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The destruction wrought by drug addiction is pervasive and powerful. How does one inject hope into the garbage of society? How does society ignore their garbage so successfully, especially when it is stinking right under their noses? Drugs destroy the body and mind, hopelessness eats away at the spirit.
Attempting to rekindle that spirit is my job. Against insurmountable odds I must convince the defeated to believe in themselves one last time. My daily mantra is to not get sucked into the hopelessness; to believe that I can hold their hope, cause if I don't believe there is no hope
She made 31 days before she disappeared. Sleeping Beauty said that she had never made 30 days clean before. She was strong, sure of herself, had it all together. I saw her on day 30. She said he was waiting for her downstairs. Her sugardaddy, dealer, ex-boyfriend. The one she broke up with. No big deal, they were going to a funeral of a mutual friend. She disappeared on day 31. Missed her class at the gym, didn't return phone calls. I had no right to care for the careless as I was just her counselor, but I cared nonetheless.
Being subtly slighted is much worse than being ignored. The she-bitch, my boss, has been at war with me for about two months now. I am not stepping in her shit any longer so she must play a much more subtle game with me. Now she is flinging little turdlets in my path each morning. Her nasty digs and carefully plotted insults are meant to be hurtful, and they are. But two can play at that game, I give her my biggest shit eating grin every morning as I gobble up the turdlets as fast as she lays them.
I gird my loins before entering the lion's den. As the she-bitch taunts and tortures me, she becomes nicer to others who are happy to ignore my "personal struggle". How easily they forget that in the not-so-distant past, they too had been targets for abuse. In supervision I express my plight. I am met by puzzled expressions and coworkers who begin discussing the Cinco-de-Mayo celebration. I look around and wonder if I am speaking another language so completely do they ignore me. At this moment I have two thoughts: "I am invisible", and "It's not hot and they aren't here".
Funerals are a weekly occurrence in the drug world. Poor health, overdose, and suicide repeatedly take their toll. Lately I find it hard to get worked up over another untimely death. I am not callous, so much as numb to my emotions involving the eternal-sadness clouding the lives of addicts. Just as they numb themselves with drugs, I use forgetfulness to block unwanted feelings. I simply don't remember when one of the client's dies. Unfortunately, like a good hit of crack, forgetting is a temporary solution. The remembering bombards me when I least expect it, and I die a little
Sad dropped by today. This time she was carrying a notebook that she had purchased on the street for 5 dollars. She didn't steal it she said proudly as she showed me the 75 dollar sticker on the back. She bought it from someone who stole it, which makes it okay, right? She looked very sad so I astutely asked her if her house was clean. She said that indeed she had washed the rugs just that day. She still looked sad to my tarnished eye, but I didn't push it. Some things were better left swept under the rug.
My sadness is like an old pair of comfortable shoes. I slip them on and they mold perfectly to my feet, contouring to the familiar bumps. I don't revel in sadness, I don't even like the feeling, but it is familiar. This time, I even understand the reasons for it; the continuing struggle with the she-bitch, my boss. She is a dog chasing her tail, snapping and barking at it. She has no clue she is biting herself in the ass as she races around in circles. I cannot quit the struggle until I am sure that she catches it.
Mother's day. My mother's national guilt day. She called to invite us to dinner but it got tangled up in the real message which was to visit her mother in the nursing home. When I responded that I might be doing something with my family, not her, or Nonni, she became ugly. Ugly in that I'm getting old therefore you should do what I say, I feel guilty about my mother being in a home so I have thrown my life away visiting her, way. And what will the other families think if we don't show up for mother's day.
The she-bitch is at it again. Chasing her tail in twirling circles. For the dog, it is about the hunt. Once the quarry is sighted, the race is on. Barking and snapping, pursing its prey, always one step behind; losing sight of reality as she single-mindedly pursues a piece of fluff. I've never seen a dog catch its tail. I wonder if surprise or pain would prevail as she takes a satisfying chomp out of herself. I have a hard time remaining still as I watch the she-bitch determinedly pursue her ass, but I won't move until she catches it.
I don't remember these incidents," she sighed as she looked over the written complaints. That's why I need time off. "
"Here's a letter from my doctor requesting I take a leave of absence due to my PTSD symptoms(posttraumatic-stress-syndrome)," she said. "You know I haven't been myself since that traumatic event."
I glanced over the Dr's note while she continued her apologetic tail of woe. One problem with her story was the timing. In the 5 years we have worked, she hasn't changed a bit. How then did the PTSD affect her? Oh yes, she can't remember her bad behavior.
