes was closed. Our clothing was all ripped. There was blood on her hands and blood on mine.

Star smashed on of the three glass cabinets with a cast iron frying pan that she pulled off the wall. She swept the cups and dishes from the shelves and ripped up her arm on the broken glass.

“How do you like this?” she screamed at me.

She smashed the second cabinet, swept the glasses to the floor and my throat was screaming as she whipped the frying pan at me. I ducked and it went through the plaster wall. We came together and pummeled each other as we danced on the shards of glass.

I remember screaming at her. I remember holding her light body in the air like it was nothing and screaming at her. I remember holding her in the air by the throat and noticing suddenly that she was no longer moving. There are spaces in time where God stops the clock.

***

Someone had called the police. When they came in I was kneeling over her and holding her hand. It took a few minutes for her to begin breathing normal again. They took her away in an ambulance. They took me to jail.

Star did not want to press charges and the court was going to go for a violation of probation but for some reason they let me go.

On the way home I asked Star what had started the fight.

“I don’t remember,” was what she said.

Neither did I.

I had been fired from work and needed to look for another job. We were behind on the rent. We decided to stop drinking because of all the trouble. That afternoon I borrowed fifty dollars from my cousin and went out to buy us some heroin.

Finis.

The Suboxone Withdrawal Diaries (Part 3)

The Suboxone Withdrawal Diaries


Day 19.
The heat is starting to creep back into the atmosphere. We had the alarm set so we could go back to the support group this morning but it didn’t go off. Even though I woke at about 5am it was too late for the 6 o’clock meeting. I must have messed with the sound button. I turned it up and tested the alarm and set it for 4:30am tomorrow. Tomorrow is Labor Day but this meeting is seven days a week, no holidays off. Our addictions/ alcoholism didn’t take any days off, right? I’m still feeling under the weather and my wife has prepared all types of delights for the hot days to come. Mary Esther makes wonderful borscht and fantastic potato salad. Cold comfort food for the hot days to come. I haven’t purged yet today but maybe it’s because I haven’t moved around too much. I made two sandwiches for Mary Esther and one for me because I had two waiting in the refrigerator. It feels good to write about this detox. It is certainly a long road. I finished Stephen King’s book called The Tommyknockers. It was 550 pages long and a true horror. I recommend it if you are going through tough times. Now I’ll watch the Tommyknocker movie made for television. I know it won’t be as good as the book. It couldn’t be. I hope they make a movie out of the book like they made a remake of IT by Stephen King for the movies.

Day 20. Whoo Whoo. Got up at 4:20am to go to my favorite meeting which meets every day, holidays included, at 6am and 7am. I went to the 6am with my sweetheart. Had broken sleep; real trouble falling asleep. This is a long detox.

Day 21. The summer heat is back even though it is September 4th. I purged today and it was good. I’ve been hungry and that’s good too. Mary Esther, my wife, thinks my mood swings are a whole lot better. Well, it’s not over yet but I feel better than I did. Went to the pharmacy and picked up my regular psych meds and told them not to save Suboxone any more for me. I see my shrink on Day 23 and that will be a surprise for him. My regular therapist called me last night to see how I was doing because she had to cancel my appointment. It seems that her partner is very ill and she’s doing the hospital thing with her. I have to say that she’s the best therapist I’ve ever had. She’s been with me for many years now; even longer than my psychopharmacologist.

Day 22. Still had a rough time sleeping last night. I just got up at 5:15am and took a shower and then ate breakfast with Mary Esther. It was okay. I’m psyched because some of the people won the Primaries that I was rooting for and I voted too.

Day 23. Saw my Psychopharmacologist today. He was surprised that I just dropped off the Suboxone regimen. He said he would have helped me if I had asked; he’s a good guy and I’ll continue to see him for my regular two psych meds. He still wants me to give urine when I come because, he said “that’s for my protection.” Of course if I wanted to get high I could always do it in the beginning of the month and be clean when I saw him. But I don’t want to get high; that’s the deal. Even though my emotions are running the gamut, my body is feeling better and the infernal heat stops tonight. It’s raining and the temperature is going down but the house is still hot as Hades. Meeting tomorrow morning, Friday.

Day 24.
Feeling better. Slept until the alarm went off at 4:30am and then got up and went to a 6am meeting. Then I took my wife shopping for food. Almost had an accident with the car. A truck was blocking my view of the traffic light and I followed him through and the light was red on a four lane road and people were whipping behind me and in front of me and the two lanes I was blocking were horn blowing. All of a sudden the two lanes in front of me stopped and let me through. Whew. That’s the last time I’ll go through a light without stopping to see if it’s red. We were lucky and Blessed.

