They

VINCE

Today was my friend’s daughter’s birthday. Audrey turned 10, which officially marks the point at which you can write numbers instead of spell them. Exciting! Anyhow, for whatever reason, a few other people from down in Southeastern Minnesota where I lived for a number of years, were sending me pictures of myself from back in the day, when my main source of nutrition was beer and weed. It brought back a lot of good, fun memories. In these pictures, I wasn’t engaging in illegal activities, and it appeared that for the most part I wasn’t hammered drunk. In  one I was hugging Audrey (the birthday girl) when she was maybe three or four, and she had a huge smile on her face, which she almost always does. I don’t have children, so she is the closest thing to it for me and I was there with her growing up for years. I was around for seven of her first ten years, missing the first and last two.

I miss all of my friends from the Fillmore County area. But with her I feel as if I left her without an explanation or understanding of why I was gone. I left the area because I got hooked on meth again, because somebody I used with many years ago moved to Fountain and I just went for it. It happened so fast. It took six months from the time I first used to stop talking to my friends, get fired from my job, and start selling. I managed to get a job in Lanesboro for one season but I cut all ties with the area once the tourist season was over, and went to work on the road full-time as  a meth dealer. I lost my apartment but I didn’t care, I didn’t plan on going back.

I wrote to a lot of my friends when I was locked up. Not all of them wrote me back as much as I thought they should have. I don’t know why I expected them to after I just threw my life in the trash and left them all without a word, but I did. I wrote Audrey a few times. I tried to explain to her what I had done and where I was in a way that a nine-year old could understand. I don’t know how well I did but it must have been alright because she wrote me back. Twice. And those letters made me feel like I still had a soul.

Every period in my life when I abused drugs, and sold them, something happened to me. A transformation took place in which I was no longer able to care about people. More specifically, my family, or any close friends that would not have approved of my drug use. When my friend died (the one I wrote about in a post recently) I had no emotional reaction to it. I remember getting the call from her partner and my first honest thought was, “Fuck. She owed me $300.” Then I went over to see Christie and when I arrived she seemed quite nonchalant about the situation. She had just come back from the grocery and liquor stores, and she asked if we could get high and we did.

It was not uncommon for a person’s life to be crumbling down around them and have no care in the world. People losing their children, their homes, their loved ones, but continuing to do anything other than get a job to get high. And of course there I was ready to listen to their story and sell them a bag. It took me a while to get over the fact that I didn’t have any morals. Thankfully I worked on it in treatment.  I can relate this in the opposite way to how A.A. works for people. When we were getting high we associated only with those types of people because we could understand each others’ pain. We didn’t do anything constructive about it, but we can now. And we are. I am. And as hard as it is for me to deal with society as a whole right now, there is a small group of people I meet with every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday nights that understands me just as I do them. I wish I could go to more meetings. But that’s my topic for the next post.

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