Over the past year, I noticed a pattern to Mech's departures back to boarding school. He delayed packing until about an hour before his flight, causing me to begin by nagging and ended up yelling at him, whereupon he would indignantly tell me not to come to the airport. Today was no different. We dumped him at the ticket counter and drove to the garage.
Tony and I were discussing his behavior as we sprinted for the elevator. Both of us were in our usual harried, pissed off state after dragging our son kicking and screaming out of the house.
Even after a year it had not gotten easier for Mech to go back to school. As we waited for the elevator, Tony let loose a very loud fart. The elevator doors swung open halfway through the blast. Two men glanced quickly at us as we entered. It was obvious that they heard the explosion and they certainly could smell the noxious odor that followed us in. Four people staring straight ahead pretending that shit didn't stink. Laughter ripped through me in a sudden loud guffaw. By the time the doors swung open the four of us were giggling hysterically.
Tangled webs of blame wrapped around enticing words meant to fool the naïve. A simple invitation to dinner, one that can hardly be refused, without a side order of guilt given freely. Not so simple really. Struggling with the "good-girl role" by saying yes when what I want to say no. Agonizing over two people so uncomfortable with the aging process that before dinner drinks now begin at 2pm. Supper becomes an affair of drunken revelry that is hard to swallow for one such as myself. Watching my parents struggle bitterly with their future is a painful meal to eat.
SleepingBeauty had awakened once again from the revolving cycle of love, hate, happiness and self-loathing. Clean and sober for a minute. We talked, or rather I talked, and she changed the subject. Thrust and parry, the word game that we played. I hit her pretty hard today but she was a tough nut to crack and stoically took her medicine. I began to feel sad. So I talked about my sadness which was really her sadness that she could not express. Or maybe it was my sadness at her inability to have the life she wanted because she was numb
The big announcement came today. Very vague and apparently not much of a surprise. The she-bitch is taking a leave of absence to recuperate from her PTSD symptoms. Hugs all around. Lots of questions and good cheer. But not from me. I thought I would be happy that she is going away. Instead I feel deflated. Maybe I'm so shell-shocked that I've buried my feelings or maybe I just don't believe the war is over. After months of being the object of her wrath you'll excuse me for my doubt, but on a visceral level, I know we're not through.
Endless discussions abound as to whether the she-bitch should be fired or allowed to return. Amazing how all that pot smoking we did as teenagers in the 60's and 70's has caused us to have serious short term memory problems.
6 months ago, after the 2nd coup d'état failed, my compadres loudly proclaimed that they would never support her again. Never… Today I heard someone say. "What if she doesn't come back? Our next boss could be worse."
Someone worse? As in I'd better not leave my husband even though he beats me cause my next husband could be worse?
I am usually a calm person, but somehow my children manage to jump start my battery into overdrive. Another airport trip, this time my daughter. 7am. I enter the dark cave that is her room and tell her to get up. "In a minute," she groans. I nag, she delays. We arrive 45 minutes before her flight, where she is punted to the front of the check-in line by harried airport personnel. She makes it past the metal detector and saunters towards her gate 15 minutes before take off without a backwards glance. Who needs coffee when adrenaline will do?
Today I am very grateful that crack was not contrived until I had several years of sobriety under my nose so to speak. I liked speed, mother's little helpers, cross tops, diet pills, anything racy to get me jacked up, stimulated, and ready to roll. I didn't like coming down from a run. I hated the tired listlessness I felt on days I was drug-free. Speed helped me kick my depression and lose weight at the same time. Crack is like that, so I've been told. A cheap, pick-me-up without the hangover effects. An insidious drug with horrible life-threatening repercussions.
I noticed a lot of birdshit on my deck today. For some reason perching on the railing has become very attractive to the robins that nest in the trees. In years past I often found dead birds in the backyard; gifts from neighborhood predators. Based on the amount of shit splattered across the woodpanels, I figure the cats are gone. We had a dog, but we gave him away when we discovered our daughter was allergic to animals. We'd like to get another pet now that she's moved out, but I think the shit would start flying if we did.
I am absolutely exhausted today. Besides the ongoing war with the she-bitch, my boss, we are intaking 60 new clients this month due to a budget short fall caused by the very same bitch-boss. I am struggling to catch up, keep up, get the job done so I can go on vacation. Random thoughts actually float through my mind that it isn't worth taking time off, so overworked to-get-the-job-done, am I. When my tenth client of the day burst into tears, I nearly told her to fucking stop sniveling and get a job. Oh yeah do I need a vacation
I am worried that when the fight is over I will have nothing to write about. As I sit down to type, I find myself preoccupied with the battlefield that has become my workplace. In the beginning I was angry and quiet, but preoccupied nonetheless. Then I went into complaining mode, followed by battle mode. Now I am holding steady, fast and furiously, in the eye of the storm. I must confess that I have never single-handedly been so determined to win a fight. Ultimately I'm afraid that I too will lose sight of the forest through the trees.