Day 25.
Actually had a good night’s sleep and woke refreshed. Did some computer work—emails and such and then showered and cooked and ate oatmeal for breakfast. I feel like I feel better than I should but then, that’s just my monkey mind at work. I’m expecting a real nice book today. It’s a special artist’s gift edition from Suntup Press signed by the artist Rick Berry. I’m excited about that and right now I’m reading two books—Ball Lightning by Cixin Liu and Bird Box by Josh Malerman. Not for the faint of heart.

Day 26.
Finally a purge this morning after not going for 2 days. Ironically I keep a book up there called Junkie by William Burroughs. I always bring another book I’m reading but William Burroughs helps me go. I had a rough sleep night last night. Still that’s happening. But I got up, stripped and made the bed, put up a wash of clothes and took the dry clothes off the line and put most of them away so far. I also ate well for breakfast. Mary Esther made waffles and they were good, topped with peaches and real maple syrup.

Day 27.
A medium rough night. Ate breakfast, shaved, showered, purged in a good way. Going to rain so I cant’ bicycle 4 or 5 miles like I did yesterday. Watching Rockin’ Roberta now. Good recovery channel on youtube.

Day 28.
Went to my morning home group, Just For Today. Today’s topic was called Making Amends. Very Timely. It’s raining so I can’t bicycle today. Oh well. That’s the way it goes. Acceptance. It’s Mary Esther’s birthday and I bought her three books; one is here; the other two just came in. It’s a nine book Space Oydssey by James S. A. Corey, a pseudonym for 3 writers working together. Mary Esther is on book 4, so I bought her books 5, 6, and 7. The others haven’t come out yet.

Day 29.
Rough nights sleep. Up and down, up and down. Oh well, no one said that I was going to cruise through this. I’m going to bicycle today even though I may get caught in a rainstorm. I desperately need the exercise.

Day 30.
I forced myself to bicycle 6 miles yesterday. Still sleeping rough but that’s okay. I’m feeling much better each day. I’m going to meetings two days a week and that’s good. I get up at 4:30am to go to the 6am meeting. I’m going to the doctor with my dear Mary Esther today to schedule her upcoming surgery and we’re both somewhat concerned. That’s how life is, I guess.

Day 31.
I’m worried about Mary Esther. It’s such a scary surgery that she has to go through. I bicycled to Harvard Square and back. We went to a meeting at 6am this morning. Then we went food shopping. Mary Esther went to her pain clinic today and they put her on oxygen for a while. She’s home now and I’m still frightened. Fuck!

Day 32.
Mary Esther is feeling somewhat better but we are prepared for anything, we think. I’m still in semi-withdrawal but it’s not as bad as it was. We’re going to Maine tomorrow if all goes well. Hopefully we’ll get some down time and rest easy. Mary Esther became short of breath today and I took her to the hospital. She’s still there; I stayed for most of the day and I just came home to sleep. She’s improving.

Day 33. Mary Esther’s birthday. We celebrated it at the hospital. They even provided a cake. It wasn’t like being in Maine though. Maybe later in the season, who knows. I’m still clean; locked the dope closet right up. No temptation whatsoever. That would be a real bummer, eh.

Day 34.
Mary Esther is home. I’m feeling a little worn out from being at the hospital almost non-stop but it was worth it to see her get better. Me? Suboxone withdrawal? Feels like it’s almost over. I saw on the Internet an ad for a new brand called Sublocade put out by the Suboxone company. It appears the doctor gives you an injection and it stays effective for 30 days. Whoo Whee, pretty scary shit, you know.

Day 35.
I’m going to wrap this hoary tale up now. Still sneezing but I think it’s basically over. I’ll let you know if anything crops up. Thanks for being there with me and check out Rockin’ Roberta on youtube. Peace when possible!

The Suboxone Withdrawal Diaries (Part 2)

The Suboxone Withdrawal Diaries

“Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door. I want to go out, don’t know if I can, ‘cause I’m so afraid of the Tommyknocker (dealers) man.”———Thanks to Stephen King’s book The Tommyknockers, that helped me get through this.”

This is day 8 of my Suboxone withdrawal. I can’t believe it! I had New York heroin dreams last night. I never dream of that, at least since I was on Suboxone. So the Suboxone was helping, but at this point in my life I feel that the benefit wasn’t worth the cost of the side effects on my body. I’m feeling a little better today, very emotional, but I’m glad that I’m doing this.

Day 9, Actually went out today. Drove to Harvard Square, then parked about five blocks from where I wanted to go. I walked to the comic store and came back with a heavy pack. They gave me 3 hardcover graphic novels for free! Whoo Whoo! Then went to Target and bought an old pack of Stephen King’s movies; then bought a small pizza and went home and ate half of it. I know I feel better now; but I’m tired and have some aches. All in all, I’m getting off lucky today.

