Death and Recovery at 1000 feet
Sunday, August 3, 2008. One hundred fifteen days of sobriety. And they said it couldn’t be done.
The last time I was clean and sober for 115 consecutive days, I was celebrating my 114th day of sobriety. And of life. I would have put down 115 days, except for the fact that I was nearly born at the bar of the Smoke House Restaurant and Grille across the street from Warner Brothers Studios on the Saturday evening of May 24, 1947.
My mom was watering down with a couple of gin martinis at the time, and when I started to swim up for air, she really broke water, as did I. I was in the den of my Spongebob-like dwelling when two giant things (later I found out they were hands) came through the roof of my temporary home, encircled my head like the great Kali, and pulled me into a blaze of light with silhouettes moving about. A hard slap to the face caused me to drop my martini and I howled like a motherf*cker.
I started drinking right after that. In three short months, I was doing the Funky Chicken in my bassinette, had strangled my Winnie the Pooh doll, and had a pack-a-day Chesterfield habit. The formula I drank came in a shot glass, and could’ve powered an alcohol dragster.
And that’s how I got started... Well, sorta. Admittedly, there’s a shovel full of embellishment in the above, but I did get started drinking at a fairly young age, and continued for 46 years. In that 46 year deluge, I had a 38-year cocaine habit, and had sampled heroin, LSD, dimethyltriptaine, peyote buttons, psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”), pharmaceutical methadrine (powdered and, once, liquid), marijuana, DMT, elephant tranquilizer, Nenbutol, Seconal, Amytal, Ecstasy, and glass froster. I’ve shot, inhaled, and eaten all except the obvious inhalers.
And it all caught up with me on April 11th, when I checked into rehab in beautiful Pasadena.
I won’t wax on about the details of rehab, except to say that I think it’s gonna work for me. Coming in here, I didn’t know how to make a bed, lace my shoes, clean a toilet and sink, do kitchen work. These, and many more domestic virtues have been added to my repertoire. Hard change? Ya goddamn right.
And speaking of difficult change, I heard it through the walls of Impact Recovery and Treatment Center about the 1,000-foot rule and, of course, the sickening tragedy that froze Scott Kalitta.
I’m only about a month late on both subjects, but what the hell, I’m under wraps. In the 115 days here, we get no TV, I’ve seen maybe four LA Times newspapers, and exactly one National Dragster.