Firing someone from a union job is next to impossible. All the "i"s must be dotted and "t"s crossed. In the past five years 3 attempts have been made to sack the she-bitch. The first two failed for reasons having to do with disorganization and poor planning. The third attempt, now in progress, may succeed if all the players hold firm to our convictions while she barrages us with various ploys to make us cease and desist. Personally, I would not remain in a place I was not wanted, but the she-bitch truly cannot see the forest through the trees.
The Ajax scouts emailed Tony about our son. They are interested in giving him a tryout. Wow, I thought, really cool. Except, aren't they in Holland. Where would he stay? Who would take care of him? He's only 16. He's already been away from home for a long time pursuing this dream. Living on the other side of the world since he was 14 years old. Does he really want to throw away college and a career to pursue this dream of playing professional soccer in Europe? Oh my God, I can't speak Dutch and I have nothing to wear.
Homeland security is an oxymoron. My friend's partner is an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Enrique was pulled over by the police for a traffic violation. When the policeman discovered he had no identification, Enrique was arrested and detained. After a week, he was flown from California to Arizona where he was placed in a holding pen for illegal aliens. 3 weeks later he had a hearing and was summarily deported. My friend flew to Mexico and gave Enrique $1700 which he used to be driven past the borderpatrol in a car. He was back at work about 5 weeks later.
Thus far, I have been unable to find oblivion in my vacation. At odd moments during the day, anxiety wells within me and I have flashes of the she-bitch's angry face. A dark foreboding eats at my gut. The truth is our fight is far from over. We will return to work on the same day. The she-bitch will be far more dangerous, armed with the knowledge that her ploy to take personal stress leave did not work. She now knows that we are playing for keeps and her job is on the line. She will not admit defeat gracefully.
I wonder why methadone clinics open at the crack of dawn. Homeless addicts roll out of bed whenever the mood strikes them, which is usually not at 5:30am. Workers come in early to dose, but not many working addicts need to be up before sun rise; unless they work with other addicts. Alcoholic-addicts are often at the clinic before the juice is brewed. That's cause they need a drink and can't have one until after they dose. I believe that dosing hours are set early so addicts can do their dirty business before mainstream society folks are out and about.
It is unnatural to expect someone to begin work at 6am. How can one be expected to function before the sun rises? I have never gotten used to early morning hours though it is my lot in life. After two weeks off I am back to my natural biorhythms, waking up at 9:30am and going to bed around 12am. Some people do their morning ablutions at work. I attempt to begin self-grooming after my third cup of coffee. Usually by then I have spilled something on myself, and I have surfaced enough to notice if my socks and shoes match.
I hate reality tv shows. What fascination do they hold over people? Truly I do not get it. My daughter comes home for the weekend, and turns on the latest drama. No plot, bad dialogue, and real life shit that happens everyday. Today the show is about authentic teenage angst and prom dates. God I hate commercial tv. My husband loves Jerry Springer. What the hell is that show about? Trailer trash, bad grammar, and love lost. Bad relationships all wrapped up in not so nice packages. Can you imagine your partner inviting to go on that show? Uh oh!
I am home on vacation and I feel as if I am recovering from a long illness. Yesterday I did nothing but eat, lie around, eat, go to the library, read, and eat. At this pace, I will have to buy a larger wardrobe and waddle back to work. Today was much the same though I forced myself to go for a long walk along the levee. As I recover from the ravages-of-war that has become my workplace, I am shocked at the toll it has taken. Maybe I should invite the she-bitch to go on the Jerry Springer show.
Yesterday I caught a flash of a new reality show about catching your partner cheating on you. Apparently the producers spy on the person in question and then the injured party confronts the cheater on the air. I was very uncomfortable watching as some idiot blocked his cheating girlfriend from getting into her car and tried to force her to admit to her indiscretions. I flipped the channel before the climax hoping that she dumped him before the show hit the air. Why would anyone want to publicly air their personal problems or stay with someone who pulled this shit?
Dawg the Bounty Hunter. The name's enough to strike fear into common criminals ain't it? Another reality show to add excitement to our mundane lives. Dawg's sidekicks include his incredibly busty wife (ala Dolly Parton), his brother, and his son. The family business: tracking down absconders and low life trash who bailed on their bailbonds. Somehow they wound up with a weekly show. They remind me of the Beverly Hillbillies, only these hillbillies ride around in expensive SUV's. On the last episode, as Dawg cuffed the fugitive, the felon commented, "saw you on tv last week, Dawg. You were great."
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