This is day 10 of my Suboxone withdrawal. I rode my bicycle into Harvard Square and stopped at Spare Change News to pick up a review copy of a book that came for me. I felt exhausted as I rode back home but I stopped at the supermarket because they have one of those blood pressure and pulse cuffs. I took my blood pressure and pulse twice. The first time it was 130 over 75 with a rocking pulse of 112. I took it again and it was 130 over 74 with a pulse of 106. Whew. I went home and ate a small lunch and now I’m going to read and relax.

It’s August 25 and this is day 11 of my Suboxone withdrawal. I’m really knocked out and I ache all over. This is the longest detox of my life; longer than when I was on a methadone clinic. I went food shopping today. I was in agony much of the time and then when we got home I had to carry the groceries two flights of stairs. I’m glad that’s over. I just have to drive to the bank; no bicycle today; and I’m even putting driving off. I must say that if you have to take Suboxone, don’t stay on it too long. It helped me stay off heroin for 10 years. I was just reading the Boston Globe and they said there is little real heroin anymore; just Fentanyl. They’re cutting the cocaine on the streets with Fentanyl. Talk about danger, whoo! I’m glad I’m not out there now. It could happen, I know. Soon I’ll be starting support groups again. Just too sick right now.

Day 11.. And I am still behind the eight ball. I bicycled yesterday and the day before but I can’t imagine doing it today. I feel so worn out.

Day 12. Am I over the hump? I was able to make sandwiches, do the laundry and hang it, and eat breakfast. I can still feel the withdrawal but it isn’t as bad today. Relief! The next three days will be hot and humid and maybe that will help me sweat the poisons of the Suboxone out of my system. I usually don’t have underarm odor but I sure do now.

Day 13. Rough nights sleep. Saw Casino on Netflix and thoughts of it kept running through my mind as I lay in bed. I had 5 hours sleep at the most. Having some trouble purging my bowels still. It is now 6:30am and I’m not looking forward to the heat wave that will begin today, Monday, and last through Wednesday. I’m so tired of this feeling bad; I understand why people relapse on Suboxone detoxification. But I’m holding the course. I know I’ll be normal (whatever that means) again.

Day 13. Severe constipation is a side-effect of Suboxone. My bowels haven’t moved for 4 days. But this morning I sat on the toilet but couldn’t move it. I remembered reading in a book by a monk from India that the normal position for elimination is to squat over a hole in the ground; that toilets are just a little to high to make your intestine straight.

Day 14. Still sick but not as sick as the earlier days. Having trouble motivating myself to do things. I put breakfast out for Mary Esther and myself. We ate and then I did the dishes. No purge yet today but I’m still sneezing two or three times in a row. Much better than before. I’ve been up to nine sneezes in a row. It’s very hot already even though it’s morning. That doesn’t help matters but it’s better than being too cold.

Day 15. Had to go to the movies to get out of the heat. Saw A.X.L., a great young adult flick about a killer robot dog developed by the military. Slept poorly. Walked half a mile in Harvard Square to pick up a few comics. I didn’t bicycle in this 95 degree heat. After all, I’m 72. Just learning to take care of myself.

Day 16 early afternoon. We turned the air-conditioning off last night because my wife hates the sound of it. I actually had a full night’s sleep; only woke up twice. A miracle. I think I’m recovering more slowly because of this abominable heat. I literally trudge up the stairs and I haven’t dared to bicycle because I feel exhausted, drained. But I feel better than I have in days and my bowels are moving. My pscho-pharmacologist just sent me the Confirm notice for my next visit. I imagine he’ll be surprised when I tell him I don’t need any more Suboxone. He’s a cool cat though and my wife and I bet he won’t show his surprise. I’ll still have to give a urine and that will be the proof. I don’t know if he’ll keep me on the same schedule or not; I see him every 28 days when I get the Suboxone from him but my other psych meds are refillable every 3 months. Suboxone is not a refillable item.

Day 17. I actually got up at 4:15am and went to my old home group which meets at 6am every day of the week. They all welcomed me back and were happy to see Mary Esther too. It’s a closed meeting but we both qualify. Then I went food shopping with my wife and after that I bicycled into Harvard Square, about 4 miles each way, and picked up the new issue of Spare Change News. I’m knocked out now but I feel good about today and it was great to get to my home group.

Day 18. I’m going to continue to write about this but this will be the last entry in Spare Change News. I slept last night; woke up a few times and by 5:30am I knew that further sleep was futile even though I didn’t go to sleep until close to 11pm. I’m planning on going to the support group tomorrow, Sunday, at 6am. I still have some aches and pains but the emotional withdrawal is primary now. Thanks for reading this in Spare Change News and I hope it has helped someone struggling with opiate addiction.